Reframing the International Education Interview

Who doesn’t want to work in study abroad?! Even through a global pandemic, the job boards are hopping and people are emailing me daily to tell me about their successes in the job search and their “oh so close’ encounters with a job offer.

I’ve been asking around and the big issue for folks these days seems to be the interview(s)! They’re getting LOTS of them apparently, but so are others and that makes the interviewing that much more stressful.

When our nerves get involved, it makes it even more difficult to shine during an interview.

We KNOW the work we can do.

We KNOW the value we bring.

We KNOW our commitment to students, faculty, global communities, cultures.

But we can’t seem to get IN the door and it is frustrating. This journey of interviewing endlessly can create a downward spiral in our motivation and belief in ourselves.

Let’s take a moment to be kind to ourselves.  Breathe. Take a day off from the job search and do something you fully enjoy (that is pandemic safe, of course!). Get it out of your system so that when you return to the research, the zoom prepping, and the big interview day (again!), you will feel refreshed.

But before zoom consumes several hours of your life again, let’s talk about the POWER of reframing.

Reframing an interview allows us to reimagine how things can unfold, which really decreases the stress level.

When I coach people about interviewing, one of the first things we talk about is what an interview really is.  Typically those interviewing will comment on it being a skill assessment or even a competition.  But when we reframe what an interview actually IS…it really is very simple.

It is a conversation.

About a topic you and the people across the table/screen deeply care about.

Pause here and REALLY think about that.  A conversation about a topic you all care about.

Wow, that makes it a lot more managable, doesn’t it?  (This is usually the response from people I coach!)

Imagine that you’re at a friend’s house for a dinner party.  You get seated next to someone you don’t know. While making small talk, the conversation turns to careers. You learn that your seat-mate is a study abroad risk assessment specialist!  WOW!  You ask lots of questions – as they do – and you have a great conversation about the field you both love.  You leave that dinner party with a new contact and a smile, knowing you spent part of your evening talking about a topic you love with someone who loves it too.

FUN, right?

Well, let’s reframe the interview.  You arrive at a computer screen (or a phone call, in person, etc) to meet with people who work in your desired field! They ask you questions and you answer them authentically. You get to ask them some questions, too. You leave with new contacts and (hopefully) a smile for the experience, as you spent part of your day (or evening) talking about a topic you love with people who love it too.

I realize that leaving a dinner party vs leaving an interview have two different potential outcomes, of course.  However, when we reframe an interview to feel like a conversation we have regularly with others in the field (classmates, professors, colleagues of past and present, family, friends, etc) – it is less overwhelming and dare I say – ENJOYABLE?

If you’re out there interviewing and feeling like you’ll never be the ONE invited to join an organization, I would encourage you to reframe your interview.

Sometimes interviews become:

  • A way to expand your network for the future: Remember that people leave organizations and often end up on hiring committees in other organizations. You never know where your paths will cross again, so even if you don’t get THIS job you may have inadvertantly done a preliminary interview for a future job!
  • Disappointment to sudden joy:  Occasionally, you will be 2nd choice and suddenly you get a phone call that the person who accepted the position had to back out. Now you’re their first choice! (It happens!)
  • A path to another job you didn’t expect: This week alone, someone I coach was interviewed for a job and didn’t get selected because he was more appropriate for another job in the org. They instead asked him to interview for that job and made an introduction to the hiring manager.
  • A confidence BUILDER:  When you hear more questions and get to practice many answers along the way, you actually are more prepared than you realize. (See how reframing works!)
  • An excuse to get feedback from the pros:  Not getting the job opens the door to ask an important question. You can easily frame it this way: “In an effort to grow and improve, I’m seeking your feedback about my interview. I value your time and wisdom.”

Reframing is a tool that can really help you in your international education job search!  It also is a tool that helps in every day life – so start exercising your reframing muscle and see where it leads.

If you’d like more free advice on the international job search, download this PDF full of tips!




The Online International Education Career Academy (IECA) is HERE!

After 8 long months of work to prepare the re-launch of the International Education Career Academy – we are officially open for registration.

