Category: Career

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!