A blown-up version of the job interview, the company visit is a standard part of the hiring procedure for most companies that recruit on college campuses. If a normal job interview is a difficult operatic aria that requires poise, concentration, and study, a company visit is an entire opera. Otherwise known as "the plant trip," "the second interview," or "the site visit," it usually involves a whole day of interviewing and other related activities at the company site, and serves to help the company screen the last few candidates that remain for a high-level job after the initial interviews. The interviewers already know that all the visitors will have the necessary skills and IQs. Now they want to know whether their candidates’ career goals match the job and its future prospects, whether their energy and willpower will bring them to go beyond the call of duty, whether their personalities fit into the company’s particular culture. This is also an opportunity for the interviewees to get a detailed close-up view of the job and everything that surrounds it, so that they can make an informed decision on whether to accept an offer if the company makes it. The interviewers will often be "selling" as much as evaluating during the visit.
Several things to remember before and during the company visit:
Learn all you can about the company beforehand—that will make you confident when you’re at the site, prepare you to ask better questions, and equip you to better interpret what you see. Read an annual shareholder’s report, some of the company’s promo material, related articles in business and industry publications, and some of your own notes from the initial interview. Also, talk to company employees and people who have dealt with the company.
- Leave the rest of your life behind! On the day of the visit you must awake beautiful and innocent as a newborn child (though more savvy). Don’t let your personal problems, school deadlines, etc. pull on your brain.
- Consider all the logistics of the trip beforehand. These include accommodations and transportation to the where the company is, but it also includes smaller details like dining, wake-up calls, and transportation from the hotel to the company site. The company will usually help you to arrange important matters like hotel reservations and plane travel.
- Arrive the night before. Sometimes the company will even provide you with a dinner, complete with dinner companion, when you get there. Be nice to this person, because he or she is giving you a sort of informal pre-interview interview.
- Be on time. Tardiness will put a shaky foundation under your entire visit.
- When asked about salary expectations, give a wide range or sidestep the question. And don’t bring it up yourself!
- Be aware that you are being watched all the time, even while you are being given a tour of the site. However, react to this thought with energetic alertness, not paranoid nervousness. And don’t let yourself get weary and slack at the end of the day.
- Write your interviewers personal letters of thanks after you get home. This might not get you the job, but they will all like you better. This might be very good if you got hired.