From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

December 2021
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International Job Applications
Filed under: Interviewing, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:14 pm

Class members in this year’s course were interested in documents
used and the interviewing process for European positions.

We had the benefit of a visiting scientist who reviews resumes and
interviews for an international firm headquartered in Germany.

He told us of quite a few differences as he compared European and
American processes.  The European CV contains a current photo,
marital status and birth date, children and hobbies.  Of course, formal
training, education and certifications are important.  Any gaps
and transitions in experience are seriously noted in the experience
section which is chronologically listed.  A helpful format is the
Europass outline.  Data needs to be exact stating months and

The interview process commonly involves a Skype screening
interview after receipt of a CV and cover letter.  The cover letter
is less focused on showing the specific match of musts and
wants for the position using specific keywords and describes
more your motivation.

It is not unusual for an off site, third party organization to
screen and verify everything on the resume and perform
detailed assessments of your psychological profile and
hard and soft skills. 
After completion of this is the onsite interview
which also takes a day. 

Similar questions asking you to describe your skills start their
process, however a short summary is not always enough.
They may “drill down” on specific areas and pursue your future
plans.  The interview process is different in that they really
want to know what makes you tick and what you do outside of

As in the US, networking and referrals are leading steps to
successfully land an interview and position.  Internships and
formal program relationships between companies and
specific universities are maintained and lead to job

One Response to “International Job Applications”

  1. site admin Says:

    A delightful perspective about cultural differences was
    offered by Jeff Haden:

    European: “Principles-first reasoning derives conclusions or
    facts from general principles or concepts. Basically you
    establish the “why” before you move to the “what.”

    American: “Applications-first reasoning is when general
    conclusions are reached based on factual observations.
    Basically you start with the “what” and then — maybe —
    move to the “why.”
    “Generally speaking, schools in countries like the U.S., Canada,
    and the UK tend to spend 80% of their time focusing on how to
    apply a tool, and 20% of their time explaining its conceptual
    underpinnings. They take an applications-first approach.”

    School systems in countries like Spain, Portugal, Germany,
    and in Latin America tend to spend 80% of their time covering
    general principles, and only 20% of their time on how to apply
    those principles. They take a principles-first approach.
    (Again, generally speaking.)

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