Job hunting in Switzerland (part 2)

In this part I will cover the whole process of finding a company to work for.

After the first role was a no-go for me, I started looking at all kind of job sites. Here are some of them:

I think most of the positions I found and that were up to date, were from indeed.ch and glassdoor.com. The problem with directly applying to jobs is that, although there is a big demand for developers, if you apply directly to that company, they will take a long time to contact you (lack of personnel in the HR department) or not contact you at all. But if the ad is from an HR company, they will surely get in touch with you. Another reason to do this through an HR company is that they will mitigate your relation with the company, they will advise you on your resume, salary and expectations. Also the HR company already knows the upper limit for your position, so you will avoid applying and going through the whole process and at the end be disappointed by the salary.

What I did was to have an updated CV and/or profile on any job site that had jobs from Switzerland and the two HR companies that I worked very well with were http://www.arrowsgroup.com/ and http://www.nonstop-recruitment.com/ .

After I talked with them and discussed my requests for an ideal position, they started telling me about different roles. I also managed to book some interviews on my own (from the dozens of emails sent).

The process was straight forward:

  • You like the job.
  • You request an interview for that position.
  • You plan an initial discussion.
  • If you don’t seem crazy, you’ll get to the technical interview.
  • If you pass with flying colors, you have the salary and benefits talk.

All roles had almost the same process, but at some the technical part was more in depth.

For the entire country I found ~50 front end dev positions. I liked ~30 of them and had ~15 interviews. Some of them were weird, some of them were really nice. At some I failed because they were asking for experience in different libraries/frameworks that I haven’t worked before, at some I did ok. Most of the technical questions were in the lines of these.

With only one company I clicked in terms of everything so they wanted to meet me in person. I flew to Switzerland, I stayed for a couple of days and in the meantime I went to this company where I had several interviews. The final interview I had back home and it didn’t worked out because of the reasons I mentioned in the earlier post.

Here is some advice for any developers that want to relocate to Switzerland:

  • Decide the region you want to work in. (language and education curriculum will differ)
  • Get in touch with http://www.helloswitzerland.ch/ and they will provide lots of answers to your relocation problems.
  • Ask for a relocation bonus.
  • Have enough money for at least 3 months of rent because you will need it.
  • If you have kids, do your “math” over and over
  • Be sure that your company will provide all the necessary info and paperwork to apply for a work visa (from what I know it’s not necessary if you work less than a year there).
  • Also read this article Living in Switzerland ruined me for America and its lousy work culture

I know it’s hard to move to Switzerland, but here is a clip that will make you move there even more.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me in the comments.

Job hunting in Switzerland (Part 1)

It all started with an email from an HR person I collaborated before. It was a good paying position and she said it was perfect for me.

I started dreaming of what would be like and I started researching things about Switzerland. Regarding to most sites, it was the best country to live in.

  • one of the highest standards of living
  • one of the biggest salary ranges, along with US and Australia
  • great scenery
  • great medical care
  • great infrastructure
  • most of the companies don’t impose to learn a new language if you already know English

After a couple of days, the HR lady sent me the job description and I saw that it wasn’t so perfect for me because it was a senior full stack position with a bunch of technologies that I knew only superficial.

I was bummed out. So, what now? No more moving to Switzerland for me and my family?

This response made me do more research on the country and I found also the bad things.

  • one of the most expensive countries in the world (almost anything costs 4 times the prices in Romania) – people often go to the nearby countries to do their grocery shopping because it’s more convenient
  • there are high taxes if you bring your not so new car into the country
  • depending on your nationality you would have to obtain a work permit
  • expensive medical insurance (comparing to other EU countries, not US)
  • no free education for children under the age of 4-5
  • no standard curriculum for schools, because it depends on the canton you’re living.

The last three in this list made me and my family say “pass” to Switzerland.

Why these three?

The salary for my position (Front End developer) varies between 7000-10000 CHF/month before taxes. That adds up to 84000-120000 CHF/year before taxes. This sounds very promising and this was one of the factors that lured me in, but…

Medical insurance will add up for 4 family members.

The cost of kindergarten for one child under the age of 5 varies between 1000-2000 CHF (1 CHF is approximately the same as an US dollar) depending where you’re living. And I have two kids.

If you were to move from one part of the country to another, you’ll find yourself forced to learn another language. Why? Because Switzerland has 4 official languages:

If Switzerland sounds like an interesting country, take a look at numbeo.com to see if you can afford to leave there. Also Hello Switzerland is a great platform where you can chat/talk over the phone (for free at first) with somebody about your potential relocation and what would that involve.

In the next blog post I’ll be talking about how the interviews went and what I learned from them.

See you soon!

 

Finding meaningful work

As a developer it’s very likely that you receive at least once a week an email from a HR company regarding some jobs. This week was no different, but instead of writing the same response as always, I asked myself: What would happen if I responded with my thoughts about meaningful work?

This was a little bit difficult, because the first two feelings that flooded me were excitement and fear. Excitement because this was the first time that I would say something like that and fear because saying those things automatically made me ineligible for most the jobs that are on the market. I took e deep breath and I did it.

The response came…

I really appreciate your comments regarding an ideal role and a company. To be absolutely honest, you are not the first candidate I have spoken to, who has mentioned this subject in a conversation. Just a few weeks ago, I had a really good chat with an engineer, who was looking for a new role. He told me that he was literally inundated with proposals from companies operating within the financial services sector (banks, spread-betting companies etc), that he was kindly but firmly rejecting one by one. It simply wasn’t the space he wanted to focus his creative energies on. It was a matter of principles as well for him.

It turns out that I’m not the only loony in the world.

And as a bonus, I believe that I have tripped over the Holly Grail of finding meaningful work. Unfortunately for developers, not all jobs posted are in the IT field, but at least there are some.

ReWork.jobs

You complete your profile, pick the areas you would like to work in and wait for them to contact you with job opportunities that fit your profile. Unfortunately, this site is only for jobs in the US (to bad for us).

BUT – and that’s a big but (giggles) – the great thing is that they have connections with all kinds of other organizations and sites that want to do good.

After you create your profile, you will find 4 categories in the Career Resources section.

  • CAREER STRATEGY FOR MEANINGFUL WORK. An overview of how they recommend approaching your career development.
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Resources for gaining skills, building your network, and becoming a top-performer in your field.
  • JOB BOARDS. Find non-ReWork job opportunities from the top job boards in Impact.
  • OTHER RESOURCES

Man, I love their vision:

We believe that no one should have to choose between making money and making a difference. We believe that organizations working day and night to improve people’s lives deserve the most talented, committed, and passionate professionals out there to support their efforts.

[…]

This generation of leaders and innovators will not settle to work for companies that can’t see beyond business-as-usual, or refuse to do their part.

I hope you are as excited as I am. If you tried some of the resources from this site, please share your experience in the comments below.