Overseas Jobs | Working and living in the Netherlands

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Questions you can expect during an Dutch interview

There are a few basic questions that all interviewers ask to get to know you as a person and potential employee. Knowing what to expect will help to prepare concise and on-topic answers before the time giving you the edge on successfully being selected for the project.

Questions you can expect

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself? Clients love using this questions to open the discussion. It is expected that you tell a bit about yourself personally, but also professionally. You could tell them about your family (wife, husband, children) hobbies, sports, interest but also how those tie in with your work and how you progressed in your career into the role that you are now. Try not to make this too elaborate.
  • Why did you come to the Nederlands? Because people are curious about you as a South African in the Netherlands, this question will most likely come up.
  • What are your qualifications? Please explain what your qualification is and how it is similar or equal to in the Netherlands. A BSc or BTech is equal to a HBO. A MSc or Masters degree, is also called a Masters here.
  • Tell me about you previous job, what was your roles and responsibilities?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? Have a list prepared and specific examples that illustrate each attribute. Show how your skills will benefit the company. Valued traits include: intelligence, positivity, good communicator, technically strong, dedication and confidence.
  • What do you do to improve your weaknesses?
  • Why do you call yourself a *Senior Developer? What makes you a *Senior Developer?
  • Do you consider yourself a good programmer? Why?
  • What do you consider to be good code, what do you look for?
  • What is the thing you are most proud of that you have done at work? Why?
  • What is the most difficult thing you have ever done at work? Why?
  • Do you ask for help when you get stuck, or do you figure it out by yourself?
  • Have you ever implemented anything that you did not agree with? Explain.
  • What do you like most and least about your job?
  • What do you look for in a job, what makes you happy?
  • Your project is running late, what do you do?
  • Are you a team player or do you prefer to work alone?
  • Why do you want this job?

Ideas of what you can ask:

Interviews are two-way discussions. Interviewers not only welcome questions but in fact they expect them. By preparing questions that will gain you a thorough understanding of expectations and show your potential employer that you are interested in the company and role. Make sure that they are relevant to the industry, market, company and role.

  • Tell me about the team. What are their roles?
  • I’d like to know more about your organisation, tell me about the structure of the division / team.
  • Should I be selected for this role, is there anything particular that I can read up on prepare myself with prior to the first day in order to shorten my start up time?
  • For how long do you anticipate this role to be outsourced? This will give you and us an idea of how long your contract will be for.
  • What are the challenges in this position, or in this project?
  • Who does this role interact with?
  • Do you have a specific organisational objective you are working towards?
  • What is the proposed start date?

IMPORTANT: Should you already have leave planned during the span of the contract, please do mention it during this meeting but do it in such a way that it doesn’t limit your chance of being selected for this role. You could open that discussion like this: “I was thinking of taking some holiday time during June, for about 5 days. Would that limit my chance of being selected for this role? Or you could open the discussion with the question: “What does the project plan look like over the next few months?”

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Related subjects

Do your research

Research the company thoroughly: their website, recent articles on the company, their products/services, culture, mission statement and values. Familiarise yourself with the job description, but note that sometimes we don’t have too much information to pass onto you.

The language factor

If you have just arrived in the Netherlands, and even though Dutch sort-of-kind-of sounds like Afrikaans, it might feel like everybody is talking Greek to you!

Cultural differences

As an expat it is also important to take cultural differences into consideration when you're interviewing. Below I have listed several important interview elements that can be very different.