University of Wisconsin–Madison

Prepare for Interviews

  • Review the company website and read industry news to ensure you are well versed in what the company does and how it is positioned within the industry.  
  • Understand who the company’s competitors are and what makes the company unique.
  • Conduct informational interviews with individuals who have worked at the company or currently work there and read employee reviews on Glassdoor or Vault.
  • Understand the position you are interviewing for and how your background qualifies you for it.
  • Review sample interview questions and prepare answers that highlight knowledge or skills relevant to the position and company you are interviewing for.
  • Write down a variety of examples or stories that you could utilize to answer behavioral based interview questions and practice describing them with the STAR method.
  • 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 and be prepared to talk about anything on it if an employer asks you “walk me through your resume”.
  • Mock interviewing is critical in helping you to prepare for the real thing. Make an appointment with an economics career advisor or sign-up for an employer hosted mock interview.
  • Confirm the time and location of the interview a few days ahead of time and make a travel plan with extra time in case there are delays.  Ask if there are any specific directions for finding the office, parking, etc.  
  • Arrive at (or near) the building well in advance of the scheduled time, but do not show up to the interviewer’s office until about five minutes ahead of the scheduled interview.  Do NOT be late!
  • For phone or video conference (e.g. Skype) interviews, read the Telephone & Skype Interviewing Guide and make sure you have a quiet space to conduct the interview.  If you need a private room, email SuccessWorks or reserve a room through the UW Libraries.
  • Bring a few extra 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.
  • Reflect on how you think the interview went.  Write down your impressions, questions you have, or take note of unique interview questions they asked.  This information can be helpful when writing a thank you note or preparing for future interviews.
  • Send a short, professional thank you note to each interviewer within 24 hours of the interview. This can be either regular mail or email. Email will get to them faster if they are making a decision right away.
  • If you decide you are no longer interested in the position, contact the employer as soon as possible to withdraw your application for consideration.
  • If you do receive a job offer, review how to accept, negotiate, or turn down a job offer and make an appointment with an economics career advisor if you want to talk through this process. And, congratulations!
  • If you do not receive a job offer, ask for feedback. Let the employer know if you are still interested in the position or company. The original offer may fall through, and you may be reconsidered for the position. Future opportunities may arise at the company, as well.

Next Steps: Practice Your Interviewing Skills!

Practice Interviewing

To practice and get feedback on your interviewing, make an appointment with an economics career advisor or sign-up for an employer hosted mock interview.