I recently had the privilege of participating in an on-site interview for the company of my dreams. While I won’t be including exact questions I was asked, I’ve written this blog in hopes of preparing some of you for what you can expect at an on-site interview someday. Enjoy.
While the main reason for my trip was to be interviewed for a job that I would love to have, I also used the time to evaluate whether I could see myself relocating to fill the position. Having only visited Boston twice before, I knew I needed time to assess whether it was truly a place I could not only visit but also move to after graduation. My flight arrived the day before the interview and I used the afternoon to walk around the city, use the mass transit system and talk to locals myself. An additional perk? This gave me ample time to sleep and prepare for the interview the next day.
As a notorious over-sleeper, I took drastic steps to ensure I would wake-up with plenty of time to spare the morning of my interview. My personal orchestra of alarms began serenading me three hours prior to the interview start time. Consisting of a quartet of hotel wake-up calls and mid-show solo by a phone call from mom, I was wide awake before the final encore- a Piezo alarm courtesy of Sprint – could begin.
While John mentioned listening to some serious psych-up music before his interview, I personally enjoy a pre-interview workout. With a copy of my resume and the job description in hand, I spent time reviewing my answers to probable interview questions in the hotel gym. This trend continued as I finished getting ready and headed downstairs to the lobby.
Something to consider if you’re staying overnight: to avoid being charged a late check-out fee, I checked out of the hotel prior to leaving for my interview. I made sure to allot for extra time for this process and to leave my bags with the doorman.
After checking out of the hotel, I dodged the blustery Boston wind by taking a taxi to my interview. While the walk would have only been a few blocks the taxi assured I arrived on-time and without any clothing or shoe malfunctions.
Upon arriving at the office, I was asked to wait in the lobby with the other interviewees until we were called back. While this time may seem intimidating for some, I reveled in the opportunity to meet my potential co-workers. (Because I was interviewing for a development program, I knew I’d be working closely with at least some of these “competitors” if selected.) After twenty minutes or so, we made our way to the interview room.
The interview begins
After being offered refreshments by a member of the interview team, we took our seats for a presentation about the company and specific program we were applying for. Some employers may choose to hold this portion of the interview day over a meal- if so, check out this link here for dining etiquette tips! The presentation is often a great time to review the research you have conducted to prepare for the interview and also helped me by addressing minute details regarding the position I was applying for.
Following the session, the interviewees were led to our individual interview rooms after a brief break. We interviewed with 3 separate employees, each for approximately 30 minutes. While I won’t get into the specifics of the questions asked, I will say this- be sure to find out the types of questions you will be asked prior to the interview, on-site or otherwise, so you can plan accordingly. I have heard a few tragic tales of friends entering interviews completely prepared to answer behavioral questions only to find that the interview was focused on case-study questions instead.
When you do find out the type of questions asked, check out this blog for ways to prepare specifically. As always, remember to answer each question directly and with confidence, and don’t be afraid to brag a bit about your experiences that have prepared you so well for the job! Also, be sure to collect business cards from your interviewers to follow-up with thank you notes or emails later.
As with most on-site interviews, we were given a tour of the facilities after completing our individual interview sessions. This was a great time for me to gauge whether or not I could see myself working not only in the position I was applying for but the company as a whole- an important aspect of the on-site interview to keep in mind!
After wrapping up for the day, I was sure to thank our host before departing for the airport. With the business cards I had collected from my interviewers in hand, I was sure to send thank you emails when I got home. Once I had finished this final step, I took a deep breath and began the waiting game. While my interview team laid out the exact plan for following up with us, you may want to ask an interviewer if you aren’t briefed on the process already. It will help to put you at ease- I promise!