My Interview Stories

Jobs, how can we live without it? 🙂

Whenever I meet fellow Indonesians here we use to talk about our job quest. Either they are now jobless and searching for one , or, they want to quit and now want to search for a new one. I hate it when people say, you are so lucky to have a nice job at a nice company blablabla. Believe me, in my case, it was not like a job went onto my lap out of nowhere. I really did my best to get one. I wrote over 50 applications in 3 month time. And I went to many job interviews.

I came to live in the Netherlands in 2007, although I had stayed a year before to becoming Au Pair. I went back home briefly after. I have had many job interviews since then. Like, MANY! Of course I felt really uneasy and did not  feel confident because I didn’t speak Dutch, but soon I understood a little bit of Dutch it was unstoppable. My first ones were when I was a student at the VU, I needed a part-time job. Sometimes two jobs to make ends meet. I gained it through a student job agent, sometimes the jobs were really odd, like the time I had to work at a chocolate factory. Or the time I worked at the zoo behind the till machine. Sometimes I worked at a cafeteria prepping food, or at De Bijenkorf as sales assistant. Outside the jobs I got from the agency, I also worked as a babysitter occasionally and I liked it because I earned good money and it was an easy job. I pretty much accepted all offers from the job agency except waiting tables, I sucked at it. From all those odd jobs the only one that I hated was when I worked at the zoo. Had a male supervisor who was a control freak and he corrected me all the time. After I passed my exams I was finally brave enough to apply for office jobs.

That when the nightmare began…

I got rejected all the time. It was flat out demotivating and yes, it was brutal. Really brutal. I cried a lot, but then I pull myself together and went to the next applications. There’s one experience which I will never forget. Not because it was nice and I got the job :p So, I applied for this role which was advertised via an agency (uitzendbureau, Dutch). It was back then in 2009 or 2010. My Dutch was still bad. I speak little Dutch just alright just not in business Dutch, only conversational. So I emphasised this to the recruiters, and they told me it was fine and they were looking people who were fluent English, so I would totally be considered.

The company invited me to have the first-round interview. Since I was not lucky enough to get a job in Amsterdam I had ventured out my search to….LEIDEN. It was far enough, and the building was hard to find. I was late. Like 10 minutes or maybe 11…I called the agency I could not find the building and I was really panicking! They helped me searching and I then found it, it was totally off the map. I was sweaty everywhere, I panicked, and I just wanted to go home because I had this uncomfortable feeling and that was not because I was late. The receptionist sent me upstairs, and I went there to the floor she appointed me to. A lady welcomed me, she was tall and pretty and had a nice smile. She was the hiring manager, she apologised for me because the building was hard to find. Not her fault. I was seated in a meeting room, I became more sweaty, this time I was nervous and tired. This interview was conducted in Dutch, and there was a man I guess he was a Director who would be my boss. He started the interview and he asked me the question, tell me about yourself.

As I was just catching my breath from all the running because I could not find the building, I tried to answer the question and pardon my Dutch. I was wrong in picking a word, I guessed it was a noun or an adjective I forgot, and in a split second he went mental. He was so pissed off, and cursed the agency who sent me. He wanted a native Dutch! Why on earth I bothered to come here wasting his time. I think my face turned green….I’d had not recovered from being nervous and I was now profusely sweating. He was not finished there, he then told me to go find another job that required Bahasa Indonesia and there at least I could make myself useful. I felt my eyes burning, and my throat was suddenly very very dry like the Sahara. “Lord, what had I eaten today? what is happening?” The  hiring manager lady was shocked too, she looked me in the eye and she sent me a hug through her eye. At least thats  how I felt it. She cut the asshole, and said some nice things about me, but I was deaf, I was too shocked and I could not process everything. Now both of these people before me were talking. One was the devil and the other one was semi-angel. I heard myself saying, thank you anyway for having me and sorry for wasting everyone’s times. I will now go and I can let myself out. Bye.


You guess it right, I cried all the way home. I got really demotivated weeks after that and regretted why I came to this country etc. Pure self pity. I wrote all my experience and sent it via emails to the agency and they apologized for what had happened. Blah! MEH. Now if I remember about that incident I can laugh about it, but then it was horrible!!! However, that awful experience did not stop me going to interviews. I mean, why? It does not mean that I am not capable, if I’d listen to that man’s BS, that I should only look for jobs that required Bahasa Indonesia, well then.. in this country the possibility is almost likely zero. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and fail while trying. Not long after that unpleasant encounter, I got a new job. The job was what I was looking for and suited me at that moment. I still have a good relationship with my ex colleagues.


