Let’s say you’ve finally done it. You took one of those short courses to help your chances of getting work abroad. You steeled yourself to actually apply for an opening in another country. And now, you’re on the shortlist for that very job.
First of all, congratulations! Securing international employment can be quite daunting, and you’ve already made it this far.
What lies ahead of you, of course, is the make-or-break job interview. Yikes.
Sure, there’s a lot riding on this, and if English isn’t your mother tongue, an international job interview can be especially challenging. Yet fear not, for the proper presentation will not only increase your chances of getting the job, but it can also make you feel a lot more confident to take on whatever comes.
For starters, here are some common international job interview questions and tips on how to answer them:
- Why do you want to work abroad?
- Why are you interested in this particular job?
- What key skills or experiences can you bring to this job?
- Have you ever worked with people from different cultural backgrounds?
- How would you handle a conflict with a colleague?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What makes you stand out from the other applicants?
- How would you describe your working style?
- Which of your skills could help you adapt to working abroad?
- Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?
This is perhaps the most important interview question. Your motivation to work overseas will count for much with your employer. Wanting to meet and marry a spouse on the job who can help you get a visa is a sketchy reason, for one.
I can’t really give you a specific answer here, but I would recommend examining your own reasons. Are you seeking greener pastures? Do you hope to provide better for your family? That’s all well and good, but you might also want to mention non-monetary motives.
Obtaining international experience, developing cultural sensitivity, and expanding your skills via training in other countries are all good examples.
Obviously, most Filipino migrants will take any job that can help them migrate, but that response wouldn’t impress your future employer now, would it?
Instead, do a bit of research on your prospective company. What’s their vision and mission? What is their core product, service, or competency? Is there something about their brand that you admire or identify with?
Once you sort that out, you can then craft a more comprehensive answer. (e.g., “Your company’s objectives resonate with me, and I’d like to develop my skills further in such an environment.”)
Applicants from other countries can stand out in job applications if they speak multiple languages, have extensive experience in their field, or are well-traveled.
If you haven’t got any of those, hone in on your “soft” skills. Being a quick learner, having an open mind, and the ability to work well with anyone will stand you in good stead anywhere.
This question can be a bit tricky for Filipinos as there aren’t a lot of expats in our local workplaces. Fear not, though. You can briefly mention that while you haven’t worked alongside many foreigners, your former colleagues all had varying personalities and perspectives.
However, don’t forget to emphasize your willingness to work with people from different cultural backgrounds all the same.
Your prospective boss will very likely ask you this to gauge how well you can cope with any friction in an international workplace. Here, people of different ethnicities, faiths, and cultural roots converge, and conflicts can be inevitable.
This is a great opportunity to talk about a specific experience at work. Remember to illustrate the context of the conflict and to hash out your behavioral response. Throw in a quip about the (hopefully favorable) outcome to round out your answer.
Ah, the cliché interview question. While very few of us have a concrete response for this, you can talk about how the job might align with your ultimate goals.
For instance, do you want to lead your own team in the future? Are you seeking to enhance your current skill set? Or do you simply want to grow with a company whose goals you strongly identify with?
This is your chance to talk about what you can bring to the table. Highlight your special skills and experiences in niche areas. And as with the other questions, it helps to provide very specific answers.
All the other applicants probably want this job as much as you do. Be sure your interviewer won’t forget your answer for all the right reasons.
Screw perfectionism. That bird won’t fly anymore, so best not invoke it.
Companies these days, particularly international ones, are more interested in other things. The ability to manage your time, build strong working relationships, and develop the skills to work independently are but a handful of them.
Assess your own working strengths and summarize them accordingly.
In contrast to question no. 7, which focuses on technical skills, this is more of a personality assessment. Resilience, especially when it comes to dealing with homesickness and an initial sense of isolation, could come into play here.
If you’re stuck, you can flip the question on your interviewer. Ask them about the sort of challenges they think you might encounter on the job. Afterwards, dig deep and consider how your personality traits and skills could help you cope with such.
You’re within sight of the finish line, so don’t blow it. Rather than ramble on about any dramatic life experiences, summarize your key strengths and broader interests in a few succinct sentences.
For added points, come up with your own set of questions for the interviewer once you’re done. This will show that you are both genuinely interested in the company and have the initiative to do your homework.
On a final note, there are a few more ways in which you can make a lasting impression before the interview even begins. Figuring out a time that works for both of you (use a time zone converter), installing a good VoIP app beforehand, and testing out your phone or laptop to work out any kinks can all help facilitate a smoother, clearer, and hassle-free interview.
Lastly, if you’ll be on live video, prep your background and outfit as well. You’ll want to look sharp, so a crisp button-down is a good choice. If you’ll be taking the call in your living room or kitchen, be sure to do a quick clean-up as well.