looking job usa interviewing job offer work authorizationAfter going nuts working hard on your résumé and spending too many hours filling stupid behavioral questionnaires (as I told you about here) you’ll most likely have a few interviews.

In the US, most of the time, the first interview is a phone meeting. With a real person. Who speaks fast, with a nice accent from Kentucky and who is obviously calling from a cellar. Take a deep breathe, everything’s gonna be ok. And while doing it, breathe deepéy twice, because the process can become comical. Anthology:

The phone interview that never comes

Picture it: you get a vocal message from a recruiter who wants to schedule a phone interview. The reception in your apartment is as good as in a nuclear shelter and you never got the point of getting a home phone (to do what, huh?) He wants to meet you at 8am. A Monday. And he’s British.

I waited 30 minutes the first day at dawn before getting a cancellation email and a new meeting for the day after, same hour (!) Just so you know, I am still waiting on the second phone call (don’t worry about me, I finally left my phone without surveillance only a few hours after the schedule time!

And against all odds and because this company seems to be perfectly organized, I got a real interview a few days after:

The interview “candid camera”

The person I was meeting with starts the interview in the middle of the store, right against a loudspeaker. After thinking about it, she takes me… in a fitting room! Obviously, she doesn’t know who I am, she doesn’t have my résumé in hands and cut me off while answering one of her question to ask me which position I am applying for.

On paper, it seemed to be a simple associate position, but she keeps telling me about manager duties. When I ask her about it, she stammers before giving me a nice “but you know, basically here everyone is a manager”.

She spends the end of the interview bashing both the brand and her coworkers, while not having any clue about the requirements of the position. Then I have to fill the same form I already filled online, seated… in the window. Finally, she asks me to come back of few hours after that to meet one of the 12 managers she told me about because “she is not the one in charge of hiring visual associates”.

Do I need to tell you I’ve never heard about her after that and that I ran away as fast as I could?

EDIT: one and half month after that funny adventure, I got an email from the person I met with: she loved me and wanted me to come back to the store, to discuss further opportunities within the company. I am currently hesitating between politely declining or using a little bit of sarcasm to thank her for her reactivity.

The group interview

Completely new for me, this seems to be quite usual in the US. Here I am, in rows with 4 other girls applying for the same position. Welcomed by one of the managers (obviously, having a ton of managers is a habit in this country), he starts by presenting the brand, before offering us the opportunity to “sell” ourselves for a few minutes.  Troubling.

The interview “I know somebody who knows somebody who knows the boss”

Also called the typically US’ art of being introduced by somebody I only met once: “This is Amy, I met her at an amazing event she designed, she works so well, we absolutely love her”. Huh, thank you?

The interview “Please, shut up”

Group interview, again. The poor lady beside me answers stupidly, with her bad English, in front of 3 astonished people. “Main quality?” “Motivated” “Why applying in our company?” “Because you are looking for staff”. Things get worse when she answers a surprised “no” to the question “do you have a favorite item in our store?” (Please! Make something up, improvise, anything but say something!) The highlight of the show was this unbelievable monologue “don’t worry, if I get the job, I will get my nails done, I know they are not nicely painted today and I will change my shoes as well, and I can even wear different clothes, I am not wearing the right outfit for the store..” (SHUT UP!!!)

looking job usa interviewing job offer work authorizationAnd, with any luck, you will get a job offer

The offer “I’ll try to mess with you”

We spoke about a job X (in my field) with an option to help with Y duties (boring duties that anybody can cover), for a precise amount of hours. After two meetings and a lot of digging, the final offer gets from “lot of X with a little bit of Y” to “Y with a little bit of X if needed”. The amount of hours is was lower than discussed (-10 hours per week) and it’s finally a temporary contract. Funny.

Moral? Ask questions and don’t say yes to fast!

The offer, US style

The group interview in this fashion company went well, but without any news from the recruiter a few days after the meeting, I decide to go directly meet him again. The guy seems happy to see my determination and offers me a job… in the middle of the store!

