Oregon State University

Interviewing & Handling the Visa Questions

Interviewing

Interviewing in the US may be different from interviewing for jobs in your country. Please take into consideration the following:

Employers are interested in hearing about specific accomplishments and career goals. Elaborate on your achievements and focus on your strengths using examples from your past performance. American employers favor candidates who can demonstrate thorough knowledge of their career interests and of the organization.

The quality of the interview for an international student can also be affected by cultural variables, such as language proficiency, nonverbal communication style, body language, and overall appearance. Interviewees are expected to be well groomed, to be able to communicate self-confidence, goal-direction, flexibility, and independence. Speak directly and clearly. In addition, communicate your self-confidence with a firm handshake in the greeting and closing, and maintain eye contact during the interview.

Know your work permission guidelines and be able to discuss them confidently with the employer. It is important that you are aware of the hiring process for international students since many employers have never hired an international student and may not be aware that it is not as difficult and time-consuming as they may think. Most paperwork is your responsibility and the responsibility of your international advisor. Check out What Employers Should Know about Hiring International Students for more details. Also, meet with an international advisor if you have questions. However, keep the focus of the interview on your skills and qualifications.

For more information on interviewing including sample questions check out the interviewing section of our website geared for all students.

Handling the Visa Question

For most students, a job interview is stressful enough. For international students, interviewing with American organizations, there is the added factor of how to discuss the visa status.

Apply only for positions that are available to individuals with foreign status. There are particular American companies, organizations, and government agencies that hire only United States citizens. Do not waste your or the employer's time pursuing positions with these organizations.

Be prepared and knowledgeable about your visa status before the interview. Know your eligibility and conditions under which you are permitted to work in the United States. Meet with an international advisor if you need more clarification.

Respond to any questions regarding your visa in a direct, clear, and confident manner. If you are nervous or unsure, the employer will pick up on these signals and may not be able to stay focused on your skills and qualifications. Avoid excessive detail. This may give the impression that hiring you will be too complicated and confusing. Do not let the visa issue "take over" the interview. The purpose of a job interview is to demonstrate your skills and expertise related to the available position.

The decision to introduce your visa status and work issue is a personal and individual one. It is not required for you to bring up this topic. However, if the interviewer introduces the issue, address your visa status and work eligibility directly and confidently.

Question not answered?

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