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Excerpted from the Netherlands Career Guide

One should research the potential employer as thoroughly as possible before a Dutch job interview, as it will help determine the kind of questions for which to prepare. A good deal of information can be found on the Internet (corporate websites and network sites). It is also common for applicants to call the company with inquiries about specific details. For instance: ask for an annual report, the name and job title of the interviewer, or if it will be a panel interview. Learning about the interviewers in advance is recommended.

Interview Conduct 

It is essential to arrive on time for an interview. In fact, one should arrive 10 to 15 minutes early, just to be safe.

Men generally wear dark suits, plain ties and white shirts to interviews, particularly for managerial positions and for law firms, consultancies or companies in the finance sector. Women typically wear suits as well. Some businesses have a more casual dress code (sectors such as communication, education or health services). In deciding what to wear, helpful information may be available from business contacts or from people who work for that specific employer or a comparable company. Visiting the company’s website can be helpful, as well. If after such investigation the jobseeker remains in doubt about the company’s dress code, he or she should err on the side of caution and dress up, because it is better to appear overdressed for the interview than underdressed.

The Interview

The initial interview with a company usually is the first of many. In some cases, an HR department representative conducts this interview, focusing on the applicant’s general skills and competencies. In other cases, the head of the department for which the applicant would work conducts the first interview, gearing it toward the specific skills required for a particular position. Combinations of these interview methods also are possible. Usually, at least one of the interview sessions will be conducted by more than one person. Because each company may conduct the series of interviews differently, the applicant should inquire about the procedure ahead of time.

Post Interview

The application procedure will be explained during the first interview, including when and how the company will inform the applicant on his or her admission or rejection for the next round. If the procedure is not clear, the applicant can ask for more details at the end of the meeting. It takes on average 1 to 4 weeks before a candidate finally hears the outcome. The wait time also depends on the number of candidates being interviewed for the position. Only very occasionally would a candidate get an offer on the spot. In that case, the candidate can always ask for some time to reflect. It is not unusual for a candidate to call after a week or more has passed to ask about the state of affairs.

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Netherlands Guide.

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