It is a new year, time for a clean slate! I just want to send out positive vibrations and also a big hug for all job seekers out there. Especially to you who live in a new country. Believe me I know how it feels to seek for a job in a country where you do not speak the language fluently. Just be patient, and don’t stop trying! 🙂 I wish I could give you a more inspirational talk but, really, perseverance is the most important thing (at least from my own experience). I am now not looking for a job, but when the time comes I guess I will also feel a bit daunted by it. Then, I will read this post again and remind myself..LOL ! 😀 I do not write this post to brag, oh look at me I have had jobs…NOPE..I want to share it to you that hey, I have crappy experience too you know. And I hope my story is worse than yours so you can feel good about yourself…Or, my story is almost the same as yours so it will cheer you up, and make you feel that you are alone. Or maybe that you don’t have all these crappy experiences which means, THAT YOU HAVE BEEN LUCKY! Dang.Good for you 🙂 !!

Now, tell me do you also have an unpleasant experience when it comes to a job interview? How do you cope?

Thanks for reading



26 thoughts on “My Interview Stories

  1. Oppie, happy new year!
    Paragraf pertama tulisanmu ini ngena banget! Aku punya kenalan baru yg sering banget ngobrol kamu mah enak, kerjaan gampang dll. Hello? Gampang? Mungkin terlihat gampang krn gue gak pernah ngeluh macam dia… dan dia jg gak tahu dapet kerja ini gue setahunan persevere di kerjaan lama br dapat. Hehehe jadi curcol!
    Gue pernah tuh interview trs deg2an, salah jawab… gak diterima deh. Trs pernah juga ditanya kok cmn sebentar kerja di tempat X? Pdhl di let go… mikir jwabannya jg pusing sendiri ☺️

  2. Yep, the quest to find a job in a foreign country is hard. I didn’t have such a harsh experience as you did, but I was invited to a job interview where everything went well and then the guy sent me an email saying that he chose someone else because my Danish was not sufficient. This was over 8 years ago. I wrote a reply to him that in my job, I didn’t require Danish that much and most of my interaction would be with computer and at the same time I attached an article that I wrote in Denmark’s national paper about how the politicians kept saying that they wanted highly-educated foreigners but no-one wanted to hire them because of language hurdle. Burning bridges, I didn’t care back then.

    Now I am in a new job for over 6 months after spending the last 7 years in Norwegian company where I spoke not only Danish but also Norwegian. I have accomplished so much, and in this company, they also hire a lot of foreigners, also them who don’t speak quite well Danish yet, and I have respect for that. No time for shitty company anyway 🙂

    • I have a similar experience too regarding a crappy handling after a job interview. It is a catch, government wants to hire highly-skilled/well-educated foreigners but in the reality many companies discriminate the candidates. Luckily, nowadays this behaviour is getting less and less and the job market has increased. Bravo girl!and big congrats on your new job 😀

  3. Kak oppieee… Aku tahu banget tuh gimana rasanya… Gimana rasanya di omongin orang kayak gitu… gimana rasanya mau cari kerja tapi bahasa jerman blom lancar… gimana rasanya d tolak kerjaan… gimana susahnya untuk bisa jadi kyk hari ini. Kebanyakan orang selalu liat dr luarnya aja dan nggak peduli seberapa airmata dan keringet yang kita keluarin untuk itu…

    • Betul, Yang aku amatin jarang ada tulisan tentang mamak rantau yang menyemangati untuk tidak menyerah. Ga pandang bulu kerja apaan kek, yang penting jangan putus asa dan keep learning! Tahun Baru semangat baru ya 🙂 Kus x

  4. Lieve Novi, wat n moed en doorzettingsvermogen heb je nodig gehad de afgelopen tien jaar! En wat heb je het allemaal prima gedaan. In een ” vreemd” land is het duidelijk nog moeilijker goed werk te vinden dan in het geboorteland, zeker wanneer de werkgelegenheid krap is. Ik moest aan mijn eigen periode van moeilijk solliciteren denken in de jaren tachtig. Er was tien procent werkloosheid en ik was al boven de veertig. Als ik al aan n gesprek toekwam, was dat moeilijk en veeleisend. Als vrouw in een door mannen gedomineerde werkwereld had je altijd minder kans op een baan dan n man. Wat jij meemaakte met die mafketel van n directeur, vind ik schandalig! Het meest schofterige dat ik trof, was een man die aan het einde van ons gesprek stotterde omdat hij niet meer wist wat hij kon zeggen en vervolgens z’n vuist balde en middelvinger opstak :, ” fuck you” dus….ik was fabbergasted. Het duurde zeker n uur voor ik eindelijk kwaad werd. Maar : The Best Revenge iIs Success ! 👍💪💖💪👍

    • Heel apart jouw verhaal.. en 10 % is behoorlijk hoog zeg! wat een vreemde gast was het. Eikel. Ik ben het helemaal met je eens, the best revenge is success. Het geeft je motivatie en ook een goed motor voor de volgende stap. Kus x

  5. Nice post mba Oppie. Segala bentuk cemoohan ini akan selalu ada yah karena orang lain memang lebih suka melihat hasil daripada proses yang kita lewati. Meskipun belum pernah kerja di luar Indonesia tapi saya juga mengalami hal serupa, apalagi ketika harus struggle jika wanita pun bisa bekerja di fieldnya pria. Suka dengan kata-katanya Oprah!

