You’ve sent out polished cover letters and resumes, and gotten requests for job interviews. Great! You are well on your way to finding a job in the U.S. from Australia. Of course, you must get through the interviews, and the following tips will help you grasp how to handle tough questions.
Understand the Types of Questions You Are Likely to Be Asked
Many, if not most, employers in the U.S. use behavioral interviewing, either primarily or in conjunction with other interview approaches. Behavioral interviewing is where to focus for tough questions, so here is a bit of background on what it is.
Interviewers ask questions about how you have behaved in prior situations. This is because past behavior has proved to be fairly accurate in predicting future behavior. It is not situational interviewing, in which you might be asked questions such as, “If this happened, how would you handle it?” Nor is behavioral interviewing traditional interviewing, which is filled with questions along the lines of, “What are your greatest strengths [or weaknesses]?” and “Tell me about yourself.” However, as you prepare for interviews for a job in the U.S. from Australia, it is always a good idea to ready yourself for these common traditional questions, too.
Be Honest Throughout Your Answers
It can be tempting to fudge a little detail here or there. Avoid that temptation and be honest when you describe past behavior. You do have flexibility, however. You can reframe issues and use certain words that make you look good. For instance, if you are asked how you handled a situation in which your boss criticized you, there is no need to say something like, “My boss is a bad manager, so I knew I had to…” Rather, a statement such as, “I recognized that my boss and I were not on the same page, so I…” This approach shows that you do not bad-mouth other people.
One reason to remain honest is that behavioral interviewing consists of drilling down to layer after layer. New questions are based on your answers, and interviewers will likely catch inconsistences and call you out on them.
Explain Any Necessary Background Information as You Interview for a Job in the U.S. From Australia
The culture in Australia is different than it is in the U.S. As you answer a question for a job in the U.S. from Australia, it may be helpful to explain how things in this particular situation worked slightly differently than they would have in the U.S. For instance, swearing at work is more acceptable in Australia, and open-door offices are more common. Socializing with co-workers after the day is over is also the norm. Keep these considerations and others in mind as you give background information and frame your answers (perhaps leave the swearing out!).
Convey Positive Attributes in Your Answers
Hiring managers look for the attributes listed in job descriptions as you give your answers. For instance, persistence, confidence, collaboration and critical thinking may be on the top of an employer’s list. Review job postings to get an idea of which characteristics to convey in your answers.
Practice Your Interviews
Practice with a friend or relative before you interview for a job in the U.S. from Australia. Have this person ask you questions like, “I see on your resume that you saved company XYZ $2 million last year. How did you go about laying off people?” You never know what questions you will be asked, so practically anything is fair game.
If possible, talk with people at the company to gain insight into how their interviews went. The more recent the interviews, the better. Also, some company websites or recruiting pages explain what types of questions you can expect.
Prepping for traditional questions such as, “What is your greatest weakness?” is certainly part of getting ready for interviews. However, you should focus much of your energies on behavior interview questions. Be honest in your answers, and know what skills and qualifications employers want to see in you.