The oil and gas industry offers lucrative career opportunities. Internet job boards have made the task easier for employers and job seekers. Companies today receive numerous applications that need screening to filter out substandard candidates. Telephonic interview is usually the first step in the recruitment process. It is used for both pre-screening and post-interview to acquire talented professionals. In cases where a candidate resides out-of-town, the complete job interview can be conducted over the telephone or via an audio-visual aid.
Job seekers usually get tensed about the telephonic interview because they feel they will not be able to express themselves better and might be less impressive. There is also a category of job seekers who take telephonic interviews casually. However, the importance of telephonic interviews cannot be ruled out and yes, we agree it is tricky to impress an interviewer over a call. But if you follow the tips below, you will certainly be successful in your attempt.
Purpose of the telephonic interview
Before you begin your preparation for the telephonic interview, it is important to analyze the purpose of the interview, which can be:
Once you are aware of the purpose of the interview, you can plan and prepare better.
Schedule your call
Telephonic interviews are scheduled based on a mutually agreed date and time. So, make sure if the interviewer asks you for an available time slot, you provide a time where you will not be interrupted by background noises, family, friends or colleagues. However, if the interviewer shares his time slot and you are not comfortable with it, you should request for rescheduling to a later time or date. Even if you receive an unplanned call for an interview, you can politely request to reschedule.
Preparation for the call
Once you know the purpose and timings of the interview, you must start with the preparation for the interview. Here is what you can do:
Cut out all distractions before the call
Make sure you are not distracted by your surroundings. So, switch off the TV and other audio/visual devices. Look for a quiet spot where you do not get disturbed. Create a comfortable setup and have your notes, resume and job description nearby for easy access. Remember, the interviewer can easily detect your distraction if you are delaying your responses or are not responding in an expected way. So, don’t ruin your chances by not focussing.
When making or answering a call
If you are expecting a call from the interviewer, be ready and wait for the call. Make sure you are seated comfortably at the position pre-decided by you and you have all the necessary documents along with a notepad. When you receive a call start the conversation by introducing yourself. However, if the interviewer expects you to call, make sure you call on time, introduce yourself and explain the reason for your call.
During the Interview Call
This is your time to shine. During your interview call, you’ll have to be well prepared with your answers. Here is how you can up your chances:
Before you hang-up
During an interview, it is always the interviewer who must signal that the call is over. Until you get the hint, do not rush. Once the interview is over, the interviewer will ask you for any final questions. This is your chance to clarify any doubts that you may have regarding the company, your position, job role and so on. Ask relevant questions. Try to avoid talking or negotiating your salary over the call. Meet in person to do the needful.
Follow up after the call
As soon as you wind up the call, send a thank you note by email. If the interviewer has provided any dates for the results, consider following up. Even if you do not receive a call after a week, you may shoot a quick email enquiring about the process and update.
The success of your telephonic interview depends on your preparation and the above tips. If you have not qualified despite being good in the interview, then you might not be suitable for the job role. You must keep looking at relevant job openings at a dedicated site like Nrgedge for oil and gas related opportunities.
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On 10 December 2021, if all goes to plan Royal Dutch Shell will become just Shell. The energy supermajor will move its headquarters from The Hague in The Netherlands to London, UK. At least three-quarters of the company’s shareholders must vote in favour of the change at the upcoming general meeting, which has been sold by Shell as a means of simplifying its corporate structure and better return value to shareholders, as well as be ‘better positioned to seize opportunities and play a leading role in the energy transition’. In doing so, it will no longer meet Dutch conditions for ‘royal’ designation, dropping a moniker that has defined the company through decades of evolution since 1907.
But why this and why now?
There is a complex web of reasons why, some internal and some external but the ultimate reason boils down to improving growth sustainability. Royal Dutch Shell was born through the merger of Shell Transport and Trading Company (based in the UK) and Royal Dutch (based in The Netherlands) in 1907, with both companies engaging in exploration activities ranging from seashells to crude oil. Unified across international borders, Royal Dutch Shell emerged as Europe’s answer to John D Rockefeller’s Standard Oil empire, as the race to exploit oil (and later natural gas) reserves spilled out over the world. Along the way, Royal Dutch Shell chalked up a number of achievements including establishing the iconic Brent field in the North Sea to striking the first commercial oil in Nigeria. Unlike Standard Oil which was dissolved into 34 smaller companies in 1911, Royal Dutch Shell remained intact, operating as two entities until 2005, when they were finally combined in a dual-nationality structure: incorporated in the UK, but residing in the Netherlands. This managed to satisfy the national claims both countries make on the supermajor, second only to ExxonMobil in revenue and profits but proved to be costly to maintain. In 2020, fellow Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever also ditched its dual structure, opting to be based fully out of the City of London. In that sense, Shell is following the direction of the wind, as forces in its (soon to be former) home country turn sour.
