The Hiring Process in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is known for having a very competitive job market. It’s a country with hard workers who enjoy their free time and appreciate a good work-life balance. To cut down commute time and have more control over their free time, many workers opt for remote options and become independent contractors

Some of the most popular fields to work in include:

  • IT;
  • engineering;
  • healthcare;
  • finance;
  • marketing.

As those are deficit professions, it’s very common for highly skilled migrants to come and work in the Netherlands. However, although those professions have the highest chances of getting hired, plenty of other options are still available.

Although the hiring process in the Netherlands is very similar to others, a couple of things make it different and unique. In the following words, we’ll describe how that process looks and provide a few tips for job seekers wanting to increase their chances of getting hired.

Hiring process – what to expect


Job seekers in the Netherlands will usually look for jobs on:

  • online job boards;
  • companies’ websites;
  • hiring agencies.

Once you apply for a job, you may be invited to an initial interview. Like in most other countries, the Dutch conduct interviews in different ways. Those can be in person, via video call, or over the phone. 

If the employer likes your CV and introduction, you’ll be invited to the second interview. There might be a skills test involved with the second one. If everything goes to plan, you’ll be asked to join the company and sign a contract. 

But before you sign, you must be aware of the Dutch employment laws. They protect employers and employees regarding minimum wage, free time, anti-discrimination policies, etc. 

This is a general outline of how the hiring process in the Netherlands works. In detail, here’s how it looks every step of the way.

Job application

When you find a job you feel could be a good fit, you can start the application process. You should send your CV (curriculum vitae) and a cover letter to apply.

The CV should be concise and include relevant information like:

  • work experience;
  • education; 
  • skills;
  • personal details (name, address, and contact information). 

The cover letter should be personalized to the job and company you are applying to. In a cover letter, you must explain why you’re a good fit for the position. It’s common for Dutch employers to ask for references from previous jobs. Also, they can request additional documents like diplomas or certificates. 

Many job applications in the Netherlands are now submitted online through job boards or company websites. However, some employers still accept applications by post or email.

Initial screening

The initial screening process in the Netherlands depends on the employer and the job position. It usually involves reviewing the candidate’s CV and cover letter to see if they meet the basic requirements for the job. 

Some employers may also use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen applications for keywords and other relevant criteria. If a candidate passes the initial screening, they may be invited to a first-round interview. The initial screening process aims to determine which candidates meet the minimum requirements.

Also, the initial screening can be a great way to find candidates who can be helpful in the future. Because of that, don’t be surprised if you get a call from a company for which you applied a few months ago.

First interview

The first interview in the Netherlands typically involves meeting with the employer or a recruiter to discuss the candidate’s qualifications and experience. Then, the interviewer will ask questions about the candidate’s previous jobs, skills, and achievements. They’ll also ask why their company was interesting for the candidate and why they applied.

You’ll be able to ask questions about the job, the company culture, or anything else you might be interested in. The first interview is usually used to determine whether a candidate fits the company and the job position. If so, the candidate will be invited for a second-round interview.


job interview

Assessment is used to evaluate a candidate’s skills needed to get the job. To do so, they’ll run different tests and exercises to see how well you can adapt. These tests are also a great way to evaluate a candidate’s personality. 

Every employer has its way of running these tests. Hence, you can run into any of these when talking with a company:

  • cognitive ability tests;
  • personality assessments;
  • role-playing exercises;
  • group discussions.

The assessment can happen in the second interview or between the first and second interview. Employers can send you a test after the first round so you can look at it as your entry card for the second-round interview. 

On the other hand, some companies don’t use this method. So overall, you should be ready for the assessment, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen at all.

Second interview

When you reach the second interview, you’re in a great position to get the job. However, although it may seem like a celebration is a step away, you need to stay calm. The second interview usually comes with tricky, technical questions.

As mentioned, there may be tests and exercises involved. You may have to showcase a case study or a presentation to demonstrate your skills. The employer has to get a deep understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. 

Naturally, if the employer likes what they see on the second interview, they’ll offer you the job.

Job offer

Once you complete the interviews, there’ll usually be a few days of waiting. The company will interview all the candidates and determine which one is the best fit for the job. That usually lasts between two days and two weeks. If the company chooses you, you’ll get notified via an email or a phone call. 

A job offer comes with a written contract consisting of employment terms and conditions. They will include the details like:

  • job title;
  • start date;
  • salary;
  • working hours;
  • perks and benefits.

It’s crucial to carefully review the contract and check if you agree with everything in it. You’ll have the opportunity to adjust some things if they don’t work for you. Of course, the employer must agree with those changes.

In addition, the employer may ask you to provide additional documentation, like proof of your qualifications or a valid work permit if you are a non-EU citizen. Once everything is in order, the employee can proceed with signing the contract.

Contract signing

Once you agree on all the terms and conditions of the job, the final step is to sign the contract. The employer will usually give you a copy of the signed contract. The employer and employee need to keep a copy of the signed contract in case of any future questions or disputes.

How long is the hiring process in the Netherlands?


