5.2.1. Prepare for the interviews

The interview is essential to get a job. In 30 or 45 minutes you have to convince the recruiter you are worth consideration (and get yet another interview). This step is particularly difficult for foreign students as they have to overcome language restrictions (competing with native speakers) and a different culture. Keep in mind the following tips:

– Practice a lot: Even native speakers do a lot of practicing for interviews. So you will have to practice even more. Take advantage of the P.O. counseling and mock interviews. If not available, practice with friends or alone (in front of a mirror, a camera or a tape recorder). When you feel ready, then practice even more.

– Have answers prepared for common questions: Although nobody knows what a recruiter will ask, there are a few “very common” questions. Make a list of these and make a carefully written brief answer for each. Practice the answers out loud, but do not memorize them.

– Sign up for as many interviews as you can: Do not confuse “interviewing as much as you can” with “selecting companies to target” – always keep the target companies to a manageable number. The more interviews you sign-up for, the more chances you will have to practice, and you never know where the offer(s) is (are) coming from. So, interviewing more will not hurt. Try to sign up for every half-empty interview list available, as well as cancellations, and other “free slots”, in order to avoid taking somebody else’s place.

– Learn all you can about the company: The more informed you are about the company, the better you will look in the recruiter’s eyes. Knowing the business news and issues will show your genuine interest. Frequently, foreign students think knowing too much about a company can be consider an intrusion. It’s not like this in the US; on the contrary, knowledge is interpreted as an asset.