Austria - why work abroad?

Country: Austria
Official languages: German
Government: Federal parliamentary republic
Population: 8.4 million
Capital: Vienna
Currency: euro (EUR)
Member EU or EEA: EU
Phone code: +43
Internet code: .at

Why this country?

Compact yet varied, traditional yet modern, cultured yet adventurous, Austria is rich in lifestyle options; from the elegance of Vienna in the north to a flavour of the Mediterranean and the mountains in the south. A Mecca for winter-sports enthusiasts, the country is probably most renowned as a historic music capital, thanks to the patronage of the Habsburg dynasty.

The Austrian economy has been recovering since a decline in 2009. There is work available for those who have completed specialist apprenticeships, such as electrical fitters, pipe fitters, lathe operators, bricklayers, carpenters and joiners. There is also demand for workers in tourism, as well as in the hotel and catering sector. The same goes for sales staff and shop assistants.

Looking for work?

Vacancies are published in newspapers or online. For low-skilled jobs, initial contacts are usually made by phone, although online appli­cations are increasing.

For skilled jobs, you need to write a covering letter and send your CV. The company will con­sider the applications and contact a selection of candidates for interview. For management jobs, you may be invited for an assessment.

Tips for job applications?

Covering letters are, in general, comput­er-printed. Your written application should always contain a formal covering letter in which you indicate the job offer that you are apply­ing for. Make sure to include the correct address and name of the contact person.

Your CV must be short, to the point, chronolog­ical and complete. Your personal profile must be adapted to the job offer. No notes should be written on the documents that you send to the employer.

If you apply spontaneously, take the initiative to make sure that if there are no current vacan­cies your application will be stored in a data­base of potential candidates. If the company needs someone, this database is often the first to be consulted by the HR department.

Is it standard to include a photo on the CV?

Yes, employers are used to applicants enclosing their photo with their covering letter.

Is there a preference for handwritten applications?

No, a company will ask explicitly if they require one.

Is the Europass format CV widely used and accepted?

Unfortunately not; it is too comprehensive

Making contact by phone

When you contact a company by phone, it is important to know the name of your contact person. Ask for them by name. Prepare a short, clear, personal presentation, explain what kind of job offer you are calling about and try to make an appointment for an interview. Avoid a noisy background or people talking to you when you are calling, especially if you are using a mobile phone.

Do I need to send diplomas with my application?

Yes, copies of your training certificates should be enclosed (your latest vocational training, additional qualifications, labour certification or at least confirmation of periods of work). All certificates should be translated into German, except when you are applying for a job in an international company.

Should I supply references, letters of recommendation or proof of good conduct?

If requested, you should be able to supply references from former employers, translated into German, to confirm your qualifications and experience.

A copy of your latest and most advanced diploma should be handed to the company at the latest during the interview. Letters of recommendation are only used when you apply for an academic post. If proof of good conduct is required, this will probably be mentioned in the job ad.

Usual length of time between publication of the vacancy and start of the job

Most jobs are filled within 1 or up to 3 months. However, for specialist jobs (in management or those that require a lot of experience), can-didates will need to go through several interviews and possibly take part in an assessment. In some cases, job offers announce that the contract will start 6 months later.

Preparing for the interview

If there are a lot of candidates, companies tend to organise pre-selections or tests. For key posi­tions or management jobs, assessment centres are often used.

Employers are looking for candidates who match the profile described as closely as pos­sible. They expect applicants to show how their qualifications and experiences fit with this pro­file, talk about their professional and personal strengths and weaknesses, and answer ques­tions about their motivation, social skills and prospects as an employee. You also have to be prepared for questions about your CV (e.g. if you have changed jobs a lot).

You can generally expect employers to be look­ing for a dialogue in which they can learn more about you, your qualifications and your expec­tations of the job. There will also be room for your questions about working hours and days, activities and job content. The atmosphere is friendly, but objective and impartial.

Candidates should be well-informed about the company: what it does or produces, its size, whether it is centralised or decentralised and whether it is based abroad, as well as about its image and philosophy.

Verbal communication is important, notably articulation and presentation in line with the job applied for (clear motivation for the job, social skills, teamwork skills, authority and leadership skills, stress resistance, flexibility). Pay atten­tion too to non-verbal communication: punctu­ality, attitude, eye contact, gestures and facial expressions.

The interview usually takes about 1 hour. A vid­eo-conference may be used, but Skype is used only in exceptional circumstances and when recruiting for academic positions.

Dress-code tips

Dress code depends on the job, the sector, the position, customer contact, representa­tion, company culture, etc. It is important to be authentic when presenting yourself For men who are applying for responsible positions, a suit is still obligatory. A tie is no longer required.

‘I already knew some things about life in Hungary, as I had studied there, but EURES helped me with the more"techni­cal" details of living between two coun­tries, such as the differences between tax systems and social security sys­tems. When you move somewhere new, you don't know what to expect. Each country has its own uniqueness, and it's invaluable to get this advice.'

Marcel, jobseeker from Germany, living in Hungary, commuting to work in Austria

Who will be there?

The following people may attend: head of the department offering the job, HR manager, representative of the employees’ council.

Do we shake hands?

Yes, it is standard to shake hands.

Is there a typical interview structure?

In a normal interview, it is obligatory that questions relate to the conditions as described in the job ad and aim to find out if you have the right skills and qualifications. For the sake of objectivity, all the applicants should be asked the same questions. However, the employer may ask for more information on an individual basis or according to the candidate’s responses.

When is a question out of bounds?

Federal legislation on equal treatment forbids discrimination on grounds of age, sex, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity. The law regulates all the procedures for the publication of job offers, application procedures and the relationships between employer and employees. You do not have to answer questions about pregnancy, family planning or illness and dis¬eases. Discrimination against disabled people is forbidden. Be aware that some employers may not be aware that they are asking prohibited questions.

Negotiating your pay and benefits

Normally there is room to negotiate pay and working conditions, except in the public sector, where there are fixed pay scales. Negotiations take place with the head of the department that offered you the job.

In general, wages are expressed in monthly terms, including holiday pay and Christmas bonuses. Other non-statutory benefits need to be negotiated individually. For some jobs, the employer will offer you a fixed minimum remuneration and add a variable remuneration that depends on your performance or results at work. For those jobs where it is common to receive a tip from customers (e.g. guesthouses, hotels, etc.), you are often offered a low mini­mum wage. The tip is considered to be a way of increasing your wage, depending on your own efforts.

There is often room to negotiate your hours of work, flexibility about times and work locations, adapting working time to childcare (kindergar­ten) availability, etc.

Is a trial period likely?

You may be asked to undertake a 1-day work trial. The employer must pay you for it.

How long is the standard probationary period?

One month at the most. During this period, the contract can be ended at any point without any reason being given.

Will the employer cover my costs for attending an interview?

No, but if you can prove financial hardship, public employers may offer you financial help for the application procedure.

When will I hear the result?

Employers expect you to contact the company by phone for information on the results of the interview after a specific time. Companies will not always take the initiative to inform you of the results.

Getting feedback and further follow-up

If you have not been selected, you can ask for more information. If you can prove that the law on equal opportunities was not respected, an official intervention is possible.

How early should I arrive for the interview?

Employers take punctuality very seriously. Do not arrive late and only postpone or cancel the meeting if you have a valid reason. In such cases (e.g. illness), employers expect you to inform them in advance and to arrange a new appointment for an interview yourself.

last modification: 2014-09-03
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