A guide to CVs and job Interviews in the Netherlands

Finding a job in Holland can be quite the quest. But DutchReview is here to help! Here is our guide to CV’s and job interviews in the Netherlands!

Employers in the Netherlands receive hundreds of CV’s for a single job opening. That is why you want to make sure that your resume stands out from all the others. By making sure that your CV is on point, you will score a lot more job interviews in the Netherlands. Here are just a few general tips to help you with your resume in the Netherlands.

Job interviews in the Netherlands
Unfortunately Dutch directness does not work during job interviews in the Netherlands

Make sure you have the right resume for the right position

Depending on the industry you’re applying for, you want to make sure your CV reflects that. If you’re applying for a creative job, make sure to have a creative CV. If you’re applying for something more technical, make sure to have a resume that would fit that field.

You also want to make sure you have all the right keywords in your CV. Since there are so many candidates applying for a single job opening in Holland, more and more companies are using applications that filter the CVs for them. If you’re resume does not have all the right terms, then you’ll simply get flushed away even though you might be the ideal candidate. So make sure you update your CV every now and then with all the right keywords, in order to score a ton of job interviews in the Netherlands.

Job Interviews in the Netherlands
Scoring a couple of job interviews in the Netherlands can be quite the quest

Job interviews in the Netherlands: be prepared for a very long process

Going to job interviews in the Netherlands is usually a long process. You will certainly be considered unfairly lucky by the masses, if you find a job in the Netherlands within weeks (especially in a company). Firstly, you should prepare for a long wait until you get a response after sending out your initial CV (you have to understand that employers receive hundreds of applications for each opening).

Once you get a response (and if you actually get an interview) then that whole process will take another week or two. So prepare all the patience in the world when looking for a job in the Netherlands, because employers take their time in order to make sure they’re hiring the right people. Here is how your job interview process in the Netherlands might go, depending on the type of job you’re applying for.

Retail and customer service interviews in Holland

Stage 1: initial and possibly final interview

To find a job within retail or customer service, usually takes just one interview. Most of the time this interview will be with the manager of the store/bar/cafe/restaurant. During that interview the employer will want to see what your personality is like, what kind of experience you have, whether you’re good with customers and how motivated you are. This interview will pretty much decide whether or not you get hired, so make sure to make a good impression!

Stage 2: interview for a higher position

Even though it is unlikely, you might be called over for a second interview. That usually happens when you’re applying for a higher position, such as shift supervisor, assistant manager, or manager. The second interview is usually with someone higher up in the hierarchy of the establishment where you want to work. The questions usually aim to understand how qualified you are for the position and how you would handle certain situations.

Company interviews in Holland

Stage 1: initial interview

The initial interview at a company is to pretty much get to know the candidate. You will probably be interviewed by someone from HR, just so that they can get a feel for you as a person and find out if your personality fits the company. This process is meant to narrow down the candidates, and may sometimes be done over Skype. If you don’t pass this stage, don’t worry! It most probably means that your CV matched the criteria, but not your personality.

And while that does sounds terrible, it is a lot better than you may think. After all, you wouldn’t want to work at a company where you’ll have to hide the fact that you spend your weekends at music festivals, just because you lied at you’re interview that you’re a stay-at-home cat mommy in order to get the job.

Job interviews in the Netherlands
Life in Holland is expensive! So try to get many job interviews in the Netherlands

Stage 2: secondary interview

So you actually got to the second interview. That’s great! It means that your party loving personality matches with the company and they’re actually interested in hiring you. And now it’s time to start panicking! No, just kidding. But the second interview is usually A LOT tougher than the first one.

During that secondary meeting you will be interviewed by people that are a lot higher in the company’s hierarchy. They will also have questions for you that are a lot harder! So be prepared for some tough questions that will be testing your professional skills and capabilities. The purpose of this second round of interviews is to narrow the circle of candidates even further. So make sure to bring your ‘A’ game to that interview.

