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Job Interviews, The Amsterdam Way

Getting a job in a foreign country might seem to be a great idea, and yes, it is. Being in a new territory does seem to be less daunting and less intimidating if you get a job in it, particularly because you’re now earning. And as soon as you get the nitty-gritty details out of the way (yes, that means the work visa and everything else related to it), you can then get on to more important things, such as successfully making a great impression in a job interview.

So let’s say you’ve finally gotten that call-back for an interview, and it’s in the city of your dreams: Amsterdam. How should you treat this interview? How will you survive it? What are the things you must remember about Dutch employees, and about Dutch employers, for that matter? Pay close attention, for the rest of the article will tell you not just how to get through an interview, but to do so with style, the Amsterdam way.

Job Interviews in Amsterdam
Remember to be direct

Tip #1: Remember to be direct.

It’s not an uncommon fact that the Dutch are people who prefer to speak in direct and plain language. If you come from a culture that prefers to dress up your words and your point in such a way as to make them unrecognizable, then it’s better if you kind of forget this sort of culture, as the Dutch are not likely to appreciate it. When talking with the Dutch (whether it’s for a job interview or whatever else), keep the jargon out, and be as frank as possible without eschewing politeness.

Tip #2: Overconfidence is NOT an asset.

If, as you get to know your fellow applicants, you should chance upon the discovery that you are more experienced than they are, or that you are actually more experienced than your potential employers, don’t ever shove that up their faces with smugness. You see, the Dutch are known to take higher education quite seriously. What this means is that while you were busy climbing that corporate ladder and going from one position to the next, they were probably pursuing more advanced degrees. So, in their world, having been in a lot of jobs is not necessarily a good thing. Remember to be humble.

Job Interview in Amsterdam
Come on time

Tip #3: Know your field of expertise.

This is where a degree of confidence should come in handy. While you might be confused and say “I thought they didn’t like overconfidence,” you should understand that there is a difference. If it is your field of expertise and know-how, don’t be afraid to express such knowledge. Because the Dutch value education, it would actually be great for you if your educational background shines through in what you say and in how you answer the questions.

Tip #4: Come on time.

You might come from a culture that tells you to value time, but it’s different with the Dutch. Timeliness is a very serious matter, with every single minute as valuable as the next. This means that if you arrive for your interview even a fraction of a minute late, you should ready yourself for grave consequences. But this shouldn’t scare you, of course. All you have to do is to show up on time (or even ahead of schedule), and you’re well on your way to making a good impression.

New Job, New Life

Needless to say, the excitement of a new job is quite incomparable. Thus, if you are going to show that you do take it seriously, begin by thinking and acting as they do in Amsterdam, even in something as seemingly simple as a job interview.


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