Job Seekers’ Journey in Switzerland

desk with person

The application process in Switzerland is not a walk in the park. It does not mean, however, that when you finally get an interview it will all be easy and fast. It might be sometimes, but… I do not know these cases. Usually it is a long, multistage process that may as well push you to your limits. This article aims at describing what happens before you get to sit in your brand new, comfy office.

As you know from the previous article (you can read it here if you have not seen it) it is not so easy to get to an interview phase for a finance position in Switzerland, and there is more bad news- the interview process does not get any better. Swiss based companies are quite picky in terms of who they hire. Why is that? Well, the simplest answer is - because they can.

Knowing these few things should help you in your quest for getting a new job:

First and foremost, patience is the biggest virtue needed throughout the whole process. You must be prepared that it will take sometimes even a few months before the whole process will cross the finish line. So be prepared that there will be multiple stages of the process and that the gaps between each of the stages can be quite significant. It may take weeks until you get some feedback from your first interview and then another few weeks before you get to the next one. Be prepared for that, constantly reminding yourself that the whole process is likely to go on for 2 or even 3 months… sometimes longer. Rome was not built in a day and your job also will not be. If you forget that, your anxiety and stress levels may go through the roof, you will face many sleepless nights thinking about what might have gone wrong, when in fact nothing has. Easy advice that you could use is to continue applying for new jobs continuously. Nothing helps with anxiety, caused by something we really want, like the knowledge that we have other opportunities and it will not be the end of the world if we failed in this one. After all, this is the simple rule of diversification - do not put all your eggs in one basket, even if that is your dream job and you think you do not want anything else.

The other thing you should be prepared for is that you will have to meet a lot of people and I really mean A LOT! In no big company in Switzerland the decision on hiring anybody is done by one person. It is always done collectively, so expect to talk with people from all levels in the organization - your potential colleagues, even people who may be below you in the organization, your future boss, his peers and the boss of your boss and even executive level people. This is true for quite large enterprises so do not be surprised that even in a big bank your final interview will be with executives, even if you are only a potential mid-level employee. There are few things as expensive as wrong hires. In Switzerland employers really want to get to know you and this is great because you get to really know them too and thus, both sides can see if they are a fit. Use this time! Job interviews are not only about getting a job, they are also a learning opportunity. You can learn a lot about the organization you are applying to as well as about yourself- your knowledge, your behavior, strengths and weaknesses in a single job interview. Btw. If you would like to learn about these things also in advance of a job interview why don't you try out the Career Tools offered by CFA Institute? These tools consist of six different online assessments that will help you develop a direction for your career. Without losing the focus on your values you will get a grip of what drives your performance and understand how to manage your engagement opportunities with others. In this way you will learn more about your working style, personality traits and likely get a clearer view on what your career should really look like.

Obviously, when looking for a job, you must be prepared that not every job interview will be successful and with the specificity of the Swiss market, you must be even more prepared for that. It sometimes may not even be up to your lack of skills to do the job. Sometimes, there is someone just slightly better and you miss it by an inch. Especially then, you have to remember to be patient and that you had an opportunity to learn something new throughout the process. Do not give up and use what you have learned by pursuing the next opportunity. As anywhere else in the world, employers in Switzerland are employing what you are and not what you may become, so move on, improve and appreciate the ride. After all, when it is finished, you will have to go to work.

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