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I'm still a student and am looking for a job in a tech company like Google right after I finish college. The country where I live in doesn't have many big tech companies.

But the problem is that I can't fly all the way to another country to interview because I'm still in college.

Should I look for companies out there that are willing to extend an offer based on just phone interviews?

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    Meh, if they ask you to fly to another country, you're in the final stages. Think of it as a paid vacation ;) – Journeyman Geek Aug 7 '14 at 14:59
  • I think it also varies depending on the hiring manager. Some managers feel comfortable doing totally remote interviews; others at the exact same company - even within the exact same division - may not. (And I'm curious: why was there a downvote to the question?) – user22432 Aug 7 '14 at 15:19
  • I suspect the down-votes are coming from the mention of specific companies, but otherwise I think that this is a perfectly valid question. In addition to phone/Skype interviews, Google is known for asking a candidate to solve a problem on Google Docs, such that they can see the approach taken. – user2813274 Aug 7 '14 at 16:10
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If you are choosing which company to work for based on whether they will hire you without an onsite interview, because you don't want to disrupt your college schedule, then you have your priorities wrong. Choosing your first job is really important, and you should be giving it a lot of attention (unless an academic career is your main goal). Here's a few points to explain why I say this.

  1. A good company will always pay your expenses for the interview. Flying to interview will not cost you any money.
  2. A good company will fit around your schedule if you are in college. You can usually wait for reading week, or even the end of term, or schedule it for a time when you don't have anything important happening.
  3. What is your goal in finishing college? Isn't it to get a good job like the ones you are applying to? If going for an onsite interview at a company you really want to work for means missing a lecture or two, do it! Obviously don't miss anything that will get you a fail, but dropping a few GPA points to get that job is going to be worth it.
  4. If you let profs know in advance they can usually accommodate you anyway, so it's unlikely that a few days off will affect your grades even slightly. Check which days you could be away without missing a test, and ask for a short extension on any work due while you are away. (This may depend on the education system in the country you are in.)
  5. Visiting the actual site of a company you want to work for will be an important learning experience for you. Use the time to check out the company and see if what you've heard about it is really true.
  6. A big tech company (like Google) will probably have a branch in your country where they will do interviews.
  7. Even if you are in a different country from the company it shouldn't be a problem. You can usually do a job interview on a business visa or even a tourist visa, and if the company is willing to get you a work visa if they employ you neither of those should be a problem.
  8. If a company asks you to fly between continents for an interview, that means they are very likely to take you, and are already prepared to spend lots of money getting you to the interview.
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  • I didn't take his question to be that he didn't want to fly because it would disrupt his college schedule...but that could be a concern, as well. I think you've fairly well addressed that concern in your answer. (One caveat: very small tech companies, which may look attractive to the OP or others, may not have the budget to fly the candidate for an on-site interview. Esp. if the candidate is literally on the other side of the globe from them. Larger companies will have the resources. Small companies, might not.) – user22432 Aug 7 '14 at 17:59
  • "very small tech companies may not have the budget to fly the candidate for an on-site interview". Very true, but they will make other arrangements. In any case, you shouldn't be excluding companies that always do onsite interviews from your job search. – DJClayworth Aug 7 '14 at 18:18
  • A compnay that can't afford to fly you in for an interview is probably not a good choice for someone coming from another country. – HLGEM Aug 7 '14 at 18:57
  • Agree 100%. A good professor will say "wow, you got a job interview already? Awesome! You can have another 2-3 days to finish that report, just kick ass at the interview!" – Codeman Aug 7 '14 at 21:34
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There may be some, yes. Some will probably want a video interview, though, as well - so download Skype.

Also, if you have the skills, a big company may be willing to fly you to where they are, for an interview. This may come after a few rounds of phone/video screens; and if it does come, it's only going to be after a few rounds of phone/video screens.

When I wanted to try living and working in another country, I put my resume online, and planned a weeklong trip to that country. I was able to let the companies know that I already had a trip planned, and that I would be in-country X to Y dates and available for in-person interviews. (This, of course, is a lot easier to do if you actually have the money to pay for the trip.) I was then able to write off significant portions the trip as a jobsearching expense, since I had in-person interviews nearly every day I was there.

There is not a list of companies that "will" or "will not" do phone or video interviews, just as there is no list of companies that will extend an offer solely based on phone/video interviews. Apply to any companies that look interesting to you, and if you get an email or a call asking if you'd be willing to do an interview, THEN explain to them that you live in another country, that you can travel to their location for an in-person interview but only if they pick up the expenses, but you'd be quite happy to do as many phone and/or video interviews as they'd like, before they decide to bring you for an on-site interview.

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  • Thanks for the answer :) What are some companies that do just video interviews? – learner Aug 7 '14 at 15:49
  • I have no idea. And, as I stated in a comment above, one manager at Big Company A may be very comfortable doing phone/video interviews while another manager, also at Big Company B, may not be comfortable hiring only based on video/phone interviews. While a third manager may be uncomfortable even doing simple phone screens. I don't know of any big company that has a hard-and-fast policy of not doing phone interviews at all if a candidate looks interesting to them. I've expanded my answer slightly. – user22432 Aug 7 '14 at 15:57
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I went to the University of Waterloo where Microsoft will hire students to go work in Redmond, Washington which is a few hour flight and border away from Waterloo, Ontario. Thus, there are some companies that may not do on-site interviews but this is coordinated as part of a Co-op program where the student works under a NAFTA visa for 4 months while being a student. How different this is from your case is an open question as you don't state where you are in the world.

In more recent years, I've also had interviews with Amazon.com in Calgary where the job would be in the US as there are more than a few good Software Developers here that Amazon wanted to come and interview in hotels for a couple of days and then make offers though I didn't get one so I'm not sure what would have been the rest of the process.

Thus, yes it can happen in some cases.

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