“Do You Need Sponsorship?” This Answer May Work Best


“Stuart, When an interviewer asks me, Do I need sponsorship? How should I respond? 

Great question! 

How You Answer vs Who Is Asking The Question

How many times are you gonna get that question?

With one group: always. With a second group, rarely. 

Never:  With executives looking to solve a problem, they care if you can help solve a problem. HR policy changes if they need you. 

Always: With HR and recruiters. They get paid to enforce HR policy.

Knowing how most job hunters hunt, you get asked this probably every single time you speak to somebody about your job hunt. 

I was an international student working on work visas for almost 10 years of my life. So I know a little bit about how we can handle this in addition to helping so many others achieve their dream jobs. 

How To Answer This Question

 So how should you answer? Well, first of all, recognize this one thing: It depends on who is asking the question.

There are two kinds of people in your job hunt that you will count as an international student, one kind will enforce sponsorship rules. 

The other kind can be creative and go around sponsorship rules. 

Guess where the difference lies?  

A junior employee, HR, or recruiter: they will be smart to strictly follow HR policy. They will ask you that question which may immediately count you out. 

Then there is another kind of person out there in your job hunt: those responsible for the business objectives. They have the authority to change sponsorship policy if you're a good fit. 

Always be aware that there are these two kinds of people. You can even commit to spending most of your time talking to the decision-makers in firms of interest. 

And of course, some companies do sponsor. In which case it matters less yet. 

My Suggestion On How To Handle The Sponsorship Question

My suggestion: always focus on the decision-makers so that they will specifically choose you and you will get a referral. When it comes down to how to handle the sponsorship question, remember, it's also a matter of your personal influence (having a referral). 

Do you have personal influence or not? Are you starting to get it or are you not exhibiting personal influence? And with whom? So now how should you respond to this question? 

You always want to answer honestly, but with a little bit of panache, a little bit of attitude, a little bit of sparkle in your voice. So are you ready for it? Here we go:

“Yes, I will need sponsorship. And after proving myself as an amazing member of your team, I think the hope will be that my sponsorship can work out. That way  I can continue to support the firm with great results.”

What do you think about that answer? 

So let's break that down: you are being proactive and honest and you're showing an edge, a little bit of confidence. 

Do you need sponsorship now or in the future? 

Well, let me, let me try this again, just for fun: 

“I am confident that after serving you for a brief time, you are gonna be so excited by my work product that you are going to hope that you can sponsor me and have me continue to serve at the firm.”

How's that? 

So we are being honest and we're putting a spin on this so that people are going to think, wow, this person brings the confidence that we hope to have into the firm. 

Will you in now or in the future need sponsorship?

Let’s try on  another response:

“I am so excited about the project ABC you're working on. I am sure that I can help you bring that to completion in the one year of OPT that I have to serve you. And after that point, you are going to want to sponsor me to have me stay on longer with the firm.” 

Again, that's answering the question in the affirmative. Yes. And with a little bit of attitude. 

So the next time you're asked, do I need sponsorship? You, you can say yes. If you say no, then you are potentially putting yourself in a bad position, either as someone who doesn't know the rules (that you should know) or so someone who's not being honest. These companies can't buy honesty in the market. They value that so highly. 

So, bring the honesty, but also bring the attitude, bring a little bit of panache, a little bit of your personality into this so that you can get the answer back that you want.

Just To Summarize Here: It Matters Who You Talk To

If you speak to a junior-level employee who loves you and wants to refer you, they'll go ask their HR department and find out that you can't be sponsored and respond telling you, “oh, I'm so sorry. We can't handle international students”. Okay. That is going to be a fact of life for you if that’s all you do. 

Or you can reach out to the people who can change the rules - those for whom the rules are made - the seniors and execs. 

The rules are made for these people to help them go out and win business. If they say “we want you” then guess what? You're gonna get sponsored.  HR delivers you to them. It's not going to be an issue.

So don't go into the job hunt afraid about sponsorship and whether you can get it or not.

Just make a smarter decision about who you're gonna talk to. 

Do you always speak to HR, recruiters, and juniors, or is it seniors and executives?

And then when you do answer that question, answer with a little bit of attitude, a little bit of positivity, a little bit of confidence, and you will go a lot farther

Let me help you get the job that you want to get because this is your time. And I'm here to help you get what you came for.


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