How to Get a Job in the Netherlands: A 7-Step Guide for Foreigners

How to Get a Job in the Netherlands: A 7-Step Guide for Foreigners

If you’re wondering how to get a job in the Netherlands, you’re in the right place. The Dutch unemployment rate is an enviable figure, standing at less than 4% as of April 2024. 

The job market in the Netherlands is not only thriving but also accessible to foreigners. With a growing number of job opportunities across different sectors, skilled blue-collar candidates from abroad can easily find a job in Holland. 

This article breaks down the application process into actionable steps that you can take today. Expect to learn about work permits, CV formats, job interviews, and Dutch work culture—all designed to help you land that job with no fluff.    

Key Takeaways

  • The Dutch job market is solid, with low unemployment and a strong presence of international companies, ensuring a wealth of job opportunities in various sectors such as agriculture, production, and logistics.
  • Preparations for job seekers include securing the necessary work permits, especially for non-EU nationals, and crafting a CV that highlights language proficiency. Recruitment agencies can significantly help in the job search and offer various contract types.
  • Job boards are a valuable resource for finding job opportunities in the Netherlands.
  • Understanding the Dutch work culture, which favours work-life balance and a flat organisational structure, and taking advantage of employment agency benefits like accommodation and transportation can greatly enhance the relocation and employment experience in the Netherlands.

1. Research Job Opportunities in the Netherlands

If you haven’t worked abroad before, you’re probably wondering: How can I get a job in the Netherlands as a foreigner? There are a few approaches you can explore that will help you get a position in the Dutch labour market as a foreign candidate.

For starters, you should start by researching job offers that are highly in demand in specific cities, specific industries, and within specific companies. Keep in mind that the blue-collar sector is booming in the Netherlands and there is a constant need for new workers to replace many ageing professionals. 

The biggest job demand is predicted to be in the following industries:

This guarantees a steady stream of job opportunities, increasing your chances of securing employment. Moreover, high chances of employment come from the presence of major international companies like:

  • ING Group
  • Royal Dutch Shell Group
  • Unilever
  • Philips
  • Heineken
  • Prika
  • Sligro
  • Geodis
  • Spanish Crown
  • Swiss Sense
  • Quick Frozen
  • Goodlife Foods
  • and many more

You can look for job openings within major global companies that are located in smaller cities and rural areas. These job offers are attractive for foreigners since they provide you with a comprehensive salary and accommodation, and the cost of living is much lower than in urban areas.

On the other hand, seeking job opportunities in larger cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, etc.) is also a great option. It is known that many international companies choose to operate in the Netherlands since it provides a great business environment. 

Keep in mind that the average salary in the Netherlands greatly varies depending on your location, so make sure you take that into consideration.

2. Craft Your Dutch-Style CV

When you craft your Dutch-style CV, emphasise your language proficiency. Most jobs in the Netherlands require English proficiency, and speaking Dutch (or another language) can significantly enhance your job prospects.

Highlight your professional experience to demonstrate your qualifications and suitability for the role. Regardless of whether you’re a native English speaker, ensure your CV highlights your language skills.

Boost your candidature by showcasing your motivation. Include a compelling cover letter written in the company’s language as an excellent way to do this.

3. Apply For Jobs Through Recruitment Agencies

In the Netherlands, many recruitment and employment agencies support job seekers and facilitate connections with employers, making them a preferred route for finding employment. These agencies not only simplify your job hunt but also boost your chances of securing the ideal job.

Recruitment agencies can be a powerful asset in your job search. They act as a quick gateway to a wide variety of opportunities, advertising positions on diverse job boards and giving you access to international job markets you might not have explored on your own. 

Recruiters take the time to understand your background through your CV, cover letter, qualifications, and preferences. That way, they can present you with personalised job offers that closely align with your career goals.

The benefits extend beyond simply finding the right job. Recruitment agencies provide you with a variety of contract options, from temporary positions to full-time placements. Moreover, recruiters can leverage their industry expertise and negotiate competitive salaries and benefit packages on your behalf.

One of the key advantages of working with recruitment agencies is the variety of contracts they offer. Whether you’re looking for flexible employment contracts, fixed-term contracts, or open-ended contracts, recruitment agencies have got you covered. Therefore, you have the opportunity to find a job that aligns with your needs and preferences.

