Interviews are inevitably a little stressful…okay, maybe not a little, a lot! So, you’ve submitted your OCI applications and have heard back that you have an OCI. First off, congratulations! Second, no need to stress. This blog post will hopefully give you the tips and tricks to make your OCI day as smooth as possible, and maybe even fun! (insert shocked emoji face here).
- Choose a professional and comfortable outfit.
A well-fit, professional outfit is key to feeling comfortable and confident during an interview. To avoid scrambling around for an outfit at the last-minute, it’s a good idea to plan your outfit ahead of time. Although a couple of weeks sounds like a long time, this will allow you to get alterations or dry-cleaning done with time to spare. If you decide you need to buy something, you will also have time for that. For outfit inspiration, see “Fashion Files 2019 – 3rd Edition: CBB Style”.
- 2. Visit the venue the night before or early that morning.
The last thing you need before OCIs is to get lost on your way to the venue. To avoid this, it’s helpful to visit the venue the night before or early that morning. This will provide some comfort, as you will know exactly where you are going! If entering the building is an option, go in, look around, and get a feel for the layout.
- 3. Create a schedule so you know who you are meeting at what time.
It can be difficult to manage which firm you are meeting at what time. To avoid unnecessary chaos and stress, it’s helpful to create a schedule showing the firm name, interviewer(s) names, time slot, and brief points about the firm. I created a table, which really helped to keep the information straight! I even saw some students include a photo of their interviewers on their schedules. If you have back-to-back OCIs, you can put the firm information on a cue-card and review it in-between interviews. This helps to refresh your memory and keep your thoughts organized.
- Bring easy to eat snacks that you will want to eat.
- Bring mints or breath strips to stay fresh.
The last thing you want to be thinking about during an interview is, “do I have bad breath?” Avoid this by bringing a pack of mints or breath strips. It’s best to avoid chewing gum during interviews, so if you do chew gum make sure to get rid of it before the interview!
- Write a brief note after each interview.
It’s easy for memories of interviews to blend together. Try your best to write a note after each interview describing what you talked about. You could write this on the back of a business card, or in your own notebook. The note does not have to be long, it could be as simple as “spin class” or “John’s cat” – anything to help jog your memory for writing personalized thank-you emails.
- Send thank-you emails that day or the day after.
After a long day of interviews, next comes the thank-you emails. To make your life easier, it’s helpful to prepare a general template and then customize it for each firm based on your interview and conversation. If you connected over something, such as a common school or interest, it’s a good idea to include those points.
- This day does not define you.
There is a lot of hype around OCIs but please remember that everything is going to be okay. All you can do is prepare and try your best. The only thing you can control is your attitude, so have a good one!
Best of luck and have fun!