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I've been contacted by a couple of companies in Germany for a position, and I've been asked to be interviewed over Skype. Interview dates are as follows:

  • Company A: May 6th
  • Company B: May 9th
  • Company C: May 15th

The thing is, I've decided to go to Germany for tourism in June (2nd week). Is it OK to ask the HR representatives to alter interview dates and ask for face to face meetings instead of Skype?

Also I'd like to be able to see the working environment and hopefully talk to some employees and hear what they would say about company.

As a side note, I always feel more comfortable talking to people in the same room. My past Skype experiences were very stressful (connectivity problems, audio problems etc. are affecting my already stressed state of mind very negatively)

EDIT: Since so many answers are pointing out the "logistics" of the situation, I want to add that all three companies and my holiday destination is in Berlin.

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    Relevant (not duplicate) - workplace.stackexchange.com/q/7248/2322 – enderland Apr 19 '16 at 12:00
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    I don't know if I'd want to ask the company to wait an extra month to talk to me, as they may find other candidates and decide they don't need to talk to me at all in that length of a delay. – Eric Renouf Apr 19 '16 at 12:33
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    Keep in mind that it may be preferable to do the Skype interviews and, provided you're still in the running after them, visit them on-site for more in-depth interviews or a meet-the-team style thing. – Lilienthal Apr 19 '16 at 13:18
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    If you do a face-to-face interview, you have to wear pants and can't have a green screen with ninjas fighting behind you. But man you sound like you WANT to sacrifice those benefits for a face to face interview. – corsiKa Apr 19 '16 at 15:01
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    Just a side note: you don't state your country, but if you need a visa to enter the Schengen area, looking for a job/having interviews in Germany while visiting on a tourist visa might get you in trouble. – Guntram Blohm Apr 19 '16 at 15:13
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I have been doing something very similar from the UK to roles in Canada, there is nothing odd about it.

The interviewers are obviously keen enough if they want to have a Skype meet up, and will likely be happy to meet face to face if you are there (especially if you are travelling under your own steam/dime).

One thing I will say is your date is a bit further down the line than the Skype dates (June opposed to May). It may be that there are multiple people being interviewed for the roles, and you might be expecting them to hold up their process for you, which could get you knocked out. I would agree and do the Skype interviews (even if you're less keen to do them), but make the point when accepting (or now if you already have) that you will be there and available in June.

This shows a commitment from yourself on this move (the biggest fear is they will get to an offer and you will change your mind), and you will have filtered down so it'll only be jobs that both you and the employer are keen to progress that you will meet face to face. I would also keep applying to other roles in the area and make a point at application that you will be there and available in June.

I did similar, and from about a dozen prospects (via Skype/hangouts etc) met six face to face and got two serious offers, so it does work.

  • Very different directions are pointed in contrast to simbabque's answer. One is about desperation and yours about commitment. I'll wait a couple of hours more to observe votes and other people's inputs but I sympathise with your answer more. Thanks for encouragement. – JuniorDev Apr 19 '16 at 13:07
  • Thing is, I've worked on the basis that as they have already come back to schedule interviews, the logistics of visas etc aren't necessarily an obstacle to them (even if they haven't worked out the detail as yet). If the prospect of doing a foreign hire and all that means was a deal breaker, they wouldn't be contacting you. I probably applied to 20-30 roles to get the dozen (even though I stressed I was a Canadian and was prepared for relocating under my own pocket). – The Wandering Dev Manager Apr 19 '16 at 13:15
  • I agree to this answer as well. Of course it shows commitment, but could also show over-commitment. On the other hand, especially the point that a company doesn't want their best candidate to bail out after they started the visa process is very valid, and showing commitment early on is a good way for you to keep that fear low. – simbabque Apr 19 '16 at 13:31
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    +1 for pointing out the month difference. Do the Skype, and offer to meet in person as well. – David K Apr 19 '16 at 13:31
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This answer has two parts. The first gives advice about a possible immediate action, while the second is a collection of things you might want to consider when talking to these companies. I mostly phrased those as questions you can try to answer for yourself.

My personal suggestion is to agree to the Skype call, but at the same time offer up that you planned to come to Germany a few weeks later anyway, and that you are happy to take a little detour to come and visit them to make the interview more personal. You can stress that you had already booked that trip, to make sure it doesn't sound needy.

Below is the reasoning behind my above conclusion. You can try to answer some of those questions for yourself for each of the companies. Who they are is essential to how they might react to such an offer.


To come up with a good approach, it's important to understand the situation as seen from from the company's side:

Why a phone/video interview?

To them, you are an applicant from another country. Inviting you to an interview costs them money for a flight, a hotel, and administrative time to schedule and book those together with you. There might also be a visa issue for you just to come to the interview (including invitation letters, possibly originals required at the German embassy in your country). That's a lot of hassle for one applicant, and they might have several.

It is therefore only reasonable for the company to ask for a phone/video interview first, to screen you before investing considerable more resources into you, just for a talk. After clearing that round, they will likely invite you for a face-to-face talk.

Why a face-to-face?

Of course you also need to take into account if those companies are willing to help with your work visa (if required, and depending on what kind of visa that would be), and if they offer a relocation package for your (and maybe your family). Those things are best talked about in person, but only after they have evaluated that you are a general fit.

What's your motivation for a face-to-face early in the process?

It might come across as that you are desperate to get to Germany and away from your current country, and could give the impression that you don't really care about the company as long as you get the chance to come to their country. You don't want to come across like that, even if it's true.

