A joke, a paper offer

In September 2018, my postgraduate courses all ended, and I began to enter the half-year-long thesis writing stage. Since the literature review and data collection have been done in the early stage, my graduation thesis is expected to be completed in two months. So, in early October, I posted my resume online, looking for a full-time temporary job.

Before I went to the Netherlands, I had a year and a half of work experience in Emirates, but because I didn’t speak Dutch enough, and coupled with my student visa status, I could only choose Chinese companies that did not require Dutch in the same industry as my previous industry. , Such as China Cargo Airlines under Eastern Airlines. I applied for the position of sales assistant, helping the manager organize reports every day, striving to load the most cargo on each plane and maximizing revenue. In the Netherlands, if the company has renewed its contract twice with its employees, the company must provide permanent contracts for the employees and apply for work visas for foreign employees when the contract is renewed for the third time. In order to circumvent this, many companies will choose not to perform the contract after the second contract expires. Maybe HR has also seen that I will not be here for long. No surprise, after renewing two one-month and six-month contracts, I became unemployed.

Unemployed Army Reemployment
After being unemployed, I graduated with a master’s degree and changed my green card due to marriage, so there is not much pressure for the time being. But finding a job is still necessary. Like most Dutch people who are unemployed, I quickly registered as unemployed on UWV and registered on major job search websites.

UWV is an organization established by the Dutch government to provide help for job seekers and the unemployed. On this website, we can apply for relief funds, find job vacancies, upload our own resumes, and seek guidance from professional job hunting coaches.

Since my previous work experience was concentrated in aviation and service industries, UWV quickly matched me with a management position in airport duty-free shops. I am very satisfied with the job description of this position: close to home with more money, flexible working hours, no need to face the computer all day, mainly for the management of goods in the duty-free shop and the Chinese sales team.

After the first round of resume passes, HR made an appointment with me for an interview, and also reminded me that the interview will be conducted in three languages: Chinese, English, and Dutch, and I can prepare for this in advance. Because I was afraid that my Dutch was not good enough, I wrote down all the interview questions I could think of at home, and wrote “standard answers” in three languages: Chinese, English and Dutch.

What are your plans in 5 years
I have two interviewers, one is Dutch, the general manager of personnel of the group, she will communicate with me in Dutch and English; the other is a Hong Kong Chinese with Dutch nationality, who is the leader of the Chinese sales team , She will communicate with me in Chinese.

Unexpectedly, the interviewer first thanked me for not being late. After the two parties introduced themselves and the position, the interview entered a more formal part:

“Why did you choose this position in our company? Why do you think you are the best choice for this position?”

I quickly responded in English and Dutch fluently: “First, I prefer flexible working hours, and my home is not far from here; Second, I like working in the service industry, and I am passionate about sharing information and helping others; Third, I used to do cabin supervision in Emirates. I know how to sell duty-free goods on the plane, so I believe that I can also do well on the ground.”

Then, the interviewer asked some questions about how to overcome difficulties, get along with colleagues at work, and how to balance my cultural integration in a foreign country. I answered them truthfully. After that, she asked a question that I should have prepared in advance, but forgot to prepare: “What are your plans in 5 years?”

In fact, I can give a lot of good answers to this question in an instant, but she asked this question in Dutch, and I had to answer it in Dutch, and my Dutch was not as good as that. So I smiled awkwardly and politely, and said jokingly: “5 years is too long, I didn’t think so long. But within 3 years, I should be able to get a promotion and raise my salary and sit in the office. Take your place…”

Unexpectedly, I made such a slightly joking remark that the two interviewers admired very much. They laughed, and the atmosphere of the whole office suddenly changed from a serious question-and-answer interview to a relaxed conversation.

Next, the Chinese interviewer started asking questions in Chinese. As soon as she spoke, I immediately heard her “Gangpu”, so I switched to Cantonese to talk to her. She was very pleasantly surprised. I said, “My husband also has Chinese ancestry. I learned Cantonese from him.” The interviewer asked me to act as a cashier and a sales manager in a duty-free shop. Chinese customers want to see my communication skills and coping skills. Back in my native language area, my self-confidence has naturally grown a lot, and there is no pressure to communicate. After these rounds, both interviewers expressed satisfaction.

After the interview, from the look of the interviewers, I already knew that the job was done properly, so I didn’t worry too much. Sure enough, I received the email as soon as I got home, I got the offer, and successfully got out of the unemployed army.

In the email, the Dutch interviewer said to me: “We really appreciate your frankness and humor. We think that if there are people with straightforward character like you in a team, the whole team will become active and energetic, and work efficiency will naturally increase. Moreover, from my personal point of view, I really like the way you speak and your hard work. You said you would replace me in 3 years. I look forward to this day.”