    • Betul, ini bisa kejadian dimana aja. Di Indonesia juga sama…apalagi di Indonesia ya, masih kental dengan machoisme dan patriarkis nya. Disini pun kadang masih aja loh jangan salah. Aku kerja di IT, dan contohnya mansplaining, itu masih ajaaa kejadian.

      • Aduh Indonesia mah, entah kapan paham2 itu bisa hilang. Saya benaran mulai engga suka kalau dikomen “karena kamu wanita” atau “karena kamu masih muda” ketika diinterview. Kalau memang sudah dianggap begitu seharusnya engga perlu panggil interview lagi daripada bikin sebel haha

    • Ah syukurlah kalau bisa memotivasi ya Astrid memang inginnya memotivasi sesama perempuan. Kamu jangan nyerah ya, ga semua orang prosesnya gampang dan lancar jaya…Kamu juga ya sukses dan kalau mau cerita2 you are more than welcome lho 🙂

  6. wow, i mean i’ve heard that some Dutch can be quite frank with their words (which, in a lot of ways, is exactly like Finns & too harsh for our Asian ears!), but to experience that from a stranger on a job interview is not nice at all! good for you for keeping your head high & not giving up trying to get a job from another place. it’s certainly THEIR loss, not yours! (that’s what i usually remind myself whenever there’s something like that happening.)
    my own experience is nothing dramatic like that, only that when i was on the first term of my Finnish language course, i braved myself to apply for a job at a Marimekko store when they had an ad on the window, saying that they’re looking for a part-timer. my mistake was that i went straight into the store and talked to the manager… in English. so of course she said right away that they’re looking for someone who speaks Finnish. about half a year later, i got my current job, even when i couldn’t speak Finnish that well yet. i learned the language best, of course, by just speaking it everyday. sometimes when i remember the Marimekko story, i thought: if only they could see me now. 😉

    • Dutch can be also very rude just like the rest of people in the world 😦
      Well done puni, for not giving up! and that you landed a job in Finland. O yeah, out of curiosity, would you do that again I mean applying for Marimekko? I loooove that brand bytheway.

  7. Wow, that man is a prick! I hope you don’t take his words to heart Oppie.

    I’ve fortunately never been to exposed to such a situation. Maybe because I was still little when I moved abroad and already fluent in Danish by the time I started to seek jobs.

    Keep you head high up and don’t let ignorants’ words define you!

    • A prick he was ! Of course not, I have a thick skin. That one stood out because I did not expect his reaction would be like that. I actually thanked him, because after that I really wanted to show him that I could make myself useful with my skills. Though I did not see him anymore after that to actually show him..but you know what I mean 🙂

      Lucky you Stephanie, I bet you will be a great doctor!! And no, I won’t let others define me…thank you! x

  8. Duh mbak Oppie, ini aku lagi mengalami banget!!! Udah beratus-ratus surat lamaran yang dikirim, yang nembus cuma sedikit, kadang-kadang aku suka ngerasa patah arang kalo kepikiran yang jelek-jelek terus. Kadang suka mikir “Duh kenapa pas S2 nggak magang aja ya” atau “Duh kenapa sih dulu S2 milihnya jurusan yang kayak gini ya, kan jadi nggak siap kerja” dan berbagai pikiran jelek lainnya. Kadang ngerasa patah semangat juga karena udah beberapa bulan masih part-time aja, dan bukan di bidang yang aku mau banget. Rasanya suka separo depresi gitu kalo cari-cari kerja nggak dapet-dapet, apalagi bahasanya juga masih separo-separo bisa separo enggak (tentu saja belom bisa Business Dutch ya, gile aje 2 tahun disini bisa bahasa bisnis sih jago banget), belom lagi kalo ngelamar di tempat yang sama berkali-kali terus ditolak melulu. Rasanya yang namanya gelar akademis mending dijual ke pedagang kaki lima aja, deh xD

    Semoga aja ceritaku bisa berbuah manis seperti mbak Oppie ya…

    • Hoi Crystal!:))
      Ratio nya 1:30 lah dulu.. jd memang bikin frustasi. Tp bukannya ga mungkin loh ya. Coba ngelamar ke kerjaan gw aja gimana? Banyak nih tahun2 jni anak2 Indo ketrima lulusan Arnhem di ex-kantor gw. Jurusannya mostly Business Admin, Marketing, Ekonomi gt.
      Coba liat2 deh LinkedIn nya ya? Jangan patah semangat, konkurensi nya disini memang brutal! Semoga perjuangan kamu berbuah manis yah xxx

  9. Pingback: Jangan Patah Semangat!: Tips Mencari Pekerjaan di Belanda – Crystadoodles

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