I wasn't sure how useful this exercise would be, since I knew it was "pretend." But once we got started (Stacey L interviewed me first), I realized that I had the same small butterfly knot in my stomach that I get when I interview for real! This surprised me, but it help me make the most of the practice. I feel like I interview reasonably well, so the butterfly knot is more of a "put me on my toes" thing than a "I'm so nervous I'm going to crack" thing.
I definitely think I should go through my past and choose examples to pull out, especially from my recent work, and especially of overcoming challenges. This question always directs my mind to teaching first, which so far has probably been the most challenging experience of my entire life. However, I'd rather choose examples from work experiences that were positive overall, and I'd like to be a little more prepared with a "ready-to-tell" example.
That said, the "describe a challenge you've overcome" question didn't unnerve me as much as a question about where else I'm applying (which I basically deflected instead of answering directly) and Stacey responding to many of my responses by saying, "Good." This last made me nervous because she didn't say it every time, so I wondered if the silences meant what I had said was not good.
Overall, though, I felt positive about the interview, and Stacey said she would have hired me, so that makes me happy! :-)
It took me a few minutes to get into being the interviewer--I was at first just as nervous about that, but then I started to have fun with it. It must be neat to learn about all the different people if you've got a good pool of applicants, and Stacey was an awesome applicant! Her answers and examples were great (one example of her helping get a little kid to go off the diving board by realizing that the kid was afraid of getting up on the board, not jumping off made me want to hire her right there and then!).
I found myself conscious of wanting to be as friendly and encouraging as possible while still asking the questions I needed to ask, and at one point, I was relieved when Stacey elaborated on an original answer without prompting. The question was about overcoming a challenge, and she mentioned working with a variety of people to get information she needed from each of them for her clients. I would have asked her to elaborate simply because I was interested, but I always feel a bit more on the spot when asked to elaborate, so I was glad I didn't have to do that.
I think it was a good, and even fun experience, and it was especially nice to get "out of character" and talk about what worked and what could be improved upon at the end (and to hear Stacey's other stories!).