The Career Services on-campus interviewing program offers students the opportunity to interview for internships and full-time positions with a variety of employers from business, industry, and government. On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) is primarily a pre-select system, where employers select candidates from among the students who request interviews with them. The procedures for requesting and scheduling OCI interviews using Nittany Lion Careers are described in a separate section.
Nittany Lion Careers is the web-based system used by Penn State Behrend, University Park, Harrisburg and many other Penn State campuses. Nittany Lion Careers has three main components:
- On-campus interviewing (FREE)
- Internship/job postings (FREE)
- Employer résumé searches, when you opt in to the Résumé Book feature (FREE)
Before participating in on-campus interviewing, you are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to attend a Nittany Lion Careers orientation session. Only after you have registered with Nittany Lion Careers can you submit résumés, request interviews, and/or schedule interviews.
Please read the following sections to learn more about the on-campus interviewing program and how it would fit into your job search plan. Note that Behrend, University Park, Harrisburg, and Berks all have OCI positions available to you.
Policies for Participation
- Use of the System
When an account is established in your name, it is for your use only. Sharing your account or submitting résumés for other candidates is strictly forbidden and will result in dismissal from the system.
- Personal Profile
You MUST complete your Personal Profile. Some fields will be automatically filled with data. Email [email protected] if there are errors in fields you can’t edit. Without this information, you will not be notified of interview invitations or information sessions, nor be included in résumé searches conducted by employers. Make sure to choose Campus = Erie and College = Behrend College.
Deadlines are strictly adhered to—no résumés will be accepted after the posted deadline. Application deadlines are listed on the job postings and are generally 20 days prior to the interview date.
- Information Sessions
Many employers schedule sessions, usually the night before their interviews, to present information about their company and opportunities. Attendance at Behrend information sessions is REQUIRED for students selected to interview unless you have a class or work conflict. Students attending all information sessions should wear business-casual attire. Attendance at other campuses’ company information sessions for all students invited to interviews can be helpful, but it is not required. Employers consider these events to be a part of the interview process. Students not selected to interview may also attend information sessions when allowed by employers. Check Nittany Lion Careers for information sessions for current or future employer visits. Also, note any instructions concerning special literature or data forms requested by the company. Since travel to other campuses is lengthy, it is recommended that you try to attend information sessions for your top employer choices.
- Changing Your Interview Time
You may change your interview time through the Nittany Lion Careers system, provided time slots are still available. Interview time changes are accepted up to 8:30 a.m. the business day prior to the date of the interview for other Penn State campuses, and up to two business days before for Behrend employers.
When you submit a request for an interview, you are committed to schedule an interview if the employer selects you. The only acceptable reasons for cancellations are: 1) you are faced with an emergency or illness; 2) you have an on-site interview with another company; or 3) you have accepted another job offer. If extenuating circumstances force you to cancel your commitment, you must decline your interview through the Nittany Lion Careers system no later than 8:30 a.m. on the business day prior to the interview for other Penn State campuses, and two business days for Behrend employers. Do NOT cancel your interview directly with the employer. We will only accept cancellations by telephone the day of an interview, and only for illness. Interviews canceled the day of the employer’s visit are considered no-shows, and you are expected to write a letter to the employer as described below.
- No Shows
Students selected for interviews who fail to appear for a scheduled interview for any reason will be considered no-shows. No-shows will have their interviewing privileges withdrawn immediately. The first time you miss an interview, your interview requesting/scheduling privileges will be withheld until a letter of explanation/ apology is written to the employer. This letter should be addressed to the company and emailed to [email protected] so that we can forward it to the employer. The second offense will result in your privileges being withdrawn permanently. Students calling in the day of their interview for ANY reason are considered no-shows, will be blocked from using the system, and are required to write a letter of explanation/apology to the employer.
- Job Offers
You are expected to notify employers who offer you a position of an acceptance or non-acceptance of an offer in a timely manner, accept an offer of employment in good faith, withdraw from the recruiting process after accepting an offer of employment and discontinue pursuit of a position with other employers upon graduation. Candidates who accept a position and then renege will have permanent removal of interview privileges for all OCI at all Penn State campuses, including Behrend.
The Day of the Interview
- Arrive 10 or 15 minutes ahead of your scheduled interview time.
- For Behrend, report to Career Services in 125 Reed or the assigned room.
- For Harrisburg, report to Career Services, Room 216 EAB (South).
- For University Park:
- Report to the Interview Center located on the second floor of the MBNA Career Services Center. Check the binders at the top of the stairs to identify your interviewer’s room number.
- Have a seat in the waiting area nearest your interview room to wait for the employer to call you.
- If you have any questions or problems after you arrive, please see the staff member at the Interview Center reception desk.
