Dutch Interview Tips
Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, a job search in the Netherlands requires more than just the obvious Dutch CV writing and translation. You have to pass a Dutch interview. You will face issues that probably did not even cross your mind when you start planning to go for jobs in the Netherlands.
Do not misjudge the impact they can have on the end result of your adventure! For example, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, job application procedures, the selection trends and the management culture.
Most visits to the Netherlands are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Prepare yourself for the Dutch interview - before the first interview practice a few-sentence "speech" (preferably in Dutch) about who you are and what you do. Do not whine. Do not talk about being jobless. Do not dump on your former employer. Be positive.
Find out information about the company you want to work for – they culture and focus. Also, it is not required, as they will be checked out at a later stage; bring with you to the interview copies of your CV, diplomas, employer testimonials and letters of reference. Business cards in English are acceptable. You never get a second chance to make a first impression!
Remember, the same keywords you used in your CV will be the foundation for your job interviews. Not only do you need to be able to write about your keywords, but also during an interview, you must be able to talk about them as well, in strong and powerful statements that highlight your successes, contributions and achievements.
Remember, how you dress is the one of the most important aspects in not being hired.
So, check the Dutch dress code
You may have several interviews with people with whom you will eventually work. When these are completed, there will be an evaluation and if you are successful, a final meeting to discuss terms.
It is customary to telephone in advance before a job interview. The Netherlanders take punctuality very seriously, so arrive at least 10minutes earlier and turn off your cellphone.
English is accepted in interviews. Many Dutch companies use English as their corporate language.
Introduce yourself, if no one present introduced you, because Dutch consider it rude not to identify yourself. Say title first with your surname last. Shake hands with everyone present showing your friendly face. Look less serious and more cheerful. Netherlanders expect eye contact while speaking with someone. Exchange business cards. Keep your hands out of your pockets while talking to someone or shaking hands.
Do not sit until invited. Stand when a woman enters the room. Wait until all women are seated before you sit. Talk effectively demonstrating your knowledge of the industry and/or the company, do not interrupt the interviewer and criticize former employers.
Be ready for questions about your motivation, character, strengths and weaknesses, sometimes very pointed and personal questions, education and the company itself, as well as extra-curricular activities and professional affiliations. Ask for clarification if you do not understand the question.
Do not be offended by the typical Dutch directness – it is not meant impolite! In responding to questions, include examples that demonstrate your ability to act independently and to work as part of a team. Present your professionalism and modesty.
You do not have to answer personal questions, but consider in advance how you are going to tackle them. If you feel uncomfortable with a question asked, simply smile and say, "In my country, that would be a strange question."
At the Dutch interview do not volunteer information that the interviewer does not ask for
As it is widespread in the Netherlands, ask some questions at the end of the job interview about the job, the lines of authority and your future responsibilities. Do not discuss money or ask personal questions particularly regarding religion, race, pregnancy and sexual preferences. Do not forget to ask, “When can I expect to hear from you?” (if that has not been discussed).
Thank everyone present for interview and shake they hands when leaving.
Expect an Assessment Centre test. Especially large Dutch employers quite commonly use assessment Centres. Candidates spend one or more days being assessed in interaction together. Assessment Centres concentrate on tests, which reflect real life situations, relevant to the vacancy, where the candidate really has to “perform”, instead of stating what s/he might do in a situation.
After the Dutch interview, do not forget to write a thank you letter and subsequently follow-up by letter, email or phone call. Employers regard this as an indication of your strong interest in the position.
Other Dutch Interview Info
We hope that your Dutch interview has been successful. Follow up the job interview with a thank you letter. Employers regard this as an indication of your strong interest in the position.
Good luck with your Dutch interview!