Interview Preparation for International Students

Job interviews can be nerve-racking. Especially if you are interviewing for that dream job you have been longing for. But doing it in a second language? Or even a third language? That can be intimidating! But don’t worry, here is some advice on how you can land your dream job!

1. Make an APPOINTMENT with the Knowlton Center

  • The very first thing you have to do as soon as you are scheduled to interview is to make an appointment with the Knowlton Center for a mock interview. Mock interview(s) should happen as early as possible so that you can simulate the actual environment (virtual, in-person, sound, attire, etc), have time to incorporate feedback from the coaches, and troubleshoot any technical issues beforehand.

2. Do the RESEARCH

  • One of the easiest ways to stand out among candidates is to show your passion for the company and the role you are applying for. Memorizing some numbered facts on the front page is a good starting point, but what’s more impactful is something that is not explicitly stated on their website. What are a few things that differentiate this company from others in the same industry? If you are knowledgeable enough about the company, you will definitely feel more prepared and confident!

3. Utilize the NETWORK

  • Denison alumni are extremely supportive. If you are applying for a specific position in a certain country, you might want to use LinkedIn or Wisr to find out if there is an alum who has worked in that office. Not only does this demonstrate your interest in the company, but you can also check if the company/the role is the right fit for you.

4. Make your own PERSONA

  • Now that you have a better idea of what the company does and how you fit into that environment, it is time to build your own story! What do you want the interviewer to know about you? Review your resume and choose the top 3-4 experiences that best align with the job. If the company values building relationships, highlight your mentorship and leadership skills. Ultimately, at the end of the interview, the interviewers should be able to remember you in a few words or phrases.

5. PRACTICE, but don’t memorize!

  • Interviews are tricky because you want to practice just about the right number of times so that you do not look too robotic. My recommendation would be to prepare different types of interview questions with bullet points, not in complete sentences. So instead of typing up a complete answer to every single question, come up with a few words/phrases that you want to highlight and practice speaking out loud with others.

As an international student myself, I completely understand how challenging it is to present yourself in a different language. Sometimes, you just cannot remember that one basic word even in your own language! Yes, that can be frustrating! But I can guarantee – as long as you are prepared, you will just be fine. Remember how far you have come, all the amazing things you have accomplished. Believe in yourself! 👊

Feel free to drop by my peer coaching hours (Mon 9:30-11:30, Wed 9:30-1:30, Fri 9:30-12:30), and I’d be happy to chat more!

By Sarah Moon
Sarah Moon Drop-In Peer Coach