Are you thinking about relocating to Greece? With it’s beautiful beaches, vibrant culture and incredible history, this country is hot spot for expats. But in order to settle in Greece, you’ll probably need to find a job to support your lifestyle. If you have questions about what to expect in the job hunting process in Greece and how to nail your interview, this guide is for you.
You need to do some homework for a job interview in any country. Remember that a job interview goes both ways. You’ll want to find out as much as you can about the company and role to see if this is the right fit for you. You can search the company website and other review sites such as Glassdoor to find out about the company’s:
- Mission statement
- Structure and other employees
You’ll also want to review the job’s description and ensure that you understand the functions and responsibilities of the role, and have a salary range in mind.
Prepare yourself by knowing who you're interviewing with and where the interview is. It’s recommended to map out your route ahead of time. Arriving on time for an interview in Greece is important.
If you’re interviewing before you move abroad, the company may be willing to conduct the job interview via Skype or another online platform. Skype interviews can be tricky since you don’t have the opportunity to make your first impression in person. You can still treat it like you’d a face-to-face interview by doing your research on the company. Prepare in advance for questions that might come your way. Make sure you look presentable on the video screen and do a test call ahead of time to ensure that your internet connection, microphone and headset are working properly.
You’ll want to be prepared with strong answers to the most important basic questions such as:
Tell me about yourself?
Why do you want this job?
Why do you want to work for this company?
If the interview is being conducted in English, the interviewer may ask you about your Greek language skills or ask you to speak in Greek if that’s part of the job. Unlike in many other countries, it’s also common in Greece for the interviewer to ask personal questions about your family life or marital status. You should answer these questions if you feel comfortable doing so, but don’t offer information that isn’t directly asked of you.
You should come to the interview prepared to ask several questions. You may find that other questions come up during the course of the interview too. Asking questions shows that you’re interested in the company and in the job. These are some appropriate questions to ask during the interview stage:
Describe a typical day for this role
Who does the role report to?
What are the key responsibilities of the role?
You may also want to ask about the next steps in the recruitment process, if there are any, and if/when you’ll hear back from them. It’s common in Greece for there to be several rounds of interviews, especially for larger companies. It’s also common for Greek companies not to follow up if you won’t be progressing to the next round. If you don’t want to be waiting around to hear from them, you may want to ask about that up front.
Being a foreigner in Greece isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. Greeks are known for their hospitality, or philoxenia - a love of strangers. You’ll probably find that, even in a formal interview process, you’re received with warmth by Greek people. The business culture is one of openness toward foreigners.
Greek job interviews tend to last two or three rounds, and might include a Skype interview. Expect most of your interviews to start with some general conversation before diving into the meat and bones of the meeting. Greek business meetings aren’t always as structured as you might be used to, so don’t worry if there’s no formal agenda.
You’ve probably heard that Greece faces severe debt and unemployment problems, so landing interviews with multinational companies is a challenge. If you get a coveted interview, your chances are much better if you have at least a working knowledge of the Greek language.
Some foreigners express frustration with the Greek interview process, finding it antiquated and not straightforward. The process can seem unclear, since many jobs aren’t advertised, or if they’re advertised, there might already be an internal candidate slated to fill the role. No matter what, it’s important to be polite and prepared whenever you have the opportunity to interview.
It’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to etiquette in any interview. Greek interviewers may be a little informal, such as asking personal questions, telling jokes or even smoking during the interview. However, you shouldn’t do the same. You should always maintain a polite and formal demeanor.
You may find that Greek people are very animated in the course of an interview. If there are many people in the room, people might talk over each other - that’s considered normal. Their Southern Mediterranean culture is one of emotion and gesticulation. All the same, you should make sure you avoid criticising anything about Greece or Greek people. Even if your interviewer criticizes aspects of his or her own society, he or she won’t be open to your outside criticism.
Other faux pas include certain hand gestures. The American ‘okay’ sign made with your thumb and pointer finger is considered obscene, as is the moutza, an open hand facing outward. Make sure you don’t make either of these moves by accident.
During a Greek interview, you should greet your interviewer with a handshake and a smile. It’s okay to maintain eye contact for long periods of time. Stay humble throughout your interview, since boasting isn't customary and will be taken the wrong way.
What you wear to the interview is important for setting a good first impression. Whether you should wear a full suit to the interview depends on your industry. You can call your point of contact at the company ahead of time to ask about the company dress code if you have questions. It’s common for Greeks to wear black as formal business attire.
Culturally, some Greeks believe that if you dress too nicely, you might be taken as a person who doesn’t need a high salary. However, if you’re too casual, that might signal that you’re not presentable enough or don’t have good enough judgment to be a promising hire.
The interview process is over and now you’ve heard back from the company: you’ve been offered the job. The employer will offer you a salary, generally based on annual pay. You can then negotiate your pay, any possible bonuses and additional benefits.
In order to prepare for your move to Greece you’ll need to open up a bank account and get some local currency (Euros) ready. However, moving your money abroad to your new Greek bank account can be complicated. Plus, traditional banks may charge you high fees and use high exchange rates that end up costing you more.
An alternative for your relocation to Greece would be to move your money with TransferWise. TransferWise offers low fees and uses the real exchange rate - the one that you find on Google or XE - to move your money abroad. TransferWise also offers new borderless multi currency accounts which allow you to send money to 50 different countries manage and exchange money in 27 different currencies - including the Euro - up to 8 times cheaper than traditional banks. Why wait? See the savings for yourself.
If you aren’t a citizen of a EU/EEA country, you may need to get a visa to work and live in Greece permanently. If this is the case, you may need to be sponsored by your new company to relocated. The terms of this should be discussed with your employer during the interview process. For more information you should check with your government or the Greek consulate or embassy in your home country about the terms of relocating and working in Greece.
You should end the interview with any more questions that you have and thank the interviewer for their time. You can ask if there’s a follow-up process. Sometimes this doesn’t happen in Greece so it’s good to ask up front. When you leave, make sure to say goodbye to each person present in the room.
Finding a job overseas can be tricky. But if you do your homework about the company and job, and use this guide, you can land your dream job in Greece.