Checklist: your first international employee

Communication across cultures can enrich... and clash. Let's talk about how to prepare your company and Dutch employees for welcoming and including international talent!

Lekker Pingpongen (1)

Awesome that you're considering to open up your jobs for international talent! Below are a couple of steps to help you get started.

Step 1: Decide what works best for your organization right now


Many international students are looking for jobs at 4-16 hours per week which they can do alongside their studies. The ability to work in the sector that their study focuses on would be very valuable - and you would have access to talent with the latest up to date knowledge, combined with your own innovative practices.


Medior-senior, highly-skilled partners of Dutch or international workers are looking for full-time work. Also graduated students of Northern Dutch universities are ready to jump in junior jobs.
Plenty of permitholders have practical work experience in e.g. engineering and infrastructure, and look forward to full-time job opportunities.


International students at HBO, and increasingly at WO, need to do an internship for 2-6 months at a company as part of their studies, 1 or multiple days a week. These can be separate, practical projects within your organization; contributions to running projects; or research about or for your organization.

PhDs candidates also have the possibility to extent their PhD research with 6 months through a company internship, which is paid by their PhD grant. This is a very valuable opportunity for companies looking for top notch researchers!


It's getting increasingly common for young professionals to start their career with a traineeship. In these programs, talent works for you while developing more general professional skills through an often external partner organisations such as Vonk or YoungHeroes. Energy companies in particular might be interested in the Dutch/English New Energy Traineeship program.

Step 2: Prepare your Dutch employees

Clearly share your intention to open up a job position to English-speaking talent, and make clear work agreements about what things will change in the organisation. Will the language of (some) meetings change? Will company-wide communication become bilingual? Will the organisation as a whole internationalise or will you expect your international employee to learn Dutch as soon as possible? What will you expect from your current employees in this process?

Step 3: Prepare an English-language handbook

Your new employee might not yet be familiar with Dutch working culture, and they definitely won't be familiar with your company's working culture. Is it normal to just walk into the manager's office? What is the dress code? (When) are you supposed to speak up during meetings? When are they expected at work? How and when do they ask for days off?

If there is a lot of working documentation in Dutch, think of a solution for your English-speaking employee. Can summaries be made, or is google translate sufficient for the basics?

Step 4: Assign a future buddy for your potential employee

Your handbook will be a great help to your new employee: their most basic questions will be answered by it. But to make sure they really get welcomed and have a familiar point of contact, it's a great idea to assign them a buddy for the first couple of months working for you. Should any cultural communication difficulties arise, or should they feel shy to ask certain questions, their buddy will be able to notice this quickly and help out.

Step 5: You're ready for it! Translate the job vacancy to English and off you go!

Opening up your job to English-speaking jobseekers means that 20.000+ more people have access to this job, and you have a bigger chance to find the best possible match for your team.

Once your international employee has started...

As with anyone who starts working with you, now starts the ongoing process of making sure they feel at home so they can do the best possible work with you. Some tips!

  1. Consider opening up space and budget for your international employee to take Dutch language classes.
  2. Check that the team they are a part of, and the company as a whole, continues to follow the (language) work agreements you made. It's very easy to switch back to Dutch in meetings, but that means your new employee will be unable to follow or contribute.
  3. Consider organizing an intercultural communication workshop for your whole company. Your international employee will better understand Dutch company culture, and your Dutch employees will also get a better understanding of what's "normal" and what's culture!

Finally, it's a great idea to check every couple of months that your work agreements still work in the best way for everyone involved. How can you support your Dutch and international employees' collaboration and work productivity in the best way?