International Students - Interviewing for a US Employer

Interviewing is a skill that is developed over time, requiring preparation and practice. It is your chance to have a conversation with the interviewer, make connections with them and most importantly, convince the employer that you are the ideal candidate for the position. To begin your preparation, review these helpful resources for all students.

Additional Interview Tips for International Students

  1. Arrive early (at least 10-15 minutes prior to interview time)
  2. Treat everyone you meet with respect, regardless of their title or level in company
  3. Be mindful of your non-verbal communication
    • give a firm handshake to show confidence
    • maintain good eye contact
    • respect personal space
    • dress professionally, appropriate for your career field
  4. Be confident and enthusiastic in marketing your qualifications for the position. Self-promotion may not be natural for some international students, but the US culture is a highly individualistic and direct culture where clearly expressing that you are the best candidate for the position is crucial.
  5. Interviewing is a two-way street
    • Don't be afraid to ask questions to determine if this is the right role for you
    • US employers expect you to ask questions that show you have done research on the company
    • Page 39 of our Career Readiness Workbook has some example questions to ask employers
  6. Emphasize the advantages of being an international student:
    • For bilingual international students, your language skills and cross-cultural communication skills can be an asset especially as more companies are increasing their global presence.
    • Studying abroad takes initiative, resourcefulness, persistence, ability to interact with diverse individuals and adaptability to new environments – all skills employers value and look for in candidates.
    • During the interview, remember to emphasize these skills as strengths.
  7. In the US, it is illegal for employers to ask questions on immigration status, age, nationality, or marital status.
  8. Understand your work authorization options
    • View our Youtube video, "Talking to Employers about Work Authorization." >>
    • Although it is illegal for employers to ask about your immigration status, they are able to ask if you have work authorization to work in the US and if you will need visa sponsorship now or in the future.
    • Ensure that you fully understand your work authorization options under your international student status and respond accurately.
    • It is important to be able to articulate your work authorization options to the employer since not all employers may be familiar with them. You want to facilitate the hiring process for the employer so be prepared to explain it and clarify the employer’s role in the process. The U.S. Employer's Guide to Hiring UC Berkeley International Students (PDF) is a resource you can share with them.
    • If you have specific questions about your work authorization options, you should meet with a Berkeley International Office international student advisor.
  9. Practice, practice, practice!
    • Practice with a Career Counselor through a career counseling appointment.
    • Practice with your friends, classmates, and anyone else with interviewing experience that you feel comfortable with
    • Practice your public speaking skills with a group like Toast of Berkeley – Toastmasters International.
    • Find a conversation partner to further practice your English:
    • The more time you spend developing your English language skills, the more confident and articulate you will be in interviews.

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