This guide explains how to work with employment agencies and where to find job vacancies and recruitment companies in the Netherlands.
Expats looking for jobs in the Netherlands will find plenty of job vacancies and recruitment agencies in the Low Countries, particularly considering the Netherlands’ international mix of companies and multicultural residents, alongside a high proficiency of spoken English in the business environment. Employment agencies are big in the Netherlands and several specialise in recruiting non-Dutch nationals.
But how do you choose the right job employment agencies that are tuned into the Dutch job market but also to your personal needs as a foreign worker? Undutchables, a Dutch job agency specialized in finding work for expats, offers the golden rules on working with recruitment companies and finding international recruitment agencies in the Netherlands.
Undutchables is a recruitment agency for expats. Operating across the Netherlands (with branches in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Eindhoven), Undutchables helps everyone from first-jobbers to experienced executives progress their careers when moving to the Netherlands.
Finding job vacancies and employment agencies
Expats seeking a new career challenge in the Netherlands will find ample opportunities when it comes to job vacancies. The Dutch employment market is mature with a sophisticated HR market, and boasts an impressive array of local and international headquarters spread across Amsterdam and beyond the Randstad region.
Many companies advertise job vacancies with employment agencies because of the vast network of general and specialist agencies available in the Netherlands, particularly those specialising in attracting foreign talent. Many newcomers take the employment agency route for speed and convenience – not least for their experience with the regulations of Dutch work permits and highly skilled migrants – as well as for the valuable job contacts that established job recruitment agencies can tap into.
Both specialist international recruitment agencies and local recruitment companies openly advertise job vacancies and their services on their own websites geared to expats, and some also advertise on public job websites and leading publications in English. If you’re having trouble finding high position jobs, however, it’s likely those companies are advertising solely with employment agencies, an increasing trend as employment agencies save considerable time by doing initial screenings and interviews before recommending candidates onwards.
You can also see Expatica’s job board for English-speaking and multilingual job seekers, or check Expatica’s extensive lists of international recruitment agencies and local employment agencies in the Netherlands. Trade directories also carry listings of employment agencies and search engines with translators, such as Google, can help you navigate through the various Dutch websites. It’s worth exploring every avenue from social media outlets like LinkedIn to internet job engines like www.intermediair.nl, www.toplanguagejobs.nl (search by language) or www.monsterboard.nl, or even sector-specific recruitment agencies and websites (architecture, biotechnology, finance etc.).
Offering similar services to employment agencies are the European Commission’s European Employment Services (EURES) and the Dutch national public employment service UWV WERKbedrijf. Read more in our guides to jobs in the Netherlands and jobs in Amsterdam.
Working with employment agencies
With so many employment agencies on offer, how do you ensure that a job recruitment agency hires you or finds you the right job? It’s important to remember that employment agencies screen candidates on behalf of potential employers, so you need to make an impression when meeting both employment agencies and hiring managers or potential employers.
Here are some golden rules on working with employment agencies:
- Maintain an up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV) in English that fully reflects your skills, education, work experience and personal profile, and try to keep it as succinct as possible. If you really want to stand out, have a version translated into Dutch, which some companies will appreciate.
- Always support any application with a clear overview or motivation letter setting out your primary work requirements, personal qualities and career objectives.
- Follow up any application if you hear nothing back within three to five days.
- Always try to meet your recruitment agent in person as this can build rapport and trust, and make sure that your CV does not get sent anywhere without your permission.
- Be clear about your work preferences and present yourself in a positive and personable light.
- Stay flexible and be ready to attend interviews as opportunities emerge, but remain patient while your agent scours the market for the right opportunity.
- Keep your agent informed of any personal developments that might affect the work they are doing on your behalf.
Before any job application, most good recruitment companies will prepare you by sharing their intimate knowledge of the company, although self-preparation for possible interview questions is equally vital. It is important for both you and an employment agency that you stand out, so good employment agencies should offer advice on your CV, dress standard and other tips.
When you receive a job offer that fully matches your expectations, one benefit of working with employment agencies is that your agent will help you to assess the various aspects of your Dutch contract and wage, including benefits, role progression, career development or if you qualify for expat tax benefits.
In exchange for the commission fee recruitment companies charge, it is typically the job of employment agencies to sort out any problems at work, for example, if you have a problem with your placement or you want to negotiate vacations, benefits, salary or commissions. As your employment agent, it is in their best interest to ensure both you and the employer are satisfied.
Interview tips from recruitment companies
Once you’ve set yourself up with your preferred recruitment companies and before the enquiries start to flow in, you need to prepare yourself for interviews. Consider a wider range of areas or industries when job-hunting, so you can get onto the working ladder, as well as international recruitment companies who are specifically looking for foreign workers.
As an expat, one of your primary concerns may be about language. Fortunately, many international recruitment companies, HR personnel and other hiring managers in the Netherlands speak English at a high level, but this should not stop you from speaking clearly and slowly when in an interview. You should also avoid using jargon or colloquial expressions.
Just like in your home country, recruitment companies and prospective employers expect interviewees to be well-presented, enthusiastic and well-informed, for example, researching the company in advance. One of the top interview tips is to always attend an interview armed with a list of relevant questions, as is typically expected in Dutch interviews. Our guide to interview tips and interview questions can help you prepare.
In all cases, unless you are fully convinced it is the right job for you, allow yourself two or three days to consider all of the angles.
Starting a new job in a foreign country might be a daunting prospect for some, but the Dutch are very tuned into working with foreign nationals and you can be reassured that your new co-workers will be supportive of their new ‘international’ colleague. You can also read about Dutch business culture and Dutch contracts and employment law to familiarise yourself with the Dutch working environment before joining the workforce. Making an effort to learn Dutch can also pay dividends in the long run with you integration.