Site Visits

Students may be asked to interview at the employer's facilities, usually as a second interview after a campus or phone interview. This site visit is an important opportunity for the student and the employer to see how well the student  fits into the organization.

Review these common questions to prepare for a successful site visit.

Who Pays for the Visit?

When invited for a site visit, ask how the employer wants you to travel, where you should stay, and which expenses will be paid by the employer. For expenses covered by the employer, ask whether you will receive an advance or be reimbursed. If you are to be reimbursed, keep all receipts for food, lodging, and transportation.

If traveling by air, ask if the employer is providing you with a ticket. If buying your own, ask whether the employer has a travel agent or a preferred airline. Keep documentation on your ticket purchase. Ask how you are to get to the hotel or office from the airport.

When Does the Interviewing Begin?

The interviewing process begins upon your arrival, with your first contact with a representative. Whether you are picked up at the airport or the hotel and taken to dinner, or asked to report to the personnel office, it is important to dress and behave professionally at all times.

How Long Will the Interview Last?

Site visits usually last five or six hours, but may vary. On the day of the interview, you can expect to be hosted by the office that initially contacted you. Someone from personnel will take you to your first interview and help with your schedule for the day. You may be taken to lunch with several representatives. The dining experience reveals interpersonal skills as well as attention to detail, so do not minimize the importance of dining etiquette. You may be interviewed by prospective co-workers, higher-level executives and, most importantly, your future supervisor. At the end of the series of interviews, your host will make sure you get back to your car, cab or airport.

How Should I Prepare to Relate My Skills and Interests?

After thoroughly reviewing the organizational literature and employer Web site, you should have a good idea about the type of work you will be doing. If you do not have a job description before the interview, ask what you will be doing, and then honestly relate your education, interests, and experience to the employer's needs.

What Questions Should I Be Prepared to Answer?

It is impossible to predict the exact questions you will be asked, but most of them will be designed to answer these basic questions:

  • Are you willing to do the work expected of you?
  • Are you compatible with the department, supervisor and co-workers?
  • Are you willing to make a strong commitment to be a successful employee?

You may also be asked technical questions and behavioral questions looking for information about team and leadership skills.

What If I Receive an Offer During the Site Visit?

Thank them for the offer. Tell them you are pleased they are interested in you and ask when they need your response. If pressed for an immediate answer, simply explain that you are not ready to make a decision. If possible, decide before the interview how much time you need to make a decision and ask if that would be acceptable.

Important Tips

Being well-prepared means knowing your strengths, accomplishments, and abilities. Get a good night’s sleep prior to the site visit. Finally, remember to write the appropriate people and express your appreciation for the visit.

How Do I Evaluate the Employer?

The site visit can be grueling; but it is an excellent opportunity for both you and those in the organization to evaluate each other. Use your site visit experience to decide whether or not this employer is a good fit for you. Ask yourself if it felt like a comfortable work environment. Did people answer your questions? Look at the employer Web site. Also, read printed literature about the employer, including the annual report, and one or more employer newsletters. Find out if it has been growing as reflected by new products or services, facilities or acquisitions.