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The critical differences between The Netherlands and Armenia: CV writing and recruitment

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YEREVAN, ARMENIA – With this article, I would like to make a small comparison between Armenian and Dutch CV writing requirements and the recruitment processes.

Why am I doing this?

Because apart from my extensive experience as a job seeker in both countries, knowing the market you are seeking for a job is crucial and gives you a considerable head start. Though, I have experienced challenges in both Armenia and The Netherlands, I believe Armenia has a lot to learn from the Netherlands in respect to CV writing, job application and recruitment processes.


Dutch CV vs. Armenian CV

I.   Let’s start with the Dutch requirements, where both a CV and a Cover Letter is needed for being considered for a position. One particular aspect of the Dutch CV, which I really love, is the section to mention your hobbies/interests. Dutch employers/recruiters are happy to know more about the candidate’s personal preferences and interests. Besides the necessary skills, the educational background and the work experience, they want to know how the candidate spends his/her spare time, what he/she really enjoys to do; it is certainly something that reflects the person’s character, and in my opinion, this is a fine way to understand whether the person is able to do the work and whether the candidate actually suits the Company.

Besides listing your hobbies, a Dutch CV should be in reverse chronological order, written in the language requested by the advertisement, and usually no more than one A4 sheet. As for compulsory data, you must give your full name and if it does not indicate your name clearly then they appreciate if you say male or female. While your nationality and date of births are not obligatory they are not forbidden either.
The same rule applies for inserting a photograph of yourself: not obligatory, unless specified otherwise. Since Netherlands is part of the EU, they might ask you to send the infamous Europass CV that is highly formatted and standardised.

II.   In contrary to the Netherlands, in reality, Armenian CV as such doesn’t have any special format. You are not required to mention any obligatory points, which you definitely should take care of similar to Dutch CVs as well as in many other countries. When applying for a job in Armenia, the employers/recruiters usually don’t specify if the CV has to be in reverse chronological order or the other way around. They don’t generally mention either whether it is compulsory to insert a photograph in the CV (though in some cases you do need to add). Moving further in your application for a job in Armenia, it is not compulsory to attach a Cover Letter together with your CV, unless specified. As a conclusion we can say that until the recent years, your self-designed CV was enough to be sent to a Company.


Photo source: C. Mario del Río / Flickr  - cv writing
Photo source: C. Mario del Río / Flickr

Recruitment processes in the Netherlands and Armenia

I.    In The Netherlands,
similarly to other EU countries, the recruitment process runs as follows:

  1. First, you send your CV and a Cover Letter to the Company;
  2. Next, if the Company is interested in your profile, they will invite you for a phone or personal or Skype interview. If they are not interested, they will send you a formal rejection letter;
  3. If you pass successfully the interview, you will either get a job offer immediately or will be offered to complete additional tests, assessment centres, 2nd or 3rd round of interviews in order to estimate better your capabilities;

I remember a case, when I got a refusal for a position in The Netherlands. I decided to write to the recruitment company to inquire information about the reason for rejection. Surprisingly, the following day, one of the employees of the recruitment agency called me on my mobile phone (from The Netherlands to Armenia!) and for over 10 minutes she explained me very gently and patiently the actual reason for not being selected. Paradoxically, this rejection didn’t evoke negative feelings in me, but the opposite – I still remember it with positive thoughts. I appreciated her act very much, the attention, the detailed explanation given by the Greek woman from the recruitment company based in Amsterdam. I felt valued and though I couldn’t go further in the selection process I did learn from my application.

II.    As for Armenia
the recruitment steps are pretty much following the European method, but there is a crucial difference that should be mentioned:

Unfortunately, in Armenia you will hardly get any explanations regarding your rejection. Usually Armenian recruiters are “not well-mannered enough” – I apologize for writing this, but I sincerely consider it to be a form of impoliteness not being answered about your application – to give a response; a simple response that may let us know to wait or to move forward.

Let me tell you about one particular case as personal example: last year I applied for a job in Armenia. The company invited me to the interview, after which they said they would inform me about the outcome within a week or so. Several weeks passed. So I called them up to ask about the final decision. They responded that they selected someone else. So I asked the obvious question: “What was the reason for my rejection?” They gave me a rather shocking answer: “We don’t give such information to the candidates”.

This answer was so unreasonable that made me think there was no real reason for the rejection. How come that the candidates “should not get” any clarifications concerning their rejection? I think we all have the full right to know why we don’t fit or uphold a company’s expectation! Who else should know about it if not the us, the candidates? A year later, I saw the same advertisement for the same job in the same firm. I wrote them to inquire more information and received the following response: “this is the same position you came to an interview for last year and since then we couldn’t find a suitable candidate yet”. Though, I appreciated their answer after all, it made question if it meant that their previous answer of selecting another person was simply not entirely true.


So what is our conclusion?

All in all, I can say that getting a job is not easy regardless of your location. But in respect to being treated as an applicant’ there might be huge differences among countries. This comes from culture, traditions, and the state of development. This time we compared Armenia and the Netherlands, where we saw that CVs in the Netherlands are following a prescribed structure, while in Armenia CVs are still rather ad-hoc documents with some compulsory elements as education and experience. Moving further we saw that the recruitment culture in the Netherlands is more applicant friendly and you, as applicant are encouraged to ask for feedbacks in order to learn from them. In contrast to this Armenia has still a way to go and I do hope that one day recruiters in my country will follow the Dutch approach and will notice that writing a simple letter to job applicants and informing them if they were not selected is something that should come naturally. Until then, just bear in mind that responses to your questions might get vague or no answers at all.

We hope that you got some useful insights on why knowing your market can help you through the job seeking process. We will continue our series on Global Outlook: CV & Recruitment with two rather different market places: New York vs. Pakistan. Stay with us!


Lilit has been volunteering in several online media as Writer and Editor, during which she discovered in herself a great passion for Writing! Lilit considers herself to be a lifetime traveller. She loves to combine her two passions – Travel and Writing and create beautiful travel stories, reflecting her own travel experiences. Read her personal Blog site dedicated to Life, Travel and Love: C’est La Vie, Lily. Presently, Lilit is looking for her dream job that will allow her to expose fully her most creative side.

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