Depending on the hospital and the position, we may be asked to arrange a telephone interview or Skype interview, between the hospital and you, the candidate. During the call, not only does the hospital assess you, but you have the opportunity to ask questions about the hospital, the hospital’s expectations, and the lifestyle of the country.

First, I know what a phone is, but what is Skype?

Skype is a free, downloadable computer program that allows one to have free computer-to-computer calls to other Skype users locally, nationally, or internationally. Depending on your computer’s equipment, the calls can be voice only or video and voice. If one wants to call computer-to-cell or computer-to-landline, there is a charge.

How do I know a call is coming?

Usually, the hospital will ask us to arrange a date and time to call. The hospital will either suggest a few possible dates and times, or ask you for the best time to call. Due to time zone differences and different workweeks, there may be a few back-and-forth calls or emails before a time is established. If using Skype, they will ask us for your “Skype name” or “Skype ID.”

Who will call?

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Interviews for staff-level positions are either one-on-one calls with the unit’s or department’s manager or small panel calls (e.g., the manager and an educator, the manager and a staff member).

Calls for managers or other admin staff are usually panel interviews. And there may be more than one interview.

How should I prepare for my telephone or Skype interview?

Due to the time difference between North America and the Middle East, phone interviews are often held very early in the morning in North America, which is late afternoon in the Middle East. For example, during daylight saving time, Saudi Arabia is seven hours ahead of the Eastern time zone; during standard time, Saudi Arabia is eight hours ahead of the Eastern time zone. (So for candidates on the Pacific coast, calls may be quite late in the evening, which is early the following day in the Arabian Gulf.)

For early calls, ensure that you have been up long enough to shake off your night’s sleep, and sound alert.

In the case of phone calls, because on the phone you can’t show interest and energy through your body language (as you can in an in-person interview), it must show through your voice. Also, because telephone interviews tend to be shorter than in-person interviews, you have to be focused in your responses and questions.

And in the case of skype calls, where you can be seen, make sure you are professionally dressed.

If possible, have the employer to call you on a landline, since these tend to be more reliable than cell phones.

What will the interviewer ask?

Phone interviews are chiefly work-related, “standard” employment interviews. Staff-level applicants are usually questioned on topics such as procedures, skills, time management strategies, conflict management strategies, etc. It is common to be asked scenario questions, e.g., how you would handle specific types of emergency situations, specific types of patients, work-related incidents. You may be asked why you are interested in working at the hospital and in the country.

Have a copy of your resume with you, because you may be asked specifics about your previous experience.

Management staff can be asked similar questions, as well as those about their management style, leadership philosophy, etc.

Any other suggestions?

  • First impressions are everlasting; therefore, on the off chance that you may be away from the phone when the call comes in, ensure that your voicemail message is professional. Your message should not say something you think is witty, but which may be misinterpreted or misunderstood. Don’t have wild music or children yelling in the background.
  • If you are doing a Skype call and have a camera on your computer, make sure you are dressed appropriately! You don’t want to be interviewed in your pyjamas, ripped gardening clothes, nude … you get the idea. (And tidy up the area that the camera will capture.)
  • If you live with roommates or family, let them know when the call is scheduled, so they can give you some uninterrupted quiet time.
  • Answer the call yourself — don’t have a roommate or family member answer.
  • Ignore any incoming calls/call waiting that occur during the phone interview.
  • If you must do a phone call, and you must do it on a cell, make sure the cell is fully charged and you’re in a room with good reception.
  • Don’t eat or chew gum.
  • Prepare questions in advance to ask the interviewer. Always have serious questions; they indicate that you are seriously interested.
  • Listen carefully to the interviewer, and ask follow-up questions if you need clarification. If you don’t understand a question, ask them to repeat the question or phrase it differently.
  • Feel free to take notes, but don’t let note-taking distract you. You can always follow up with your recruiter if you miss something.
  • If you’re having technical difficulties on a call or skype connection, let the interviewer know, and ask them to call you right back.
  • Finally, let your recruiter know about how the interview went, and whether your interest in the position has decreased or increased, and whether you have new questions.

Can a telephone or Skype interview result in a disapproval, and if yes, what are the reasons given?

Yes, a telephone or Skype interview can result in a disapproval. For example, a nurse manager may question an applicant in-depth about their experience, and decide that the acuity of patients on units on which they’ve worked is too low for the manager’s unit’s needs. Or an applicant may answer scenario-based questions (e.g., about treatments, procedures, protocols, or patient care) incorrectly or poorly, and not be recommended. Occasionally, a manager may feel that a person is not going for the right reason. Or your telephone voice may not sound positive or engaging. Or, in a Skype video call, you may look unprofessional.

What if they don’t call?

Sometimes the overseas lines can be problematic, so the hospital cannot get through to you. Sometimes situations come up and the call must be rescheduled without warning. Sometimes interviewers are conducting several calls in a row, and one or two run late. Let your recruiter know that the call didn’t happen, and they will find out what happened and will reschedule.

Good luck!