Interveiwing Tips for International Students

Submitting a resume and job application may get you an interview, but the interview will earn you the job.  It is important to be prepared for an interview and to be aware of cultural differences that may apply to a US interview as opposed to interviews from other countries.   Please note, that these differences are written in general terms only – they do not apply to all countries and do not attempt to account for individual differences.

US Interview International Interview
  • Be punctual. Arrive five to 15 minutes prior to the appointment.
  • Being late may not be a problem.
  • Eye contact is expected and shows confidence.
  • Eye contact may be considered disrespectful.
  • Interviewer styles may vary. May begin with direct questions or minimal small talk.
  • Interviews commonly start with small talk.
  • Questions regarding age, race, sexual orientation, disabilities, national origin, and marital status are illegal.
  • Age, race, sex, or marital status may be issues in the interview.
  • Anticipate direct questions regarding competency and experience.
  • Anticipate indirect questions regarding competency and experience.
  • Open discussion of accomplishments and skills shows confidence.
  • Citing accomplishments and skills may be considered boastful, self-serving, or individualistic.
  • Researching the organization and demonstrating that knowledge during the interview is expected and shows initiative and interest.
  • Researching an organization in advance may show too much initiative and independence.
  • Inquiring about the status of an application after the interview is acceptable and demonstrates interest in the position.
  • Inquiring about the status of an application after the interview may be seen as rude.

General tips for interviewing in the US

  • Be able to demonstrate your skills and experience.
  • Employers want to know that you can work both as a team player and on individual assignments.  When interviewing it is necessary to give specific examples of times, where you took initiative and worked as a member of a team.
  • Research the company and be able to discuss why you want to work specifically for this company.  Employers want to know not only your qualifications but if you will be a good fit for their company.
  • Be direct and give specific examples when answering interview questions.

In order to prepear for the US interview, international students should make an appointment with the Office of Career Services for a mock interview.  A mock interview allows you to practice interviewing with a Career Services professional.  The staff in the Office of Career Services will provide feedback on your performance to help you prepare for your interviews with employers.

Back to the International Student Resources page.