Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Are You Making These Common American Interviewing Mistakes?

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Jan 01, 2014 @ 05:37 PM

American English interview common mistakesAre you planning to apply for a job or an internship in the United States sometime soon?

Perhaps you are practicing your interview vocabulary and your speaking skills for the interview, but don't forget about American cultural norms in an interview.

The expectations of the interviewer might be very different from what you think he or she is expecting.

In today's lesson, I will give you 4 common mistakes that international professionals make in interviews here in the US so that you can be sure that you don't make the same mistakes.



Listen to the interview





Mistake # 1) Submitting a cold application

generic cover letter, American interview skillsWhen an application is "cold" it is generic and it is not tailored to a specific company.

It is very important to write each cover letter and even shape your resume based on the company that you want to work for.

In your cover letter, you could discuss some of the current issues that you know that the company is struggling with and talk about how you could help them with those problems.

You could also talk about why you would fit in nicely with the company culture.

In order to create a tailored application, you need to do some serious research on the company, so get started!



Mistake # 2) Giving a weak handshake

handshakeNonverbal communication is everything in the US! People will draw conclusions about your confidence and competence based on your handshake.

Make your handshake firm (but not too strong).

In addition to a firm handshake, go for direct eye contact.

That also shows confidence and it makes people think that you are trustworthy.

Eye contact and the handshake are two easy ways to develop a good rapport with your interviewer right from the start.




Mistake # 3) Not following up

Boston Guide Thank YouTo "follow up" means to send a short email saying 'thank you for your time' and including any additional information that the person asked for during the interview.

Again, this is so easy to do and it's something that a lot of people just forget to do.

It's a great way to stand out in the pool of job applicants and it's also a sign that you are responsible, professional, and polite.





Mistake # 4) Not selling yourself


selling yourself in an American interviewIt sounds a bit intense, but you need to "sell" yourself in an American interview.

You need to explain, through specific examples, why you are better than all of the other applicants.

If you come from a culture where it's better to emphasize teamwork or your role in the group, this might be hard to get used to.

Use every opportunity to show how you are different from other people who also want the job.




If you want to role play a typical American interview or learn specific vocabulary words for an interview, you should try our conversation program called Speakative.

These tips came from one of our learning modules in the Speakative program. Our students go much deeper into this topic and other great topics to learn real, useful expressions, vocabulary words, and to gain cultural competence for life in the USA!

Click on the button below to get a free trial!






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Topics: Interviewing, English Lessons, United States Culture

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