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Onsite Interview: What is it and How to Prepare?

That big onsite interview usually brings up feelings of excitement and nervousness in equal measure.  It’s your opportunity to shine and make a good impression on the hiring manager, but waiting for an interview can also be a time that’s fraught with fear and anxiety.  Yet, you don’t need to worry about getting an onsite interview, and in fact, it should be a cause for celebration and nothing more! In this article, we’re going to provide tips for making sure that you have a successful onsite interview. We’ll look at ways you can guarantee nailing exactly what you want to achieve and get behind your new desk as soon as possible.

When you’re looking for a corporate job, you know you’re doing some of the right things when you get the call to attend an onsite interview. Ultimately, the purpose of onsite interviews is to determine whether or not you and the company are a good fit.  On top of that, the onsite interview is meant to allow both the hiring manager and you to get to know each other and determine whether or not your potential employment would be a successful one. Some of that will get based on your qualifications, but your resume and cover letter will already have provided a reasonable idea if you can handle the duties of the role. Hiring managers like to sit down with candidates because rapport is also a crucial aspect of employability and a great indicator of compatibility.

 

So, you’ve landed an onsite Interview: what is it, and how to prepare?

Most people get at least a little bit nervous about job interviews, even if they don’t always readily admit it. The 2013 Job Interview Anxiety Survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College discovered that a staggering 92% of US adults fear some aspect of the interview process, so you’re far from being alone. There are few things worse than being in a situation like an onsite interview, however, when you’ve got clammy hands, a dry throat, you’re stuck for what to say, and you don’t know what questions to expect. That’s why we’ve decided to put together some useful tips. When you go to your interview armed with some knowledge, you’ll definitely be less likely to experience nerves.

 

Before an Onsite Interview, Do Your Research

One thing you’ll likely be wondering before an onsite interview: what is it and how to prepare? Well, the first tip is to conduct proper and thorough research before you attend.  A hiring manager wants to see that you’ve invested time in fully understanding not only the position you’re applying for but the company’s current landscape and growth trajectories. They want to be confident that you’ve spent time researching their competitors and that you fully understand their core business offerings. You may be asked to provide examples or reasons why you want to work for the company, and being familiar with their offerings will help you answer that question.

More so, you may get asked to list competitors and why you believe the company’s offerings are better placed to solve customer problems. Understanding the business end-to-end will help you to easily answer any questions the interviewer presents. That will also allow you to provide more thoughtful questions towards the end of the interview, as they’ll relate to the company itself. It’s much better to be over-prepared and to know things about the business that you don’t get asked about than to be short on information, facts, and answers or questions when they do.

 

Anticipate Potential Concerns

When it comes to completing an onsite interview, you won’t only want to research the company but also your own weaknesses and potential employer concerns.  Be honest with yourself.  Do you have multiple gap years on your resume?  Have you jumped from position to position within a short period?  The more you look in the mirror and consider things from the interviewer’s point of view, the better prepared you’ll be to answer any awkward questions.

While you won’t know what the questions are beforehand, many sites have lists of common interview questions you can use to prepare. You should anticipate the questions based on a number of factors, including your age, profession, number of years of experience, and education. You wouldn’t want to study up on technical know-how for a non-technical position.

Answer any common interview questions you research to the best of your ability, then identify any shortcomings and read up on what you didn’t know. You’ll want to practice those answers multiple times, so if and when the same question gets asked during the interview, you can answer flawlessly and without stumbling on your words.

 

Be Early for Your Onsite Interview

As the onsite interview is meant to be a gauge of compatibility between yourself and an employer, it’s important to ensure a professional attitude at all times.  That means that you should plan to arrive early for the onsite interview, allowing yourself ample time to travel to the location and relax before the interview begins.

You should follow the “early is on time” rule and arrive between fifteen and twenty minutes before your scheduled interview. You cannot control some factors, such as unexpected traffic or a last-minute hitch, so giving yourself that wiggle room is a must. Besides, even if your interview doesn’t start dead on time, the interviewer will typically be alerted once you arrive and may make a mental note of how early or late you were.

I’ve spoken to countless hiring managers. They often complain about the fact that their interview started late because the interviewee was not there at the arranged time. Don’t start your interview off on the wrong foot; you want to arrive early and give yourself plenty of opportunities to get mentally prepared. Use the bathroom to freshen up, take a minute to breathe, and go over all the preparations in your head.

 

Wear Business Professional Clothing

Onsite interviews are, more often than not, your first face-to-face with a new hiring manager.  First impressions mean a heck of a lot. Consequently, you’ll want to make sure yours is a great one. That means you should always dress for the job you want, and when interviewing, you want to come in wearing formal business clothing.  Your clothes should be ironed and wrinkle-free, and everything you wear should fit appropriately.

If you don’t have business formal clothing, feel free to borrow some from a family member or friend who is of similar height and build. Also, the clothes should be more neutral tones – never too flashy.  You don’t want to wear overly bright or too dull colors, but you will want to maintain a level of professionalism.

 

Bring Multiple Resumes to Your Onsite Interview

When it comes to being prepared for an onsite interview, there is perhaps nothing worse than not having the proper materials with you.  Most important is your resume, and you should take the time to have multiple printed copies made. You should print out two resumes for every interviewer. So, if you’re meeting with three people, print out and bring with you six resumes.  That will ensure that every person present received a resume and is able to peruse it while conducting the interview. If you want to make an extra-good impression, consider using a specialist resume paper. Sometimes, little details make a massive difference to your prospects of getting a job, and things like that get remembered.

Depending on what role you’ve applied for, you might want to include specific skills on your resume. For instance, if your potential new position involves doing a lot of data entry, consider updating the document to include typing skills. If you’re applying for a job in customer service, highlight your soft skills, and if you’ll be working with basic word processing software or spreadsheets, adjust your resume to show your proficiency with computers.

 

Prepare Your Own Questions

Remember that any onsite interview should provide a two-way street, with both the interviewer and you getting a chance to ask questions.  As such, it’s very important that you prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer.  These should be relevant and pertinent to the role. Again, put yourself in the shoes of your potential employer. Wouldn’t you want an interviewing candidate to take an interest in the role and company? It also signals confidence in your abilities if you would like to know more about the role because it displays that you actually think you’ve got a good chance of getting the job.

The best questions to ask typically involve details about the company and the position. Yet, it’s not all about how confident you are. By taking a genuine interest in both and asking questions related to either, you also show the interviewer that you’re a serious candidate who has come in prepared.

Some typical questions you can ask include:

  • What do you believe is the best thing about working here?
  • If you could hire the ideal candidate, what qualities would they have?
  • What are some current issues you are facing, and how would I be able to assist?
  • What steps can I take on my first day to ensure that I am successful in the position?
  • What exactly will my new duties be?
  • Where does my new role fit into the bigger picture?

 

Conclusion – Onsite Interview: What is it and how to Prepare?

Once your onsite interview gets completed, be sure to send a thank-you email to the interviewer(s) for the opportunity.  You should make it clear that you appreciate them sacrificing their time to conduct the interview. Now is the time to reiterate the points that you made during the interview. Remember, this is a chance to reinforce your suitability for the role and showcase your potential as a candidate.

 

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