On-Site Interviews

A site visit is an opportunity to travel to the employer’s location to be evaluated as an applicant, see the organization’s facilities first-hand, and meet members of the organization.

Before the Interview

  • Clarify all travel details with the employer.
  • Review your knowledge of the employer. Use the following sources for research:
    • Employer website and recruiting materials
    • Information from alumni who now work there
    • Recent news, Vault, etc.
    • Business magazines, professional journals
    • Financial/annual reports
  • Review the content of your résumé and the position description in preparation for your interview.

Main Objectives

These are two main objectives that you will want to accomplish during your visit:

  1. Convince the employer to hire you because you have the skills, abilities, personality, and interests for the job. The key is to demonstrate how the employer would benefit if you were hired.
  2. Evaluate the job setting- Do you want this position? Is the organization a good fit for you? Does this opportunity mesh well with your career plan?

What Should I Wear?

It is important to realize that you can be yourself while also dressing appropriately. Most employers are interested in interviewees who are well-groomed and professionally dressed. Make sure you don’t wear anything that might distract from your abilities and what you say.

Research the organization and view their materials/website for clues on the organization’s culture. Industry-specific attire may be the appropriate way to go. Conservative business fields (i.e. management consulting, investment banking) will expect a business suit, while fields like social media or non-profits may accept business casual or more “colorful” attire.

General Tips

  • Dress slightly above what the position might require.
  • Hair should be neat and away from your face.
  • Avoid cologne, perfume, or strong-smelling aftershave.
  • Jewelry should be kept to a minimum.
  • Shoes should be newer, clean, and polished.
  • Clothes should be pressed and clean, fit well, and be comfortable.
  • If in doubt, play it safe and go with a more traditional look.
  • Choose an outfit that you like and will feel comfortable in sitting and standing.

What Types of Questions will I be Asked?

Open-Ended Questions

These elicit behavioral samples and require detailed responses:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What interests you most about this job?
  • Discuss two or three factors that are most important to you in a job.
  • Describe your ideal job.
  • What are your short-term goals?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your greatest weakness or what is an area you are working on?
  • In your opinion, what is success?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?
  • How are you better than the other candidates I have interviewed for this position?

Behavioral Questions

These provide interviewers with a pattern of behavior or performance to judge your fit for the job. The best predictor of future performance is past performance under similar circumstances. In answering these questions, you should strive to provide specific examples which demonstrate that a particular positive behavior is long-standing. You will want to tell your story!

Behavioral questions usually begin with:

  • “Tell me about a time when you … “
  • “Give me an example of a time when you … “

Questions could include:

  • “Tell me about a time you exercised leadership.”
  • “Tell me about a time you dealt with interpersonal conflict.”

To prepare for behavioral questions, which are increasingly common in interviews, do the following:

  1. Carefully review the job description and skills required and construct answers based on these items. For example, if leadership and quantitative skills are required, construct “stories” describing how you exercised these skills in the past.
  2. Your stories should follow the STAR format . First, describe the Situation you faced. Then describe the Tasks that you felt needed to be accomplished. Third, describe the Actions you took. Finally, discuss the Results you obtained. Use only enough detail so the interviewer can understand the degree to which you exercised your skills.
  3. Develop two stories each for about 5 different skills so you have enough time to handle other skills that might be requested. You can always change a story a bit to reflect a different skill.
  4. Make sure your story is about a specific situation. Don’t say, “Well, I’ve used my leadership skills in a lot of situations .”

Common Probing Questions

These verify or confirm information and can be answered with brief responses:

  • How did you decide to attend this college?
  • How would you describe your level of creativity? 
  • What other employers are you considering?
  • Why didn’t you get better grades in school?
  • How would you describe your study habits? 
  • How do you do your best work?
  • What is your geographic preference?
  • To what extent have you been involved in extracurricular activities?
  • Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
  • Have you had any courses in _____ ?

What Types of Questions Should I Ask an Interviewer?

It is essential that you prepare questions for the interviewer. In most cases you will be able to ask questions at the end of the interview. Ask questions that truly concern you. These could relate to the management style of your prospective boss, company culture, opportunities for advancement, training programs, etc. The following samples can help you get started.

  • What is a typical day (assignment) for a ____ in your company?
  • What characteristics best describe the individuals who are successful in this position?
  • Does the position offer exposure to other facets of your organization?
  • What is the length and structure of the training program each year?
  • What makes your organization different from its competitors?
  • How would you describe the organizational culture/environment?

After the Visit

  • Write a thank you note to the individuals with whom you met as soon as possible. Be sure to reiterate your interest in the position.
  • Settle travel reimbursements when applicable. Make a copy of all receipts before sending them to the employer.