So, you have a great résumé, you've done your research, you've applied for jobs in your target country and you get an email in your inbox asking if you can be ready for a phone interview at 9 AM on Monday morning.
|If you got this far, don't have|
a meltdown on the phone.
Photo by David Blaikie
However, they might. I was once woken up by my phone ringing at 3AM because the interviewer got their time zone wrong — and that was after I sent back a confirmation email to verify the time in both my time zone and theirs. Of course I still did the interview, but are you going to be prepared enough to handle an interview if you're woken up like that? Yes, you are.
You're going to have a friend or two call you and give you an interview over the phone. They need to grill you hard and make sure they would really want to hire you. They need to hit you with any and all objections they can think of and you have to smoothly address every one of them. You cannot fail this interview.
Kiwis are human too
Photo by kiwinz
You're talking to a human being on the other end of the line and if they've taken the trouble to call someone from another country, this is not a run of the mill phone call. They're going to be as curious about you as you are about them. I've had international phone interviews quickly devolve into laughter and discussion of local food and politics (which can be quite dangerous).
The three dangerous questions
No matter how well the interview goes, there are three questions you're almost guaranteed to be asked and you had better nail them.
- Why do you want to move to our country?
- Can you legally work here?
- How soon can you start?
When I was asked this about the UK, I mentioned that I had family in the UK and Germany and I wanted to be closer to them. I also mentioned that I had previously visited the UK and I loved the country.
You probably don't have relatives in the target country, so that's out. Hopefully you've at least visited. If you haven't, you might be in for a surprise. Some people who think they'd love London discover that it's too polluted and busy for them (I've several good friends who were disappointed by the city). Not having visited hurts your chances, but if you haven't, there's not much you can do.
At the very least, study the country's history and current affairs like mad and explain what parts of it you're fascinated by and how much you've wanted to live there and experience it first hand.
Remember, these are people on the other end of the line; they'll probably understand that answer. Most people have a hidden adventure streak in them and there's a good chance that you'll be admired for it. However, don't just say "for the adventure." Also, don't say anything too negative about your home country. You don't know the person on the other end of the line and if they're turned off by politics or they happen to admire the politics of your country, you may have sunk your boat. Stay positive!
|Random image of cats.|
I love cats.
Photo by Jesus Solana
I need to get a work permit before I start, but fortunately, the process is pretty straightforward.This is why you've spent so much time learning exactly how the country's work permit system is structured. Explain how they can hire you. When the company in Nottingham wanted to hire me, they were concerned that it would be difficult. I assured them that it wasn't and briefly outlined the process. Then I asked for contact information in the company to whom I should be sending links to explain the process in more detail. I told them where to download forms, what fees they would be paying and what papers they would need to provide. In short, I told my employer how to hire me.
At this point if they're wavering, you need to close the deal. If you have a sales background, you should isolate their objections and deal with them one by one, but there are some issues here. First, you may not be trained to do this. Second, you probably don't know their culture and you may accidentally give offense. Third, they may simply be too polite to tell you the problem or too embarrassed to say that they don't think they can afford you.
Assuming you think that they want to hire you, you can simply deal with the most common objections outright. First, I tell them that my contract should have a provision that I will repay all or some of the relocation costs if I leave the company before a certain date. Another thing I did to guarantee my first UK move was to tell them that I only had to bring over a few suitcases: I didn't have a household full of goods to move and that reduced relocation costs quite a bit.
Finally, "how soon can you start" is the easy one. You're already sick to death of Count von Europe, but you've heeded the lesson and you have nothing holding you back. Your answer is simply "I have to give X days notice to my employer. I can start as soon as my work permit is approved." The reality is that the work permit will usually take a few months (this varies widely), so you're waiting on them rather than the other way around.
Overview of part 4
- Do mock phone interviews with friends
- Remember that they'll be as curious about you as you are about them
- Handle the 3 questions with care
<< Part 3: Applying for jobs — Part 5: Salary negotiation >>
1. I would just like to take this time to point out that while searching for images for this post, I've learned that searching for "hobbit fetish" is not a good idea.