Disadvantages of interviewing in New York

  • You can ruin your hairstyle in double-quick time by crossing an avenue at the same time as the huge gust of freezing New Yorker wind.
  • You’ll necessarily pass by one the famous steaming New York kebab carts while going to your interview. Smell of grilled meat assured!
  • In group interview, you’ll always be facing a real New Yorker, the one who is 100% self-confident, who speaks loudly and who will make a better impression than you.
  • You are for sure one candidate among 100 to be interviewed. But if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!
  • If it’s your first job in that precise foreign language, as it was for me, you’ll risk to be lost with all the technic terms and abbreviations!
  • They never completely get what your foreign education or past work experiences were about!

Advantages of interviewing in New York

  • You’ll soon become the star of the interview if you speak more than 2 languages (and if the second one is not Spanish!)
  • “Where are you from?” “I am from Switzerland” “Wow, that’s great! How do you love New York?” And just like that, 10 minutes into the interview are gone, the recruiter finds “amaaaaazing” to get that kind of expat experience and you feel way more comfortable!
  • Passing a few interviews will help you learn how to “sell” yourself better than anybody else when you’ll be going back to Europe.
  • The ambiance in the interviews is usually way more casual than it is in Europe. If feels more like a nice chat than an oral exam.
  • They never completely get what your foreign education or past work experiences were about!

Next time, I will tell you about the differences between working in Europe and working in New York. Some better, some worse and a few struggles, I am loving it

See ya’looking job usa interviewing job offer work authorization

12 Responses

    1. Hello Eva! Ce n’est pas qu’ils ne l’aiment pas, bien au contraire d’ailleurs! Mais ici à New York beaucoup de gens parlent l’espagnol, et presque tout le monde a des notions. Du coup, ils sont moins “impressionnés” que si tu parles d’autres langues. (Et si tu en parles plus que deux, la c’est le jackpot!) Je te souhaite une belle journée et à très bientôt!


  1. Coucou Amy, haha j’ai bien rigolé, quelles aventures ! Et d’ailleurs, ils en pensent quoi les ricains quand tu leur parles en french ?! 🙂 En tout, c’est des supers expériences !! Je voulais également te remercier car j’ai reçu le colis aujourd’hui et OMG !!!!! Il est AMAZING !!! Merci merci merciiii ! j’ose même pas déballer car c’est un petit trésor !!! Je vais me régaler !!!! Thank you very très much !!!!

  2. A mon tour de passer par ici et j’adore déjà !
    Je re-découvre plein de petits trucs typiques de là-bas et tu m’as vraiment fait rire ! En revanche, et sans vouloir te décourager, l’agressivité et les gens qui courent partout dans le métro je crois que ça doit être pareil dans toutes les villes stressantes, que ce soit à Paris, Londres ou encore Bruxelles. Du coup, à part le métro, je trouve les New Yorkais a-do-ra-bles en comparaison 😀
    Je repasserais me délécter de tes posts d’expats et de gourmandises 🙂

    1. Merci beaucoup pour ton adorable message! Effectivement, les New-Yorkais sont adorables, tu as complétement raison! Quant au métro, c’est effectivement assez décourageant mais le fait est que tout le monde est stressé, ou que ce soit! Il faudra faire avec 😉 Passe une belle journée,

    1. Merci beaucoup pour ton adorable petit mot! Pour être honnête, ce n’est pas tellement que c’était difficile, mais surtout très, très étonnant et dépaysant pour la petite Suissesse que je suis. Courage pour ton expatriation, et donne moi des nouvelles! Bises,

  3. Le passage “L’entretien téléphonique qui ne vient pas.” me fait beaucoup rire (enfin un peu rire jaune), c’est du vécu ! Et je le vis encore aujourd’hui !
    On te contacte par email pour te demander ton numéro et organiser un entretien au téléphone. Le lendemain personne ne t’appel. Quelques jours plus tard tu reçois un email “Oups pas eu le temps rdv demain même heure pour un call”. Le lendemain rien et plus jamais aucune nouvelle ni par mail ni par téléphone.

    À chaque fois qu’on me demande de parler français je ne sais jamais quoi dire à part “bonjour, ça va?”. C’est toujours un grand moment de solitude ! 😀

  4. Mais ils sont quand même pas croyables!!! Bien sûr, ça existe aussi en Europe, mais dans une moindre mesure – me semble-t-il! Personnellement ce manque de considération/respect me rend dingue un peu plus chaque jour! Et sinon, j’ai découvert ton blog, tes photos sont superbes! A bientôt, bises,


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