How to handle yourself during an on-site interview.
The site visit is where a potential job is won or lost. It occurs after an on-campus or first interview when strong
candidates are asked to visit the employer’s facility. It is also referred to as the second interview, the plant visit,
or the on-site interview. It is not a guarantee of a job offer, but a chance to examine whether or not you will be a
good match for the job and the organization. The actual experience may last from a half day to a full day and include
interviewing and related activities. You may be asked to attend a dinner or informal session the day before your actual
interviews. On the day of interviewing, you may have multiple interviews with individuals from different departments or
domains in the company. Your interviews may be one-on-one, panel format, group, or a combination of different types.
Typically after the second interview, candidate evaluations are conducted and an offer is made.
Before the visit –
· If you are sincerely interested in the employer, respond promptly to their invitation. If you are not interested,
decline politely. Never go on a site visit / interview just to gain the experience of this type of interview or for
the sake of the trip.
· Conduct thorough research on the organization / potential employer. Read up on the employer. Know
their products, services, locations, names of CEO and other executives in your specific area, and other
· Prepare a thoughtful list of questions that will demonstrate your interest in the company and help make
a better decision if you are offered the position. Questions can cover such areas as training, promotion,
performance evaluation, corporate culture, and goals. Do not ask questions that can be found in the
employer’s literature or on its website.
· Bring extra copies of your resume and any paperwork you might have forwarded to an employer
previously (such as reference sheets, college transcripts, samples of your work). Also bring a notebook
and black or blue pen for filling out forms. Bring money and an extra change of clothes if necessary. Have
the contact information of the person(s) you will be meeting in case your plans change unexpectedly (flight
delays or changes, difficulty finding the building, etc).
· Be prepared to meet people who are not part of your formal agenda. Be polite and friendly with everyone you meet.
· Know your expected / desired salary range. Though salary should not be brought up until an offer is extended,
it is wise to know your worth in advance. Know last year’s salary range for your field and degree level.
During the visit –
· Arrive dressed appropriately for the job as well as for what might be a full day of interviews.
· Be clear about what type of job you are interested in. Don’t say “I am willing to consider anything you
have.” Be honest about relocation. If you will not relocate to a specific location, make that clear.
Don’t appear to be open to relocation just to “please” the employer or to keep your options with that
organization open if this is not an option for you.
· Your role at the interview is to respond to questions, ask your own questions, and observe. You are there
to evaluate the employer and to determine if your expectations are met for job content, company culture and
values, organizational structure, and lifestyles. Take note of how employees interact and other aspects of the
physical environment. Remember: the site visit / interview is a two-way street.
· Gather business cards and contact information prior to ending each interview or meeting with any individual
you might want to have further contact with (send thank you notes, requesting further information, etc). In other
words, don’t leave an interview without some sort of closure.
After the visit –
· Record your impressions of your performance. Jot down impressions of the experience, people you met,
things you observed so that the experience remains fresh in your mind even after some time has passed.
These notes may be helpful to reference in your thank you notes and further conversations with employees
of the organization.