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On-site interviews

Career Services > Job & internship search guide > Interviewing > On-site interviews

 

On this page:

Differences from an on-campus interview

Conduct

Format

Preparing

During amp; After

 

 

The on-campus interview is usually a first interview and a screening process to determine whether to extend an invitation for an on-site interview. On-campus interviews rarely result directly in a job offer (especially for permanent post-graduation employment; it is slightly more possible that an on-campus interview could directly result in an internship or co-op offier).

Of course not all employers visit campus, so the on-site interview might be your first in-person interview with the employer.

Be aware that a telephone interview could also be part of the overall process -- typically prior to an on-site interview due to time and expense.

The on-site interview is often a second or third interview, and thus might determine whether or not you are offered a job. In some instances, the first on-site interview might lead to another on-site interview.

The questions asked during the on-site interviews are likely to include questions that are more in-depth, job-specific and more technical in nature.

However, do not be surprised if you are asked questions that you were already asked in a telephone interview or an on-campus interview.

In an on-site interview, you typically meet with many individuals — some formally and some informally.  Remember that each individual with whom you meet has not heard your interactions with others — you may answer the same question more than once.

Usually a tour of the facility (office, building, plant, etc.) is conducted and you meet potential supervisor(s) and/or manager(s) and/or co-workers.

Meals are often a part of on-site interviews. Your dining etiquette will be observed and can be a make-or-break factor in whether or not you get a job offer.

You as the interviewee have the opportunity to observe the organization's environment, ask questions, provide more in-depth information, and evaluate the community.

 

If you have been offered an on-site interview, after a prior in-person interview (perhaps via an on-campus interview) you have already been screened once, and thus it is expected that you are familiar with interview DOs and DON'Ts, and that you have presented yourself professionally, cordially and ethically.

By offering you an on-site interview, and especially if your travel expenses are being paid by the employer, the employer is investing considerable time and money in you, and you are subject to even more scrutiny and the highest conduct expectations. You are being judged on your judgment.

If the on-site interview is not the first interview, this means, yes, you've made it through that hurdle, but, no, you don't have the job "in the bag." A not-infrequent mistake of job-seekers is to be overly confident about the on-site interview and to thus behave overly-confident or be under-prepared or become lax about professional conduct.

 

Format

Length of the interview:

Interviews vary from organization to organization. Some may last an hour and others may involve a two-day itinerary including meals, and extending before and after business hours to include those meals. A community and/or real estate tour could be included in the schedule. Ask for the agenda / itinerary in advance if it is not provided.

Format of the interview:

You might encounter individual interviews, group interviews (with multiple interviewers and/or multiple interviewees), testing (paper and pencil aptitude assessment, drug testing, psychological testing), meals with Virginia Tech alumni or other employees, receptions, etc. When meals are involved dining etiquette is critical.

Logistics:

Maintain detailed records related to your on-site visit. Keep track of names and titles of persons with whom you met, copies of letters and resumes sent, dates of interviews and follow-up correspondence, date of intended employment decision(s) to be made (on their part or your part). An itinerary provided by the employer should assist you in keeping track of names and titles.

Request an interview agenda / itinerary. This should tell you of the length of time and nature of the interview(s) (i.e., group, one-on-one, or panel interview; assessments; drug testing; meals), and name(s) and position(s) of those participating in your interview(s).

Inquire whether you need to bring any materials (i.e., writing samples, course project, transcript, company application, research).

Find out from the contact person whether you should make travel arrangements and hotel reservations or whether the organization will provide that service. Keep track of expenses incurred (i.e., parking fee at the airport, meals, car mileage). See on-site interview expenses.

 

Preparing

Prepare an updated copy of your resume. Take enough copies for each individual involved in your interview process (plus a few extras). Don't assume that each person with whom you meet will have already seen your resume or, even if they have seen it, will necessarily have it in hand or recall its contents.

If meals are on the itinerary, dining etiquette is critical.

Consider the clothing you will need to take and wear when traveling. Are there dinners, receptions, or presentations involved? A tour of the community? Pack light so that you can carry your luggage with you; this should help avoid embarrassment in case your luggage is delayed or lost. You'll need interview attire, and perhaps business casual attire. If you are unsure of appropriate attire, ask the employer.

If this is a follow-up to your on-campus interview, you will have already researched the organization. If this is an initial interview, be sure to do your basic pre-interview research.

Put ample preparation into questions to ask the employer. Construct questions such that your knowledge of the company and the field will be apparent.

 

During and after

This is a repeat from above, and bears repeating!:

Conduct: If you have been offered an on-site interview, after a prior in-person interview (perhaps via an on-campus interview) you have already been screened once, and thus it is expected that you are familiar with interview DOs and DON'Ts, and that you have presented yourself professionally, cordially and ethically. By offering you an on-site interview, and especially if your travel expenses are being paid by the employer, the employer is investing considerable time and money in you, and you are subject to even more scrutiny and the highest conduct expectations. You are being judged on your judgment.

If the on-site interview is not the first interview, this means, yes, you've made it through that hurdle, but, no, you don't have the job "in the bag." A not-infrequent mistake of job-seekers is to be overly confident about the on-site interview and to thus behave overly-confident or be under-prepared or become lax about professional conduct.

Collect business cards from everyone with whom you meet during the interview process. If you are unable to get a business card, make sure you do verify name, correct spelling and title.

Make notes of pertinent information — before details slip your mind.

Send thank-you notes to all pertinent individuals who met with you. See sample letters.

 

 

Related

Job search skills >

Interviewing topics includes

> interview attire

> handshakes

and much more...

Handshakes are a critical job search skill