Winning the Job Interview: Are You Ready to Role Play?

Role-playingHiring the wrong candidate remains one of the most expensive mistake a company can make.

Knowing that most employable candidates have prepared to answer the most common (and toughest) interview questions, many employers are turning to role playing or mock scenarios during the interview process to determine a candidate’s true potential.

Here’s a great example of how the role-playing process works…

The hiring managers of Software Advice, a company dedicated to helping buyers find the software best suited for their needs, created “The CoffeeScenario,” as a means of screening candidates for their Software Analyst position.

The scenario, which mimics the needs analysis their analysts perform on a daily basis, is a mock sales call. During the role play, the hiring manager poses as a customer while the candidate guides them through a series of questions to determine which coffee shop they should go to and which drink they should order.

The candidate is tested on 5 core competencies to assess their raw talent:


How well does the candidate speak? Do they use filler words such as, “um,” “uh,” or “like?”  Do they speak with a confident tone?


Does the candidate sound genuinely energetic about what they are talking about? Do they seem passionate about what they are selling?

Ability to Take Control

Does the candidate guide the buyer successfully through the buying process? Can the applicant take control and drive the call where it needs to be?

Ability to Think on Their Feet

Can the candidate overcome obstacles they may come across without fumbling? Did they maintain their poise, or did they become flustered?


How well can the applicant understand the scenario and apply it? Did they listen to the input from the “customer” and react well? Did they listen to feedback from the recruiter after the scenario was completed?

How do you know if the company that has scheduled you for an interview will use role play during your phone or face-to-face meeting? Go to sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to see if this scenario is a common practice. And, of course, check your network for anyone with inside knowledge of the company’s interview style.

Of course, the best possible preparation is to be on your toes; be open to whatever situation you’re presented with during the interview. Especially when role playing, being “in the moment” is sometimes just as critical to interview success as rigid preparation!





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at The Resume Resource!



Trish ThomasAbout the Author: Trish Thomas of The Resume Resource is committed to helping people improve their lives through rewarding careers. A Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach, she delivers a full range of services to help job seekers establish clear career goals and develop tools and strategies to achieve those goals. What differentiates Trish from other career services providers is the time she takes to get to know each client and their individual needs to position them competitively in today’s job market. Follow Trish on Twitter!



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