Now You Know | OFW Job Interview Tips to Help You Get Hired
Ace your job interview with these techniques!
When it comes to getting your dream job, every step matters. You need to put in the work to make a great impression, stand out and advance to the next stage. And the job interview is the perfect opportunity to showcase why you’re a great fit for the role.
Searching for an opportunity to work abroad is no easy task. While there are numerous job portals for aspiring Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) now available online, job seekers need to be vigilant about verifying the authenticity of job postings and recruiters. In addition to fulfilling all the requirements, presenting oneself well is key. Whether it is through a resume, an online profile and of course, the all-important job interview.
After carefully crafting the perfect resume and submitting multiple online job applications, it will feel incredibly rewarding to be invited to an interview. Spend some time to prepare for this major step both physically and mentally.
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again (because it’s so true!) - “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance.” Read and review the job description thoroughly. Be sure to align your competencies and experience with the skills required for the job. Research about the company and the destination country. Whenever appropriate during the interview, demonstrate what you know about them while answering their questions. Knowing more about the company’s culture and the country’s way of life, helps you to prepare to ask thoughtful questions. This shows your genuine interest in joining the team. Otherwise, you may come across as indifferent to the interviewers.
Practice answering some of the most common interview questions to help alleviate stress. It helps to calm your nerves and put yourself in the best frame of mind. Take some time to write down and speak out your answers to possible questions around your previous experiences performing similar duties in other organizations to the one you’re being interviewed for. List down tangible achievements that are most important to the employer and demonstrate why you’re the best person for the job. Be keenly aware of your areas for improvement. Working on how to answer tough questions will make you feel less surprised and intimidated during the interview itself.
3. Get Organized
First, be on time. “On time” means 5-10 minutes early. Confirm that you have the correct date, time and location of your interview. If there are any doubts about details, clarify as soon as possible, especially when multiple time zones are involved! Set a reminder 1-2 days before and on the day itself. Second, choose a professional outfit and prepare a notepad and pen. Set these aside as your go-to’s, so you don’t have to worry about this for future interviews. Last but not the least, build the habit of organizing your thoughts. As you practice answering interview questions, get your point across in a clear and concise manner. Avoid telling long stories. When you lose track of your thoughts, you lose the attention of the interviewer. Which brings us to our next tip...
4. Connect with the Interviewer
Aside from indicating what you know about the company, you also need to try to develop a connection with your interviewer. If you don’t know your interviewer’s name, don’t worry. It is absolutely appropriate to ask beforehand who you will be meeting with. Once you get a name, do some research and learn as much as you can about the interviewer. You may find that you share some things in common. This helps you feel more at ease and confident. It is also good to address them by their name while having the conversation. If you tend to forget names, write it down in tiny letters discreetly at the bottom of your notepad. While you have been practicing how to perfectly answer common interview questions, it is equally important to carefully listen to your interviewer’s full questions. Make sure that your responses are well-considered and provide the information that they are looking for.
5. Maintain Your Composure
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Put your best foot forward while being your true self. Try to relax and stay as calm as possible during the entire interview. Remember that body language speaks volumes. Be mindful of your posture. Before heading into the interview, roll your shoulders up and back, and lengthen your neck to maintain an open body frame that projects confidence. Sit upright and don’t slouch during the meeting.
Make as much eye contact with your interviewer as he or she makes with you. This is called “mirroring.” If staring into someone’s eyes makes you feel uncomfortable, a good trick is to focus on the triangular area formed by the person’s eyes and nose. If your eyes wander around too much or stare into space, it makes you look clueless or lost.
Keep a friendly facial expression to not make the other person feel uncomfortable. Avoid cutting off the interviewer, especially when he or she is asking questions. If you need to take a moment to think about your answer, don’t hesitate to pause and just be silent until you’re ready to speak. This is a better approach than using filler words such as, “well,” “I mean,” “it’s like,” “you know,” “uhm,” and “uh.” These words have no purpose except to make answers sound less credible.
Delivering your responses with certainty and speaking in a relaxed pace with a clear tone of voice will give the interviewer a sense of reassurance and is a reflection of your experience and expertise.
6. Follow-Up After the Interview
Always reiterate your interest in the position after the interview by sending a thank you note. It is also a good opportunity to include anything of importance that was not discussed or that you might not have answered as well as you would have liked.
Immediately write down some notes and impressions after your interview, so you won’t easily forget them. Think about the questions that were asked and which responsibilities or topics seemed most important to the interviewer. Use these details to help personalize your thank you note.
While the note can serve as a letter of thanks and a follow-up sales pitch, keep it short. Craft a concise reminder to the employer why you’re the right person for the job. Send your note soon after the interview; ideally via email within 24 hours.
Bonus: Tips for a Successful Online Job Interview
It is highly likely that your interview will be held via an online meeting rather than in person. We have had to do hundreds of online meetings and interviews to support our aspiring OFWs to land their dream job abroad. In combination with the list above, here’s a bonus set of techniques to help you get even better prepared for your next online interview.
1. Prepare the best device.
Use a reliable device that you are most comfortable with. Ensure that it has a stable internet connection and it is capable of running the specific application used by the interviewer to facilitate your online meeting.
2. Choose the perfect location.
Ideally, you should be in a room that is free from any noise or distractions. Display a clean, generic background and check that it’s not too dark. Try to avoid using overhead lights and sit by a window, if possible. Poor lighting may cause shadows or glare, natural lighting or a lamp with warm light is preferable.
3. Do a test-run.
It is a good idea to test your internet access, the stability of your device running the interview application, as well as your lighting, video and sound quality. Get familiar with the application you’ll be using to ensure that everything works perfectly. Try to seek help from a friend or family member to do a mock-interview, under as close to identical circumstances as possible.
4. Prepare a back-up plan.
Glitches may occur unexpectedly on the day of the interview itself. Try to prepare a back-up device in case you encounter any failures with your primary device. Or you may inform the interviewer via email ahead of the scheduled interview date, that you’ll switch off your video and revert to voice only, in case of internet connection issues.
5. Maintain good interview etiquette.
Dress professionally, maintain good posture and a friendly disposition throughout the interview. Sit up straight and resist any tendencies to slouch forward. Even though you won't be meeting the interviewer in person, your appearance is key in making a positive first impression. Eye contact is essential even in a virtual meeting. Instead of looking at the person on your screen, focus your eyes on the webcam. When responding to questions, nod, but take a second before responding in case the connection is weak. This would ensure that you don’t end up talking over the interviewer.
Now you know!
The path to finding and landing your dream job may be filled with challenges. But we hope that you are feeling more inspired and ready to go after it. While the job market is competitive, you’re 100% guaranteed to get zero jobs if you don’t apply to any of them. There’s no time to wait and see! Be proactive and set yourself up for success now.
If you’ve always felt uncomfortable during interviews, and even more now with the extra stress of preparing for an online meeting -- we hope these tips have helped to ease some of your worries. The best thing you can do is spend as much time as you can making sure everything runs smoothly and practicing to the point that it all comes naturally. The more time you spend practicing, the better you will become at online meetings and at mastering the art of interviewing.
You can live out the success story you’ve been dreaming to tell. And we can help you join the thousands of OFWs who have successfully built their dream lives abroad! Message us today.