Job Interview- 5 Steps to a Successful Job Interview for New Immigrants
You landed a job interview by following our previous blog article advice including:
- “Creating Your Resume and Cover Letter for K-1 Fiance Visa Holders and IR-1/CR-1 Visa Permanent Residents” and
- “Find Jobs by 10 Ways in the U.S. for K-1 Fiance and IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Holders“
A job interview for an immigrant is very stressful. For instance, the language barrier is worrisome for the interview. By the same token, job interviews in the U.S. are different from in other countries.
Because a job interview for an immigrant is stressful, there are certain things you can do in advance to prepare for it, make it successful and less stressful.
This article provides the job interview step and practical tips for immigrants.
Job Interview Steps
- Step 1: Prepare for the Interview
- Step 2: Practice for the Interview
- Step 3: Dress for the Interview
- Step 4: The Interview
- Step 5: After the Interview
Step 1: Prepare for the Interview
Understand what a Job Interview is Like in the U.S.
Typically, a job interview in the United States is very different and less formal than other countries. The cultural differences in the U.S. may be different from your home country. To explain, in the United States, the job interview is usually a sit down talk between the applicant and the company interviewer. Here are some good examples to prepare and explain a U.S. job interview:
- Always arrive on time for the interview. Specifically, U.S. employers take timeliness seriously.
- Introduce yourself while shaking hands. The initial hand shake in the United States is very important. Too soft of a hand is interpreted as lacking confidence. However, too strong of a handshake is seen as too aggressive. In some countries, it is not okay for women to shake hands with a male. However, in the U.S., it is expected to handshake. If you are male and your interviewer is female, then you must shake hands, even if this is not appropriate in your home country. And, if you are female and your interviewer is male, know that is culturally okay to shake hands. In fact, it is essential to do so in the United States. Keep eye contact when you shake someone’s hand.
- Stay calm and confident.
- Talk only a little bit about your personal life. It is important that the interviewer connects with you, but don’t focus on personal topics. Don’t get too informal.
- Focus on your professional accomplishments, background and experience.
- Don’t just answer questions “yes” or “no”. The interviewer will want you to explain.
- An employer in the United States is not allowed to ask you questions about your religion, sexual preferences or any other confidential information.
- In the end, remember to shake hands again and say thank you.
Research the Company
Research the company’s background. For example, find out what services or product the company makes or offers. Also, find out what the exact the position entails. More often, interviewers frequently ask applicants what they know about the company. Furthermore, they particularly ask what you know about the position and how you can help. With a little preparation, you can be prepared and answer the questions knowledgeably and confidently.
- First, visit the company’s website. By and large, most companies list their services or products on their websites.
- Secondly, read the job posting that you found. Typically, information about the company and position are usually in the job posting.
- Also, talk with people who know about the company. In particular, get valuable information from people who know.
It is important to gather as much information as you can about the company. It is important to realize that having this background information makes it easier for you to
- be prepared to answer questions and
- think of questions to ask the employer during your interview.
Step 2: Practice for the Interview
Ultimately, the best way to be ready for the interview is to practice. Remember practice makes perfect.
Practice Greeting the Interviewer
First impressions are very important in a job interview. Practice greeting the interviewer. For example, use our tips above and practice.
Practice Answering Questions
First, develop a list of questions that may be asked in the job interview. Here are some potential questions:
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
- Tell me about your education and training background.
Find someone like your spouse, fiance, or friend to practice answering interview questions. For instance, do a mock interview. Several days before your interview, have a friend or family member ask you potential interview questions.
While practicing, remember these strategies for the interview:
- Be honest, think first before answering, but think quickly.
- Speak clearly and maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
- Explain your qualifications and experiences
- Point out what you can offer the employer
- Explain why you want the job.
- Use good examples to illustrate your point and your skills.
- Express yourself in a positive manner.
- Avoid appearing desperate or overly confident for the position.
- Finally, avoid saying any negative things about previous employers.
Practice your English
Most importantly, practice your English before the job interview in order to communicate clearly and confidently. If the interviewer can not understand you or you can not understand him/her, you will have less of a chance of getting the job.
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Step 3: Dress for the Interview
In other words, dress one step above what you would wear on the job, or at minimum in good, clean dress clothing.
If you are applying for a construction job, don’t wear a suit and tie. However, a collared shirt makes a good impression.
