How Should I Approach the Interview?

  • With a professional attitude and appearance.
  • Report promptly to the interview (10-15 minutes prior to scheduled time).
  • Have your résumé up-to-date. The recruiter wants to talk with you - not make corrections for you. For on-campus interviews your Handshake résumé is provided for the recruiters in the interview packets, but it is always good to have a copy on hand. You will also want to have a brief research summary and/or slides to present to the recruiter(s).
  • Be appropriately dressed. This usually means a suit unless the recruiter specifically states "business casual." Also, bring a professional folder and nice pen. (For additional information on professional dress, please see our "Dress for Success" handout in the Resource Library.
  • Pay attention to the non-verbal signals you are sending:
    • Present a firm handshake, a smile, and eye contact when greeting a recruiter.
    • Maintain good posture and do not fidget or use distracting hand gestures.
    • Enunciate clearly, use good grammatical structure and a professional vocabulary.
    • Always provide a positive tone...assume responsibility for mistakes but be sure to also present what you have learned and how you have improved.
  • Think before you speak so your answers are well-organized and supported by facts and experience.
  • Be enthusiastic and convey your interest in the position.
  • If you must cancel an interview, do so at least 4 days in advance so that another may have the opportunity to interview. Obviously only serious illness or an emergency is an appropriate reason to cancel on the day of the interview.
  • Have a fairly clear idea of what sort of work you want to do. What are your career goals? What do you see yourself doing in the initial work experience? These questions require self study and evaluation. Look at the many handouts on recruiting, interviewing, and career development in the office.
  • Be ready to "market" yourself to the employer. What can you do for him/her? What is the value that you add to their business, project, etc.? Although you and the employer both have to feel comfortable with the "fit," during the interview you must sell yourself. Therefore, it is not appropriate to ask the "What's in it for me?" questions about salary, benefits, etc. unless the employer mentions them first.
  • Follow through after the interview: Send a thank you note to each recruiter within 48 hours, follow procedures, carry out any commitments you made, and evaluate what you can do to improve your interviewing skills.
  • Repeated cancellations and/or no-shows will be cause to forfeit the privilege of further interviews through the recruiting season.

How and Where Do I Do My "Homework" about the Companies?

Be sure to attend the company presentations/meetings scheduled throughout the recruiting season. The information exchanged here may not be repeated in the interview. This allows more time for the recruiter to focus on you and your interests.

In addition, always refer to a company's web site for detailed information about the organization. Finally, the Career Services office maintains brochures and materials on many of the companies that regularly recruit on campus. Please visit us in 105 Noyes to pick those up.

What Other Services does the SCS Career Services office offer?

The Career Services office offers a number of other services and programs (see the Services section on the 'About SCS Careers' page) including the Handshake recruiting system which enables you to view job postings, obtain contact information on recruiters, and participate in our on-campus interviewing program.

Mock Interviews can be arranged to enable job seekers to practice for academic and/or industry position interviews. To schedule a Mock Interview, log in to your Handshake account to make an appointment.

We maintain a number of helpful handouts. Please feel free to stock up in 105 Noyes or visit the on-line Resource Library.

We also offer workshops and individual advising on the following: résumé/CV and cover letter critiques, career choice advising, negotiating, networking support, job search tips and interviewing assistance.


Interviewing Information

How Do I Know What Companies are Coming to Campus to Interview?

All on-campus recruitment is handled through Handshake @ Illinois.

Invitation Letters

Employers occasionally identify students whom they wish to interview. This process usually involved the employer reviewing a résumé book comprised of Handshake résumés from our Student Database. Job Fairs, faculty contacts, new hires, etc. are other ways that employers identify students. Employers contact students "inviting" or "pre-selecting" them to interview.

Where are Interviews held? How long is an Interview?

Most interviews are held in Noyes Lab and in the Digital Computing Lab (Engineering Career Services). Most interviews are 30 minutes. However, some may last 45 or 60 minutes. Be sure to note times, dates, and room numbers carefully in advance of your interview.

Room numbers, locations, and recruiters' names will be in Handshake @ Illinois for all Chemical Sciences events.

Company Applications

Some employers require that employment applications (or other materials) be completed before your interview. Please refer to the Handshake @ Illinois recruiting system for more information.


