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Ask HN: Considering relocation to Europe, options for recruiters/job hunting?
33 points by jmspring on Dec 23, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments
Due to life circumstances, there is an interesting option for my wife and I to consider moving to Europe. The benefit, I am married to an EU National (she has dual citizenship -- so generally a work permit in the EU won't be a problem for me) who moved here for me. Sometimes it is time to reciprocate.<p>We are looking at Central Europe (Germany/Switzerland/Austria/France).<p>She's in tech, more on the project/program management side and has her sources (but even some of those are dated). We both work for companies where we could probably due intra-company transfers, but are also open to other avenues.<p>Has anyone originally based in the US had recent experience with finding resources for finding positions in Europe? Or anyone in Europe have suggestions for finding opportunities?<p>Historically, the usual process has been finding a good recruiting firm (often based in the UK).<p>I know some of the startup avenues to explore.<p>Overall, though I'd love to hear what people can suggest about other options.

In a past blog entry (http://blog.neekanee.com/2012/11/working-overseas-finding-jo...), I wrote about two companies that hire internationally: Secunia and Booking.com. There's also a couple of companies in Berlin that state in their job postings their willingness to sponsor work permits (even for non-EU citizens)- http://www.neekanee.com/jobs-in-berlin-de?q=permit

My wife and I are sharing a similar setup and often find ourselves contemplating a move to Europe (currently we are based in SF). First one should nail down a target city. We found Berlin to be the easiest market: cheap rent, many tech startups that hire english speakers. If I had to pick a second location I'd go with London or Frankfurt. To find work in Berlin you can tab into the startup scene, there are some blogs that cover job listings (e.g. http://berlinstartupjobs.com/) or if you want something more traditional: monster.de. London has an interesting craigslist competitor called: gumtree.com that has some interesting job posts. And of course, like Berlin they also have curated startup job listings (e.g. http://workinstartups.com/). To connected to recruiters (mostly in the UK like you said) I found linkedin and even more so xing.com to be a good destination.

id go to berlin instead just because its so much cheaper. london is extremely expensive, and so is frankfurt - yet it has many startups. (in fact most other cities that will be mentionned are much more expensive than berlin).

Then again, SF is in the US, stuff cost a lot less except for housing, and you don't have the possible euro crash looking at you every week (oh yeah i know, you've the USD issues, but they aren't looking _as_ bad these days)

Frankfurt is still relatively cheap compared to London. But you are right, if you want cheap rent then Berlin is unbeatable. Also probably has a better startup scene than London at this point. (if that's what you are looking for)

I've lived in both Berlin and London, and while Berlin definitely has much cheaper rent and some great startups (Amen, Soundcloud, etc.) the London startup scene is still larger by an order of magnitude on pretty much any measure (number of startups, money raised, exits, etc.)

maybe some years ago Berlin was much cheaper, but rents are getting more expensive everyday. Still cheaper than London though.

how much is rent running these days for a 2 bedroom (3 ZKB)?

I'd say 700€-100€. Here you can find some examples http://www.wg-gesucht.de/en/wohnungen-in-Berlin.

i don't really find that anything close to expensive btw :)

What languages do you or your wife speak? Which country is she a national of and are you goin to locate there?

Does she have family ties back there ? Are they strong? Do you two have kids yet? Are they school age? Does your wife want to move to her home country to raise them at some point?

Firstly, if any recruiter does not ask you the above put the phone down.

Secondly those questions you really need to be able to answer long before you fly

And finally, job search through open job positions is seen as the generally last resort

My honest suggestion:

1. Decide which country 2. Start a blog (AnAmericanSysAdminInBerlin) about what you intend to do 3. Ping a number of startup and established companies (follow them in twitter don't get spammy) and be clear you are an expert in xxx 4. Prove it by working remotely on short term gigs

Basically get a short term gig or two remotely - they may become jobs, they may be one a viable in one stream, at least you will learn the ropes of a country (oh look a cron tab commented in German - I wonder which one deletes the database)

1. Decide which country 2. Start a blog (AnAmericanSysAdminInBerlin) about what you intend to do 3. Ping a number of startup and established companies (follow them in twitter don't get spammy) and be clear you are an expert in xxx 4. Prove it by working remotely on short term gigs

This seems like a rather convoluted way of finding a job. May be what you mean is find an effective way to communicate that you have xxx skills and find companies that may be in need of it? Starting a blog may be one way but I have my doubts if its the optimal thing in his case.

Also, I'd actually say that OP might as well begin by applying for published jobs. You will get some baseline idea about the market or culture(do recruiters in blah region even reply? what are the responses like? etc.)

If you apply for jobs, you might get one and take months to discover the bad

If you apply for small projects, you might get several and Discover good bad and ugly much quicker

Honestly a blog is a resume these days.

