A site visit is an invitation to interview at the employer’s site where you will meet colleagues and observe the work environment. While this does not mean you will automatically receive a job offer, it is a clear indication that the employer has strong interest in you as a candidate!
The site visit might be a half to full day visit (when local) to 2 days (when at a distance) involving flight and hotel. Accept this invitation only when you are sincerely interested in the employer and its location. Site visits are time consuming for you, expensive for the employer, and other students may be interested!
Before the visit
- Clarify the details of the visit – date, location, logistics, interview schedule, appropriate attire.
- Ask how to handle the expenses. Many employers cover all of the expenses.
- Conduct additional research on the employer and their location.
- Review CDC tips for business and dining etiquette.
- Notify faculty if you will miss class.
- Print 10 copies of your resume and store in a professional portfolio or folder. Students who are graduating should add a list of references and an unofficial transcript.
- Bring a sample of your work that demonstrates skills of interest, if available (writing sample, project summary, drawing). PhD candidates may need to prepare a presentation.
- Do not check your bags if you are taking a flight – save time and reduce the risk of a lost bag.
During the visit
- Ask the hotel for a “wake-up call” (in case the alarm is unreliable). Consider “room service” breakfast to give you extra time.
- Keep in mind that every interaction is a potential interview; treat every employee professionally and with kindness from the moment you arrive.
- Have the attitude that you want this job. This gives you focus and confidence through the interview process. (You’ll decide later if it’s a good match!)
- Start the day with your host who arranged the visit. Receive an updated schedule for the visit.
- Most interviews are one-on-one for 30-60 min. Employers will let you know if different.
- Follow the lead and cues of each interviewer. You are likely to have more technical conversations related to your major or career interest. This can be both exciting and daunting. You are not expected to know everything. Know your limitations and ask questions as appropriate. Your honesty and curiosity is highly valued.
- Look for natural opportunities to match your strengths with their needs.
- Use good judgment. Even when an interviewer becomes casual – you remain professional. This is still an interview.
- Ask for a business card at the end of each interview.
- End your visit with your host who arranged the visit. This is a good time to ask questions you may have. Inquire about the next steps — and their timeframe for a decision. Offers are not usually extended at this time.
After the visit
- Review your trip and record your impressions.
- Email or send a thank you note to your host within 24 hours.
- Send expenses to your host within 24 hours, if requested. Include a summary with your receipts.
- If you receive an offer:
Not interested — let the employer know immediately (other students are interested)
Undecided – ask for the time you need to decide
Interested – accept and request a written offer for your records
- Need help with your decision? Consult with your career counselor, 919.515.2396.
- Take time to thank those who have helped you with your search.