I spent the fall semester of my final year of University abroad. As a result, I was applying and interviewing for jobs while I was traveling around Europe. Visiting 41 countries in 4 months and only actually spending 21 days in Finland in four months, it was quite a challenge interviewing for jobs.
The first job I had an interview for was the Cisco Sales Associate Program (CSAP) in Toronto. Prior to applying for this job, there was an information session at my University (UOIT) back at home. Thanks to the efforts of some very kind people at home, I was able to attend this information session via WebEX! Now, attending from my end proved even more difficult. The information session was slated for 10AM (Eastern Time) which was 5pm in Finland. As it turns out, I had some visitors and was touring Helsinki that day. Around 4pm we were at the Olympic stadium in Helsinki. I had my laptop with me and really needed to find a spot soon to set up shop to join in on the information session in an hour. Luckily, there was a sort of common area inside the old stadium with tables, chairs, power outlets and wifi. I managed to attend the hour long session without too much difficulty. It just goes to show the struggles and compromises you need to make sometimes in order to do such things when traveling.
After the information session, I applied for the job and made it to the first round of screening. This involved a Skype interview with one of the representatives back at Cisco, Canada in the Toronto office. My interview was scheduled for October 16th, 2014 – the same day I had my skydiving jump booked in Dubai! My jump was scheduled for 11AM and (due to timezone differences) the interview would be at 4pm (Dubai time).
Normally I would have attended the interview from my hostel but October 16th was my last day in Dubai so by 4pm I had already been checked out of the hostel and needed to find somewhere else to do it (especially since the hostel wasn’t really a quiet place suitable for interviews).
After the skydive I had a few hours before the interview so I figured I would go rent a jet ski for a little while (since it was in the same direction of where I planned to attend the interview from) and then attend the WebEx interview thereafter. I went to where I (thought) the Jet Ski rental place was. I ran around for a while but could not find it. Running out of time, I decided to just get on a bus back in to the city to the area where I knew there were some libraries where I could likely get wifi to attend the interview.
Getting back in to the Deira district of Dubai, I had about 45 minutes until my interview was set to start. I was getting a little panicked now! I was kind of far from any of the libraries I knew about and didn’t really know the area. I looked for anywhere I could go to get a wifi connection. Where the bus dropped me off, I saw a mall just down the street. I figured there would have to be a cafe or something there that had wifi I could use. I started heading for the mall with about 30 minutes left now!
Suddenly, I saw a nice looking Radisson hotel on my left across the street. I figured they would have wifi and may even let me use it for free. I went to the hotel and made up some story about having a family emergency back home and that I needed to get on the wifi to call my family back in Canada via Skype. The receptionist was very nice and accommodating. She gave me the wifi password and as luck would have it (as it always seems to when I am travelling) the hotel had a business center just off the lobby. This was a small, quiet room with several computers inside for guests to work away from. It was perfect! I went into this room (where I was alone), set up my laptop and attended the interview without any trouble.
It was quite a struggle to say the least but it made for an interesting story and one that the interviewer really enjoyed. I was also glad I went to the hotel instead of a coffee shop in the mall since the interviewer mentioned how sometimes people attended such interviews from coffee shops (where it is usually rather noisy) and they don’t like that so this ended up being perfect!
All-in-all, applying for jobs and getting interviews is no easy task on a good day when you are at home. Add to that, travelling the world and you have a recipe for potential disaster or at the very least missing out on that opportune job. Doing so was hard but such are the responsibilities we need to maintain even while travelling and hey, I got an interesting story out of it if nothing else!