How to Ace Your Interview
A great resume gets you in the door, but a great interview gets you the job. We can help you stand out in a positive memorable way.
- Research the company before your interview. Log in to UCR Handshake and access resources such as Career Insider and CareerShift. You can also visit LinkedIn and Glassdoor for company details.
- Come to a Career Center Interview Skills Workshop. Get guidance on what to wear, what to say, which questions might be asked and more. All students are welcome.
- Browse our interview skills resources. You can also view slides from our Ace the Interview.
- See a list of questions an interviewer should never ask you.
- Dress for success with 3 free items a quarter available to you at the R’Professional Career Closet.
- Update your professional headshot at the R’Professional Photo Booth located at the Career Center during drop-in hours.
- Practice online.
We will have launched StandOut, a mock interview tool that you can practice via Handshake. Here is a video to show steps to access and utilize StandOut! Request feedback from your career specialist directly via StandOut.
- Schedule an interview practice with one of the career specialists.
Make a Mock Interview Critique appointment in Handshake.
On the Big Day
- Arrive 10-15 minutes before your interview. Get accurate directions and know how trafﬁc will impact your travel time.
- Turn off your phone! The interviewer should have your full attention. Being distracted by calls, texts, etc. demonstrates a lack of interest in the company and the job.
- Smile. Relax. Be confident. Even if you don’t feel like it! Interviewers want to connect with you as a person. Try to be yourself even if you’re nervous.
- Bring extra resumes, a pen and paper, questions, a list of references, recruiter contact information and parking/emergency money.
Say 'Thank You'
Follow up with a thank-you note or email within 24 hours of the interview. A personal thank-you note conveys to employers that you understand etiquette and appreciate their time and consideration. LinkedIn has a great thank-you-note article that can walk you through the steps.
Respond to an Offer
It is the goal of the UC Riverside Career Center to support students’ career decisions and employers’ recruitment goals. In an effort to meet these goals, we have developed the following guidelines for students to consider in the job search process. We have also developed a set of guidelines for employers. You can schedule an appointment with your Career Specialist to get more guidance or support.
Timing for Offers and Decisions
While the UC Riverside Career Center does not require employers to provide a specific amount of time for you to consider an offer, a common standard is two weeks. For Fall 2023, if you are offered a full-time position at the end of your summer internship, we have asked that employers not require a decision until October 27, 2022. If you need more time to consider an offer, contact the employer. Employers are encouraged but not required to give additional time whenever possible.
Making an Informed Decision
It is best to accept or reject an offer only after careful consideration. Most offer letters will include the following: start date, salary, benefits, bonuses, and a deadline for accepting or rejecting the offer. If the compensation structure is all or partly based on commission, employers are advised to provide an accurate estimate of first year earnings. If a formal offer does not follow a verbal offer or if you would like clarification about the written terms, follow up with the employer immediately.
Exploding Offers/Excessive Pressure
The UC Riverside Career Center’s guidelines are in alignment with the National Association of Colleges and Employers Principles of Professional Practice, which suggest the two week offer period. Offer periods that are significantly shorter than two weeks or those that pressure students to make a decision on the spot are referred to as Exploding Offers, and are considered inappropriate by NACE and the UC Riverside Career Center. Common examples of exploding offers are:
- Requiring candidates to accept offers within 24-48 hours.
- Bonuses that are only available to candidates who accept immediately.
- Offering fewer location options if the candidate waits to accept.
If you have received an exploding offer and would like assistance in navigating a conversation with your potential employer, please contact the Career Center.
Accepting or Rejecting an Offer
You should notify the employer of your decision after you have:
- Reviewed the offer,
- Negotiated salary and/or benefits, if appropriate, and
- Determined that you are going to accept or reject the offer.
Your response should be communicated within the agreed upon time frame. If you have received other offers or are in the process of interviewing with another employer, you are advised to notify the other organizations of your decision.
Reneging on an Offer
After accepting an offer (verbally or in writing), please understand that you have agreed to work for a particular employer. Reneging (rejecting an offer after accepting it) has many consequences both for your career and for other UC Riverside students. Personally, you will likely burn a bridge with that employer, another UCR student may have missed on receiving an offer, and in a larger community sense, an employer may decide to stop recruiting at UC Riverside altogether. As such, the Career Center does not endorse this behavior. To avoid having to renege on an offer, students are advised to not accept an offer and continue interviewing until a more preferable opportunity comes along. While uncommon, the Career Center does recognize that reneging an offer is unavoidable. Should you find yourself in this situation and need guidance in your communication with an employer, please contact the Career Center.
Dress for Success
First Impression can make or break an interview. Dressing appropriately is key. Use the following images to learn the difference between "business casual" and "business formal". If you need additional assistance, please stop by the Career Center.