Expat tips for interviews

Tips to prepare for a job interview in the Netherlands!

Job interview preparations (for expats living in the Netherlands)

Marloes Heideveld - Ri-directions job and career-coach gives you tips on how to shine during a  job interview.  

Today’s menu:


Clammy Hands


Unable to find words with some stuttering on the side


A feeling of failure soaked in despair

 Well, all know this feeling, right?! For once you’ve got yourself through the CV rounds and you received a call or email that you have been invited to a job interview in the Netherlands! Great! However, solving one problem leads to the next. What to wear? How to prepare? How do you get there anyway? So let's start with some preparation advice!

1. It’s only the tip of the iceberg

Have you ever introduced yourself to somebody and you noticed that he or she forgot your name within seconds? This is how an interviewer feels when you come unprepared. Get yourself familiar with the company and not only with the vacancy before you show up. What is the organization’s mission and vision? What is the origin of the company? Did they get any media coverage lately? A job interview can be considered a presentation. In case you have to give a presentation you prepare the content and layout thoroughly and properly so that you can ‘shine like a diamond’ when it comes to the big moment. Sometimes a presentation only lasts 15 minutes but you may have been preparing for it for a week. This is how you should also look at your job interview. Prepare in order to avoid blackouts, mumbling and awkward moments!

2. Suit up

Stating the obvious, you can only make a first impression once. Even though I feel that you should never ever judge somebody by its appearance, I want to stress that looking shabby at a job interview puts you at least  3 points behind even before you said a single word. Whereas I am not saying that you should wear expensive skirts or suits, I am telling you that you should look like you at least made an effort. Have a shower, do your hair, girls take care of your nails and most importantly match your outfit with the company.

Back in the days, it was impossible to arrive overdressed, but with the increasing amount of startups wearing a suit might not be a safe option anymore. When you are applying for a job in a professional business environment, stick with a suit or a business dress or skirt. It is always nice to brighten your outfit up with some color, but do not overdo it! In case you are aiming for a startup/IT organization, then a pair of dark jeans (no holes or washings) or a chino and a shirt/blouse is fine combined with heels or businessy shoes for men.

3. Public transport is NOT your best friend.

I can call myself a not so proud owner of the following list of incidents on my way to a job interview:

-          A flat bike tire

-          A train ride with a delay of two hours

-          A bus that broke down (for real!)

-          Getting out at the wrong bus stop and having to walk 2 kilometers on heels

Please, if you go to your job interview by any means of transport include some ‘incident time’ as well so that you can always come on time.

I know by now that literally, anything can happen on your way down and as you probably have interviews with people who are on a tight schedule most of the time, it is not possible to rearrange. Showing up late is an absolute no-go. Even if you are the perfect candidate, you lose all your credits by coming late and there is hardly any way to make up for it.

If your transport schedule does work out the way you planned and this means you are 30 minutes early, no worries! This gives you time to go to the bathroom, maybe check your hair and make-up one last time and get most of your nerves under control. To me, having some time to wait really feels like a bonus as I can take up the atmosphere of the company and see whether I am comfortable with it... Sometimes the environment feels welcoming and personal but some organizations may seem distant and cold walking in the building for the first time. While waiting you may ask yourself: Is this a place I can see myself working in? 

The next time I will elaborate a bit more on what to say during a job interview and exploring whether the company values align with your personal values. A job interview is a two-way street after all.  

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Cheers, Marloes

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