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To give a little bit of context, during my career I had many times interviews at very out of 'office hours' times. For example I had interviews from 1:00 AM to 3:00 AM and others. After so many of those, I know I perform really poor in those interviews, I feel demotivated, tired, sad, stressed, anxiety and feel the whole day before the interview I am just so nervous. Therefore I have a preference to interview during day time of my time zone. I am relatively flexible, i.e. from 7 AM to 8PM is ok for me. But I prefer not to interview out of those hours for the aforementioned reasons.

Now recruiter asked me to input my availability in the calendar to schedule next interview. The recruiter mentions one of the interviewers is in a time zone 15h away from mine and to keep that in mind. But does not specify what times are convenient for that interviewer.

As I open the calendar tool I see the available times, and there are times that suit me, for example at 7 AM in my time zone it is 4PM at interviewer time zone. So I selected, among multiple ones, that slot. Note that I do not pre-configured the slots, they put in the tool the slots I can choose to be available.

Once the recruiter saw the times the recruiter texted me: "I noticed you shared your availability. Do you have any availability for your interviewer that's located in the US?" i.e. in the US, in a previous email told the time zone explicitly which is 15h shift from mine.

I replied "Sure Sure. I marked few slots at 16:00 of interviewer time zone. Would any of these work?"

My questions are:

  • What does the recruiter exactly mean? what is she expecting from me? From my understanding multiple slots at 4:00 PM, isn't that consider office hours in the US? Maybe they are expecting earlier slots, but then, why would the leave open in the calendar tool for me to choose these slots?
  • What is the etiquette in these situations? i.e. me as the applicant am I expected to accommodate any time is convenient for the interviewer? i.e. if they say only available at 1:00 AM, am I supposed to either accept that or withdraw my application?
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    If the interviews have that big of a work shift, what happens when you then get the job?
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Jan 23 at 13:22
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    This is a question for the recruiter, not us. Either the recruiter didn't do the math, or the interviewer already has some prior commitments on those times. And yes, 4 PM is considered normal office hours in the US. You didn't suggest anything weird. Commented Jan 23 at 14:01
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    @AidaPaul, I disagree with your implication. I've done competitive programming contests at 6 pm and I've done some at 6 am. And there is a clear difference in my performance between the two. It's only natural. And it's only natural that the interviewee selects the most optimal time for his/her interviews. Wouldn't you do the same if the situation was reversed? Interviews are about putting your best foot forward. Commented Jan 23 at 14:11
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    @StephanBranczyk What implication? It's a question. If the core working hours are so incompatibile, what happens after the interview?
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Jan 23 at 14:14
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    @AidaPaul: you make it work. I've had 8 people in my team that were in a time zone that was 12/13 hours away from mine. You carefully decide which meetings are necessary, you curate the "somewhat tolerable" meeting slots, you have a local "advocate" in the main office, etc. If interested how this really works, I suggest you ask a separate question.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Jan 23 at 14:19

1 Answer 1

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What does the recruiter exactly mean? what is she expecting from me?

Why don't you ask them directly. Sometimes the automated scheduling tools (and some recruiters!) don't handle different time zones all that well and that could just be a simple misunderstanding. Your reply seems ok but you could elaborate a bit. "Since my time zone is 15 hours ahead of yours, I would prefer 4pm US time, which is 7am my time. Do you think this is workable? If not, what do you suggest?"

I recommend showing some extra flexibility: start your window at 6am and give them the 3pm time slot as well. Getting up at 5am with good mug of coffee in your hand, seems ok for an interview.

What is the etiquette in these situations?

That's kind of up to you. A 15-hours time zone difference (which is actually only -9 hour plus day) is perfectly manageable in a work environment. BUT it does require actually hands-on management. The interview process is one way of finding out whether your employer is willing/capable of doing this.

If they can't find a reasonable interview time slot, then chances they have little experience (or commitment) with this. This means your future work life there would have to deal with this.

For an interview you are expected to show some flexibility but I this goes both ways. Again, I would offer 6am and 7 am your time (3pm/4pm US) and see what happens. If they can't accommodate that, it's probably not worth pursuing anyway.

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