Some employers require a copy of your academic transcript. Order one from Records Services Center, Admissions and Records Building, 901 West Illinois Street, Urbana, make photocopies, and carry them with you to interviews. It takes a few days to get a copy, so order early. Enrolled students may order transcripts from the Admissions website. Orders are billed to your student account. 

Unofficial transcripts can be downloaded from your student Banner account following these steps:

  • Go to and log in with your EnterpriseID and password.
  • Select 'Registration & Records', then 'Student Records and Transcripts', and then 'View Academic History'.
  • Select the Transcript Level and Type and then click 'Submit'.
  • Along the top, outer Internet window, click the 'File' tab, then 'Save As'.
  • Save the file to your Desktop (or other easily locatable place).
  • If the file is on your Desktop, you may also be able to convert the document to a PDF file by right clicking on the document and then selecting 'Convert to Adobe PDF'.

Engineering Career Services - and Others

Occasionally company representatives will interview School of Chemical Sciences candidates through the Engineering Career Services office or other career offices. In order to interview through those offices, you must go to the appropriate offices and follow their procedures.

What if the Company is not asking for my Degree Level or Major Field?

Your candidate registration profile must exactly match the specifications of the company. You may sign-up for the company ONLY IF we receive special permission form a company representative if your profile does not match.

Salary and Offer Data

Salary information is available in the Salary Reports located on the Illini Success page. This date is collected from reports of candidates and you can utilize the information to assist you in your salary negotiation process. We rely on you to report ALL salary offers - academic and industrial - whether or not you interviewed for the job through SCS Career Services. Every effort is made to provide salary information anonymously.


Recruiting Process

There are two on-campus industrial recruiting seasons. The fall season, beginning in September, is the most active. B.S., M.S., Ph.D., and Postdoctoral candidates seeing full-time employment, as well as undergraduates seeking summer employment, should be prepared to actively interview in the fall. Spring recruiting, beginning in early February, is less active and focuses primarily on B.S. and M.S. candidates along with summer opportunities and occasional Ph.D. schedules.

The resource library includes literature about the companies recruiting on campus as well as many handouts and reference guides on the interview process, resume preparation, plant visits, etc. You are encouraged to use all the materials available.

Please do not hesitate to ask the School of Chemical Sciences Career Services personnel to assist you.

Full-Time Industrial Recruiting

Representatives will be recruiting in our office September - mid-November during the fall semester and February - March during the spring semester. All candidates graduating during the 2018-2019 school year should actively participate in the fall recruiting season for the following reasons:

  • Ph.D. and Postdoctoral students: Fall is the time that most employers seek candidates with your qualifications. Many do not return during the spring semester.
  • December B.S. graduates: It is imperative that you be well organized, informed, and actively seek employment in the fall season.
  • May - August B.S./M.S. graduates: It is highly advisable to begin interviewing in the fall season. Because many employers do not recruit in both fall and spring, it is wise to begin in the fall. Interviewing in the fall is a good hedge against light spring recruiting schedules.

Preparation for Interviewing

  • Use your Handshake @ Illinois to review upcoming on-campus interviews and career fairs.
  • Research the companies you are most interested in working at.
  • Have your resume reviewed, get copies of your transcripts, write a research summary and prepare slides, and get your interview suit ready.
  • Check Handshake @ Illinois to find dates/times for workshops and other events

Résumé Referrals

Many employers that will be interviewing on campus will use Handshake @ Illinois to view résumés. They may send/e-mail letters of invitations to candidates based upon résumés they have the opportunity to review.

Résumés are available to employers for their perusal all year. It is to your benefit to have your résumé correct at all times.

The best strategy is to complete your résumé and have it uploaded in our database at least one full semester before you intend to participate in on-campus interviewing.

It is your responsibility to regularly update your profile on Handshake @ Illinois. If you do not have current information, employers will have a difficult time getting in touch with you.

ALWAYS INCLUDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS ON THE TOP OF YOUR RÉSUMÉ.  Employers regularly use e-mail correspondence rather than phone and mail.

Job Choices

Each year the office provides a copy of this very useful book (NACE's Job Choices) to students interviewing for full time employment. Each volume consists of alphabetical, occupational, and geographic indices of hundreds of companies. There are also several articles that may be of assistance to your as you begin your job search. 

International Students

Some employers may require US citizenship or Permanent Residency due to the nature of their business and will so state in the announcement of their campus visit. Students must currently hold the required work authorization to qualify to interview with those employers.


Additional Career Offices