Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people.
However, a job search in Kuwait requires more than just the obvious Kuwait cover letter and Kuwait CV writing and translation – you need to pass the Kuwait job interview.
You will face issues that probably did not even cross your mind when you start your Kuwait job search.
Do not get the wrong idea about the impact the Kuwait job interview can have on the result of your adventure!
For example, you will experience the different immigration rules and habits, job application procedures, selection trends and the management culture.
So, be prepared to take Kuwait as it is with all of its difficulties, contradictions and challenges.
What does a job interview in Kuwait look like?
If no one is available to introduce you, shake each person’s hand and introduce yourself.
There are several styles of greetings in use, it is best to wait for your counterpart to initiate the greeting.
Men shake hands with other men.
Some men will shake women’s hands; however, it is advisable to wait for a woman to offer her hand.
A more traditional greeting between men involves grasping each other’s right hand, placing the left hand on the other’s right shoulder and exchanging kisses on each cheek.
Kuwaitis take time during the greeting process to chat about their health, family, mutual friends and acquaintances, and other general matters of interest like sports. However, do not chat about women or inquire about the health of a wife or daughter.
Meetings may be interrupted if they interfere with prayer times.
How to prepare for a Kuwait job interview?
Job interview questions in Kuwait can vary depending on the specific role you’re applying for and the company culture, but here are some general pointers and common questions you might encounter:
Tell me about yourself.
- Start with your recent job or role, highlighting your responsibilities.
- Mention relevant skills and experiences that align with the job you’re applying for.
- Keep it professional; briefly touch on educational background or certifications if relevant.
Practice your few-sentences sentences “speech” 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.
Why are you interested in this position?
- Discuss how the role aligns with your career goals.
- Mention specific aspects of the job or company that attract you.
- Highlight how your skills can contribute to the position.
Make sure you know the technical terms of your industry. Remember that, the same keywords you used in your CV and cover letter will be the basis for your job interviews. 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. Repeating your main points indicates you are telling the truth.
Why do you want to work in Kuwait?
- Express enthusiasm for experiencing Kuwait’s culture and professional environment.
- If applicable, mention any personal or professional ties to Kuwait.
- Discuss the opportunity for growth and learning in Kuwait’s dynamic market.
Example answer: Kuwait presents a unique blend of traditional values and modern business practices, offering a rich cultural experience and a dynamic economic environment. Working in Kuwait would not only allow me to contribute my skills in a new and challenging context but also enable me to grow personally and professionally as I navigate and adapt to this vibrant culture.
What are your salary expectations?
- If necessary, politely request to discuss salary details later in the interview process.
- Do research beforehand to understand the typical salary range for the position in Kuwait and base your expectations on this information.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Share strengths relevant to the job with examples.
- When discussing weaknesses, focus on areas you are actively working to improve.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Outline realistic career goals that align with the company’s trajectory.
- Emphasize your interest in long-term growth and commitment to the role.
What are your hobbies and interests?
- Briefly mention hobbies or interests that showcase transferable skills or personal attributes beneficial to the role.
Experience and Skills:
Describe a challenging situation you faced at work and how you resolved it.
- Provide a specific example; explain the situation, your action, and the outcome.
- Highlight the skills and qualities you used to overcome the challenge.
Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership.
- Share an experience that showcases your leadership style and the impact of your leadership on your team or project.
What are your biggest accomplishments in your previous roles?
- Focus on achievements relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- Quantify your accomplishments if possible (e.g., increased sales by 20%).
What software/tools are you proficient in?
- List software or tools relevant to the job and your proficiency level.
- Mention any certifications or courses if applicable.
How would you describe your communication and interpersonal skills?
- Provide examples of how you effectively communicate and collaborate with team members.
Example answer: I pride myself on my ability to communicate effectively, whether it’s presenting ideas to stakeholders, collaborating with team members, or engaging with customers. I believe in clear, concise, and considerate communication, which has been key in building strong relationships and leading successful projects.
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Culture and Adaptability:
Are you familiar with Kuwaiti culture and business practices?
- Share your understanding and respect for Kuwaiti culture.
- Mention any experiences or efforts you’ve made to familiarize yourself with the culture.
How do you adapt to new environments and cultures?
- Discuss your flexibility, open-mindedness, and experiences adapting to new situations.
Example answer: I approach new environments with openness and a willingness to learn. In my previous role, I worked with an international team, which taught me the value of cultural sensitivity and adaptability. I actively seek out opportunities to understand and embrace new cultures, both professionally and personally.
