How to Make the Most Out of Your Office Visit
In my opinion, office visits are the most fun aspect of the whole recruiting process. There is no better feeling than when a firm you have interviewed with wants to bring you in for an office visit, bringing you one step closer to reaching your goals. This visit allows you to get a behind the scenes look at what it will be like to work at that firm. It also helps you decide which firm you believe will be your best fit. However, not knowing what to expect from an office visit can make the experience intimidating, which could affect the extent to which your personality shines through. Before our office visits began his year, the Jenkins Masters of Accounting Program presented several tips on how to make the most of our office visits, which helped prepare me for my journey. These tips included:
What to Expect:
The night before your office visit, most firms will take you and the other prospective hires to a dinner where you get the chance to talk with associates of all levels. Some of the associates have worked with the firm only a year or two and remember going through the same recruiting process. Other associates you meet have worked for the firm longer, allowing you to ask more specific questions about the work you may be doing. Overall, the dinner serves as a great way to ease any anxiety you may have before your office visit the next day.
When you arrive for your office visit (10 minutes early, of course!), most firms will have a “buddy” assigned to you that will be in charge of guiding you to each of your interviews. Typically, you will interview with 3 to 5 people during your visit, usually ranging from manager to partner level. Following your interviews, you will likely be taken to lunch by some of the staff who are recently out of school. It is important to remember you are still being evaluated during this time, so proper dining etiquette and good conversation are critical. If you end up accepting an offer from this firm, you will most likely spend a lot of time working with these associates, so it is important that you feel comfortable being yourself around them.
- Always know exactly where the office is located and where you are able to park before the day of your interview. This ensures that you will be on time and not stressed when you get there.
- As always, arrive 10 minutes early.
- Know your resume inside and out so you are prepared to emphasize your strengths and let your interviewers know how you can add value to their firm.
- The usual attire for the socials/dinners the night before your office visit is business casual, but make sure you read the invitation thoroughly to make sure. It is always better to dress on the more conservative side.
- Attire for office visits is ALWAYS business professional. No exceptions!
- Make sure you introduce yourself with a firm handshake. This automatically signals to the other person how much confidence you have. Besides, no one likes a limp fish handshake.
- Although this may seem obvious, remember to thank the interviewer at the end of each interview. This shows them that you are grateful for their time and the firm giving you this opportunity.
- The best thing you can do to display confidence is relax! The more you relax the more your real self will shine through.
- Be able to engage in small talk with everyone, including the secretary, your buddy, and all interviewers. Being prepared to help direct the conversation will exhibit confidence, as well as allow you to bring up topics that may help promote yourself.
- And of course, be yourself! Knowing your strengths, accomplishments, and what you have to offer will be transparent to the interviewers and make a positive and lasting impression.
- Even though the office visit process is a long and draining one, do your best to maintain your energy level throughout the whole visit; you can always take a nap and recharge when you get home!
- Be aware of your non-verbal communication. Maintaining eye contact and smiling throughout your interview is more important than you may think!
- Always stay engaged, even if your interviewer is talking about something you are not interested in. This is where eye contact and smiling will also be important!
- Use your best listening skills and take mental notes about each interviewer. This will allow you to personalize each of your thank you notes and future conversations, making you more memorable.
- The interviewer will set the tone for when questions are appropriate from the beginning. Make sure you pay attention to this, as some interviewers prefer questions at the end, while others are happy to answer them throughout.
- Good questions are ones that are open-ended and answerable.
- Ask questions about things that are important to you personally.
- Avoid questions focusing on money or “what’s in it for me?”
- It is completely appropriate to ask when you can expect to hear feedback from the firm.
What to do Next?
After your office visit it is important to thank all the employers. This can be done via an email or a handwritten note right after you office visit. After this you wait for an offer! When accepting or declining offers it is important to maintain professionalism throughout the process because you never want to burn any bridges. And of course, call the employer, do not just send them an email. Following these quick tips will help prepare you for office visits, as they give you a glimpse of what that day will be like.