Whether you have already been contacted for an out-of-town interview, or are just hoping to find a job in a different city, preparation for the interview process will considerably impact your outcome. There are certainly similarities between a local interview and an out-of-town interview. For example, all of the typical rules concerning dress and decorum apply equally to both situations, as do the usual tips about arriving a little early, coming prepared, having extra copies of your resume, and treating everyone in the office respectfully. Mental preparation includes knowing the common types of interview questions employers ask as well as visualizing success. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind about the out-of-town interview:
The out-of-town interview involves much more planning and attention to detail than a local interview. For example, you will need to discuss all the travel arrangements and have your complete itinerary nailed down before you step on the plane, so you will be asking a lot of questions. If you are working with a recruiter, the recruiter will be the best contact for this type of information. The details matter—any small issue, like not having the proper change for tolls on local roads, can result in a major disruption of your schedule. You will need to know all the travel and interview times, transportation options, and expenses for accommodation and meals. You will, of course, need a map of the area (be careful about relying too much on GPS data since it cannot provide accurate, up-to-the-minute information) and extra cash for transportation if you are not renting a vehicle.
Communication is key, and it is your responsibility to ensure that you have all the necessary information to make the trip a success. Common concerns are about expenses and time. Key questions to ask here: Are you paying for the trip and the company reimbursing you? Or is the company managing all the arrangements? How much of your time will be committed to the company during the visit? What types of transportation are available? Who is responsible for meals and incidentals?
You Are Being Watched
The out-of-town interview is a microcosm of the work experience, so the behavior of all the involved parties is significant. Of course, you will be judged on everything you do, from your attitude about travel and accommodations to how you navigate the office culture and actual interview process. Two particularly important, but sometimes overlooked, aspects of out-of-town travel are money management and flexibility.
Money management may not come up if the company handles all of the arrangements, but it will if you are responsible for getting reimbursed for travel and expenses. How you spend the company’s money can provide the employer with insight into your character, so make sure that you are exhibiting responsible money management skills. The employer will also have an eye on your flexibility. If the company will be making the travel and hotel arrangements, you should be reasonably flexible about your time. The company may also need to have a follow up interview, so ask ahead of time and schedule accordingly.
What’s Good for the Goose…
The management of the process of the out-of-town interview is very revealing for many job seekers. How the interested company acts during this time can give you insights into how you will be treated as an employee in the future. Was the company willing to reasonably accommodate your schedule, or were you forced to take a red-eye both to and from the interview? How much of your visit was spent at the company or being involved in company interviews? Did the employer seem unprepared for your visit? Did the company pay for all expenses, or expect you to cover some? How was the reimbursement handled? Were there any problems, and how did the company address them? If you made a mistake, what was the employer’s response?
Are you currently seeking employment or need to get ready for an interview, either local or out-of-town? For more information about getting assistance with your job search, or to get further insights into how to prepare for and ace an interview, please contact us today.