Stage 3: assignment

The third and final stage (although, sometimes the second and third stage are switched around) is usually the toughest one. In this final stage you will be required to complete an assignment for the company. The assignment usually consists of two or three different tasks, requiring you to show specific knowledge in various fields. It could be something creative or a writing assignment, what ever it is you better bring your A-game and make sure you check the grammar of your writing (recruiters hunt for those pesky spelling errors in this stage)

This is to test out your skills and ideas, as well as to see if your vision matches with that of your employer. The assignment is usually sent to you by email and you have a couple of days to complete it in your own time and send it back. This final stage will decide everything! So make sure to commit as much time to the assignment as you possibly can.

Where to look for a job in the Netherlands: Dutch job websites and recruitment agencies

As with most job openings these days, the easiest way to find a job in the Netherlands is via LinkedIn. Other websites you might want to check when looking for a job in the Netherlands are:

  1. Monsterboard.nl
  2. Werk.nl
  3. Nationale Vacaturebank
  4. Jobtrack
  5. Vacaturekrant
  6. iAmsterdam’s Job Search
  7. Amsterdam Jobs Online
  8. JobsInAmsterdam

There are also some really good recruiting agencies in the Netherlands, that could help you find a job as a non-Dutch speaker.

  1. Undutchables
  2. Aquent
  3. Octagon
  4. Adams Multilingual Recruitment
  5. Abroad Experience International Recruitment

If you’re looking for a job within retail or customer service, then just going out and looking for places with vacancy signs on their windows is also possible. Or if you want to know more about finding a job in Holland, just read our epic guide on finding work in Amsterdam.

work in Amsterdam
Don’t be to excited though, finding work in Amsterdam can be hard…

What to wear to a Dutch job interview

Most Dutch companies have a very relaxed and informal environment. So the best way to go is with a smart casual fashion. This will show your Dutch employers that you are serious about the job opening, but also down to earth and quite approachable. So definitely do not over-dress when going to job interviews in the Netherlands.

That is, of course, unless you are applying for a company where suits are a must. Then you should absolutely wear a suit! So remember to be smart, and research ahead of time what kind of company is interviewing you and what the dress code is like over there.

What to expect during a job interview in the Netherlands: Dutch directness

Aside from some character or skills related questions, you might also get some pretty personal question when going to job interviews in the Netherlands. This is the infamous Dutch directness. That means that you may probably get questions that may seem a bit intruding or straight out inappropriate in your culture. Your age, your relationship status, what your parents do for a living, how many children you have, how many pets you have, what do you do in your free time? All of these questions are considered perfectly normal during a Dutch job interview.

You may also feel like your interviewers are staring at you or are standing too close. But that is only normal in the Netherlands and it’s also a part of Dutch everyday life. Often you will catch strangers looking at you or standing too close to you, and that’s just normal life in Holland. So yes, foreigners often find it baffling how the Dutch seem to have no understanding of personal space. But don’t freak out if this happens during your job interview! They are not being perverts (hopefully, but don’t take our word for it).

Finding a job in the Netherlands is hard, so don’t beat yourself

Finding an English-speaking job in the Netherlands is generally hard, so do not be too hard on yourself. Sometimes, there will be weeks where you won’t have a single job interview lined up, but that’s all a part of the process. Just hang in there!

But if you still want to know more about finding employment in the Netherlands, we have a lot more on that! We can tell you the things expats complain about when job hunting in Amsterdam. Or maybe you want to know what are your chances of finding a job with English as a student. Or just some general suggestions about handing out resumesworking in hospitality, or finding a job through an agency in Amsterdam. Many have gone through this struggle, so you are not alone!

Many employers in the Netherlands like to know that you have good control over the Dutch language, even if it’s only a few phrases, they’re an asset in the job hunt.

So this was our guide to CVs and job interviews in the Netherlands! Do you have any other tips and tricks on getting an interview in Holland? Let us know in the comments below!

Veronika Licheva
Veronika Licheva
Living the short girl life in the land of giants. Veronika is a content creator who takes great interest in video, photography, and journalism. Her mission in The Netherlands is to build a vibrant and exciting career, while simultaneously petting as many dogs as possible.

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  1. Awesome article. I like your insight on what to wear to interview. Dressing inappropriately to the job interview is something everyone should take care in. Wear bright clothes but make sure it is not too flashy.


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