Interviewing for a Job

Interviewing is an opportunity for an employer to assess your fit for a position and fit for the company. It is also a time for you to assess the employer and determine whether the position is the right fit for you.

It is extremely important that you spend a significant amount of time preparing for interviews. Give yourself ample time to learn as much as you can about the employer, the position and how best to show that you are the right person for the job.

Do Your Research:

  • Review the company website to learn as much as you can about the company.
  • Understand the position for which you are interviewing and how your background qualifies you for it.
  • Read industry news to learn about recent mentions of the company or developments in the industry.
  • Network with individuals who have worked at the company or currently work there.
  • If possible, talk with people who are or were in the position for which you are interviewing.
  • Understand who the company's competitors are and what makes the company different.

Prepare Yourself and Practice:

  • Review sample interview questions and prepare answers.
  • If you are interviewing for a finance or consulting position, explore Vault's interviewing guides (Note: You must create a log-in to access content).
  • Know your resume. Be able to walk an employer through your resume and highlight your relevant experience.
  • Mock interviewing is critical in helping you to prepare for the real thing. Email the Economics Career Development Office to learn about mock interviewing or to sign up for a mock interview. Email econcareers@ssc.wisc.edu.

The Job Interview:

  • Verify the time and location of the interview a few days ahead of time. Ask for specific directions to the location to avoid getting lost on the day of the interview. Arrive at the building well in advance of the scheduled time but do not present yourself to the interviewer's office until about five minutes ahead of time.
  • If the interview is done by phone or video conference (e.g. Skype), find a quiet space where you will not have any distractions. If the interview is done via video conference, be mindful of your appearance and the surroundings that will be visible to the interviewer.
  • Bring high quality copies of your resume with you to the interview.
  • Have a list of questions ready to ask the employer at the end of or during the interview. Do not ask questions about salary, benefits, vacation, etc., in the initial interview.
  • Dress professionally. Wear professional business attire unless the employer indicates business casual attire is adequate. Even if office dress is business casual, a more formal, professional appearance may help make a good impression and also can bolster your confidence.
  • Be confident!
  • Collect contact information or ask for business cards for all of your interviewers.

After the interview:

  • Send a short, professional thank you note to each interviewer within 24 hours of the interview. This can be either snail mail or email. Email will get to them faster if they are making a decision right away.
  • The thank you letter should be individualized to each interviewer.
  • If you decide you are no longer interested in the position, tell the employer this as soon as possible.
  • If you do not receive the job offer, ask for feedback. If you are still interested in the position or company, let the employer know. The original offer may fall through, and you may be reconsidered for the position. Future opportunities may arise at the company, as well.

For more interviewing resources, check out the Letters & Science Career Services page and the guide to interviewing.