Interview Tips

So now only the interview process stands between you and your dream job.  The vast majority of interviews for offshore roles are conducted by telephone, and depending on past experiences and personality type, this might be great or terrible news. Either way, your preparation and research will be critical to a successful outcome.

Setting the time

Be flexible – apart from in cases of extreme time difference or rock solid work commitments, work to the employer’s requested schedule as much as possible. Offshore firms don’t necessarily follow a set interview process, so not only will this reflect favourably upon your enthusiasm for the role, ultimately it may prevent someone else taking your slot and impressing sufficiently to get the job.

Peace and quiet – where possible, choose a time and place that will give you the most privacy to take the call.

Use a landline – unless otherwise agreed, the interviewer will always place the call from their office. Lines from many offshore countries to international mobile phones can be scratchy or have an echo, so we heavily recommend you provide a landline number.

Preparation

Website – getting information about the firm from their website is the absolute minimum amount of research required;

Interviewer – finding out about the background of the interviewer on the internet or company website is highly advised. It is important to get an understanding of their credentials, tenure with current firm team structure etc.  Finding any level of common ground could be hugely beneficial in helping to build rapport;

Trade publications – study the press and internet for recent or archived articles concerning the organisation, particularly anything which relates to your practice area or specialism. Without making it obvious, demonstrating any applied research will help affirm how serious you are about the position;

Speak to people – do you know anyone who is currently at (or previously been with) the firm?  Getting information from within or being able to subtly drop a name can only help your cause.

Jursidiction – you should have a good understanding as to lifestyle, immigration, cost of living, location, culture etc before interviewing.  Whilst you may not be asked any direct questions about these, indirectly it will be clear to the interviewer that you haven’t done your research;

Know your CV – at first interview stage, all the interviewer knows about you is what you have written down on your CV. That information will form the basis of the questioning during interview so make sure it is fresh in your mind and you are able to expand upon any points you have made.

Common themes

When it comes to offshore interviews it is more important than usual to build a solid rapport with the interviewer, making sure they feel comfortable that you would be a ‘good fit’ with the culture of the firm and other members of the team. This might sound like an obvious thing to say, except when you consider the time and cost associated with your relocation as well as the average team sizes. As your technical ability has more or less been pre-determined by your CV, the interview can often appear less formal in terms of style and lines of questioning.  However, it is important not to switch off as there will be a number of key questions which the interviewer is directly and indirectly trying to ascertain answers to.

Why do you want to work in (Cayman, Bermuda, BVI etc)?

Consider this question a lock and normally one of the first asked. Whilst most people (including the interviewer) will admit that they first considered moving offshore for the weather, lifestyle, travel, tax benefits etc, it is always recommended that you prepare an answer which refers primarily to the quality of the work, challenge of the role etc.  You don’t need to shy away from the lifestyle benefits but always make it a secondary consideration and preferably only when the interviewer raises them first.

Is this person 100% committed to relocating?

You should be expecting to answer any number of personal questions during the interview. All of which are designed to prove that you have carefully considered every aspect of relocating and that you are fully committed to the move.

They will likely want to know the reasons why you want to relocate, your family’s feelings regarding the move, the occupation of your partner (so as to determine the likelihood of them finding work), how you will feel leaving friends and family behind etc

Is this person likely to settle once they arrive?

Indirectly, the interviewer will be trying to ascertain whether you have the personality to adapt to island living. It is generally perceived that outgoing people who are into sports and other outdoor pursuits are more likely to settle than those whose main hobbies are going to the movies and reading. So when asked what you like to do in your spare time, answer honestly but be aware of the angle.

Does this person have good communication skills?

As most of your business dealings with clients will be by telephone, the interview is a great opportunity for the interviewer to assess your ability to communicate via that same medium.

Ensure that you speak clearly, avoid using slang or irrelevant detail and if you have a strong accent, try and soften it a little. It is likely you will be interviewed by someone of another nationality who may have difficulty understanding your accent, especially if you are speaking quickly and using unfamiliar words.

Asking questions

Throughout the interview you should always try and ask intelligent and relevant questions pertaining to the information or questions you have been given. The more questions you ask, the better the conversation flows, the quicker you are able to build up rapport with the interviewer. If you have done sufficient research and are able to think on your feet, this shouldn’t be too difficult. If the interview is rushed or strictly regimented, making it difficult to contribute, make sure you at least have a few relevant work related questions to finish off with.

Closing the interview

Reiterate your enthusiasm for the role, ask the interviewer what the next step in the process will be and then thank them for their time and tell them that you hope to speak with them again soon.

Photos by photoeverywhere and freestock.ca