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About the On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) program

The "on-campus interviewing (OCI) program" refers to the interview location — Smith Career Center on the Blacksburg campus — NOT the location of the job.

What does "on-campus interviewing" mean?

  • The program name refers to a process through which employers can travel to campus to interview students for internships and post-graduation jobs.
  • "On-campus" refers to the location of the interview, not the location of the job.
  • Employers incur the expense of traveling to campus in order to meet with students in person.
  • Students have the convenience of having an interview on the Blacksburg campus in Smith Career Center.
  • Each employer schedules an interview date (during fall or spring semester when students are typically on the Blacksburg campus) and posts jobs for the interview date. Students apply, employers select the students they wish to interview, and selected students sign up for interview time slots.
  • Students who want opportunities to interview should apply for jobs and internships through Handshake.
  • On-campus interviews are typically a screening interview, with a next step being an interview on-site at the employer's location. 
  • NOTE: Since the pandemic familiarized everyone with virtual meetings (by Zoom, etc.), many employers continue to use virtual interviewing because this expands the opportunities to meet with more students in more places. Many employer organizations do not have the personnel, time, and resources to travel to every campus to attend every career fair and conduct all interviews in person. Many employers use a mix of virtual and in-person interviewing and recruiting activities. So some "on-campus interviews" might be on campus for you the student, while the employer is remote, but the interviews are still scheduled through Handshake.
  • "On-campus" refers to the location of the interview, not a limit on the location of the jobs.
  • Most employers are located throughout the United States, with many based in the mid-Atlantic or southeast regions of the U.S., and urban regions of Virginia. They include for-profit businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
  • Some employers are local to the New River Valley.
  • Virginia Tech offices with internships and post-graduation jobs also post jobs.
  • Employers also post remote jobs in Handshake.
  • Career fairs are one-day or multi-day events with brief conversations between students and employers; some fairs include times and room reserved (same day, or the next day) so employers can schedule interviews with students they meet at the fair.
  • There are now more than 30 Virginia Tech-affiliated career fairs (see list) each year, most hosted by a college or academic department. Each career fair host sets their own event date.
  • On-campus interviews can happen on many dates during fall and spring, not just on dates during or after a career fair.
  • Historically through OCI, 250-300 employers visited campus each year to interview students for post-grad jobs, internships and co-ops. The numbers are strongly influenced by the economy and by options for virtual interviewing.
  • See On-Campus Interviewing Program activity for 2018-2019 and prior to see those historical patterns of employer and student participation by college.
  • Many employers will travel to the Blacksburg campus to conduct interviews with students in person. However, as stated above, the pandemic familiarized everyone with virtual meetings, and employers can reach more students by conducting virtual interviews. Most employers will continue to use a mix of virtual and in-person interviewing in their recruiting process.
  • Yes, students who need a quiet space for a virtual interview may request to use an interview room in Smith Career Center.
  • Requests must be made at least one business day in advance.
  • Rooms cannot be provided for the same day that a request is made. Interviews are scheduled in advance, so the request can be made in advance.
  • Note that on a few dates, all interview rooms are fully booked by employers well in advance; this usually occurs the day after a career fair.
  • To request a room, contact the employer relations staff in Career and Professional Development. 

Before participating in OCI, students and employers should read and understand:

  • Recent grads might find jobs of interest. Most employers who recruit through college campuses are seeking recent or upcoming graduates. 
  • For graduates with more experience, it is probably more practical to view employers' websites to seek opportunities for more experienced job candidates.
  • Usually it will be specified by each employer if they would like a cover letter. 
  • If you do submit a cover letter, make sure it is customized to that employer and that job. 
  • If nothing is stated about a cover letter, then you don't need one to apply to that specific job. Do know that cover letters can be an asset in your job search if written well and customized, because it's more evidence of how you communicate. And in a cover letter you can articulate your interest in the employer (which is not what a resume does).
  • Learn more about writing cover letters.
  • There is no secret.
  • Employers look for a professional and pleasant demeanor, appropriate attire and grooming, honesty, a positive attitude, and an ability to articulate your skills and why you would like to work for the organization giving you the interview. 
  • Employers absolutely expect candidates to "do your homework," which means researching the organization in advance of the interview. 
  • If you seem like you don't have a genuine interest in, or knowledge of, the organization, the interviewer can view you as not being a good fit for their organization and job, although you may have excellent qualifications for a different job and organziation. 
  • Employers are looking for a good fit, or match, between you and the job and the organization. A good simple guideline is know yourself, know the job, and show the fit.
  • See more about interviewing skills.