With the shekel’s maintaining its strength, the Israeli economy continues to thrive despite the worldwide threat of recession. This land, which is known too often for politics and conflict, is increasingly being recognized for innovation and its booming its hi tech sector. With new opportunities all around, potential job candidates can make or break their careers in their next interview. But look out, Western immigrants: just because you came from a Fortune 500 company doesn’t mean you’re ready to play ball in the Middle East; there are cultural differences.
Fortunately, I’m here to help, with the definitive idiot’s guide to finding a job in Israel.
Where to begin?
Before you’re ready to land the dream interview, you’s better get your resume in order. Whereas long gaps in employment are frowned upon in many Western countries, you need not worry in Israel.
Interviewer: “Ehhh….waht eez dees four month break een between jobs?”
Candidate: “Um, India!”
Interviewer: “ONLY four months? What eez wrong weeth you?”
While it is generally recommended to fix any misspellings in your CV, if you are applying for a position in menu or street sign creation, you can ignore this suggestion completely.
Getting your foot in the door
So how does someone get an interview anyway? The internet is a great place to look for jobs in the Western world, but should be avoided in Israel at all costs — unless you are a freier (sucker). It’s all about Vitamin P here.
Vitamin P is short for “protectsia” or “connections.” Knowing someone high up typically helps. Of course, “someone” can also be defined as the “son of the brother of the girl who used to date your uncle’s cousin.” When questioned, you should pretend that this person is your best friend ever, and refer to him as “gever” (dude) or “ach sheli” (my bro) at least 37 times in discussion. If you pull this off believably, congratulations: you just landed yourself a job.
What to wear
Yikes! You’re interviewing with the boss in one hour and you haven’t a thing to wear! Take a deep breath and check your closet again. See those jeans? No, not the Tel Aviv pair with the hole in the crotch; the nice jeans. Put them on (the other ones you can wear once you’re hired).
For the ladies, cleavage is also encouraged in the Israeli job interview and workplace. Here’s a typical office exchange:
Worker: “Hey, Dafna, what’s with the revealing outfit… hot date tonight?”
Sexy co-worker: “Ehhhhh….Shareholders’ meeting. Why?”
Are you free Friday?
Those of you from other countries may be surprised to learn that there is no such thing as an inappropriate question here. Whereas questions about sexual orientation, religion, or family aspirations are grounds for a lawsuit in other countries, in Israel these topics are called “the first five minutes of the interview” and are apparently encouraged. If you’re expecting to be asked where you see yourself in 10 years, forget it: this is Israel, people. Nobody knows what they’re doing Friday night; you think they’ve made plans for 2022?
Of course, you should fully expect to know someone in common with the interviewer. And if you don’t, you soon will. Because even if you didn’t get the job, there is roughly a 57% chance that you’ll be offered a date with the CEO’s child. Whether or not you accept, just make sure not to burn any bridges. You never know — you could be doing miluim (reserve duty) with the interviewer six months later.
RIIIING! Mazal tov, you got the job! We’ll see you at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Wait… are you thinking about getting pregnant?