After a few very busy weeks of on-campus interviews, students are starting to get invitations for the next step in the hiring process – the company visit. In some cases, these include out of town travel. The most important thing to remember is that you are being observed and evaluated by all with whom you have contact, from the initial notification of the interview up to your return home. It is also an opportunity for you to meet with potential co-workers, get a sense of the corporate culture and decide if the company and the opportunity are a fit for you.
Like the initial interview, preparation is important. Continue researching the company. If you have been given the names of those who will be interviewing you, Google them and check out their LinkedIn profiles. Reevaluate your initial interview. Identify what you did very well and create strategies for improving areas where you would like to do better. Do you have any unanswered questions that you want to be sure to ask?
Most likely, there will be one person who will be providing you with the details of the arrangements. Read all information and instructions very carefully. Verify what the company is paying for and what will be reimbursed. Be sure to save all your receipts. Find out how they want you to get from the airport to the hotel, and ask if the hotel reservation will be in your name or under the name of the company. Label your luggage and check in at the airport early. When checking out of the hotel, review the bill for accuracy.
The interview day will probably be a long one filled with multiple interviews, a company tour and dinner at the end of the day. Do try to be well rested. Some of the interviews will be one-on-one, others may be groups. You may find the same questions asked in several of the interviews. Be friendly and polite to all you meet — not only company employees, but hotel staff, too.
When going out to dinner, select moderately priced menu items and do not order alcoholic beverages. Avoid foods that are difficult to eat. (By that I mean those that could easily end up landing on your shirt or in your lap!) Participate in discussions, but do not dominate. Avoid controversial topics (like politics and religion). Make the effort to engage others in conversation. Talking about upcoming company plans and events, or asking questions about the area (what cultural events and leisure activities are available) are good choices.
Finally, when you return home, accurately submit your requested documents and expenses as soon as possible. Take time to decide if you are still interested in the opportunity. If not, let the company know that you wish to withdraw from consideration. If, after your visit, you are excited about the possibility of employment with this organization, send thank you notes to all appropriate people and let them know! Hiring and on-boarding new employees is expensive. Employers try their best to hire people who genuinely want to be on their team.
Joyce Donahue is a Career Counselor in the Fulton Schools Career Center. She is a nationally certified career counselor and holds “Master Career Counselor” membership status in the National Career Development Association.