On-campus interviews are great opportunities for college students to connect with employers before they graduate. They provide both students and employers with one of the most effective ways of connecting. Typically, these interviews are organized and facilitated by career services offices or individual academic departments. What students don’t often realize is what a truly unique opportunity they have to find a job or internship well before the time they actually need one.
On-Campus Interviewing Basics
While the specific process for on campus interviewing varies from campus to campus, the basics are the same:
- Employers specify a date to come to campus and conduct interviews
- A job or internship is posted for students to apply to
- After the application deadline, students are selected from the applicant pool and notified about their interview opportunity.
- Interviews are scheduled through the career services office.
- Employers send their recruiters to campus to conduct the interviews.
Students often don’t realize what a gift on-campus interviewing opportunities truly are. Think about it. Employers are taking time, money, manpower and resources to come directly to students. On-campus interviewing is a particularly tremendous opportunity for those who are at colleges and universities which aren’t located in major cities or metro areas. They are especially important for students who would like to find jobs before they graduate.
On-Campus Interviewing: Do’s and Don’ts
On-Campus Interview Do’s:
- Register with your career services office or department. This usually means getting set up with a unique account on an online job posting system.
- Create a resume that is NOT employer-specific and can be used as your initial resume. Employers may view resumes through a resume referral.
- Create custom resumes for specific jobs, internships or companies once you know what opportunities you are applying for.
- Become familiar with the on-campus interviewing process through the career services office or department. Ask for guidance on how to apply for on campus interview opportunities, sign up for interviews, etc.
- Know where the on-campus interviews take place (i.e. career services office, student center, department offices)
- Treat on-campus interviews like real interviews…because THEY ARE!
On-Campus Interview Don’ts:
- Don’t use a generic resume to apply for every on-campus interview opportunity.
- Don’t apply for every opportunity you qualify for – be strategic in the job or internship search.
- Don’t wait to respond to an interview invitation. A quick response will allow you to select the interview time that best fits your schedule.
- Once you’ve accepted a job offer, withdraw from other on campus interview opportunities and open that spot up for another candidate. Notify your career services office.
- Do not be a “no show” for any on-campus interview opportunity!!
- This harms your personal brand if you want to apply for a job with that company in the future. You never know!
- Too many “no shows” for a company can harm the relationship between a campus and employer, causing an employer to not return.
- If this happens, you may have taken an interview opportunity away from another candidate who really wanted it.
- Employers spend money, time and resources to travel to campuses and recruit. Respect their time.
- There are always consequences for “no-showing” an interview: A suspension of career services privileges, a required career counseling session, and even a possible fine.
Students must realize that on-campus interviews are unique opportunities that should not be taken lightly. Students should be excited and proactive about the chance to interview while still in school – especially given the recent implosion of job opportunities in many industries. Take advantage of these interviews, but always remember to be professional!
Lanie James serves as Employer Development Coordinator for the Career Services office at Oklahoma State University, also known as HireOSUgrads.com . She holds both a B.A. in Journalism Broadcasting and a M.S. in Mass Communication from OSU. Her research emphasis focused on emerging and social media in Career Services. She also serves as the President of the Oklahoma Association of Colleges & Employers (@OkACE). Connect with Lanie on LinkedIn or Twitter @JLanie.