If you apply for jobs, you might get one and take months to discover the bad

That has little to do with finding a published job. He could accept the first job via a referral and take months to discover its bad, for example.

The small projects idea is a good one. I am sure there are folks on HN from Europe that may have projects for him. The potential trap with small-project route is that a company with small projects may not necessarily have a permanent position.

Contrary to the other commenter, I think this sounds reasonable, even if you aren't relocating...

Having moved to Berlin from Australia a little while ago, I can say many people at startups are hiring - the trick is to plug into the community in person and ask around. If you have useful technical/web dev skills, that's a big plus.

From my experience attempting to get a transfer from BigCo, most BigCo. type companies require German fluency, even in purely technical positions.

Ask Eurostaff. I work with them as a freelancer. They are quick, very friendly, visit you at the place you are actually working and pay on the 28th day of a 30-day payment term. I love them for their professionalism. They have positions all over Europe with their headquarter in London, freelance and regular jobs.

Are you serious? Just a quick search on their website shows exactly 3 jobs across all of Europe in the technology sector, and that's it?

I think you should apply for permanent residency first. Once you get it start applying, or even better, go to your target city and rent short term housing and try to find something fast. Being local always helps, and you definitely want to advertise that you have a work permit already.

Given my wife is a German national and we are married, the whole work permit process is easier. It does require registering with the local municipality and some paperwork, but nothing near other situations.

As I mentioned, our situation would likely allow for mutually transferring to the EU under our current employers. That said, in both cases you are away from the mothership and the options are a little less appealing.

The main point of the question really is trying to understand how one approaches the job market in the EU. My wife's experience is slightly dated from the last time she looked.

Thanks all for the input.

I believe the best city for IT work in Central Europe is Munich. It leads the ranks of best cities to live in Germany, and the unemployment rate is below 5%. It is quite easy to get a decent, well paid job in one of the multinational companies that are operating here.

More info on Munich job market here: http://www.toytowngermany.com/wiki/Jobs_in_Munich

You should take a look at monster.com. In Luxembourg it is very active (monster.lu). If you are moving to Europe get ready to learn new languages, although english is often accepted for technical jobs, if you go consulting knowing the local language is often mandatory. In Luxembourg most ppl speak 3 or 4 languages fluently (English, French, German, other)

Most companies are very multi cultural, and force english as main language if they have workers that don't speak the official language, but be carefull as not knowing the local language might affect your daily routine outside of the job.

You can check out: http://www.overseas-exile.com/ by "ovid" of Perl fame. He used to (or still does?) work for Booking.com, which is based in Amsterdam[1]. He was pimping it pretty hard during the Perl Lightning Talks at OSCON2011. I got the impression that they were willing to sponsor people internationally (but possibly within reason).

[1]: http://www.booking.com/jobs.html?st=top

(FYI: HN wraps blocks of text separated by blank lines in <p></p> tags)

There is a massive demand for talent in all the cities mentioned in the thread. Places like Amsterdam and Berlin have a pretty signifant skills gap. I tend to see people who would perhaps struggle to get gigs in London get relatively senior positions elsewhere.

As for London being expensive to live, that really depends on where you live, there are some very affordable areas if you are willing to commute and the other costs of living (bar travel) seem comprable in my experience.

Good luck

If you can get a visa to Switzerland then the salaries are higher and qol way higher. Life is boring thought. For some excitement I would choose Berlin. For some culture and je ne sais quoi paris. Stockholm can be considered as well. Going Mediterranean style then tell aviv.

I worked for a company who do big enterprise sorts of things, who seem pretty good as agents go, and understand how to create a path from contract to permanent, if you want to: FDM.

Emphasis on "big enterprise" however.

Even for me, as a South African considering my options overseas, the comments were extremely useful.

Remote work sounds like a good idea. I plan on trying that out in the new year before committing to immigration.

Work remotely. If your (or anyone else reading this') skillset includes the sysadmin end of the spectrum, reply with contact details and I just might have something for you - immediately.

Not for me but for a friend who has 2 years experience in networking and system maintenance, likes to gets his hands dirty, and really enjoys learning new things (and has the resulting paper work to show for it).

My email is in my profile if you are interested.

Does anyone have any similar advice for relocating to Asia?

What is your nationality and which country are you aiming for?

Depending on your nationality, you might not need to a visa. Just board a plane and show up.

Asia is pretty big...and needless to say, the laws change from country to country. So, you need to decide the country first.

If anyone can answer, I'd like to know how active the startup scene in London is. I've always considered moving there later on down the road.

Any companies hiring RoR devs? I'm a US/EU citizen (live in SF). London or Berlin preferred, but open to anywhere in Europe.

Identify the companies you want to work for and pitch them.

Like you would a tent?

No. Just schedule a presentation with them, and use your PowerPoint skills (and silver tongue) to convince them to hire you.

What's your skillset/professional profile?

What do you do?

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