Thursday, October 13, 2011 myBiz Blog
Bucky's Career Corner: Preparing for Site Interviews by sbarber

Once you’ve made it through the first (and second) round(s) of interviewing, the company is serious about you as a candidate.  Congratulations! The next step is a site visit usually at the company headquarters. The site interview may include interviews with several company employees. Take advantage of the site visit to compare the company culture and atmosphere with your personality and work preferences. Good luck! 

Preparation

  • Confirm the date, time, location, and who you should ask for on your arrival.
  • Try to obtain a list of the people with whom you will be meeting and their respective positions.
  • Make any necessary travel arrangements. If traveling out of the area, will the company make reservations for you?
  • Keep any receipts. Most medium and large sized companies will pay your expenses.
  • Research the company ahead of time. The employer will expect you to be very familiar with them.
  • Study the job description and know exactly what you are interviewing for and why you want the position.
  • Bring extra copies of your resume, transcripts, references, and all employer forms that you have been asked to complete.
  • Be prepared to answer the same question several times. During the day you might meet with several people: your potential supervisor, co-workers and a human resources representative. They may ask you the same questions. Be enthusiastic, honest, and consistent in your answers.
  • Since you have already had the initial interview you should be more familiar with the company and the position for which you are interviewing.  Take time to reflect on what went well in the first interview and what you need to improve on.
  • Remember that you are always being evaluated. In group activities and during meals, your ability to work with people and your “fit” in the organization is being observed.
  • Remember that the interview is a two-way street. Be observant. What is the atmosphere like? Are employees friendly?  Can you see yourself working there?
  • Remember to ask when you can expect to hear from the employer again. If the employer does not respond within that time, you may phone or email the person who interviewed you to ask about your status.
What to expect?  How long do site interviews last?

Typically, site interviews take place at the employer’s location or corporate headquarters.

Site interviews may last anywhere from a half day to three days (including travel time). The interview starts from the time you arrive. Generally you will be entertained at a dinner the evening before a full day of interviews, with anywhere from just one up to ten other people. A tour of the facilities is a common aspect of a site interview.  Remember that the social functions and tours are an essential part of the evaluation process; do not let your guard down. Be sure to be well rested, a full day is a long time to be “on,” don’t appear drained or unenthusiastic.

 

Tips for Success

  • Request agenda with schedule, names and titles to help prepare yourself for specific questions you may ask to different people and during separate stages of the interview
  • What type of questions to expect? Site interviews allow the employer to get to know you as a person on a different level than coming in for an on-campus interview – so be yourself! You may be asked the same questions numerous times – ( thoroughly prepare so you answer th questions well!).
  • Prepare questions ahead of time.  Bring at least five questions to ask.  Develop lists of different questions tailored to who you are meeting with (e.g., you can ask a human resources representative questions about the company culture whereas you can ask a potential co-worker more detailed questions about job responsibilities).  While you don’t have to ask all of them different questions, remember that they will be discussing the interviews with one another so you want to have some variation.
  • Interact with other candidates – this will allow you to loosen up as well as show your communication skills to the employer
  • Post-interview follow-up - send a thank you note within one or two days to all of the individuals who interviewed you.   You should mention what you appreciated from the day’s activities and your interests in both the job and the organization.