Types of Interviews
The most common interviews are site interviews, or interviews that are held at the company or organization office. However, as college students, many employers will conduct campus interviews and larger companies often conduct telephone interviews as well. All of these types of interviews should be treated with the same preparation.
Often phone interviews are conducted with a group of people on a conference call. You may not know exactly who is speaking at the time but ensure that you at least know who is on the phone call. It can sometimes be more difficult to get in the “interview mode” for phone interviews, here are some tips:
- Dress up. If your interview is in the morning, wake up early enough to get yourself put together. The more professional you feel, the more professional you will sound.
- Make sure you have a quiet room with a clear connection. Let your roommates know that you have an important call to make so ask them not to bother you during that time. Go somewhere that your phone will not drop the call mid-conversation.
- Have your reference sheets available. Making a “cheat sheet” for your interview can come in handy. Jot down your strengths, weaknesses, and reasons why they should hire you. Be sure to still answer in a natural way and avoid sounding like you are reading off a piece of paper but it can help you answer your questions more succinctly.
- Keep company information handy. On the phone, you can pull up the company website, lay out any brochures or information that you have already received from the company, and keep the job description available if you need to look at it.
- Look in the mirror as you answer questions. It may sound funny but it will help you keep a professional demeanor as well as simulate an actual interview. A smile can be heard over the phone.
Additional Online Resources for Phone Interviews:
When an employer invites you to the company for a site interview, they will generally suggest a date but also give you an alternative date. Make sure you check with your professors to avoid any tests or class presentations. Also, consult your schedule to avoid scheduling two interviews for the same day. Make sure you reply promptly to an employer’s request. If you are unable to meet during either time, call back and suggest an alternative date to the employer to demonstrate that you are still interested in their position and company.
Site interviews vary by organization, position, and employer style. There may be numerous rounds of all day interviews or perhaps just one. However, before the day of the interview you should know as much about what to expect as possible. Here are some hints information to find out:
- Know where you are going. Always find the office before your interview is scheduled. You can ask for directions from your contact at the company since online mapping systems are not 100% reliable. Visit the office the night before or give yourself plenty of time in case you get lost.
- Know who you will be interviewing with and if you should prepare different information for each round. There are many different people that could conduct the interviews so knowing who will be there will give you a better sense of the types of questions they may ask. Also, different groups of people may want to see various examples of your work so knowing if you should bring copies of your work would also be helpful.
- Ask how long the interview will be. This is a tough question to ask since you do not want to appear rude or uninterested. However, it will be helpful to know if it is an all day affair since you may want to bring a snack and ensure you eat breakfast. Knowing how many people you will interview with will help you decide this but you may ask how long you should expect to be at the office.
- Be sure to know the company dress expectations. You are always safe to wear a suit to an interview. While the employees may not wear suits to work, as an interviewee, you should dress above the expectation. Some companies also have dress codes so be aware that you are following policy.
Other Helpful Hints about Site Interviews:
- During this period of interviewing, you may be asked the same questions repeatedly since everyone may want to know basically the same information.
- There will be very little free time. Even meals will be scheduled for interviews.
- At meals, avoid ordering messy or expensive foods. Check out the Dining Etiquette section for more tips.
- You may be asked to complete some tests while you visit such as aptitude, psychological, technical tests (if your field requires specific technical aptitudes).
- Do not expect a job offer by the end of the day. However, you may be asked about your impression of the day as the interviews come to an end.
These interviews should be treated with the same preparation as a site visit interview. Make sure you arrive early, 10-15 minutes, wear professional clothing, and be prepared. The questions will be similar and the interview generally lasts about 30 minutes. Check with the CCO staff for specific details related to any on-campus interviews you participate in. All on-campus interviews are posted and can be registered for through College Central Network.