During the late 1980 s and early 1990 s I had frequent meetings with dislocated coal miners. Many expressed the sentiment that it would be necessary to seek work out of the area. Many times we discussed an out-of-town interview.
In contrast to an in-town interview the out of town interviews may:
The most challenging aspect of an out of town interview may be that you could be in the interview process the entire day and will interview with a series of people. The people will normally include those from the personnel department as well as various managers and the person who would be your supervisor. Perhaps the most maddening feature of this process will be the likelihood that these individuals will ask you the same or very similar questions.
Another wrinkle more common with out of town interviews is what is known as a group interview. There are two extremely different experiences that are referred to as a group interview.
The first could better be labeled a panel interview because it involves the job seeker being in a room with a number of company representatives. Each takes their turn asking the job seeker questions.
The other truly group interview involves the job seeker in a room with other job seekers who may be your opposition for a particular job. Each job seeker will be given opportunity to answer the same question in one scenario.
In another type of group interview the job seeker is paired with several other job seekers to prepare a joint presentation on some type of problem. The purpose of this type of interview is to learn if you are a team player, how well you work in a group or to evaluate your interpersonal skills.
If an out-of-town interview lasts all day, a part of the agenda will be lunch or dinner.
The dinner may appear to be a social time. I say appear because they may be chatting with you about cross-country skiing, but you will not cease to be evaluated for one minute. Your grammar, social skills and manners will be evaluated during this time.
The message is clear: Your degree won t mean much if you use your fork like a spear, cannot make an introduction or don t use please and thank you.
I suggest all job seekers facing an interview session involving a meal obtain an etiquette book at the library to improve areas possibly neglected earlier in life. Table manners and the ability to introduce someone may be those factors that will make a difference.
One should know their resume cold so that the job seeker can discuss their background between courses.
The job seeker should follow the lead of the employer representative in ordering, and regarding use of alcohol and smoking. Let them order first. Do not order anything more expensive than the employer.
If the interviewer orders a traditional meal like roast beef and mashed potatoes then don t order something exotic like calamari or frog s legs.
If I were in an interview meal situation I would not order spaghetti or any other type of messy dish. One cannot be participating in an interview meal while cleaning your dinner off your white shirt.
There are logistics involved for an out-of-town interview that are not considerations when the interview is on familiar territory.
In some circumstances, large companies will make the transportation and lodging arrangements for the applicant. These larger companies will pay expenses whereas a government agency or smaller company may not. Also if your brother-in-law arranges for you to get an interview for a job on the assembly line, you will be treated like a local applicant and not given expenses.
Job applicants who get a call from 500 miles away asking them to come for an interview are likely to be so shocked by this prospect that they may not ask questions about the arrangements. A good solution is to get the name and number of the person who called so you can call back with a list of questions.
The job seeker who must pay for his or her interview expenses out of pocket should not consider this money down the drain. Many expenses incurred when traveling to locate employment are deductible on your federal income taxes.
Regardless of who, pays keep an itemized log of all expenses and obtain receipts when possible.