On-site Interviews

When an employer invites you to visit their office for a day (or, in some cases, a few days), there are a number of additional considerations. Do not assume that the organization will pay your expenses. Determine who will make travel and hotel arrangements and ask about the organization’s policy for reimbursement of expenses. Find out where you will be staying and where your interview will be held. Be prepared to take written tests related to your personality or aptitude. Drug testing may be conducted on-site or off-site as well.

A typical on-site or home office interview schedule is as follows:

8:30 - 9:00 a.m. Candidate arrives at human resources office; reviews day's schedule with college recruiter or human resources officer
9:15 - 10:00 a.m. Human resource interview or personality, aptitude, or drug testing conducted
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Group interview or interview with department head
11:00 - noon Interview with manager or supervisor
noon - 1:30 p.m. Lunch and tour of facilities by trainees and/or supervisors
1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Interview(s) with managers and/or upper level officials
3:30 - 4:00 p.m. Return to human resources for wrap-up; discussion of benefits and travel reimbursement; learn next step in hiring process

Be honest and consistent throughout your series of interviews. Several people whom you interview with may ask you the same questions but may not have exactly the same expectations for the position. Answer truthfully rather than giving each person the answer you think they want to hear. Write down names and titles of those you meet in order to send a thank you note later. Make sure you have the correct names and proper spellings before you leave, otherwise ask for their business cards.

At meals remember your primary goal should be to talk rather than eat. Order light and order foods that are not difficult or messy to eat. Do not order the most expensive item on the menu and remember that some organizations have a “no alcohol” clause in their expense accounts.

Some organizations offer to reimburse your expenses for on-site interviews. These expenses usually include transportation, lodging, and food costs. Obtain receipts for all expenses that you incur. If you drive, indicate your round trip mileage.

Be prudent and submit reasonable expenses only. How you spend an organization’s funds during a visit provides a good indication of how you might spend its funds as an employee, so you want to be conservative in your spending. Take a reasonable mode of transportation to the site of an interview rather than the most expensive. Eat at moderately priced restaurants and avoid room service.

Reimbursement policies vary from organization to organization. Sometimes travel arrangements will be made for you, but often you will be asked to arrange and pay for your travel with reimbursement occurring after your visit. When you are uncertain about expenses to be reimbursed, be certain to seek clarification prior to your visit.

Taken from "You've Graduated... What Now?" by Tom Washington.

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