Additionally, temporary employment is one of the options provided by recruitment agencies, offering flexibility and short-term opportunities.

The Role of Employment Agencies

Employment agencies play a pivotal role in the Dutch job market. They:

  • Support individuals in finding jobs and streamline the job search process
  • Assist employers by screening potential recruits
  • Act as a bridge between job seekers and employers
  • Help candidates prepare all the necessary documentation for the relocation
  • Support hires in settling into their roles

Another important service offered by employment agencies is managing payroll. They:

  • Calculate hours worked
  • Determine wages
  • Withhold the correct amount of taxes from salaries
  • Issue pay slips to employees

With them handling payroll and taxes, you can concentrate on your job.

Should I Get a Job in Holland Through an Employment Agency?

Working through an employment agency in the Netherlands comes with a number of unique advantages. One of the key benefits is the provision of accommodation. The housing provided adheres to SNF standards, ensuring a minimum quality of living regarding:

  • size
  • privacy
  • security
  • hygiene
  • fire safety

So, securing your dream job also ensures you don’t have to stress about finding accommodation. Additionally, temporary housing is one of the benefits provided by employment agencies, making the transition smoother for new employees.

Another advantage is the arrangement of transportation for workers. Employment agencies manage commuting options based on the distance from the residence to the workplace, which may include a bicycle or a car. Therefore, along with a job, you also receive a convenient commuting solution to your workplace.

4. Prepare for the Interview Process with Dutch Companies

The interview process can be a nerve-wracking part of the job hunt but don’t worry. The number of interview stages in the Netherlands varies by the type of position. So, while senior positions and other higher-level roles may involve multiple rounds, jobs with high turnover rates often require only a single interview.

When you prepare for interviews, succinctly summarise your qualifications and experiences. Additionally, come prepared with thoughtful questions about the company and the role, showing engagement and a keen interest in understanding the industry and the organisation. 

By doing so, you can leave a lasting impression on your potential employer and increase your likelihood of getting the job. Demonstrating cultural fit during the interview is also crucial, as employers often look for candidates who align with the company’s values and work environment.

5. Research Legal Requirements to Get a Job in the Netherlands as a Foreigner  

Before you dive into the job application process, consider the legal requirements for you to move and get a job in the Netherlands.  EU/EEA and Swiss citizens can work freely with just a travel document. If you’re a non-EU national, you’ll typically need a residence and work permit to work in the Netherlands. 

This process is a necessary step to legally secure employment in the country. So, is it easy to get a work permit in the Netherlands?

There’s good news for highly skilled migrants. The Dutch labour market offers fast-track, highly skilled migrant permits for individuals whose skills are in high demand. This makes it easier for such professionals to secure employment and settle in the Netherlands.

If you’re not yet employed, you can apply for a Dutch student visa or a Dutch family reunification visa. Additionally, check with your local authorities if there are any specific visa requirements when moving to the Netherlands for citizens of your country.

6. Understand Dutch Work Culture and Contracts

One of the unique aspects of working in the Netherlands is the Dutch work culture. With an emphasis on work-life balance, the country favours fewer working hours for a better quality of life over longer hours for more pay. Thus, working in the Netherlands isn’t just about making a living; it’s also about enjoying the work you do.

In addition, Dutch work environments value:

  • Equality
  • Informality
  • Open communication
  • and team collaboration.

Workers are encouraged to freely share opinions and question superiors, and companies typically have a horizontal structure and consensus-based decision-making involving team input. So, if you’re someone who values these aspects, you’ll feel right at home in a Dutch company.

In fact, a positive work environment often leads to effective word-of-mouth among professionals. Dutch companies also offer attractive employment benefits, including health insurance, paid leave, and retirement plans.

As for contracts, employment law in the Netherlands offers a range of options: flexible employment for initial stages, fixed-term employment after 52 weeks, and open-ended employment providing continuous employment. You have the opportunity to find a contract that meets your needs, be it short-term employment or a long-term commitment.

Let’s delve into the specifics of each type:

Flexible Employment Contracts

Initially, when you embark on your employment journey in the Netherlands through a temp agency, you will typically be offered a flexible employment contract. This arrangement is commonplace for international workers arriving in the Netherlands for the first time.

