Interview Tips for a Job in the US



Searching and applying for a job is the “easy” part of looking for a job. Your real battle starts when you get an interview offer. Most likely, interview is your only time to impress your potential manager. Therefore, you should really be prepared for it.

If you are applying for a job out of town or out of state, sometime you will be offered a phone interview instead of on-site interview. Don’t feel bad if you are getting a phone interview. It does not mean that you are less important compared to other candidates. If the interviewer is satisfied with your performance, then you will be called for the on-site interview.

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  Looking for a Job
  Resume (CV)
  Cover Letter
  Interview
  Job Offer / Rejection
  Salary Negotiations




What to prepare for the interview?

Below are several items that you might want to prepare before the interview:

  • Familiarize yourself with the company background, especially with the group that is going to interview you. At the least you should know the business of the company, and the role of the group in the company. If possible, get to know the objective of the company and how well the company does in the market.
  • Know your potential company well, but know yourself better. Get a sense of what you will be doing if you get the job from the job requisition, and try to match your experience with the skill required for the job.
  • Recall your educational and working experiences as well as your technical, organizational, and social skill. Explore your strengths and your weaknesses. Try to show your strengths and cover your weaknesses.
    You can start from your resume. Try to make your own questions based on the information in your resume, and try to answer it nicely. Most likely the interviewer will ask you questions based on your resume.
  • Go to your campus career center, and ask them if you can have a mock interview with one of their staff. Mock interview is like a trial interview, which is usually conducted in a professional setting. You can even videotape your interview. Mock interviews are immensely helpful as it helps you to see how you speak and how you present yourself in the interview. Many times you will be surprised to see your expressions in the recorded interview. That way you will have an idea of what to expect during the interview, and you can improve your interview skill.
  • Be familiar with the immigration issue related to working in the US. You should be able to explain to the employer the steps that you have taken and the steps that you need to take in order to work legally in the US.
  • If you are informed in advance that the interview will be held in a restaurant instead of in the office, be sure to learn the dining etiquette or table manner before the interview. You can ask your career center if they have a document or a guidance regarding dining etiquette. You can also find it online using the search engine.
  • Pick a nice formal suit for your interview. Usually navy blue or grey would make a good choice. For more information regarding suits for interview, visit this link

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What to do and what not to do during the interview?

  • Dress (and for ladies put make up) appropriately
  • Do not be late. If possible come 10 – 15 minutes early
  • First impression is important, give a strong hand sake, maintain eye contact, and be attentive.
  • Carry your resume, your recommendation letter or your references’ contact numbers, and your EAD card, just in case they are needed.
  • Be confident in presenting yourself. Say good things about you, but do not lie.
  • Show your interest in the job and in the company, but do not give impression that you desperately need the job.
  • Don’t forget to turn off your cell phone or pager during the interview
  • Ask intelligent questions based on the information given to you during the interview or based on your knowledge about the job and the company. Asking question shows that you are interested in the job. Therefore, you should do so appropriately.
  • At the end of the interview, ask for follow up. For instance, ask what you should do next or when you should expect to hear from them.

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What should I do after the interview?

  • At the end of the interview, make note of important detail information that you get from the interview.
  • Send a thank you note to the interviewer promptly after the interview. Thank you note does not always be so formal, but you should also know the limit. There are many sample thank you notes on the internet. You might want to check it out before you send one.
    Below are some sample thank you note letters:
Sample thank you letter #1 (Source: about.com, 2007)

Sample thank you letter #2 (Source: quintcareers.com, 2007)

Sample thank you letter #3 (Source: monstertrak.com, 2007)

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