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A few months till Christmas – and why this matters for finding a job in Germany

German jobs expert Chris Pyak explains why more employers are looking to hire at this time of year.

A few months till Christmas - and why this matters for finding a job in Germany
Find a job before Christmas, and celebrate when it roles around. Photo: Depositphotos/ArturVerkhovetskiy

There are a few more months to go until Christmas.

More people find jobs in the time between the end of the summer holidays and Christmas eve than in the rest of the year combined.

Managers return from their vacation full of energy and tackle one of their most noble goals: Avoiding budget cuts for the following year. This is just one reason why employers in Germany are keen on hiring in the last quarter of the year.

This is a piece about timing in your job search – and how you use it to your advantage.

SEE ALSO: Find a job in Germany

Companies place job ads throughout the year. But the truth is: Often they are not in a hurry to actually fill those positions. There are even job ads that are not meant to actually attract candidates.

Rather, their sole purpose is to demonstrate growth to investors or mislead the competition. This is something I had to learn the hard way while I still worked as a headhunter. I spent long hours and lots of money in finding the right candidate, just to hear that the company changed their mind and wasn't in a hurry to hire at all.

Many companies are in no rush to sign a work contract even after they already decided that you are the right person for the job. I don't have a rational explanation for this.

More than a vague idea

My guess is: It comes down to human nature. Someone has to sign your contract and that task is simply not very high on their list of priorities.

So, there's the weekend and then someone goes on holiday and “we haven't heard back from the Betriebsrat*…” Don't be surprised if it takes several weeks to sign a work contract after the verbal confirmation that you got the job.

After the summer holidays this changes. Managers have to secure their budget for the coming year. It's much easier to justify your funding demands if you already have “bums in seats” instead of a vague idea when you will hire someone.

The result is simple: For once your interest and the employer's interest align: You both want to sign the contract as fast as possible.

Photo: Depositphotos/pressmaster

That's why I strongly advise that you make good use of these days till Christmas. You might find employers are way more open to talk with you.

We light the candles on the Christmas tree on  December 24th in Germany. A lot of expats will find their next job before this happens.

But: It's important to understand whose interest align here. It's your wish for fast employment and your future department head’s wish for a complete team. So the manager is the one that you have to talk to. For HR nothing changes. Because for them nothing is at stake. Business as usual.

To move your career on the fast track: Talk to those who have the same urgency as you. Your future supervisor.

ABOUT CHRIS PYAK

Chris Pyak is the Author of “How To Win Jobs & Influence Germans“. The managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH has worked in four different cultures and lived in five different countries.

Chris returned to Germany in 2011. His mission: Bring the Immigrant Spirit to his home country. Chris introduces international professionals to employers in Germany.

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WORKING IN GERMANY

How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

Lots of foreigners in Germany hope to get a job or climb the career ladder. But are there still opportunities for English speakers who don't have fluent German? We spoke to a careers expert to find out.

How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

The pandemic turned our lives upside down. As well as having to isolate and be apart from family members, many people found themselves in need of a new job or decided they want a change in career. 

If you’re in Germany or thinking of moving here, job searching is of course easier with German language skills. But many people haven’t had the chance to learn German – or their German isn’t fluent enough to work in a German-only environment.

So how easy is it to find a job in Germany as an English speaker?

We asked Düsseldorf-based career coach Chris Pyak, managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH, who said he’s seen an increase in job offers. 

“The surprising thing about this pandemic is that demand for skilled labour actually got even stronger,” Pyak told The Local.

“Instead of companies being careful, they’ve hired even more than they did before. And the one thing that happened during the pandemic that didn’t happen in the last 10 years I’ve observed the job market was that the number of English offers quadrupled.”

READ ALSO: How to boost your career chances in Germany

Pyak said usually about one percent of German companies hire new starts in English. “Now it’s about four percent,” said Pyak. 

“This happened in the second half of 2021. This is a really positive development that companies are more willing than they used to be. That said it’s still only four percent.”

Pyak said he’s seen a spike in demand for data scientists and analysts as well as project managers. 

So there are some jobs available, but can foreigners do anything else?

Pyak advises non-Germans to sell themselves in a different way than they may be used to. 

A woman works on her CV in Germany.

A woman works on her CV in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Christin Klose

“In your home country you have a network, you have a company you used to work for that people know,” said Pyak. “This might be partly the case in Germany if you worked for an international company. But for most employers you are a blank sheet of paper, they know nothing about you. So unfortunately if they don’t know you or your country, they will assume you are worse (at the job) than Germans. It’s completely unjustified but it’s just how people are. 

“Get the employer to see you as the individual person you are, the professional you are. This requires that you have a conversation with somebody inside the company, ideally the decision maker, meaning the hiring manager or someone in this team.”

Pyak said it’s important to go into details. 

“Don’t think of me as a foreigner, think of me as ‘Mark who has been working in IT for 15 years’,” said Pyak. “Don’t read the job advert (to the manager), ask them what his or her biggest worry is and why is that important? And then dig deeper and offer solutions based on your work experience. Share actual examples where you proved that you can solve this problem.”

READ ALSO: 7 factors that can affect how much you’re getting paid

Pyak says foreigners in Germany can convince managers that they are right for the job – even if their German isn’t great. 

“What I advise clients at the beginning of the interview is to ask very politely if you can ask them (managers) a question. And this question should be: how will you know that I’m successful in this job, what is the most important problem I need to solve for you in order to make myself valuable? And then ask why this problem is so important. And the answer to that achieves a million things for you – first of all you’ve established a measurement by which you should be measured. 

“Then when you get into detailed discussion you can always tie your answer back to the question you can solve, which usually makes up 70 or 80 percent of the job. If you can solve this problem then what does it matter if you do the job in German or English?”

So in answer to our original question – it seems that getting an English-speaking job in Germany can’t be described as easy but it is very possible especially if you have the skills in your chosen field. Plus there are ways to increase your chances. Good luck! 

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