Interviewing Internationally: Why You Have to Make it Personal
As an offshore recruitment agency, we work with people who are not only moving jobs, but often their whole lives. Part of what I love about this job is that in addition to being a recruitment consultant, I get to be a travel agent, immigration advisor, airport taxi driver and general lifestyle coach. Most of us in the team have made the move to Cayman ourselves and so we understand the realities of relocating and living offshore and, armed with the benefit of hindsight, it’s our job to ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision regarding whether a move to Cayman is right for you.
Making that decision yourself, however, will not be the end of the matter! When it comes to your job search, you’re going to have to explain, justify and revisit that decision as any prospective employer interviewing someone from overseas will want to know two things: why do you want to move to Cayman? And is Cayman right for you?
Let’s look at those two questions in turn:
- Why do you want to move to Cayman?
If we’re all honest, the fact that it’s a Caribbean Island with plenty of sunshine and no income tax is probably a big motivating factor initially, but that really isn’t a good enough reason to move your career and life halfway around the world. So, what are the right sort of motivations?
In terms of work, it may be about the quality and breadth of work on offer. Cayman is a global financial centre, the leading domicile for investment funds and a jurisdiction of choice for family offices and UHNWIs. Being an offshore jurisdiction, whatever sector you are in, the work is usually very international and you will be working with clients and colleagues from around the world. Team sizes tend to be smaller and you can expect to work more closely with partners or managers. You will be exposed to different laws, procedures, regulations and policies. It’s a chance to develop your existing skills and learn new ones and to thereby take your career to the next level.
Ask yourself what it is about the industry in Cayman that makes the work appealing to you: after all you will spend far more time working than you ever will on the beach so it’s imperative to ensure that the job is right for you.
It’s not all work of course and so it’s important to identify what it is about Cayman that makes you want to live there. Perhaps you know someone who lives here (or has lived here in the past) or perhaps you have visited the islands yourself. If, like most people, you have never visited Cayman then your prospective employer will want to satisfy themselves that the move is something you have fully considered.
Being on a Caribbean island is very different to living in a city: it may sound obvious, but there aren’t theatres, comedy shows, galleries, museums, pop-up events and festivals happening on your doorstep every night of the week. Forget Amazon Prime, ASOS, Uber and Apple Pay. If you like escaping to the country or going for a long hike up a hill at the weekend or hitting the shopping malls, those things just aren’t going to happen here.
If, however, you are happy on the beach and being outdoors, diving, snorkelling, running, playing tennis, rugby, football, Gaelic, netball, basketball; if you enjoy good food, happy hours with friends, barbecues, brunches and pot lucks then this island has a lot to offer. The pace of life may be slower, but it’s no less active for it. This is a place where people who love being outdoors will thrive and where sports and recreation offer the best opportunities for socializing. It’s not all go gogo and there is also plenty of opportunity for lazy beach days and time to switch off!
- Is Cayman right for you?
In addition to the work and lifestyle, prospective employers will want to know a lot more about you. Be prepared for personal questions! Are you single, married, in a relationship? If you have a partner, what do they do? The reason they ask is because it’s important to know whether or not he or she will be able to work themselves here in Cayman – there are some jobs that just don’t exist here! If you’re not married, your partner will only be able to be here long-term if they have a work permit themselves. Even if you are married, the cost of living here is such that it is often necessary for both people to be working and so it’s still important to assess those opportunities.
If you have children, then schooling will of course be a big factor. As an expatriate, your only option is private education and school fees are expensive.
Whatever your personal situation, are you someone who is happy not being in a city? What are your hobbies and interests? Do you enjoy working as part of a close-knit team and are you keen to roll up your sleeves and give anything a go? Are you open to being here longer term, or do you have a fixed timeframe in mind? These are all key considerations for any prospective employers and often interviews are as much about your motivations for the move as they are about your CV and experience.
We love finding out more about what attracts people to the Cayman Islands and are always keen to chat these things through with you and to answer any questions you may have about life or work out here!
Charlotte joined SteppingStones in 2019 as the dedicated Legal Recruiter and specialises in the placement of fee-earners and other legal professionals. As well as working closely with the law firms here in Cayman, she also assists firms in other offshore jurisdictions such as Bermuda, the BVI and Hong Kong.