The interview is your opportunity to convince the employer that you are the right person for the job. Your resume gets you the interview, but the interview gets you the job, so it is important for you to be able to articulate your past work experiences and accomplishments and your future career goals, all while demonstrating your professionalism, communication skills, personality, and confidence. Therefore, you must be comfortable with the idea of marketing yourself to an interviewer.
Interviews in the U.S. are generally conducted over the phone or in person. Before you arrive for your interview, be sure to carefully review all available information about the company, reread the job posting, and prepare to answer questions about your goals, values, education, and experience. If you are an international student, you should also be able to explain your visa status during an interview. Your educational background and work history will display that you are an international student, and hiring managers will ask the appropriate questions during the recruitment process.
Oftentimes, the key to getting an offer is to understand the stages of an interview process and prepare for each stage appropriately. A typical interview process has three stages: First Round Interview, Second Round Interview, and Receiving an Offer.
The first interview is often the shortest in length and depth of questions. Employers are looking for a positive first impression and for a measure of “fit” with their organization (e.g., the potential that you will succeed in their organization). The employer’s questions are often behavioral in nature, and you should come prepared with several questions to ask the employer.
Second Round Interview
This interview is often more in-depth. You may travel on-site to the company and meet with multiple people during the course of the interview. Tours, meals, and networking events may also be included along with a more traditional interview. Some employers may also incorporate a technical component into this stage of the interview process.
Receiving an Offer
Employers will often call with an offer, rather than email. If you receive an offer and you accept immediately over the phone, you are accepting the initial terms of an offer and may not negotiate. You may ask for more time to evaluate the offer and request a formal written offer, so you can evaluate all of the components – including salary, benefits, 401, vacation policy, and more.
Read the Career Search Guide for more information about how to prepare for an interview, sample interview questions and types of interviews, and tips for dressing for success. Be sure to make an appointment with a Career Services Advisor if you would like to practice interviewing or if you would like to talk through your offer.