There is a specific grievance that Royal Dutch Shell has with the Dutch government, the 15% dividend tax collected for Dutch-domiciled companies. It is the reason why Unilever abandoned Rotterdam and is now the reason why Shell is abandoning The Hague. And this point is particularly existentialist for Shell, since its share prices has been battered in recent years following the industry downturn since 2015, the global pandemic and being in the crosshairs of climate change activists as an emblem of why the world’s average temperatures are going haywire. The latter has already caused the largest Dutch state pension fund ABP to stop investing in fossil fuels, thereby divesting itself of Royal Dutch Shell. This was largely a symbolic move, but as religious figures will know, symbols themselves carry much power. To combat this, Shell has done two things. First, it has positioned itself to be at the forefront of energy transition, announcing ambitious emissions reductions plans in line with its European counterparts to become carbon neutral by 2050. Second, it is looking to bump up its dividend payouts after slashing them through the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic and accelerating share buybacks to remain the bluest of blue-chip stocks. But then, earlier this year, a Dutch court ruled that Shell’s emissions targets were ‘not ambitious enough’, ordering a stricter aim within a tighter timeframe. And the 15% dividend tax remains – even though Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition government has been attempting to scrap it, with (it is presumed) some lobbying from Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever.
As simplistic it is to think that Shell is leaving for London believes the citizens of the Netherlands has turned its back on the company, the ultimate reason was the dividend tax. Reportedly, CEO Ben van Buerden called up Mark Rutte on Sunday informing him of the planned move. Rutte’s reaction, it is said was of dismay. And he embarked on a last-ditch effort to persuade Royal Dutch Shell to change its mind, by immediately lobbying his government’s coalition partners to back an abolition of the dividend tax. The reaction was perhaps not what he expected, with left-wing and green parties calling Shell’s threat ‘blackmail’. With democracy drawing a line, Shell decided to walk; or at least present an exit plan endorsed by its Board to be voted by shareholders. Many in the Netherlands see Shell’s exit and the loss of the moniker Royal Dutch – as a blow to national pride, especially since the country has been basking in the glow of expanded reputation as a result of post-Brexit migration of financial activities to Amsterdam from London. The UK, on the other hand, sees Shell’s decision and Unilever’s – as an endorsement of the country’s post-Brexit potential.
The move, if passed and in its initial stages, will be mainly structural, transferring the tax residence of Shell to London. Just ten top executives including van Buerden and CFO Jessica Uhl will be making the move to London. Three major arms – Projects and Technology, Global Upstream and Integrated Gas and Renewable Energies – will remain in The Hague. As will Shell’s massive physical reach on Dutch soil: the huge integrated refinery in Pernis, the biofuels hub in Rotterdam, the country’s first offshore wind farm and the mammoth Porthos carbon capture project that will funnel emissions from Rotterdam to be stored in empty North Sea gas fields. And Shell’s troubles with activists will still continue. British climate change activists are as, if not more aggressive as their Dutch counterpart, this being the country where Extinction Rebellion was born. Perhaps more of a threat is activist investor Third Point, which recently acquired a chunk of Shell shares and has been advocating splitting the company into two – a legacy business for fossil fuels and a futures-focused business for renewables.
So Shell’s business remains, even though its address has changed. In the grand scheme of things, never mind the small matter of Dutch national pride – Royal Dutch Shell’s roadmap to remain an investment icon and a major driver of energy transition will continue in its current form. This is a quibble about money or rather, tax – that will have little to no impact on Shell’s operations or on its ambitions. Royal Dutch Shell is poised to become just Shell. Different name and a different house, but the same contents. Unless, of course, Queen Elizabeth II decides to provide royal assent, in which case, Shell might one day become Royal British Shell.
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