Planning and preparation are critical for any successful interview:
Take advantage of resources that provide information about the place where employment is sought. Find out about the company by:
• Researching the company on the internet, both their own website and other websites that might refer to them.
• Ask old work contacts, family or friends if they know of the company. You can always ask Linda and Shona at Expat Network – they know information on many companies!
• Request a company brochure or financial report.
• Telephone the company and speak to current staff about what it is like to work there.
• Find out about the parent company, if applicable.
• If you are working through a recruitment agency, ensure the agency provides you with information on the company and the position.
This will show the interviewer that you have a genuine interest in the opening and in their company.
Ensure you know the name and position of the person who will be interviewing you.
Try to get to grips with the job description so that you have a sound understanding of what the employer is looking for.
Relax. Proper, positive attitude needs to have been conveyed throughout the interview.
Speak clearly, concisely and in a relatively slow manner.
Some examples of questions you could prepare:
• When was the company established?
• Whom would you identify as your major competitors? What is your market share?
• What has been the company's major successes in recent years?
• What can you tell me about the individual to whom I would report?
• Can you tell me what training will be available?
Goals of the Interview
You have two main goals during your interview:
• Convince the employer that you can make a positive contribution to their organisation; and
• Convince the employer that you will be a competent and compatible member of their team.
If presented with an application form, fill it out neatly and completely even if it asks for the same information on your CV. Do not indicate "See CV."
Most interviews start with the interviewer explaining about the company and the position. They may start to ask relevant questions, such as:
• Why did you apply for this job? What do you think you can offer this position?
• What experience would you be able to offer our company?
• What appeals to you most about this position?
• In your previous employment what have you enjoyed about the job(s)?
• In your previous employment what was the most difficult situation you were faced with?
• What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
Emphasise your strong points and acknowledge your weaknesses. Stay calm and positive when challenged.
Respond to each question thoughtfully, truthfully, concisely, and completely. Get the interviewer to do most of the talking.
Be aware of your posture and body language - they communicate attitude and impressions, even when being interviewed over the telephone or by video conference.
When explaining your strengths and weaknesses, try and give examples of where your strengths lie. Acknowledge any weaknesses and explain how you could overcome these, ie: training, experience etc.
• Do not smoke or chew gum.
• Do not drink alcoholic beverages prior to the interview.
• Avoid answering questions with a simple yes or no.
• Never lie.
• Never make derogatory statements about your present or former employers.
• Initially, do not inquire about salary, vacations, bonuses, retirement, or any other benefits – you can deal with this at second interview stage.
• Never be overbearing, overly aggressive, conceited, or leave the opinion that "you know it all."
• Do not make excuses or be evasive for unfavourable factors in your background.
Closing the Interview
The cardinal rule is: Respectfully thank the interviewer for his/her time; let him/her know that you enjoyed learning more about the company and position; and finally, that you will look forward to hearing from the interviewer.
This is the most common form of interview but can still be daunting none-the-less! Ensure that you:
• Plan your route, whether by car or by public transport and, if possible, familiarise yourself with the area where the interview will be conducted so you know where you are going.
• Ensure you arrive in plenty of time, so that you are calm and composed before the interview.
• Dress conservatively and in a professional manner - it always makes a good first impression.
• If there is more than one person interviewing you ensure you direct your answers and keep eye contact with all of the people in the room.
• Shake hands firmly, but don't squeeze. Smile. Make and maintain eye contact, and greet the interviewer.
• Sit up straight, lean forwards a little to show eagerness and to portray a confident image.
Video Conference Interviews
Video interviews are becoming more conventional in the workplace, especially for overseas positions. For the job seeker video conferencing can be little intimidating. It is hard enough to interview face-to-face, let alone in front of a camera, some points to consider when faced with this challenge:
• Make sure that you send any materials (resume, etc.) that the recruiter / interviewer may need in advance.
• Plan your route to the video conference facility, whether by car or by public transport and, if possible, familiarise yourself with the area where the interview will be conducted so you know where you are going.
