We cover the basics for nailing a first job interview in the Netherlands. We are not securing you a pass at your assessment day or magically spilling the secret tea leading to the heart of every recruiter. The tips you are about to get exposed to today will very much open the doors to your round 2 of interviews.
Prepare for the following things:
Why this company?
When you are preparing for your interview in the Netherlands, first and foremost, find 3 qualities in the company you are applying for and have them in mind when they ask you this question. I know it is the most common sense question but it is important to be ready. To make it easier for yourself, connect one of those qualities to your studies or passions. A perfect example is if you state you have chosen the company because it is a startup and at the same time you have majored in Entrepreneurship during your studies. You are prone to liking new businesses and and be excited about innovative ideas, so your motivation is well-defended.
Another good (and common) question when you have an interview in the Netherlands (probably anywhere else in the world as well), but bear with me, we are getting to the more interesting stuff. It is a no-brainer why you have to prepare for the question “Why should be choose you” or “Why are you the perfect candidate for this position”. In the end, they are making a choice, and you need to differentiate yourself from the rest.
If you have prior experience like internships or part-time jobs, make it sound complicated (recruiters appreciate a well-presented and synthesized CV) and make sure you point out which 2-3 things from your experience will be the most beneficial for the company. That way you sound specialized for the role and it will make it hard for the recruiters to find someone with similar skills and experience.
If you do not have prior experience and are applying for an internship, it is very important to mention two things during your interview. Make sure you explicitly state that you are very much willing to learn on the job and are easily-adaptable. Nowadays, those are keywords that need to be present in your motivation. Also, mention that you have an ambition to help grow the company but also want to grow together with the company. That is a winning strike right there.
Questions at the end
I know, everybody says to ask questions at the end. After you have asked 2-3 questions that solely interest you about the role or the company itself, I would recommend asking the following one. “Can you tell me something that you do not necessarily like about working @ XYZ company except pressure on the job, workload and sometimes late hours?”
This question is FI-RE!
I mean… where do I begin. Everybody has something good to say about the company, especially recruiters, they have to put fluff around it. The same goes for the role itself or the team or the colleagues. So you ask them a question that they most likely not prepared beforehand and at the same time gives you a bit of a realistic idea if you want to deal with the “negatives” they are going to mention or not. CHECKMATE SON!
Learn to tell your CV concisely but still cover the main points
Obviously, when doing an interview in the Netherlands, or just in general, you should know what you have put down on your CV. Especially after you have some experience, however, it is important to know how to hand pick and tell the qualities that are desired for the job you are applying for. So instead of going ahead and telling you life-story when they ask you “Tell me about yourself”, tell the short version of your experience and how this experience contributes to the potential role and makes you a stronger candidate than the rest. Here it is good to mention electives, thesis topic if relevant, seminars, extracurricular activities.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
This might seem an obvious thing to do, but believe me it is harder than it sounds. Always prepare at least 3 of each, but also be ready to give examples. Also, for your next rounds, it is good to have different answers and not give the same examples since recruiters notice that. And again, make your weaknesses not really related to the job weaknesses, and always mention that you have taken measures and are working on improving them.
An example can be: “I have an eye for detail and sometimes this plays a bad joke on me because it takes me longer to do a task than expected. However, I have been working on improving that and have an agenda where I distribute my time properly and so far it has really helped.”
Oh, and never say you are a perfectionist. Recruiters don’t like that – neither as a weakness, nor as a strength.
4. Behavioural questions
The Dutch love their behavioral questions so dive in the info that is all over the internet and prepare well. But I mean, prepare really well because whenever you are having an interview in the Netherlands, it is guaranteed that you are getting at least a few behavioural questions. A wise thing to do is have at least 2 examples for every question. Because sometimes recruiters tell you to give another example, and you do not want to be stuck on that.
Those 4 tips have unmistakably worked for me every times and the good thing is that they work well for more than one application. They also make you get to know yourself better and what you expect from your future job. So it is a win-win.
Either way, check out what jobs we have in the Netherlands at the moment and find the one that you like the most. Afterwards, try applying the tips above. Good luck!