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Applying for a job in The Netherlands Do’s & Don'ts for expats. (I)

Charlotte Stegeman • 18 mei 2021

We hereby provide you a few practical tips & tricks, do’s & don’ts that might help you to understand some of the unwritten rules and lead you to a great job in The Netherlands!


Suppose, you live in Brasil, you have a Master's degree, a great job and you’re full of ambition. And then, for some reason, you end up in The Netherlands. Of all places! One of the smallest countries in the world where they speak a language hardly no one understands and where people often just say what they think, without using the filter of politeness and modesty. Not to mention the ggggg’s…

Unwritten rules

So, this is where you will spend the next three to five years. Now what? Where do you start to find a job and how do you apply? And, very important, what are the unwritten rules to follow when applying for a job in The Netherlands.

Well, sit down and pour yourself some coffee, because this little country has a big list of do’s and don’ts that can kill your Dutch career before it even started. In my following blogs I will point out and explain some of them, so you can get a grip on becoming succesfull in applying.

Coat & coffee

For example: Suppose you’re invited for a job interview. A secretary offers to take your coat and then offers you a cup of coffee. Accept both. And if you don’t like coffee, feel free to ask for tea or water. Never, ever, start your job interview with your coat on and no drink in front of you. While you are convinced you’re acting out of modesty, the interviewer interprets your behaviour as he is not more than a bus station and you’re waiting for the next bus to come and drive away as soon as you can. When in a job interview it is very important that you show your interviewer that you are completely focussed on the job interview and committed to him. These two small acts have a big impact.

Why is the impact so big? Because these two acts of modesty are interpreted in a complete different way. The interviewer will think that you’re not really interested in the job and he will not take the risk to hire you because he might think you’re not into this job so much and he estimates the chance of you leaving the company soon, as high.

Stand out of the crowd

But how do you do impress your Dutch interviewer. Well, what about looking him in the eyes! Eye contact and a smile on your face are the best start. Accept the coffee, because drinking coffee together has a social meaning. Ask questions about the company. Be prepared but also show him that you are prepared. Never let there be any misunderstanding about your motivation about your application. Show him the best version of yourself by being informed and asking relevant and meaningful questions. Stand out of the moderate crowd.

Always keep your eyes on the goal

This blog will be continued with more blogs with practical and cultural information. In the meantime: Please keep showing us your talents and skills. They are more than welcome here and so are you. Applying is not more than a way to find a job, it’s never a goal. Keep your eyes on the goal but never loose self-mockery if you fail. Me and my colleagues are more than happy to help you to reach your goals.

Charlotte Stegeman



#expats #expatcentereastnetherland #expat #jobsforexpats

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