Consider the on-campus interview for a moment. You will be spending thirty minutes in a tiny cubicle or small office with a total stranger. This person will subsequently decide whether you will ever have the chance of working for their company. The best you can hope for is to avoid being disqualified, which only takes you one step further into the interviewing maze. One little mistake, one little error, and you could be history.
Actually, the entire process seems rather absurd, except for the fact that you will not get a job without correctly playing this interviewing game. And on-campus interviewing is often the starting point of the interviewing process for entry level college grads.
On-campus interviewing is not simply meeting with three or five (or even ten) companies and then picking the one where you want to work. To maximize your on-campus interviewing success, you need to first maximize both the quality and quantity of the interviews you set up, and then maximize your interview efficiency. It is not enough to just show up for a certain number of interviews and then hope that someone will miraculously offer you a job. You have to perform at your peak to gain mileage from on-campus interviewing.
Do not take your on-campus interview lightly. Although it was "free" to you and easier to come by than direct contact with the company, the competition is intense.
To ace your on-campus interview, you need to read (and apply) all of the information contained in the Interviewing Success section of this website. All of the preparation. All of the questions. All of the techniques. All of the strategies. Be prepared in advance.
If you treat every interview as if it were your last (in both a positive and a negative sense), you will be more focused on affecting the end result.
On-campus interviewing is a gift. Treat it with high value.
From the other side of the desk, there are four distinct steps most employers go through in the entry level hiring process:
The first two steps take place on campus. The final two typically take place at the company-site interview. You want to make it to the fourth step—where you are being courted as the candidate the employer wants to hire. But before you get to that stage, you will need to pass the first three steps. And the opening steps are typically right there on campus.
They are sitting in class with you. They will also be sitting in the interview waiting room or shaking hands with the interviewer in the time slot just before (and after) yours. All those students with whom you have been competing for grades are now your direct competition for jobs. These students are some of the same ones who blew the top end of the curve on the last test. But keep in mind that this is not the chemistry final. It is not how much you know, but how well you communicate in the interview. The 4.0 student who cannot interact well with people will actually have more difficulty finding a job than others.
Know your competition and what they have to offer. Know yourself and what you have to offer. Be ready to differentiate and sell yourself based upon your unique value proposition.