Interview Prep 101: How to Prepare for an Interview in the Netherlands

Written by Erin Bankersen

You’ve done it! You’ve landed an interview in the Netherlands! That’s fantastic news! Your application and CV rose to the top of the pile and you’ve been invited to interview with your potential co-workers or managers.

Now the fear and anxiety of interviewing in a new country have begun to sink in. How can you best prepare for an interview in the Netherlands?

Sitting down to prepare for an interview in a new country may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! To prepare for your interview, there are a number of different things you should research so you are ready for any questions that come your way. The key is to do your research about the organization, its people, and the job itself. 

Research the organization

One of the great things about Dutch companies is that many organizations have their financial documents, strategic plans, past performance, and a lot of other information available online. Your first step in prepping for an interview is to scour the organization’s website and go through pages of Google search to find out as much information about the organization as you can. You should research:

  • The values of the company
  • Their competitors
  • The field in which your role sits
  • Financial information
  • Year-end reports
  • And anything else you can find related to the company! 

The more aware you are of things happening behind the scenes, the better you’ll be able to answer any questions during the interview about what you know about the organization, how you can help with a specific problem, and why you want to work for the organization.

Research the people

Sometimes a job posting may mention the name of a contact person. If any of your potential coworkers are listed by name, research them as well. Search for them on Google and LinkedIn, check out their careers and see what their career trajectory has looked like. This can give you an idea of the types of skills, particularly soft skills, this employer may be looking for. You can also research company leaders in general (based on your research of the organization) and other employees to establish a good idea of who the leaders are and what they do. 

While this all may seem like overkill, researching the people already working in an organization gives you insight into their experience and career progression. You can use this knowledge to bridge your skills and experience to those that you now know are already valuable to the organization.

Research the job

Researching the job and what you can be expected to do is one of the best ways to prepare for an interview. If there is a lot of information available online, it’s imperative that you find out if the role and responsibilities are right for you. Use Glassdoor and LinkedIn company reviews and salary information to form the best idea of the role and expectations.

If, however, there is not a lot of information to be found, that is still okay. Wanting more information is a great way to frame your questions during the interview (and yes, you should prepare several questions). Asking thoughtful questions about the job is a great way to show you are thorough and prepared for the interview. You want to walk away from the interview with the information you need to know about the job to see if it’s the right fit for you. 

Researching the salary information is also a great way to show you are prepared for the interview as you may be asked for your expectations. While this may feel daunting, try to find jobs of the same level on Glassdoor and LinkedIn so you are prepared to name a figure at any time during the interview process.

Bridging the cultural gap

The Netherlands is home to many international companies, so chances are you could be interviewed by someone who is Dutch or possibly someone from the UK, India, Spain, or even the US. Being aware of and prepared to navigate various cultural communication styles is necessary for you to be fully ready for your interview.

If you are interviewing with someone who is Dutch, you should keep in mind that one of the most common observations of Dutch culture is its directness. Employers in the Netherlands tend to value directness more than in other countries. You’ll be asked straightforward questions in your interview and be expected to ask some frank questions yourself. The interviewer will be more likely to appreciate open and honest communication than you may expect or be used to. So be honest, open, and direct and you’ll have a better chance of proving you are a good fit for the organization. 

If you are interviewing with someone from another country, keep in mind that they may not appreciate directness in the same way as the Dutch. However, that doesn’t mean you need to shy away from talking about the impact you can make as an employee for that company. It means you may just need to deliver your message in a different way.

Explaining gaps in your work history

The interview is when you can exhibit your strengths, the things you know you are good at and the things that interested you in this job in the first place. However, this is also where you can openly address your weaknesses which may include gaps on your resume. Explaining gaps in your work history can be a difficult subject to broach. Be upfront and honest with any resume gaps. The interviewers will appreciate your honesty, no matter what your reason was. 

Want more help with your interview?

Looking for more tips or help with your interview prep? One of our international coaches can help. If you’re unemployed, we offer free coaching to individuals with a valid work permit in the Netherlands. Our volunteer coaches provide three to five sessions and can coach you in person or virtually. You can sign up here