Ace That International Interview
Ace That International Interview
Did you know that the costs of just recruiting one single, managerial-level employee could amount to as much as two months remuneration?
To this context, add the costs of hiring someone overseas, processing their work permits, assisting them in relocating to the new country, aiding their acclimatization to the new culture and organization – and what you have is a pretty comprehensive picture of why it is so important for organizations to select just the ‘right’ candidate for overseas recruitment.
This is where it falls to you – the candidate – to convince the organization of your being that one person they are looking for. One way to do this is to put your best foot forward during the job interview – whether that interview is conducted in-person, on the phone, via video conferencing or on the Internet.
Following are a few quick tips to help you along:
The interview is the turning point in any job search. No amount of groundwork done for the interview is too much. During an interview, the task is not just to convince the organization of your skills and abilities, but to show them that these skills and abilities are a perfect fit for their requirement. You have to demonstrate that you understand and value what they are doing and are interested enough to be willing to live and work in a new, unfamiliar setting. Be honest about your capabilities; it will actually go a long way in helping you find a job that keeps you happy.
Most large organisations abroad have a standard format for conducting interviews. You will likely face a panel comprising an HR manager, a global/ international manager and a manager from the particular team or department you are applying to. To prepare better, you could ask in advance for details of the panel that would conduct your interview.
The Actual Interview
In the digital age, candidates are assessed right from the moment their name first pops into the recruiter’s inbox. Many companies may check your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other profiles, and some will even pay an external agency to verify your credentials. This means that you should be prepared to field questions about anything and everything in your bio-data, whether or not you explicitly mentioned it on your resume. For some positions, interviews can last for hours. Second interviews conducted by a new panel, too, are common.
In addition to your professional background, most companies will try to get information about your health and family life as well. Candidates who demonstrate a balanced, realistic perspective on living and working overseas and who showcase soft skills such as an ability to work with people from different cultures/ nationalities, are likely to be preferred. As in domestic recruitment, the ability to work well as part of a team is valued highly.
- Arrive at least 10 minutes before the interview and turn off your cell phone
- If no one is available to introduce you, shake each person’s hand and introduce yourself
- Maintain eye contact while addressing anyone
- Promote your qualifications effectively, particularly as you answer questions about why you want the job and what you can contribute to the company
- Always ask questions about the job, the lines of authority and your future responsibilities, because this demonstrates your research and interest in the job
- Follow up the interview with a ‘Thank you’ letter. Employers regard this as an indication of your strong interest in the position.
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For telephonic interviews:</>
- Fix the place where you will attend the phone call. Make sure the place is quiet and has good network coverage
- Have your resume and a glass of water with you
- Keep a pen and notepad in place
- Avoid keeping the phone engaged a few minutes prior to the interview. The interviewer may call a bit early
- Note your interviewer’s name and address them with it
- Make sure the interviewer has followed what you have said. Else, repeat yourself slowly and clearly.
Crack the Video/ Skype interview />
- Equipment: Make sure someone shows you how to use the equipment beforehand and test everything out in advance
- Camera: Set up the camera so it focuses on you. If you can get a tight head/ shoulders/ desk shot, this is the best. Dress professionally
- Microphone: Make sure the mic is near you. Even little noises can be very loud and distracting on the other end, so be careful about shuffling papers and tapping the table near the microphone
- Watch yourself: Some systems allow you to keep a ‘picture-in-picture’ of yourself on the screen, so you’ll be able to see what the other person sees
- Multiple interviewers: You cannot make direct eye contact to signal whom you are speaking with. It is therefore important to get the names of the interviewers in advance, and use the names to indicate who you are focusing on, during the interview.
So there! Ready to get cracking? Take the first step with our free trial of the Personal Job Hunt Manager where a real person helps you at every stage of your job search process, finds jobs that fit your profile and tailors your CV and applications to the selected jobs.
Now, go get that job that awaits you!
*Source: The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, UK
After a period of sluggishness, the job market in Dubai is looking up again. The first to benefit from this will be people who had stayed put at their – often unsatisfactory – jobs out of fear of the ‘Last in, First out’ risk of starting a new job during a recession. But things have changed and today, as a top recruitment industry expert puts it, several candidates whose careers had stagnated are looking for opportunities to move out of their current positions. Obviously, this translates into pressure for employers, 85% of whom are now worried about losing their ‘A’ teams.
If you are among those looking for growth or a better package, or simply, an exciting new job in a sector of your choice, then this is the right time for you too.
In a recent survey, a prominent UAE job portal found that as many as 66% of companies in the UAE are looking to hire within the next year. On an average day, this website lists 11,000 new jobs – a big jump from last year’s figures.
Confirming the trend, last September, the Monster job portal saw its ‘Employment Index Middle East’ jump by 10% year-on-year. However, before you rush to revamp your resume, take a moment and heed these words of advice:
- Do your research: Study prospective employers and be sure of their prospects before you agree to a position with any company.
- Work with the best: Select a recruitment agency/ firm and see whether they have the right knowledge about your sector to do the best for you.