• Video Conference facilities are normally situated in hotels or serviced offices, but it may be in another office of the company you are interviewing for, so be aware that you may come into contact with staff from the company you are seeking employment from.
• Dress conservatively and in a professional manner - it always makes a good first impression and will show on the Video Conference.
• Establish what amenities are available at the video conferencing facility, you may wish to bring a bottle of water with you if this and other amenities are not readily available.
• Arrive prior to the scheduled start of the video interview so you have time to become familiar and comfortable with the surroundings.
• Seek assistance if you're not sure how to use the equipment. Nobody expects you to be technically qualified to deal with VC equipment, so ask if you are not sure.
• Locate the camera to ensure eye contact can be maintained.
If there is more than one person interviewing you ensure you direct your answers and keep eye contact with all of the people on the screen as much as possible.
During the Video Interview
Make sure that the area is clean and neat and tidy.
• Try not to distract the interviewer with excessive noise or movement - be aware that the microphone can pick up on other noises in the room.
• Pay attention to small actions (e.g. tapping, shuffling, looking away from the camera and fidgeting with hands, pencils, etc.) because they look larger on camera, which can be distracting and convey unintended messages.
• Ensure you maintain eye contact otherwise the camera will be focused on the top of your head.
• If available use the Picture-in-Picture feature so you can see how you appear to the interviewer. Ask if this option is available.
• Allow for transmission delay when questions are asked and responses given. The interview process will be the same as a face-face interview. The interviewer's objective to screen candidates for employment is the same.
• The most important thing to consider is that this type of
interview is just as important as if you were meeting the interviewer in their office.
• If the picture or sound quality decrease or even stops, then inform the technical support at your end as soon as possible.
Preferred method of screening suitable candidates before inviting them in for a face-to-face interview. It is commonly employed for overseas contracts and is very important in the recruitment process.
• Keep a recent copy of your cv, notes, pen and paper and list of relevant questions to hand.
• If the interview is scheduled ensure that you are in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed / receive any interruptions.
• If the call is unexpected and it is not a suitable time to talk ask the interviewer if it is ok to re-schedule at a more convenient time.
• If you have been asked to call in to the interviewer ensure that you call at the precise time, too early shows over-keenness and may damage your negotiating position later, on too late shows lack of interest.
• If possible, a landline is preferable over a mobile.
It is important to be clear and concise and have a positive tone when being interviewed over the telephone as candidates are evaluated solely on what they say and how they say it.
• Be succinct (don't waffle).
• Don't use jargon, swear or use colloquialisms.
• Be polite. Do not interrupt the interviewer.
• Use the other person's name regularly throughout the conversation (but not all the time). Also, use the company name a few times.
After a telephone interview, send a thank-you that recaps your best selling points and add anything that you deem relevant that you may have forgotten to bring up in the interview.
Specific tips for Overseas
Consider Time Zone differences.
Take time to visit the local foreign office website to familiarise yourself with the cultural differences in business etiquette. www.fco.gov.uk
It is difficult to give specific cultural tips for different nationalities, but be aware that Westerners are generally seen to be more abrupt or brash than people from the Middle of Far East. Remember not to be too aggressive when dealing with other nationalities in an interview.
If your interviewer’s first language is not English, then remember to speak slowly and clearly.
Be prepared to travel overseas for interviews.
Ensure that your passport is in date - if you are traveling within the EU your passport must have 3 months remaining from the day you are returning to the UK if you are traveling outside of the EU this period goes up to 6 months remaining. If you are traveling to America please visit www.usembassy.org.uk for further information.
Provide your interviewer with flight details.
If you do travel overseas for an interview, make sure you take with you all of the contact details of the company and the interviewer.
If your flight is delayed or there is a problem, let your contact know as soon as possible.
Hill McGlynn International have over 30 years experience of recruiting for overseas positions and have placed people in over 100 countries worldwide, at all levels and for all positions.
If you require further information on any aspect of interviewing or getting that perfect job, then please do not hesitate to contact any of the experienced recruitment consultants at Hill McGlynn – you can find all of the global office contacts at www.hillmcglynn.com or just ask Expat Network.