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During the job interview, make sure you reflect upon your own behavior and personality in a positive manner. Be prepared for questions about your strengths and weaknesses. It is important to know your weaknesses and show you can turn them into strengths. For example: “Regarding my weaknesses, in a project, I tend to do a lot of the work myself. This is because I find it important that my work is done well, and doing it myself gives me the chance to focus without distractions. In my last job, I developed my skills in delegating tasks to others to help the overall goal.”
What to wear? In general, it’s better to overdress than to underdress; hence, a suit for men and a skirt/pants suit for women are probably good choices. Become informed about the company, and try to look presentably business-like when you go to the interview.
TIP: Dutch recruiters often pay attention to shoes: make sure you wear clean/polished footwear!
What questions to expect? Expect questions about your motivation, education and the company itself. It’s quite normal for Dutch companies to ask about your strengths and weaknesses, your character, extra-curricular activities and memberships in societies or organizations. Be aware that you’re not obliged to answer personal questions, such as plans for having children. Although the question is illegal, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be asked, so think about it ahead of time to find a polite way around it. It’s better to think in advance of a polite escape than a direct, ‘No, I will not answer this question’, as even Dutch directness has its limits. Near the end of an interview, it is common for a Dutch recruiter to ask the applicant if he/she has any further questions. Employers appreciate it if you have something to ask, so it is advisable to prepare at least one or two questions.
TIP: Salary is an issue left to the recruiter to bring up. Despite Dutch directness and openness, money matters are handled with reservation and usually never talked about between employees themselves.
Self-assessment Knowing about the Netherlands workforce, asking yourself about your personal goals, and being aware of what drives you may help with creating your CV, writing your application letter and selling yourself in the interview.
The following links are meant to help with this thought process.
OECD report “How’s Life in the Netherlands”
Self-assessment test: What do I really want from life?
Self-assessment test: Questions to ask yourself