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. The Netherlands has an 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 specialize 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. It 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 agencies in the Netherlands, particularly those specializing in attracting foreign talent. Many newcomers take the employment agency route for speed and convenience. They also offer experience with the regulations of Dutch work permits and highly-skilled migrants. Agencies also have valuable, well-established professional contacts they can tap into.
Both specialist international recruitment agencies and local recruitment companies openly advertise vacancies and services on their own websites. 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. This is an increasing trend, as employment agencies save time by doing initial screenings and interviews before recommending candidates.
Other places to look for work
You can also see Expatica’s job board for English-speaking and multilingual job seekers. 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. 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 recruitment agency finds you the right job? Employment agencies screen candidates on behalf of potential employers; as a result, 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; this builds rapport and trust. 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. 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.
What to expect with recruitment agencies in the Netherlands
Before any job application, most good recruitment companies prepare you by sharing their intimate knowledge of the company. Self-preparation for possible interview questions is equally vital. It is important for both you and an employment agency that you stand out; good employment agencies should offer advice on your CV, dress standards, and other tips.
In exchange for the commission fee recruitment companies charge, employment agencies 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 a recruitment company and before the inquiries start to flow in, you need to prepare yourself for interviews. Consider a wider range of areas or industries when job-hunting.
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. This shouldn’t stop you from speaking clearly and slowly during an interview. You should also avoid using jargon or colloquial expressions.
Recruitment companies and prospective employers expect interviewees to be well-presented, enthusiastic, and well-informed. Always attend an interview 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.