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Interview Tips: The Long Distance Interview

by on May 3, 2010

If you are considering working in Asia, but living in the U.K., U.S. or another far away location, you may be asked to have an initial interview via phone or video conference.  This is often ideal, especially for junior or mid-level candidates, as neither you nor your potential employer may be quite sure that your level of experience is suited for the position or that it is the right opportunity for you.  In that case, a firm may not be willing to go to the expense of bringing you to their Asia office for a face to face meeting, and of course you may not be sure that it is worth your time to make a long-haul trip until you can more accurately assess what the engagement will entail.  If this happens, here are a few tips to make the most of the interview:

Telephone Interviews:

1) Take the call in a quiet area, minimize distractions and, where possible, use a landline.  Of course, in recent years, the advent of VOIP had led to an increased use of services like Skype and Google Voice which are generally reliable but do occasionally pose technical problems and drop calls.  Therefore, having a landline as a back up is ideal.  However, failing that, there are other services, such as Jajah, which allow you to initiate calls online, but take them on your mobile.

2) If you receive a call unexpectedly at a time which is inconvenient it is acceptable to explain and ask to reschedule.

3) In any interview, but, more particularly in a telephone interview, you are being evaluated on not only what you say but also on how you say it. In the absence of body language and eye contact, you must sharpen your verbal skills and use professional and polished speech.

Video Conference:

1) When you commit to attend a VC interview, avoid cancellation or postponement because rescheduling often incurs significant fees which are paid by the very firm/company which you hope will offer you a job. However, if you find you have absolutely no option but to cancel or postpone, ensure that you apologise for it and briefly explain what caused you to cancel or postpone at the first available opportunity.

2) Be clear of where you are going and have a number that you can call if you encounter any difficulties. This is particularly relevant for VC as they often take place out of office hours and you may find it difficult to confirm details at the last moment.

3) Be a little early so you can settle down before the VC begins.

4) Be as aware of your presentation as you would be if interviewing in person.

5) Technical difficulties are often experienced in VC’s. Do not let this unsettle you, but do let your interviewers know if you are having problems.  Again, have a back up plan!

For more interview and career management advice, please visit us at Law Alliance.

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