Jobsearch in the Netherlands for expat women
28 november 2020 
6 min. read

Jobsearch in the Netherlands for expat women

Jobsearch in the Netherlands for expat women.

Jobsearch in the Netherlands for non-Dutch expat women is NOT an easy job.
Searching for a suitable job in the Netherlands for non-Dutch professional expat women is NOT easy.
Did you ever feel:

  • misunderstood and lost here in the Netherlands?
  • a loss of self-esteem after having received your next rejection after an application or interview?
  • or did you start to belief that maybe it was about time to lower your own standards, due to this continuous story of receiving”No”?
  • If you do experience this a lot or just a little, please read on and find what will definitvely help you out of this cycle of hope & rejection.

Only 50% of expat women is succesful in their jobsearch in the Netherlands

And that of that 50% that was succesful at their jobsearch, only 30% have a job that alligns with their talents and competencies? And that it is even harder to find  English speaking jobs in the Netherlands?

English speaking jobs in the Netherlands

English speaking jobs in the Netherlands is like finding “a needle in a haystack” (speld in een hooiberg).
Meet Lila, she got quite frustrated here in Holland; she was IT Engineer back in India. Part of the High Potential Selection, with great skill and attitude. Her career seemed over to her; not being invited to many interviews, and often rejected after a first interview she got.“Finding a job, is like climbing a Dutch mountain. I just don’t get it. Nor understand what I do wrong, or right here”, is what she said to herself often.

And also to us when we met her. And this lovely Lila, she opened our eyes and hearts for women like her.Having done some research, some discovery work, some role-playing we eventually found what was interfering all the time. It was bi-directional Cultural Bias.

What is bi-directional Cultural Bias during jobsearch in the Netherlands?

A bias is like a prejudice. We give meaning and value to the things we see, hear, feel,  taste and experience. As our filtering is deeply connected to our personal situation,  we tend to filter out what we either recognize or what we don’t as such.  Because all these filters consist of  our personality, our culture, our life stage, so in one word our filter could be described as our own perspective.

Because all human beings do this, this is why we feel almost always at home in the area where we were born. Or we feel a deeper connection to someone who is even born in the same region, like the city nearby. Our Lila had her biases, and so did some (she called it ‘a lot’) Dutch recruiters too. As a result of that, Lila did not get the job she was dreaming of in the Netherlands. And many potential employers missed out on this great High Potential called Lila as well.

How to use your Culture in jobsearch in the Netherlands?

How can we get closer to one another and make a better impression than ever?
When we were working with Lila, she explained that she never felt at ease at the end of the interview. They asked her if she had any questions, which she did not have. And than the awkward thing happened; Lila felt the whole atmoshere change and just like that, it felt like she lost the good vibes she had been trying to build up during the conversation. And here is the clue; what you absolutely need to know about Dutch employers & recruiters is this. Never underestimate the power of bias or prejudice on this aspect ever again.

Questions at the end of a job interview

NOT having any questions at the end of a job interview, is a NO GO in the Netherlands. It is a big red flag for every recruiter.
And I mean red as in ‘Danger-Watch out – NOT motivated enough’ red.
Dutch recruiters want to hear, see and feel your engagement at the end of the meeting and are curious what you are going to ask them. Because they are awaiting this at the end, they get highly dissapointed when you don’t ask any.

Our Lila here, was tought not to ask to many questions, especially not at the end of the meeting as people might see and translate this as being not bright-intelligent. Because of that, bi-directional cultural biases lead to great misunderstaing and therefore to the above three bullit points.

Happy End; how a simple thing made a big difference

Or to say it in a different way, how a to make a cultural bias into a Unique Hiring Point (UHP).
End of story, we dived deep into cultural awareness, did a lot of Discovery and role playing. We coached each other and made culture a Unique Hiring Point (UHP). As a result of that,  Lila started with the integration of her own culture and asking great questions at the end of interview. And because she did, she was eventually able to choose the job she wanted. How a small thing can make a big difference.


About the author
Marian (Hilversum, the Netherlands) is an experienced Training Expert & L&D Manager since 2004. "My biggest passion is to develop people, getting the highest results on all professional levels". Her drive for Excellence has led to her own company Xellens (2004) which delivers Consultancy, Program Management and Training on several journeys that Lead to Customer Excellence. Her most recent customers vary from Unilever, Johnson Controls International, MSD, NIKE, KLM-Air France, Johnson & Johnson and several other Multinationals. Her areas of expertise focus on Communication with Impact, Negotiation & Selling Skills, Customer Experience, Servant & Courageous Leadership, Cultural Change, Diversity, Innovation and Personal Development. All these factors contribute to new ways and possibilities for her customers to stay sharp and in poleposition in their current competitive markets. She has been at the start of worlwide Academies for multinationals like Johnson & Johnson. Marian has high energy and passion for Learning & Development, which was part of her professional career of 26 years. During those years she was responsible for different Business Units (IT), Sales & Marketing or General Management leading positions, set-up of new Innovation oriented Project departments in several sectors like IT, Technical Services, Pharma and Industrial markets. She loves to get people to their next level, creating constructif growth in Companies based on Talent Development. Circulair learning as in Circular Building. She has done multiple projects where she constructed several Learning Academies and Talent Models that are still used and have proven their Effectiveness and Value. She is frequently asked as keynote speaker, mediator and presenter and recommend for her speed in connecting different aspects of issues, constructive thinking with Humor or Moderator during Challenging times. With a Masters in a technical area (Phonetics, Speech Automation), she finished Business School during her first job, and has currently two additional post Masters’ degrees on Customer Experience and Multi Channel Marketing. Also she is a certified MBTI Consultant, NLP Master Practicioner, DISC certified consultant, Ned Herrmann Whole Brain Dominance Instrument consultant, WorkPlaceBig 5 certified consultant, and an experienced Public Speaker, with several certifications (a.o. Black Belt Power Presenter). Recently (2020) she graduated from Robbins Madanes Training her Core100 BCCoach Program. Speaking several foreign languages fluently (Dutch, English, French and German), she is able to adapt easily to different cultures and work environments worldwide. Also Diversity is the spice of life and the foundation under any form of succes. She lived in different countries and is a passionate traveler-explorer. Privateley Marian contributes to the Soroptimists with Passion, doing all kind of world wide project to achieve equal rights on safety, development & education, and rights for Women. Walking, running, a healthy Lifestyle, Sustainablity are Big Interests for her; making the world and people better every day might sumarize it all best. Her son Koen (18) once described her: “ My mum just loves Learning & People so much, I just wished I had her during my High School. She makes Learning just a better Experience!”.
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