Securing the Company-Site Interview

You know the feeling. You have just completed an on-campus interview with a company with which you are truly impressed. You really want to work for this company. It's almost like falling in love all over again—well, maybe you don't spend every waking hour thinking of them, but the butterflies in the stomach seem pretty similar.

On-campus is only the first step. You need to pass the company-site interview before an offer will be made.

So you sit back to wait for them to take the next step. And then it happens. The infamous "Dear John" letter (and your name isn't even John!). How could this happen? How could they possibly fall for someone else when you are the only one for them? How could they possibly give their heart to another?

In job search, as well as romance, you cannot sit by the phone waiting for it to ring. You snooze, you lose.

Just going through the motions of the on-campus interview is not enough to secure the company-site interview. And in almost all cases, the company-site interview is the next step toward the eventual prize of the job offer (and meaningful life after college).

The first and most important step toward securing the company-site interview is to establish continuity at the end of the first interview. The typical "Do you have any questions?" should leave you open for two select questions about the company (remember to do your research in advance so that these questions are appropriate and specific to the employer). You might even test the waters with a Pride of Ownership Technique question to establish the connection between you and the company.

Then on to your final series of closing questions: "From everything I have heard today, combined with my research about your company, I am very interested in going on to the next step. Please let me know—are you interested in me?" I know, it sounds rather bold. But remember, you are in love! Now is not the time to woo from afar. Let them know where you stand, which gives you the right to ask the reciprocal question. Assuming they have at least a mildly encouraging response, ask your final question: "What is our next step?" Take careful note of the actions that need to be taken. This will be the chart for your course in securing that vital company-site second interview. And if it has not already been offered, ask for a business card.