Questions and Answers
- Is on-campus interviewing for me?
On-Campus Interviewing is not for everyone, nor will it serve every need. Most positions offered are in business, industry, or government and are for students with technical or business backgrounds. Students with liberal arts or health and human development backgrounds should not rule out On-Campus Interviewing but should be advised that the opportunities will be limited. If you are seeking internship or co-op positions, there may be few On-Campus Interviewing opportunities. If you chose not to add the OCI service to your Nittany Lion Careers account, you will need to use the Nittany Lion Careers Guest Account to view the available OCI opportunities. If you find some of interest, you will need to add the OCI service to your Nittany Lion Careers account. If you are seeking a career in the arts, social services, education, politics, communications, health care, or a similar field, a self-directed job search is a must. Even if you are seeking employment in business and technical fields, you should consider On-Campus Interviewing as only one method of seeking employment. Students in all fields should learn to conduct a full-scale job search. Schedule an appointment through Starfish with a Career Counselor to work on your individual job search plan, or for any other job search-related questions.
- When do I register for job interviews?
- Because employers prefer to interview candidates who are within a few months of graduation, the following times are suggested to register for interviews with the on-campus interviewing system.
- If you graduate in December, participate in the on-campus interviewing system the fall semester before graduation. (While you may participate in on-campus interviewing during the spring semester before your graduation, be advised that many employers will be looking for May or August graduates at that time.)
- If you graduate in May, participate in the on-campus interviewing system during both the fall and spring semesters before graduation.
- If you graduate in August, participate in the on-campus interviewing system during both the fall and spring semesters before graduation.
- Because of the flexible nature of graduate degree programs, graduate students may choose to interview during any semester.
- PLEASE NOTE: Some employers will participate in on-campus interviewing only once a year. Others will visit during both fall and spring semesters, but they may be interviewing for different positions during each visit. We suggest that you register early and review the employer campus interview notices weekly to determine if they are applicable to your situation.
- Should I request an on-campus interview?
When you request an interview, you are making a serious commitment. Your request is an expression of interest in that employer and an implied promise that you will schedule an interview if your request is granted. To subsequently fail to schedule an interview is a breach of professional ethics. To help you determine whether or not you should request an interview with a given employer, consider the following four points:
Consider your time and class schedule. How many interviews can you handle in a week? How many class periods do you have open on the day of the employer’s visit? Don’t request more interviews than you can manage. Since over 500 employers recruit at Behrend, and the other Penn State campuses each fall and spring semester, you should carefully choose the employers that most closely match your interests.
- What do you know about the employer? Never request an interview without having information about the employer. Visit their website, and then decide if you are still interested.
- The interviewer will be very interested in your career objective and geographic preference. Don’t request an interview thinking that they may have something else in their job pool—employers are usually here for very specific opportunities.
- On-Campus Interviewing is not offered to students to practice interviewing skills. Career Services offers seminars, individual appointments, and a mock interview service to help you develop your interviewing skills.
- How do I increase my chances?
Many students request interviews for each opening, hoping that they will be increasing their chances of an interview. In reality, this may not be the case. If you have sound academic credentials, a clearly expressed career objective, and the background to support that objective, you will be a strong candidate. You will increase the chances of being granted an on-campus interview if you present yourself effectively on your résumé and only request interviews for positions about which you are able to express genuine interest.
- Who can assist me with specific questions?
Career Services has career counselors available to assist you in discussing your interests, qualifications, and the job search process in general. To meet with a career counselor, call 898-6164, or visit the office in 125 Reed to schedule a time.
- On-Campus Interviewing for Non-technical Majors
It gets discouraging to look at on-campus interviewing notices and see requests for engineers, engineers, and more engineers! Sometimes it feels like no one wants the graduate with a non-technical major. Here are some of the facts of placement and job search strategies for those who are selling more than specialized skills.
First, the on-campus interviewing system will benefit some students more than others. If you are in a non-business or non-technical school or major and wish to utilize your academic background in business and industry, you would benefit from registering with the Nittany Lion Careers for on-campus interviewing for entry-level business opportunities. While many on-campus recruiters are looking for technical grads, some are looking for non-technical grads, as well. Don’t miss out on an interview because of a misperception of the opportunities.
Secondly, on occasion, employers from government and human services will recruit on campus for positions other than entry-level business. Close to 1,000 employers are coming to Penn State for on-campus interviews, so plan ahead.
Finally, rarely, if ever, do representatives from the communications industry, the arts, politics, and other non-business and industry fields participate in on-campus interviewing. Career Services provides numerous services intended to assist you in the job search, such as clarification of employment goals, identifying potential employers, and developing the appropriate tools and strategies for contacting employers, which can help if you don’t see listings for companies of interest.