Who are those companies?

A young Berlin or Hamburg startup might probably go for that, and be happy to have you there without additional costs for them. A more conservative company, or a large corporation on the other hand will likely have a process to follow, and will not agree to that at all.

Of course you also need to take into account how quickly the companies want to fill those positions. Can they actually wait a few weeks just for you to come at your own, or were they maybe planning to invite you at their expense anyway a week after your Skype screen?

How to get there?

Are those all in the same city, or are you willing to alter your travel plans to go to different cities, just to get an interview there? Travel in Germany is easy and fast, but fast travel can be quite expensive. You can ask on travel.se in the germany tag if you need help with that. It's hard to say how a company reacts to your suggestion to alter your travel plans. If you for example planned to go to Cologne, a quick trip to Düsseldorf is just around the corner, but if you are going to Munich and tell them you can come to Berlin for the interview, it's not. That kind of distance is usually paid by the company for a domestic interviewee, and you suggesting to come might be seen as you asking them to pay for the trip.

As you can see, there are a lot of things worth thinking about, and it's hard to give a simple answer to this.

  • Only your last paragraph actually answers the question. The rest seems to berate the OP for applying for a position abroad and comes across as very hostile. You raise some points that the OP should consider (especially that Germany is a big place and he might not be near their office at the time of his holiday) but your tone feels way off. – Lilienthal Apr 19 '16 at 12:38
  • You are somewhat right. It does sound desperate, and actually I'm a bit desperate. Not an immediate desperation but I plan to leave my country before '17 due to excessive terrorism going around in Middle-East. Although the vacation is pre-planned several months ago and interview offers came recently. – JuniorDev Apr 19 '16 at 13:04
  • Good edit. Downvote reversed. I'd recommend not burying the lead and putting your conclusion/suggestion at the top but that's a personal choice. – Lilienthal Apr 19 '16 at 13:11
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    @simbabque You don't always need to. I'm a big fan of having a summary at the top of long posts. Many people might not read the whole thing but they probably wouldn't make it to the end anyway. SE doesn't have the classic challenge of enticing people to read up to the jump. – Lilienthal Apr 19 '16 at 13:16
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    @JuniorDev the whole visa thing might be important then. If you got a tourist Schengen visa, that's something else entirely than being allowed to work. And issuing a work visa usually takes time. Therefore you should probably try to get the interview process going sooner rather than later. You might be able to get Blue Card visa for work, but that requires at least a month (to get the physical card produced), plus administrative stuff, after you have the job offer. It might be possible to apply in a Auslaenderbehorde in Germany while you have a tourist visa. Expatriates is helpful there. – simbabque Apr 19 '16 at 13:20
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I'm from Germany and had Skype/phone interviews with German companies. Usually they are the first contact and if successful there'll be subsequent interviews, which will probably take place in person anyway.

Make clear that you're currently abroad. You're probably talking to different people of the same company. They might not know, where you are. You could mention that you do like Germany and will be visiting. That's a good way to indicate a possible time for a potential follow up.

Avoid sounding desperate:

  • If you say you like Germany, they ought to ask, what you like about Germany. You should know better things to name than beer and soccer, because that's what Germans expect people to say, who have no idea about what's worth a touristic visit. Name places (e.g. castles, festivals, ...) you want to visit, sound engaged. If you can't (name places, sound engaged about Germany, ...), don't play this card.
  • Actually beer and soccer might be OK, if you can name at least a favorite type(brand) of beer (obergärig, Weizen (Paulaner), Kölsch (Mühlenkölsch), Alt) or soccer club (BVB Dortmund, Bayern München just bought enough stars, that has no soul) , trainer (Jürgen "Kloppo" Klopp, shame he left Dortmund for Manchester) and players (..., though he left Dortmund for Bayern and is now only warming their bench). If that's what engages you, you might even be more knowledgeable than I am. Well, actually it may be bette,r if you know your local soccer scene. Then you won't step on anyone's toes and sound more honest. Bundesliga is probably not that interesting internationally.
  • If you say you'll be in Germany, let them pick up the ball. If they are observant enough, they will ask you, when you'll be in Germany and for what reason. You could defuse the "sounding desperate" by saying you're visiting Germany on a business trip extended by some time off. (Let them pick the ball again: What business?) Private business, I'll have an interview or two.
  • If they still haven't got the clue, make it a win-win: At the end of the interview there's usually time for your questions. Ask how the hiring process would proceed in general. Hiring processes vary from company to company.
  • German companies are obliged to pay expenses for job interviews unless they explicitly disclaim. This applies to domestic interviewees. It's likely to apply to European interviewees as well. I'm uncertain, if it applies to e.g. Americans. Ask if their process includes on-site interviews. Ask about potential travel expenses. I actually had a national flight to Munich booked and paid by a company for an interview. So ask about logistics:
  • The logistics of follow up is a rare occasion of sounding mildly interested: "Would your company organize a flight and accommodation, if needed? Should I? How do I get expenses compensated, if any?". You don't want to sound too interested, because you'd sound like a cheapskate, if that's all important to you. You're talking business here. Merely clarifying how things will be done and by whom. Let shine through that you know how things work in Germany. Actually inform yourself beforehand how things work, e.g. if expense compensation applies to you.
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If the roles are permanent, the Skype-interview is probably only the first of several - so you would probably be jumping the gun.

If you do experience problems during the interview, you could bring up that you actually will be in Germany soon anyway. You do however run the risk of it being viewed as odd (and possibly desperate) behavior.

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