How to Conduct an International Phone Interview
If you're job searching while in a foreign country, looking for a job abroad, or pursuing an international position, communication can quickly become complicated. Although email, the Internet, and smartphones make the process a little easier, it's still tricky to coordinate an interview time that works for both parties.
There will be logistics to coordinate including how you're going to communicate with the employer, scheduling an interview around different time zones, and, as with any interview, getting prepared to ace it.
However, there's a silver lining: putting the extra effort in to arrange an international interview makes a great first impression on your potential employer. Here are some tips on how to arrange an international phone interview.
Take the Initiative to Figure out a Time That Works
Don't say, "I can't figure out these time zones; just let me know when you find a good time." Instead, take it upon yourself to come up with a selection of reasonable dates and times. Your potential employer will be impressed if you offer your own availability while also specifying the equivalent time in their location.
Use a Time Zone Converter
You don't have to do the math to figure out time differences! And, you don't have to risk accuracy - just use a time zone converter. The Time Zone Converter is free, easy to use, and works well.
Be Mindful of Days, Too
If you're working with a major time difference - Australia to the United States, for example - you have to factor in what day it is. Because the time difference is so vast, America's Friday—a business day—is Australia's Saturday. It's important to remember these discrepancies when arranging an interview.
Be as Flexible as Possible
There's a very good chance you'll have to get up an hour or two early, put off your lunch break, or stay up a little late, but the more flexible you can be, the better, as it shows your interviewer just how interested you are in the job.
Put a Smile On
Even if it's the middle of the night and you're exhausted, professionalism is still key. Stifle your yawns (or have a cup of coffee!) and be pleasant and friendly, as if it were a perfectly normal hour. Avoid complaining about the time difference or difficulty of arranging the interview, and instead, thank your interviewer for putting in the effort to coordinate an opportunity to talk.
If You're Using a Phone, Test It out Before the Interview
International calling is tricky. Some phone plans don't even allow international calls, and others require the use of a country code. To avoid any last minute errors, test your phone out a few days before the interview, so you have time to sort out any issues before the interview. If you're using a pay-as-you-go phone, make sure you have enough credit to make an international call and to keep the connection!
Make Use of Apps
If you have a smartphone and can get WiFi, consider using an app or VoIP service to make the call. Many are less expensive than traditional calls or even free.
Be Smart About Video Interviews
If you have a video interview, make sure you are dressed professionally, just as you would be in an in-person interview. It's also important to check your surroundings—you don't want to be sitting in a messy bedroom or dirty kitchen. Download and set up Skype, or whichever video application you're using, well before the interview, and also be mindful when you're making a username. It should be professional, just like an email address.
Don't Forget to Follow Up
It's important to follow up just as you would with any other interviewer. Send a personal email thanking your interviewer their time, and for making the effort to conduct an international interview.