Start Smart: Ohio University Prepares Students For Job Interviews

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Students at Ohio University have the opportunity to practice job interviews this week. On Monday Roxanne Male-Brune, Director for Grant Development and Projects at OU, taught a group of female graduate students how to negotiate fair compensations. She said it would be important that applicants know how to evaluate their worth in the market place, find out the average salary and think about what benefits would be important for them.

Male-Brune gave advice on how to respond to questions during a job interview and she showed which websites an applicant should check beforehand. Ohio University student Juliane Wallace, who is graduating in May, said she would be in the middle of job search and wanted to participate in the workshop to be more empowered when she would get a job interview.

"I think that learning tips on how to negotiate and then practicing them like the job application interview was really helpful," Wallace said after the workshop.

Negotiations are unusual in Midwestern culture

During the workshop participants also talked about the wage gap, the disparity of income between men and women. According to Male-Brune for every dollar a man earns, a woman gets 80 cents. She said this problem would often be a result of the attitude women have when they are negotiating their compensation.

"A lot of people think that it's external forces that effect this. But it turns out that it actually has to do with how well you negotiate and represent and argue for yourself," Male-Brune said.

And what often seems to be a slight difference of a few dollars when negotiating compensation could translate to more than $1 million loss over the career of a working woman.

Male-Brune said she would also talk about the wage gap with male participants. If they would understand that this could affect their mothers, daughters and wives they could change it positively. But she also promised that male students would benefit from the training since negotiating isn't common in American and especially in Midwestern culture.

"There aren't many times in our culture where we are asked to negoitiate, when we buy a car, when we buy a house and maybe when we are at a yard sale. But besides that we don't develop those skills," Male-Brune said.

On Wednesday the university will hold a workshop for male students, on Friday there will be another one for female undergraduates. Male-Brune also offers to practice specific job interviews individually.