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Working in Germany: Why you should apply for a job in November

Career coach Chris Pyak explains why employers aren't getting into holiday mode just yet - in fact, they're more likely to hire you between now and Christmas. Here's why

Working in Germany: Why you should apply for a job in November
A job applicant meets with two career recruiters. Photo: depositphotos/fizkes

“I love the fourth quarter,” Nelly Bogilova told me when I interviewed her for the Immigrant Spirit Podcast last week: “Clients hire fast and you see results quickly.” Nelly is a headhunter and recruits talent for companies in the Pharma industry.

My own coaching clients experience shows the same thing: They get managers on the phone, discuss real life business problems and move forward in their job hunt.

READ ALSO: How to reach out to German employers on LinkedIn or Xing

I experienced this for several years now: Between September and December, companies hire faster than in the rest of the year. And now I have the data to complete my personal experience and the stories that my coaching clients share.

Thanks to Textkernel B.V. I was able to compare more than 1.5 million job ads in Germany in the last twelve months – and then narrow it down to a little over 90,000 English language job ads in Germany. 

On average, an English job ad for a full-time position that requires a university degree is online for 35 to 44 days. But in the last quarter of the year, job ads disappear already after 12 days.

Graph courtesy of Chris Pyak.

Twelve short days from advertising a new job, to gathering enough good candidates to make a decision. That’s great for the employer – but also for you, the candidate. After all, you want to do a great job and put your skills to good use.

I believe that companies hire so fast in the last quarter, because managers want to start the new year with a complete team – and avoid budget cuts. 

How do you take advantage of that fact?

You could simply choose to apply with your standard CVs. But that is what everybody else does. You would still be competing with German candidates. And as you might have experienced by now: Anyone who is in any way “different” really struggles with German HR. 

There is a much better way to stand out as a job candidate. I used this way to get over 100 international professionals in jobs in Germany. It takes a little bit more time to explain than I have in this column.

That’s why The Local Germany and I would like to invite you to the Expats Career Webinar. Find out how to get job interviews fast, by ignoring HR.

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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