The length of the hiring process in the Netherlands can vary, but it usually takes a few weeks, up to a month.

That is the ideal scenario where you find a good position, and in the end, the company will hire you. The entire process of finding a job can last up to a few months. Applying for different positions, interviewing, and assessments, all of which take time. Naturally, there will be positions where you aren’t the best fit, so you’ll have to keep looking. When you consider all of those, three months would be a fair estimate of how long it will take to find a job.

Regarding the hiring process itself, employers have different methods of hiring people. There are sensitive positions where they must be more careful when selecting candidates. Also, if there are many applicants, it’s safe to say it will last longer.

The initial screening process can be pretty quick, anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. But the other steps can slow things down. Things like holidays or vacations can also delay the process. That’s especially common in summer, when some employers may have fewer staff due to vacations. 

On the other hand, some employers offer a fast hiring process. Naturally, that causes suspicion among job seekers, who wonder if a quick hiring process is a red flag.

The answer is that it can be a red flag, but not necessarily. Fast hiring can mean that the employer is very efficient in selecting candidates. It can also mean they are willing to take less experienced workers to teach them on the spot.

However, there are other situations where a position needs to be filled immediately. That can be a great thing – you’ll get a job quickly and bypass the lengthy process. But it can also be challenging if you aren’t skilled initially. Hence, this option is tough to predict.

Finally, some employers aren’t very detailed in the hiring process. That can lead to problems for both the employer and the employee. In addition, the employment will only last for a while, leading to a lot of unnecessary documentation and lost time. To avoid those issues, you should carefully research the company before accepting any offers. Job seekers need to be patient and flexible during the hiring process. 

How to prepare better for an interview?

hiring process

A job interview can be very stressful for many job seekers. However, good preparation will give you a lot of confidence going into those interviews. To be fully prepared for any scenario, you should pay attention to the following things.


The CV is usually the first thing an employer will see, so it’s an excellent opportunity to leave a good first impression. To ensure that your CV is on point, you should do the following:

  • keep it concise – no more than two pages long;
  • adjust it according to the job – highlight the skills that that specific position requires;
  • use a clear format – select an easy-to-read font (like Arial), and include bullet points to make it easier to read;
  • include relevant education and training;
  • include a personal statement – a short personal statement can help to highlight your skills and show why you are a good fit for the job;
  • proofread your CV – mistakes or typos can make you appear unprofessional.

Understand Dutch work culture

Understanding the Dutch work culture is another crucial thing for getting hired. These are some of the things that are typical of the Dutch work culture.

Direct communication

The Dutch tend to be very direct in their communication style. Hence, be ready for direct questions and feedback during the interview;

Collaborative work style 

The Dutch value collaboration and teamwork. Be prepared to discuss your experience working in a team.

Work-life balance

Having a good work-life balance is very important in the Netherlands. Many employees opt to work part-time or take extended vacations. Because of that, they’ll most likely ask about your expectations regarding work-life balance.

Dress code

The Dutch prefer a professional dress code for work. Hence, a suit would be the best choice for a job interview.

Social interaction

The Dutch can be reserved in social situations, especially before they get to know you. Therefore, maintain a professional style during your interview.

Research the company

Researching a company before engaging in interviews or even applying is a significant part of the process. By doing so, you’ll learn about the company’s values and goals. This can help you determine whether the company is a good fit for you and whether you will be happy working there.

It can also help you to adjust your application and help you stand out. Thorough research can be helpful when preparing for an interview. It’ll give you insights into which questions they might ask.

Finally, it can show your interest and dedication for getting the job, which every employer appreciates. 

Be punctual

Being punctual is seen as a sign of good time management skills, which are highly valued in the Dutch work culture. In general, the Dutch are efficient and reliable people. Of course, they expect you to share the same values.

Being late can be seen as disrespectful or unprofessional. That’s why it’s vital to come on time – bonus points for getting there a few minutes early.

Prepare to talk about your experience

In Dutch culture, you’ll be judged by your results. Previous experience shows the employer what qualities you can bring to the company. That’s why you can expect questions about your last job duties.

They may ask for examples of how you handled a challenging situation. In addition, if you worked in the same role before, they may ask how you helped that company succeed with your work.

Know the process 

hiring process netherlands

The hiring process in the Netherlands is very similar to the ones in other countries. However, some factors are specific to the Dutch working culture. By utilizing that knowledge, you can get in a much better position to get hired.

It’s crucial to utilize these things as the job market in the Netherlands is very competitive. For deficit professions, you’ll probably be able to find a job relatively quickly. But for others, it can take more effort.

If you need a helping hand in finding a company that’ll be a good fit for your skills, feel free to reach out to us. We can guide you in landing your dream job and help you prepare for the interview. Furthermore, if you’re an international looking for work in the Netherlands, leave the complicated paperwork and bureaucracy to us. While you focus on your preparations, we’ll ensure all the needed documents are handled.

As a very appealing country for foreigners, the Netherlands is quickly expanding. Become a part of the pack and excel in your career in the business center of Europe.

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