Cultural Differences – Job Search and Employment

How to find a job

A  LinkedIn-Profile is a must have for a successful job search. In case you have not heard about it, it’s basically a tool where your profile is your online Resume. It is comparable to Xing. If you want to find out how to create a powerful LinkedIn Profile read more here.

I like it because you can apply for open positions and Recruiters can find you there. It can happen that a company will ask you to apply if they have a job that fits your qualifications. Other Tools I used to find open positions are Indeed and ZipRecruiterCharleston is a very attractive city and beautiful place to live. Everyday 35 People move to Charleston. This fact makes it challenging to find a job. A plus is to have a network of professionals who can recommend to hire you. In Germany, we call that “Vitamin B”. B stands for the word Bekannte/r, which is a word for a person you know.

Next steps

The strangest thing that happened to me was that a Company asked me for the Link to my Facebook, LinkedIn profile, and a personality test. I thought that would be enough to decide if they want to invite me for an interview or not. But I was wrong. In addition, they asked me for another personality test and to record a video where I explain why they should hire me and what my weaknesses and strength are. I was a little confused. There is a “no photo rule” for resumes but it is ok to ask for a video? I thought my pig whistles! (If you don’t know what that means read my last post 😉 ) I decided not to move forward with this company. It seemed a little suspicious. Maybe the reason for this behavior is the high volume of applications.

Normally after the application, you get an interview invitation.The United States has strict anti-discrimination laws. It is very important for HR to have a fair hiring process. Questions about Religion, Age, Marital/Family Status could bring the company into serious trouble. At the same time, you should not provide this information voluntarily. I learned this at my time at the college in my Business Communications class. I did not know that I should not start to answer the question “Tell me something about yourself” with telling the hiring person my age.

Got the Job!

After getting a Job offer and handling all the paperwork it is usual (if you start to work for big companies) to have a criminal background check and drug test done. You have to do all of this even if you get hired for an office job. The employer has to arrange and pay for the test. You have usually 48 hours time to get the drug test done. It is very important to do it within the deadline otherwise the company will not move forward with you. It takes about a week and usually you won’t start your new job until the results arrived. Employers want to make sure that the information on your resume is true and you don’t have a criminal history. In Germany, we have this hiring processes only for the Military or Police.

Different laws

America is the only country in the world without a legal right for paid vacation days or holiday. Although paid holidays are normally part of a benefits packages offered by the employer. In Germany employees with a five day work week are entitled to 20 paid vacation days.  The US has more anti-discrimination laws and no law for employment rights like holidays or notice periods. Also, it does not exist a law that regulates the notice period. People can get fired from one day to the next. Generally, if the employee resigns there is standard two weeks notice period. However, this is also not controlled by law and it can be more or less. Maybe some of you know the term “Two weeks notice” from the movie with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant. (The German movie title is: Ein Chef zum Verlieben – A boss to fall in love with. I will write an article about different movie titles soon. 🙂 )


That is what I found out so far. I am sure a long list of differences in the workplace will follow. It is fascinating to me. Besides it’s understandable that people from Germany have quite a shock in the first few months they live here. At the same time, it is a crazy adventure with ups and downs. But most important it never gets boring! What is your experience with an international job search?


Cultural Differences Uncategorized

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. Woaaahhhh!!! I didn’t know the US is the only country without paid vacations!!! I thought there were more countries! When I lived in China, there were national holidays where everyone was off work and got paid for those days. But we wouldn’t get extra holiday apart from those national holidays. If we wanted to, then it wouldn’t be paid. But maybe there are exceptions in China and they only did that to us because we didn’t know the laws.
    Still, China is a developing country whereas USA is the most powerful country in the world. It’s sad that they don’t have paid vacation :/


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