Tips for applying in The Netherlands

Tips for applying in The Netherlands

I’m sure you’ve done some job interviews before. If you want to increase your chances of success for your next interview with a Dutch company, read these hard learned tips for!

Tip 1 – Be their equal

Your future Dutch colleagues will look for someone who respects their knowledge and opinions. You can be proud of your knowledge and achievements but try to avoid coming across as arrogant. Even if you’re a senior developer and you’re being interviewed by a medior developer, make sure you listen and respect their opinion.

Tip 2 – Chit chat is serious business

The Dutch like to mix informal and formal behaviour. Especially in the beginning of the conversation they will want to talk about the weather, your trip, etc. You might think these things are irrelevant to the interview, for the Dutch it’s a way to break the ice and they will trust you more if you take part in the chit chat. It won’t last forever, you’ll know when it’s time to get serious. If you have an interview at their location in The Netherlands, chit chat is during the first cup of coffee. After that the formal part starts.

Tip 3 – Passion matter

The Dutch like to think they do their jobs to express themselves as individuals. Money is (presumably) not the important factor. If you apply to a job your employer will look for your passion and emotional attachment to your work or skills. Be ready to answer questions like: “why do you like to be a developer?” or “what gets you up in the morning” or “what is it you love/hate about your job?”. Everyone has feelings about their work, but the Dutch like to talk about them in the job interview.

Tip 4 – Honestly don’t know

There is almost no higher praise than Dutch people calling you ‘honest’. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it. Don’t be blunt by only saying “I don’t know” but say something like “I understand the question and this area is familiar to me but I don’t know the answer to this specific question.” Don’t guess, no bullshit answer just be honest. You’d be surprised how many people get hired for being honest about what they don’t know.

Tip 5 – Smile

Dutch people like to work hard and have fun. Pragmatism and result focus is  combined with a comfortable atmosphere. Don’t take yourself too serious or if you do be sure to smile every now and then. The Dutch person you speak to might even attempt to make a joke, if that happens: smile.

Tip 6 – Ask questions

In some cultures it’s custom to speak only when asked a question. Dutch people prefer to see initiative from everyone. You’ll score big bonus points when you ask questions about the company, the job and (especially) the team you’ll work with. If you’re really bold you can even ask the interviewer what their motivation was to join the company, the Dutch usually like to talk about themselves, so they’ll love that question 🙂

Tip 7 – Be on topic

The Dutch are to the point and can be blunt but they aren’t rude. So you stray from the question, the Dutch might not intervene and just let you ramble on. Check in after a few minutes and ask “Does that answer your question?” – it’s a great question in any situation.

Tip 8 – Prepare

Read a bit about the company, their products and especially the people whom you’ll be talking to. We will sent you all the essential information! Check the LinkedIn page of the interviewers, so you know a bit about them. Maybe there is something or someone you already have in common!

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