What is going through OCI like?

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Re: What is going through OCI like?

Postby NewHere » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:21 am

Screening interviews
Above all, the process is very tiring. Depending on how OCI works at your school, you may have more than ten twenty-minute interviews in a day, and being less energetic and focused during the last few is just not an option.

LurkerNoMore is probably right to tell you to stay away from other people if they tend to make you nervous, but I was surprised at how calm people were once they had had their first interview and the initial jitters had subsided. At first nobody had experience with the process, and everyone was a bit nervous and clueless, but very quickly it became just a chore that everyone had to go through, and the atmosphere at the OCI location became one of boredom and languor rather than pressure and stress.

Bring stuff to read, or a videogame or whatever if that's your thing, because you will spend a lot of time waiting and you need to maintain your energy and good spirits.

Once the first few days of screening are out of the way, some people do become nervous again. Some firms are startingly quick to call students back (getting a call the same night is not unusual), while others wait up to two weeks, so after a few days there will be people who will know that they have scored several callbacks and others who will start to feel a bit worried that they are doing something wrong. While it is definitely a morale booster to get calls from firms early on, don't let it worry you too much if you haven't heard anything yet, and don't decide to change your interviewing style radically in response, unless you are fairly certain that you are doing something wrong. (Talk to Career Services if you have any doubts. They are generally around during OCI, to talk about this kind of thing.) Also don't start to panic if other people who interviewed with the same firm have heard back and you have not. Even calls from one and the same firm can be spread out over several days, as not every interviewer hands in the evaluation forms to the recruitment department at the same time.

All in all, OCI is a crazy rollercoaster of week, and by the end of it you will be very happy you are done.

Now that you've just gotten through the ordeal of screening interviews, the prospect of doing more interviews will not sound particularly attractive, but my one piece of advice would be: schedule callbacks as early as you can. Missing some classes to go to callbacks is almost unavoidable, but the earlier in the semester you get them out of the way, the better your life will be. If you're still running around town (or flying around the country) in late October, you'll feel stressed the entire semester, because you will keep running behind on reading assignments, and past mid-semester you have to start thinking about finals, too. Get it over quickly and you'll thank yourself later. Do two callbacks on one day if you can (one in the morning, one in the afternoon), do several days of callbacks in a row if you have the time, make use of any time between OCI and the start of classes, do whatever you can to get it over with as soon as you can.

One final bit of advice about those dinners around OCI: feel free to skip them if you can't face the prospect of spending an entire evening being on guard after just having done a full day of screening interviews. From my own experience and that of my classmates, I don't think dinner/cocktail-party attendance had any influence on who got an offer and who did not. If you think that by showing in your frazzled state you could only damage your chances, just don't go.

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