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Cultural Differences in the Recruitment Process When Looking to Work Abroad

2016-09-05 07:00:00 +0100 by Kellie-Anne Molloy


When it comes to looking for a multilingual job abroad - there are a number of stages you will go through in the recruitment process before you can sit comfortably in your new office abroad. With Careertrotter, we do our very best to make sure each stage within the recruitment process is as simple and as carefree as possible. But, as in life - no one can control everything, the recruitment process differs depending on where it is you are looking to work abroad - what we can promise is that we will be with you and help you the entire way. 

Careertrotter works with many multilingual companies in countries all across the EU - Mainly in Ireland, Germany, Poland, The Netherlands and in France - Each one with their own unique way of handling the recruitment process that is in line with their culture. 

What we have done for you this week is come together and compile all of our knowledge on each countries specific cultures, routines and protocols for their recruitment process. WHY?

Well the answer is simple - If we have a German Speaker looking to live and work in Ireland - they may not be used to the different culture, types of interview questions or even all that comfortable with the fact that the recruitment process in Ireland is much quicker than in Germany. Becuase in Ireland ''ASAP'' can mean send a CV today and get feedback tomorrow, where as in Germany ''ASAP'' can usually mean send a CV today and get feedback next week. 

 We're here this week to help you settle your nerves and get to grips with the cultural differences within the recruitment process and a little more at ease with the overall cultural attitude of that country. 

Have a read & Enjoy - We hope we helped 

Type of Interview Questions 


In Ireland – it is more focussed on competency and you are expected to give examples without being asked. Rigorous preperation is needed for interviews in Ireland because you will need a number of examples ready.


In Germany - examples are not really that important in an interview, more motivational. These questions are very important, they allow the recruiter to really see why somebody took certain steps. In Germany they go through your CV in great detail before you enter the interview and during so make sure you know it inside and out.


They don't particularly have a favoured set of questions - you will need to prepare for all 3 main interview questions. i.e. Personal, Motivational and Competency Based. 


In France - it does depend on the language job you are going for - typically, personal interview questions are more important. But in France they rely quite a bit on what you have experience in and want to hear about it. In France it's not just your answers they are interested in, it is also in your personal presentation - it is really important to dress to impress for both face-to-face and video calls. 


In Poland, you can expect them to be more focussed on asking more about your motivation to work for that particular company and why living & working in Poland  appeals to you- you really want to sell the reasons why Poland is the place for you. 

Candidates will always have technical questions (especially for IT and Finance) and they need to explain what`s their previous experience in relation to the language job that they are applying or if they don`t have the experience why they have to step in that specific field/industry.

How Long until Job Offer? 

This is where we look at how long it will take from Careertrotter sending your CV to a client in a specific country to how long you will need to wait (if successful) in getting the language job offer. 


It depends on the seniority of the language job of course and the company - so when it comes to the number of interviews you need to sit there, these can vary. In terms of how long it takes to get an offer - the time is usually shorter then what you would expect in Germany perhaps 1 month max - but again keep in mind certain companies could take longer. 


For the interview - you will probably sit between 2-3 interviews, there is almost always a face-to-face and a trial day with the company. Here it can take some time - in Germany it is the norm to be waiting between 1-2 months for the language job to be offered, they like to take their time when making decisions, so don't get dis-heartend thats how the recruitment process goes in Germany.

The Netherlands

There is usually 2 or 3 interviews and if you are successful you could be waiting up to 1 Month for the offer depending on start date of course - if the start date is close they may pull a few strings to get you in for it.


You will have to sit between 2-3 interviews and it can take between 2-4 weeks for the language job offer depending on the language job. The recruitment process in France can sometimes mirror Germany so don't lose faith.


In Poland it can be generally quick - You could be offered the language job after just one interview, maximum 2. Not forgetting that in Poland you must sit a medical check before working for any company and this usually takes place within the interview process as it is the law over in Poland to get a medical check, its nothing personal its just a general requirement.

Overall Cultural Differences


  • In Ireland we have quite a laid back attitude. 
  • Very sociable, respectful and friendly country.
  • Good with Small Talk – We are not fond of the long silence.
  • A cup of tea is the answer to everything – typical Irish Mammy Mentality.
  • Not the best time keepers – if the we say we'll meet at 8 – expect to see us somewhere between 8 and 8:30. - This is where the 'ish' comes into play - Our Marketing Manager uses it quite a bit - ''I arrived around 7ish - 'ish' basically give you half an hour to play with.
Source: Kellie Anne


  • We are very direct, no beating around the bush, if we want something we just ask.
  •  We're Very focussed on work; we want to be efficient.
  • We are good with time keeping - we're mostly very punctual.
  • Unfortunatley, we're not known for our great sense of humour in other countries.
  •  We definitely like rules.
Source: Rike

The Netherlands

  • We feel like our opinions are very important.
  • When it comes to anything in life we like to have the feeling/connection/wow factor/falling in love/gut feeling this is a match.
  • Bikes! We love our bikes - in Amsterdam you will see more bikes than cars that's how much Bikes are a thing in the Netherlands.
  • Us Dutchies love a bargain, we love to window shop in search of the next bargain - so if we see anything saying ''Gratis'' or ''Free'' - You might have just made our Day.
Source: Anneloes, Mitchell & Herbert


  • We are quite formal, specifically in the workplace. My advice - Mirror the attitude and language level of recruiter - it will help you in your day to day life and in searching for your next language job.
  • We wouldn't be known for our amazing English skills - so we can be easily impressed by your level of English.
  • We wouldn't be the Friendliest at first - we need some time to add you to our social group - Give us time and we'll be friends for life.
  • We complain quite a bit: its part of our culture, we always want more.

Source: Celine


  • Polish people are very respectful, friendly people who like to help others.
  • They are known for being straight forward, like the Dutch they wouldn't sugar coat situations
  • Business is conducted slowly - you will need to be patient for everything to go through specific protocols.
  • Punctuality is taken very seriously in Poland - You certainly wouldn't want to be late for anything - they share this with Germany. 
  • In terms of Small talk - they are not averse to it, it is usually used at the start of meetings, in order to develop a relationship but you won't see it anywhere else, whereas the Irish use it all the time.
Source: Andrei & Kellie Anne
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