International Student Interviewing Skills

As an international student, there are advantages to participating in campus interviewing. You possess a global perspective, understand cultural differences, and are able to adapt quickly to new situations and settings.

Be aware, however, that some employers are not willing to interview candidates who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. When an employer registers to conduct campus interviews, they are asked to specify if they will or will not interview international candidates. Based on their response, we program our campus interview system to include or exclude international candidates from specific schedules. We do this solely based on an employer's stated willingness or unwillingness to interview international candidates.

If you are interested in a particular employer who will not let you participate in campus interviews, we encourage you to speak with a UCS staff member. The recruiter may ask you to forward your information to a specific international recruiting office or may forward your materials directly to a specific office or division.

Interviewing With a U.S. Company

  • Be punctual. Arrive 5-15 minutes prior to the appointment. If you arrive too early remain outside the office or place of the interview.
  • While in your home country it may be important to treat the interviewer with deference, extremely deferential behavior may make an American interviewer uncomfortable. American employers expect you to speak confidently about yourself and your success. Making eye contact with even the most senior person will be seen as a sign of confidence, not of disrespect. Eye contact is expected.
  • Interviewer styles vary- may begin with direct questions or minimal small talk.
  • Interviewer may do most of the talking or may expect the candidate to do most of the talking.
  • Questions regarding age, religion, race, sex, and marital status are illegal. And employers should not ask you if you need "sponsorship"
  • Expect direct questions regarding competency and experience. An open discussion of accomplishments and skills shows confidence.
  • Show clear self-knowledge, career goals, and long-term plans. Self-disclosure of strengths, weaknesses, personality, leadership style, problem-solving abilities, etc. may be appropriate.
  • Researching the organization and demonstrating that knowledge during the interview is expected - shows initiative and interest.
  • It is acceptable to ask an employer at the close of the interview where they are in the interview process and when the candidate can expect to hear back from them; inquiring about the status of an application after the interview is acceptable and demonstrates interest in the position.
  • Display initiative by volunteering information and asking questions even before you are asked to.

Interview Tips for International Students

Enhance communication skills by:

  • Talking and speaking up in class
  • Delivering presentations
  • Making friends and talking with native speakers
  • Taking courses which emphasize communication skill development
  • Attending workshops at the career center
  • Joining and participating in multinational clubs
  • Watching television
  • Reading newspapers and academic publications

Study commonly asked interview questions; write answers to those questions; and practice your responses in front of a mirror as well as with friends.

Schedule a mock interview with UCS to receive feedback on the interview.

Be prepared with questions to ask the employer. The interview should be just as much a time for you to decide if this is where you want to work as it is a time for the employer to know if you are right for their organization.