Well in advance of your interview, you need to:
- Make sure that you have proper clothes
- Get a haircut
- Groom your hands and nails
- If you have a beard or mustache, trim it so it looks neat
The Interview Day
- Lay your clothing out the night before so you are sure it is clean and all there
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Take a shower or bath
- Wash your hair
- Use extra unscented deodorant
- Do not use perfume or aftershave (some people are allergic)
- Cover visible piercings or tattoos
- Eat a light meal or snack before the interview
- Brush and floss your teeth
- Use mouthwash or breath mints
- Light makeup (women)
- Bring a small mirror, brush, and/or comb
Learning how to dress appropriately for your interview will create a great impression. Also, it gives your self-confidence a real boost. On the contrary, do not wait until the night before to prepare. Your job interview is too important, so get yourself organized early.
Step 4: The Interview
Arrive on Time
Firstly, a very big mistake is to arrive late to their interview. In the United States, being on-time is very important. If you are arriving to the interview late, the interviewer will assume you will do that if you are hired. Definitely,this is not a first impression you want to give the potential employer. In the U.S., being late to work is looked down upon, and can even get you fired. Make sure you are on time, and in fact it is even better to show up a few minutes early.
To be on-time, make sure that you know the location of the interview. Have your directions ready and understand them. Know where to park. Drive to the interview place on a day before to know how to get there and where to park.
Like we said earlier, the handshake is very important. Be confident in your introduction of yourself.
Speaking and Body Language
Be polite and pleasant. Smile during the interview. Show interest in what your interviewer is saying.
It is important to maintain eye contact. In some countries this is not an appropriate gesture. However, in the U.S. it is very important because it shows you are confident in yourself, that you are listening, and that you respect the other person.
Don’t slouch. Not only is slouching a sign that you lack confidence and have low energy levels, but it shows disrespect to the interviewer.
Don’t fold your arms. For example, folding your arms sends a message that you are not interested in the conversation. Also, that you disagree with the content of the conversation.
Do not glance at your phone or the clock. This is seen as being interested and being anxious to leave. In fact, it is also considered very disrespectful in the United States.
Keep your phone off and tucked away. Most importantly, you don’t want to have your phone going off during the interview. This is a distraction and is considered very disrespectful in the United States.
Questions and Answers
Always keep the conversation positive. Most definitely, the interviewer doesn’t want to hear about all your problems nor do they want to hear you complain about other people or businesses. Primarily, keep the focus on your skills and experience.
Do not monopolize the conversation. For example, listen attentively to your interviewer and answer questions when asked. But, do not talk over the interviewer or speak off topic. Primarily, stay focused on the job, your skills and your experience.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the company. For example, asking questions shows you are interested in the interviewer and the company.
Do not ask questions about salary or benefits until the end of the interview, or better yet, not at all. If you ask about salary and benefits right away, it will seem to the interviewer that all you care about is the money. You want to make sure the interviewer sees that you are interested and passionate about the job. Also, you have more advantage in negotiating a better salary if you wait until a job has been offered to you. You may be asked, “What is your expected salary?” Keep your answer as general as possible, because employers would not consider you if your amount is too high. If you are pressed for a dollar amount, you could say, “I would like to earn approximately the average salary for someone with my experience.”
Never lie. Getting caught in a lie is definitely a job killer. Employers want to hire people they can trust. Also, it is important to note, that in the U.S. lying could be grounds for firing an employee.
At the End
Finish with Confidence. At this point, the interviewer may ask you if you have anything else that you would like to tell them. This is a great opportunity to emphasize your skills and abilities in a concise and confident manner, and to share information that did not come up in the interview. Keep it brief, around 30 seconds to one minute. Remember, it is up to you to explain why you are the best person for the position.
It is appropriate to shake the interviewer’s hand again at the end of the interview, thank him or her for taking the time to interview you, and say goodbye.
Step 5: After the Interview
Firstly, it is very important to write and send a thank you letter or email to your interviewer and anyone else you spoke with during your interview. In the email or letter, thank the interviewer for the time he or she took to interview you. As part of the letter or email, re-emphasize your skills, talents, and abilities. Also, include anything you may have forgotten to add during the interview or in your resume that might help get you the job.
If you are offered a job, do not be shy about asking more questions about benefits or negotiating a salary. Straight away, it is important to let the employer know quickly of your decision.
If you did not get the job, it is important to feedback on why you did not get the position and stay positive. After all, this information is valuable to understand what went well and what did not go well to improve for the next interview. In either case, the job interview helps prepare you for the next one.