Interviewing International and Exchange Students: FAQs for Schools

FAQs About Interviewing International and Exchange Students

When you’re interviewing international students, it’s natural to have questions. The following are the most common questions we’re asked.

Q: Why doesn’t the student seem familiar with the answers they’ve provided on their application? For example, the student’s application says that she enjoys soccer, but she seems confused by this and claims not to play soccer.

A: The application process is very competitive, and because of that, there has been an unfortunate rise in the rate of falsification of application materials. There are cases in which agents may assist students in answering questions, or may even answer questions themselves with what they think schools want to hear. Instead of relying on the answers you’ve already been provided within the application, use the interview to get a feel for the student’s passions, personality, and level of proficiency.

Q: Should I exchange contact information with the student during the interview?

A: You’re welcome to do so, but many of our partners chose to use Cambridge Network as a liaison for communication with applicants. Cambridge Network’s sales team can field many of the questions from students and parents without having to involve you. If you choose to email the applicants and parents yourself, we ask that you copy your Cambridge Network team to keep everyone aware of conversations and information.

Q: Can the interview go over the allotted 30 minutes?

A: An interview can certainly last longer than 30 minutes, provided it works for both you and the student’s schedule. Students may book meetings close together, so we recommend saying, “It has been 30 minutes, but I have some more questions. Do you have the time to continue speaking with me for a while longer?”

Q: How do I ask the family member to leave if they’re in the room?

A: Having family members in the room may reassure the student—but they also may distract them or, worse, try to coach them. You’re welcome to address this and say something like, “Having someone else in the room can be distracting. Can you please find a room where you can be alone?”

The following questions are specific to Cambridge Network partner schools. If you’re interested in working with Cambridge Network, please get in touch here.

Q: I don’t see my student online. What should I do?

A: If you have been waiting for more than 10 minutes, message your Cambridge Interview Monitor (in your Skype contacts) to let them know that the student is not online. They can locate the student or determine if the student will need to reschedule.

Q: What if the connection is too weak for the interview to take place?

A: Let your Cambridge Interview Monitor know that the interview will need to be rescheduled because of connection issues. The moderator will likely suggest that the student interview a different location next time to get a better internet connection.

Q: How do I type prompts to the student?

A: In the lower right-hand corner of your screen is a chatbox/speech bubble icon. You can click on this to send messages to a student during a call. If a student does not know where to look to enable the chat function, tell them to look for the chatbox/speech bubble icon.

For information about why the interview is so crucial for evaluating international students, be sure to read our first post in the series.