This is a guest blog post by Ali Wruble.
As you know by now, on-campus and off-campus interview programs are beginning very soon. Off-campus programs differ from on-campus programs in certain key ways.
First and foremost, location, location, location! On-campus interviews are held here within the hallowed halls of NDLS. Off-campus interviews take place – wait for it – somewhere away from campus. The interviews will take place in a centralized location such as a hotel or an employer’s office. Either way, it is not your home turf. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the surroundings and understand certain key things to make your day run smoothly: where your actual interviews will take place (room number, floor, etc.), where you can wait between interviews, where the nearest restroom is, where you can get some water (or other refreshments if it will be a long day), where you can safely store belongings you brought that you should not bring into your actual interview (e.g., backpack or purse).
Be sure to read and follow any/all information provided by the organizers of the program. These points of contact will keep you updated on any changes to the program logistics or anything else you need to know. Read their emails! You will need to know certain things in advance of your arrival, such as security procedures, parking information, and where to report. Be sure you are prepared by reviewing all of these items in advance of interview day.
Bring copies of your application materials in case they are requested. Prepare some questions to ask (yes, always ask questions). Review the CDO interview Guide. Plan your wardrobe in advance to be sure everything is clean, pressed, and fits properly.
Once you arrive at your interview location, your interview begins the minute you set foot in the building. Assume you are being observed at all times and that employers are always within earshot. You should conduct yourself professionally at all times. Walking down hallways, using the restroom, talking with friends – all can and will be observed by people in hiring positions and will contribute to their impression of you as a candidate. Watch what you say in all common areas and public places. Talk quietly as you are waiting. Discuss safe topics like movies, music, books, sports and the weather. Seriously.
Be nice to everyone you encounter – security guards, interviewers, fellow students, anyone and everyone. (This is also helpful just to be a considerate human being.) You never know who is involved in the hiring process or who might share an opinion or observation. Yes, a receptionist can tank your chances at a summer associate position if you are rude. Don’t be a jerk. (Again, great rule for life in general).
If you will be visiting an employer’s office, be sure you use all of the observational references available to you to discern office culture. What’s the vibe? Are doors open or closed? Are people smiling or laughing? Do people seem tense? What is the signal being sent by the decor? Do support staff seem happy?
When you meet an employer in any setting, give a firm handshake, make good eye contact, and smile.
A few general things to keep in mind throughout interview day…
- Be positive.
- Be professional.
- Be yourself. Your best self.
This is your moment to shine. You got this.