In a usual week I talk to 50 human resources specialists and managing directors. In my experience there are three kind of companies that will hire foreigners in Germany: "Can", "Must" and "Want" companies.
"Can" Companies own the brands that we all know. They are multinational corporations with huge financial firepower and very often they use English as their business language.
They want the best people around the world – and they are willing to pay top money to get them.
They also offer security and a real career. These companies are the ones where 80 percent of all candidates apply. Try to get in, but don't focus on them exclusively.
"Must" Companies don't really love you. They will open up jobs to foreigners because they can't find anyone on the local market. They grumpily agree to give English-speaking candidates a try because no one else applies. (And sometimes they don't want you even then).
They pay bad and can't offer you much of a career. That is no accident – their small profit margins are a direct result of their choices. They operate in a dying industry and have unattractive working conditions.
Often their bad finances are the direct result of their refusal to change with the times. You can find work here – but do you really want to?
"Want" Companies – These are the companies that my company is working for. They don't need you. They want you. Often they are startups who choose English as their business language from day one. As a result they don't even know the German word "Fachkräftemangel" (skills shortage).
A second type of these "Want" Companies might surprise you. These are the hidden champions of the German Mittelstand.
You might never have heard of them, but their products are in your iPhone, your car and your washing machine. These companies are often family owned. Their managing director cares deeply about his business and his employees and they want you to help them grow internationally.
I find that people who work in these companies are usually open-minded. They are eager to learn, they trust in people and they are willing to give you a change to prove yourself. Here you will find decent pay, a great career and a team that really cares.
This is an opportunity for jobseekers. Most candidates apply for the top companies and forget the nearly three million small and medium sized companies in Germany. Look beyond the obvious – and you’ll find great employers.
Chris Pyak is managing director of recruitment company Immigration Spirit.