Are you comfortable working in a team environment with diverse colleagues?
- Highlight experiences working in diverse teams.
- Emphasize your ability to collaborate and communicate effectively with people from various backgrounds.
You need to show that you are flexible, culturally sensitive, able to adapt to new circumstances and cultures and that you possess some perseverance and motivation (for the job, not the location!).
What are your expectations regarding communication in the workplace?
- Mention your preference for clear, respectful, and professional communication.
- Emphasize the importance of feedback and open dialogue.
Example answer: I expect communication in the workplace to be clear, respectful, and inclusive, ensuring all team members are informed and empowered to contribute their best. I also value open channels for feedback, as it’s essential for growth and improvement.
Are you familiar with Arabic?
- If yes, mention your level of proficiency and any efforts to improve it.
- If not, express your willingness to learn basic Arabic to better integrate into the work environment.
The official Kuwait language is Arabic. In a business environment, English is widely used and understood. Depending on the company, the position and whether or not tests are involved in the number of interviews in Kuwait varies. Be ready for more than one job interview in Kuwait. Also, be ready to practically demonstrate your skills.
Example answer: While I am not fluent, I have begun learning basic Arabic to better understand and respect the local culture and communicate more effectively in everyday situations. I’m committed to improving my language skills as part of my adaptation to working in Kuwait.
What do you know about our company?
- Share specific details about the company’s projects, culture, and market position.
- Mention any recent news or achievements of the company.
Prepare yourself – find out information about the company you want to work for. Research the prospective host country’s cultural and business practices so you can make a good first impression. Books and online guides about cultural differences can help.
Why do you want to work for our company specifically?
- Discuss what sets the company apart in your eyes.
- Align your career goals and values with the company’s mission.
Example answer: Your company’s culture of continuous learning and innovation aligns perfectly with my professional goals. I admire your approach to [specific project or value], and I believe my background in [specific skill] would allow me to make a meaningful contribution to your team.
What can you contribute to our team?
- Highlight your unique skills and how they can benefit the team.
- Mention any past experiences where you’ve contributed to team success.
Kuwaiti respect education, so carefully mention if you have an advanced degree, especially if it is from a prestigious university. Be aware that in most cases the Kuwaiti government insists on degrees from accredited universities.
Do you have any questions for us?
- Prepare thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest in the role and the company.
- Possible questions could relate to company culture, team dynamics, or specifics about the role.
Ask questions about the job, the lines of authority and your future responsibilities, but avoid raising the issue of salary or benefits early in the process. Do not forget to ask, “When can I expect to hear from you?” (if that has not been discussed). Be patient since impatience is viewed as a criticism of the culture.
- Dress conservatively and professionally, respecting Kuwaiti cultural norms.
- In Kuwait, it is widely accepted to be late, but this is not applicable to you! So, arrive at least 10 minutes before the job interview and turn off your cell phone.
- Get the names (in English) of those you will meet or/and speak to. Before the meeting, learn their full names and how to address them in person. Titles are important. Use professional, academic or political titles or Mr., Mrs., Miss with the last name when addressing someone.
- Exhibit confidence, but balance it with humility and respect for the interviewers.
- Understanding and respecting cultural nuances can make a significant positive impact on your interview.
- Talk clearly, slowly and with simple sentence structures, effectively demonstrating your knowledge of the industry and/or the company.
- Do not interrupt the interviewer and criticize former employers.
- When listening to a Kuwaiti talking in a foreign language, it is very important to nod showing that you are listening and understand the speaker.
- During job interviews, do not volunteer information that the interviewer does not ask for.
- 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.”
- Be aware that the person who asks the most questions is likely to be the least important. The decision-maker is likely a silent observer.
- Before leaving the interview thank everyone present for the interview and shake each one hand.
- After the 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.
Do not sit until invited. Look less serious and more cheerful. Sustain a relaxed manner, maintain eye contact while talking with someone and restrict the use of gestures. Sit forward and do not slouch or lay back in the chair during the interview. When sitting do not cross your legs, showing the bottom of your shoe or foot is offensive. Keep your hands still and avoid fidgeting.
Martin is the CEO and Co-founder of Jobera.com, a global remote career advice platform. As a Career and Job Search Expert, he is dedicated to helping job seekers worldwide develop skills, find career opportunities, and land jobs efficiently. Martin shares his expertise by guiding individuals toward professional success and fulfillment.