The employer’s current needs will determine how many hours you work each week under this contract, so it’s possible that you’ll work 16, 25, or even 38 hours per week.

Additionally, the agency may transfer you to various job sites in accordance with the operational needs of their client companies.

After 52 weeks of employment with the same agency, the flexible contract phase ends, and you will transition to a fixed-term contract. It’s important to note that you have the flexibility to terminate this contract at any time.

Fixed-Term Employment Contracts

Upon completion of one year with the agency, you will be eligible for a fixed-term employment contract. This contract type secures both your weekly work hours and your workplace.

If there is a break in your employment of more than 26 weeks, you would need to revert to a flexible employment contract and essentially start the cycle anew.

After either four years of service or six fixed-term contracts, you would be offered a permanent contract.

Open-Ended Employment Contracts

An open-ended employment contract provides you with continuous employment without a specified end date. The agency is required to continue paying your salary if the company terminates your employment until they can find you a new position.

However, it’s important to recognise that most agencies, particularly those partnering with Robin, predominantly offer flexible and fixed-term contracts to their international workforce, with open-ended contracts being less common.

7. Settle In Your New Job In the Netherlands

Though relocating to a new country might seem intimidating, appropriate preparation can ensure a smooth transition. One of the first things you need to do when you arrive in the Netherlands is to obtain a Citizen Service Number (BSN).

This number is necessary for engaging in official activities like setting up a bank account. To acquire your BSN, you’ll need to book a registration appointment at a local City Office within five days of your arrival.

Opening a bank account is another important step. Expats can start the process either in person or online, and there are services tailored to their needs, including the convenience of English-language support.

When choosing a bank, it’s a good idea to compare monthly fees, service ranges, and accessibility. You may also want to consider mobile-only banking options like Bunq and N26, which offer a quick account opening process that can be done using just a mobile phone.

In addition to banking, expats should explore various housing options available, such as renting apartments, shared housing, or even purchasing property, to find the best fit for their needs.

Get a Job In the Netherlands Through Robin    

As we’ve seen, the Netherlands offers a thriving job market with diverse opportunities, making it an ideal destination for all job seekers. Whether you’re an EU national or a non-EU citizen, there are opportunities for you to explore.

So, where does Robin come into the picture? 

Robin is an international recruitment agency specialising in helping blue-collar candidates find jobs in the Netherlands and relocate smoothly. In the past 17 years, we’ve helped over 40,000 foreign workers find jobs with accommodations that suit their goals and qualifications.

To find a job through Robin, all you need to do is:

  1. Register on robin.jobs
  2. Apply to vacancies
  3. Await recruiter contact
  4. Relocate to the Netherlands

You can use Robin’s job board to apply for vacancies in the Netherlands. You’ll find a wide range of job offers in various industries, posted by our years-long trusted partners that offer fair conditions to all employees. Our recruiters will support you throughout the process, ensuring a smooth, hassle-free job application process.

On top of that, all our services are free for the candidates, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank. 

So, why wait? 

With Robin by your side, you can embark on your job hunt with confidence. Start your job search today and contact us if you have any other questions on how to get a job in Holland.

FAQs About Finding a Job In the Netherlands

Can I work in the Netherlands if I’m a non-EU citizen?

Yes, as a non-EU citizen, you can work in the Netherlands with the necessary work permit and residence permit, and highly skilled workers may qualify for a fast-track immigration process. Good luck with your prospects!

What are the types of contracts offered by recruitment agencies in the Netherlands?

Recruitment agencies in the Netherlands offer various types of contracts, including flexible, fixed-term, and open-ended contracts. This allows for flexibility in employment options.

How can I find a job in the Netherlands through Robin?

You can find a job in the Netherlands through Robin by registering on robin.jobs, applying to vacancies, and awaiting recruiter contact. Robin provides support throughout the entire process, including relocation if necessary. Good luck with your job search!

What should I prepare for the job interview with Dutch companies?

Prepare to succinctly summarise your qualifications and experiences, and have thoughtful questions about the company and the role ready for the interview. Good luck!

What are the benefits of working through an employment agency in the Netherlands?

Working through an employment agency in the Netherlands can provide benefits such as accommodation and transportation assistance, which can make the transition to work smoother for workers.


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