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Interviewing and Evaluating Offers



Getting an interview means that the employer wants to get to know you better through an interview. The more you know about interviewing and the better you prepare, the more confident you will feel and the better you will do. 

Throughout the interview, employers want to know four things:  

  • Why do you want the opportunity?
  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you do the job?  
  • Do you fit the company culture?

Interviews can be one or multiple rounds; in-person, phone, or virtual. You also may come across technical or case interviews that ask you to complete questions or prompts related specially to the job. 


Do your research

You want to be well prepared for your interview, research the organization, the opportunity, and how your experience and skills align with the opportunity. We recommend you look through the website in particular including mission, vision, values, and projects or initiatives they are working on. Figure out what makes the organization unique and why you want to work for them!  

Prepare and practice

Know your experiences on your resume well and be able to share key skills and takeaways from each of them. Also consider stories from each of them that articulate your different skillsets.  

Write down some questions you want to ask that you genuinely want to know the answers to about the organization and role. We recommend having about 3-5 ready to go and written down.

Get yourself ready to go

Think about what you are going to wear and bring. You may get more specific information about attire and if you will be out in the field. 

Some recommendations include:  

  • A suit: pants, skirt, or dress
  • Blazer or sweater, dress shirt and tie or polo shirt, skirt with blouse
  • Khakis or dark dress pants with shoes that compliment your outfit and dark dress socks
  • Please note: avoid athletic shoes/sneakers, pajamas, sweatpants as they are not appropriate
  • Bring a padfolio with a pen (recommended because it’s all in one; or a folder and notepad) and a small bag

Incorporate your research

Whenever you could share your knowledge of the organization in your answers, do so! You do not need to wait until they ask you specifically.  

Think about your non-verbal behavior

Be sure to maintain good eye contact, good posture, and be careful on your filler words such as “um” or “like”.  

Closing the interview

Ask about timeline and take the opportunity to reiterate your interest and qualifications for the position.

Sample interview questions

Get a leg up on interviewing with a sneak peek of the most frequently seen questions and some suggestions on how to best answer.

Interview Questions

Send a thank you note

As you wrap up the interview, ask the interviewer(s) for their contact information so you can send them a note that shows them you appreciate their time, show your excitement about the position, and highlight 1-2 facts that excited you from your conversation. You want to aim for 24-48 business hours (i.e. if you interview on a Friday, Monday is ok). Not everyone does, so it will help you stand out amongst the candidates.


Hi Bray,  

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me regarding the Environmental Engineering position with Arcadis! I enjoyed learning more about the work you are doing in Rochester to reduce carbon emissions and can see myself fitting onto your team. I am excited for the prospect of being part of a global organization that not only wants to create a more sustainable world, but also values its people and their growth.

I am confident that my coursework from ESF in Environmental Engineering, internship with the Syracuse office of Arcadis, and passion for creating sustainable energy will make me an asset in this position. Please let me know if there is any additional information I can provide and look forward to hearing back from you soon!  


Oakie Acorn


Make sure you update your references on where you are in the process and that they may get a call or email. Provide details of the position, your most updated resume, who they may hear from, and any other information that may be helpful.  


If you don’t hear from the interviewers after a few weeks, feel free to send a follow-up asking if there are any updates or if there is anything else you can provide.  


Evaluating Offers

The interview is done, the wait is over, and now you have a job offer! Give yourself a pat on the back BUT don’t sign the dotted line just yet. Read this section to help decide if this is the offer you want to accept.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Does it fit my requirements and my career goals?
  • Is it work that allows me to apply my skills?
  • Is the work environment right for me?
  • Do I believe in their mission and vision?
  • Do their expectations fit with my lifestyle?
  • Does the compensation package meet my needs?
  • Is the salary level appropriate for the level of responsibility, the industry, and the location?
  • Is the job located in a city I want to live in?
  • Is there travel involved? If so, how much?

Salaries, benefits, compensation packages can be tough to navigate! Discuss your job offer with family, faculty, or with Career Services so that you can make the most informed decision possible. Use online resources as well: See Salary Websites below. 

Acceptance Letter

Generally, employers make a verbal job offer, and then send a letter. Ask the employer if they are going to send a letter, and if they do not, you may wish to write one to confirm. The letter confirms your acceptance of the offer with confirmation of the details, expresses your appreciation for the opportunity, and positively reinforces the employer’s decision to hire you.

Withdrawal Letter

Once you accept a position, you have an obligation to inform all other employers with whom you have had an interview (or have one pending) of your decision and to withdraw your employment application from consideration. Email other employers as soon as you have made your final decision. Express appreciation for the employer’s consideration and courtesy. It may be appropriate to state that your decision to go with another organization was based on having a better job fit for this stage in your career. If you are applying for an internship, you can state your interest in being considered for a future opportunity. If you prefer, you can instead call the employer by phone to let them know that you are not accepting the offer. Express appreciation for the offer and in case they ask, have a basic response to why you’re not taking the position.

Decline Letter

Employers are not the only ones to send rejection letters. Candidates may have to decline employment offers that do not fit their career objectives and interests. Rejecting an employment offer should be handled professionally, and preferably verbally. If you need to inform the employer in writing, indicate that you have carefully considered the offer and have decided not to accept it. Also, be sure to thank the employer for the offer and for consideration of you as a candidate. This will improve your chances should you later reapply to the employer. 

Preparation and Research

Many factors determine salary offers; the type of work you perform (based on your skills, education, and experience level), the industry, company size and the geographical area. Keep in mind that there is more room for negotiation when discussing full-time offers versus internships or short-term employment.

Start by learning what the typical salary range is for the job using some of the resources below.  Next, determine your salary requirement. Work out a monthly budget incorporating all of your real and anticipated expenses, savings, “fun” money, and a cushion for emergencies. Remember that taxes come off the top of each paycheck.

Salary Discussions

Early in the process the employer may try to find out if the company can afford you by asking your salary requirements. 

You can choose to do one of the following:

  • Ignore the request, which is obviously risky.
  • Inquire if there is a set salary range for the position.
  • Acknowledge the request and say that you are open and flexible about starting salary.
  • Mention that you would like to learn more about the position first before you discuss salary further.
  • If it’s an application, you can write N/A or 0 if it requires a number.
  • Provide your salary requirements, but only after you have done your research. You should provide the employer with a broad range and make sure you are comfortable with the bottom range figure!

Generally, you should wait for the employer to bring up the salary issue. Ideally, this happens near the end of the interview process when you know more about the position. However, if the employer doesn’t mention salary, and you are at the point of seriously considering a position with the company, it is appropriate for you to bring up the salary issue.

Factors Beyond Salary

Keep in mind the benefits the company is offering, as well as other perks such as; 401K, relocation expenses, company car, bonus, vacation, holidays, life and medical insurance, tuition assistance, and stock purchase or savings plan. These benefits can add as much as 30-40% to your actual salary.

Sample Negotiation Scripts

Avoid being confrontational; be reasonable in your approach. Reiterate that you are very interested in working for the employer and you want to find a way to work this out. 

A few examples of responses: 

"Based on my experience in ______, _______, and _______, and market research, my salary requirements are negotiable within the range of $38,000- $42,000."

"Given the responsibilities of this job, I would expect this position to pay in the range of __ to __."

"Thank you for the offer. I am very excited about working for you because ABC Company is my first choice. However, knowing the going rate is ________, I was really looking for something in the range of ____ to _____. Is there any possibility of that? 

Salary Websites Salaries and Benefits Information 
Economic Research Institute 
Job Search Intelligence 
National Association of Colleges and Employers 
Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 
PayScale Salary Reports 
Salary Expert