Sectors set to grow
With 80% of all UAE companies looking to hire* within the next six months, it is worthwhile to figure out your options – and prospects – in various industries.
To start with, those in banking and finance are likely to benefit the most. As many as 85% of companies will look to recruit finance professionals, either to expand their teams or just to maintain status quo by replacing employees who have been lured away by greener prospects. Only 5% companies will actually cut down on their headcounts, even as opportunities abound in both, Dubai as well as Abu Dubai.
By announcing a slew of large-scale development projects, the UAE government is doing its bit to fuel this trend. This has encouraged private companies to follow suit. Because of this, oil, gas and petrochemicals will start looking up, further spurring growth in related sectors such as banking, construction, real estate and logistics. Spill-over effects will, of course, also be seen in the FMCG and retail segments.
These trends will be reflected in recruitment figures: 34% of top hires will head out to jobs in banking & finance, 32% will find themselves working in oil, gas and petrochemicals, while 27% will be picked up by telecommunications companies.
But, even as employees rejoice, recruiters are having sleepless nights trying to locate the right talent to fill various job roles. 87% of recruiters are finding it difficult to fill jobs, especially roles in financial or management accounting. With demand being so high, there is an additional fear of losing existing talent to competition, which explains the hefty pay hikes being seen in this vertical.
Several companies are actively courting expats to fill important positions, bringing in attractive packages/ benefits to do so.
Employees and companies alike are confident about the future, with 81% employees expressing positivity regarding the country’s growth prospects and 92% regarding their own company’s future.
Smart tips to a better salary/ package
In further good news, pay hikes will be back and most employees can expect to receive a decent 5% above-inflation increment over their current salary. Since pay is influenced by consumer price inflation, this hike indicates a real, as opposed to merely notional, growth in pay.
A recent online poll revealed that 90% of people working in the UAE believe they are underpaid. For these employees, even the increments they are set to receive this year may be of little consolation; many of them are actually finding it hard to meet the escalating cost of living in this region. Salaries had stagnated over the past two years and employees are now bearing the effects of this stagnation. The way out, of course, is to ask for what you feel you truly deserve. But there is a method to doing this right:
- Know your worth: Just as you research prospective employers and compare them with their peers, now do the same for yourself. Compare your pay with what your peers in different companies are being paid, for the same type of work. To do this, you can use online job portals to research how much is being offered to people with your experience, in your sector. Or just pick up the phone and call a friend who might be willing to share his/ her salary details over a friendly chat.
- Narrow down your range: Based on your research, come up with a realistic figure/ range that you think you should be paid. At this stage, also consider any other benefits that you might be receiving, which others in the industry may not have. For instance, you could have flexi-timings, additional leave options, company-sponsored health insurance, etc. Remember, not all remuneration is monetary, so focus on the entire package and not just the money you get.
- Gear up: Put together your key findings for ready reference. Have the facts and data handy. During the discussion with your boss/ prospective employer, you will have to focus on the quality of your work, the depth of your experience, and your significant achievements. “Maintain records of your achievements, hitting of targets and endorsements for out-of-the-box things you have done that has contributed to the bottom line, improvement of work environment, or new ideas you came up with that helped the business,” advises Hasnain Qazi, Middle East Business Manager at Huxley Associates.
- Be realistic: Recognise that you won’t suddenly receive a 40% hike, even if you managed to present a strong case for it. Salary hikes top off at 18-20% so if you get close to that, you’ve done well.
- Learn to say ‘no’: If you think the amount being offered is simply not justified, then do not let yourself be swayed into saying yes. The salary that you get upon taking up a new job will be your baseline for all future increments. So it is important to start with the correct baseline.
- Keep your mind open: If your company is unable to meet your monetary expectations, perhaps they would be willing to negotiate on the benefits? See whether you can improve your overall package, even if you do not receive a fantastic monetary hike.
Peak performance comes with perks!
Across the UAE, employees are seeking certain perks to enhance their quality of life. Most people try to maintain a good work-life balance, with flexi-time jobs finding more takers than the traditional 9-to-5 workplace. Government departments and companies like Microsoft and IBM excel at doing this, by offering work-from-home and other family-friendly options.
A recent ‘employee motivation’ survey said that 75% professionals really value work-life balance and find it motivating to work for a company that offers these options.
Expats working in the UAE, meanwhile, look to their employers to provide medical insurance, a special housing allowance/ company-provided accommodation, school fees for their kids, home-and-back air tickets for self and family, as well as a sizeable annual bonus on their salary.
For most expats, the no-tax system is a key factor that propels them to pick the UAE over other destinations, shares Konstantina Sakellariou, Partner, Marketing and Operations Director, Stanton Chase International. Being valued at their workplace, training and development opportunities are additional considerations.
The top factors that come into play are:
- Work-life balance
- Training / development opportunities (54%)
- Feeling that their work has an impact (44%)
- Recognition of work and achievements
- Opportunity for career advancement (41%)
So there, just go out and grab what you deserve. 2013 is the year for you!
*Source: Executive search firm, Robert Half internationalComplimentary, International Job Market Telephone Consultation & CV/resume Appraisal
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