The IECA is an online program for those seeking to launch or expand their international education career.  Having helped over 200 people land jobs in int’l ed, I have been able to distill the tips and tricks of the int’l ed job application journey into 5 distinct modules:

  • Letting go
  • Resume Writing – The one that gets you the interview
  • Cover Letters – The one that shows your professional heart
  • Interviewing for Int’l Ed
  • Compensation Negotiation that earns you an expansive lifetime income

There is also an early bird rate if you enroll before March 23rd at 8 pm eastern.

And if you pay in full, there is a fabulous POWER BONUS – click below to learn about it!

Despite COVID-19, I believe in our global community. And I deeply believe that international education is a path to peace. So, I’m sharing this beautiful and productive program for anyone seeking a career in international education. You can view the curriculum, read testimonials and REGISTER for the IECA here.

(Please know the rate includes a COVID-19 discount and there is payment plan option.)

Feel free to email me at with any questions!

Wishing you all good health,


International Education Week Ideas for 2019

The fall semester is now underway for institutions across the U.S. and before you know it November will be here, and along with it, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ International Education Week (IEW)! November becomes a great excuse to cheerlead the beauty of sojourning and appreciating cultures. Here are some ideas to easily inspire an awareness and appreciation for global travel and cross-cultural understanding:

1. Puzzle it out:  I lose sleep imagining how few people in the US can actually identify major countries across the globe. One easy way to encourage folks to think about where countries reside on a map is to have a table in a well trafficked place (e.g. student union, office lobby, cafeteria, etc.) with a KID’s version of a global puzzle.  Have folks stop by and ask them do the puzzle and then give them an incentive to learn more about the world once they solve it. Inevitably they’re either going to feel very proud of how quickly they completed the puzzle OR have a heightened awareness of how little they know about the world map! You can offer puzzles by region of the world – which align nicely with “Where do you want to study abroad?” or “Where are you from?” too.  Do what works for YOUR community – for example, if you’re an office that specializes in relocating people to China, use a puzzle of the Chinese provinces.

2. Food is Culture:  Partner with your community’s dining services to highlight an ingredient from around the world. Have a poster or flyer describing the origin of the ingredient to provide more detailed information about how that ingredient migrated regionally or globally.  For example, did you know that okra originated in Southern Ethiopia? Most people think it is from the US South!  (If you want to read more about that myth, read MIchael Twitty’s book – The Cooking Gene).                                                                                                         

I picked this book because it is the most practical tool for intercultural dialogue that I have read in a decade!

3. Have a common IEW book read:  An easy way to gather people of diverse perspectives together is around a common read. This year, I highly recommend a new book by Tayo Rockson called Use Your Difference to Make a Difference: How To Connect and Communicate in a Cross-Cultural World. I’m picking this book for two reasons – the first is that unlike many books on the topic of cultural competency, this one is practical (not theory driven). It is written by a man from Nigeria, a Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK), and under 30 years old. Basically, you can pick it up and read it, apply it, and feel deeply engaged in his methods for engaging across cultures. The second reason I selected it is because Tayo is a Melibee speaker and he’s able to visit your community to give a lecture about the important work of cross-cultural dialogue as well as offer a book signing.  You can read more about that here!

Jennifer Hamady talks about the mechanics and psychology of voice across cultures.

4. Get them talking:  Another approach to creating dialogue about cross-cultural awareness and international education is to have a keynote speaker deliver an inspiring talk – someone from outside your community who has a new perspective to share! This year, we have a few new offerings including Candace Doby’s talk on Translating Travel Skills into Leadership Skills  and Jennifer Hamady’s interactive talk/discussion on Voice Across Cultures. You can check out more options here.

5.  Art Across Cultures:  We’ve touched on using our senses to enhance our awareness of global opportunities (smell/taste through food and sound through public talks) but what about the using our sight? A visual idea is to hang an art display with paintings or images from different parts of the world. This post provides a sample of different art styles from Europe, India and Japan. You can also put a world map near each art piece and highlight the country (and city) of the art’s origin – and post flyers about study abroad or travel opportunities to each location as well as share some stats about the number of students/employees who hail from that part of the world.

IEW is a beautiful excuse to tap into our love of culture and educational travel. I’m eager to hear what other IEW ideas you have for 2019!  Be sure to share them in the comments below!