UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Interview Preparation
 Prior to the Interview


Do Your Research
The best thing you can do prior to speaking with an employer is to gain as much information about the company as possible. By doing this, you will be able to intelligently speak about and ask questions about the organization, while also showing you have a strong interest in learning about their products, services, values and purpose. Below are suggestions of information to search for when performing research before an interview. 

  • Primary mission or purpose of the organization
  • Major competitors
  • Organizational culture (management style, work environment, structure)
  • Principal services and products

Click here for additional resources.


Dress for Success
As a general rule, dress a level above what you believe the company culture may be. There are three general dress categories including business professional, business casual, and casual. Most commonly we recommend you dress in business professional for interviews.

Professional Dress

Women:

  • Suit (pant or skirt) in a solid color, blue, black, or gray
  • No extreme slits, necklines, or hemlines 
  • Limit jewelry and accessories 
  • Clean nails and no chips if polished 
  • Closed-toe shoes and match stockings to suit 

Men: 

  • Dark, solid or pin-striped suit (navy, black, gray, brown) 
  • Conservative tie and shirt 
  • Shined, dark shoes 
  • Over the calf socks that match pants 

 
Practice, practice, practice

  • Know your skills, including strengths and weaknesses, and be prepared to respond to related questions with examples.
  • Practice answering interview questions with impact by using the STAR Technique outlined in our Interviewing Techniques handout.document
  • Ready Prep Interviewlink offers position and industry specific interview questions to practice before your interview.
  • Attend Mock Interview Day at UWRF either Fall or Spring semester.
  • Schedule mock interview appointment with a UWRF Career Counselor.
  • Prepare questions to ask the employer to show you are interested in the position and organization.
Interviewing Presentation for Social Work
Interview Tips

Communication
Be aware of what your verbal and non-verbal communication is saying to the interviewer. This can be 

  • Non-Verbal Communication: Practice a firm handshake, sit up straight and do not cross your arms, maintain eye contact without staring, be aware of nervous mannerisms and adjust if you find yourself performing distracting mannerisms.
  • Verbal Communication: Never talk negatively about past employers, don't talk too much or ramble, eliminate"filler" words (i.e. "you know", "um", or "like"), speak in a clear and audible voice.

Interview Questions

  • Common interview questions and how to utilize the STAR technique for responses that have impact, are available in ourInterviewing Techniques handoutdocument.
  • Illegal questions by the interviewer, and how to handle those, can be found in our Interviewing Techniques handout.

Types of Interviews

  • One-on-One Interviews: One-on-one interviews are conducted between the hiring manager and candidate.  
  • Group Interviews: In a group interview, there are usually several candidates interviewed at the same time. This format can be useful for employers to screen candidates into the next round of interviewing by observing which candidates stand out.  
  • Panel Interviews: A panel interview is when a hiring panel (usually five or six people) interviews the candidate simultaneously. 
  • Series Interviews: A series interview is when candidates participate in a series of two or more interviews with different people or groups throughout the day. The interviews can be either one-on-one, group, panel formats, or a combination of the three. Sometimes each person or group will offer a different kind of interview (informational, behavioral, etc.)  
  • Phone Interviews: A phone interview should be treated the same as a face-to-face interview

Questions for the interviewer

It is extremely important to have questions for the interviewer(s). Questions for the interviewer indicate interest, initiative and forethought by the interviewee. Example questions for the interviewer can be found in our Interviewing Techniques handout.document

 After the Interview

Send a Thank You to the Recruiter(s) You Interviewed With

By sending a thank you letter to your interviewer(s), it displays interest in the position and respect for the interviewer and their time. Did you fail to mention something critical about your skills and experience during an interview? Here's your opportunity to mention it. You can also reiterate the skills you touched on.

You can choose to send a hard-copy thank you letter send through traditional mail, or you can send an email thank you note. When deciding which form to send, consider the communication you had with the recruiter prior to the interview. If you have emailed, consider sending an email as this is the form of communication already used. Also, if you know the hiring timeline for the position will move quickly, an email will arrive faster than a letter sent through the mail.

View an example thank you letter in the Professional Letters handoutdocument

Research Salaries

The topic of salary should be initiated by the employer, which typically occurs after an initial interview or during a second/third interview. It is wise to research salaries prior to interviewing to be prepared if this question is brought up earlier than the second stage. Utilize resources such as Glassdoor.comlinkOccupational Outlook Handbooklink, and Salary.comlink to gain a better understanding of salary ranges that fit the position and level for which you are applying. Demonstrate an understanding of the position and industry with salary research and tie that to why you and the experience you bring is worth the salary range you seek. Always remember to offer a salary range (i.e. $35,000 - $42,000) instead a solid number. This offers more flexibility in negotiation. You also need to remember to gain an understanding of the whole offer and not focus solely on the salary.

Evaluate and Negotiate Job Offers

View more about salary negotiation by reading our Salary Information: How Much Are You Worth?document packet. 

Estimate appropriate salary ranges with the NACE salary calculator.
link
View examples of ways to respond to job offers.

UWRF employment statisticsdocument to view earnings for recent UWRF graduates.