Urban photography; cat on a motorcycle in Tel Aviv
Expat life

Job search tragicomedy


During The Job Search, I wanted to tell everyone who dared to ask me how my job search was going to kindly mind their business. Just in case.

I learned EVERYTHING: how to write and tailor my resume to each position (font, font size, white spaces, what to include, what to cut off, and million other tweaks and fine-tunings), how to craft the perfect cover letter, the best time to apply for 13% (!) higher chance to get invited to a job interview, the best colors to dress in, when to arrive, the only appropriate handshake and body postures, what to say, what absolutely not to say, when to send a thank you letter and how to properly thank for their time wasted with you…

I learned the hard way that if a recruiter/HR persona calls you, they will interview you over the phone before you even have a clue what’s going on. Short and sweet. Startups don’t even bother with pre-screening: I have always appreciated straightforward invitations to job interviews. The other big secret I learned is that if I missed a call, I almost certainly waved goodbye to an opportunity so much longed for. No follow-ups and magic spells help here. I’m still getting over a missed call which happened to be an interview for my dream job. What’s more, a few years of work experience compensate for lacking higher education. Why go to school?!

On the not-so-dark side, job search (and hopefully job interviews), can even be amusing:

– ”You didn’t study here (in Norway). We offered the job to someone with a relevant education”. Hmm, I thought investing in education was a smart thing to do in life.

– An offer to create an A-Z marketing strategy for % of possible sales. No, thanks.

– After asking about job-related challenges, the interviewer answered, laughing: ”No one here has a clue what they are doing”. A confession followed: he didn’t have an idea of digital marketing. My enthusiasm skyrocketed instantaneously.

– ”Are you married?”, ”Do you have kids?”, ”How old are you?” – some of my favorite questions which, coincidently, are illegal in other countries.

– ”You don’t have a startup experience”, despite that I have written that in my CV. After pointing this out, the person told me that he meant to have started my own company. If I was a (co)founder/CEO, I very much doubt I would have applied for an internship position.

– Wearing an elegantly-casual outfit, I was welcomed by two highly contrasting to each other characters: one of them was dressed like a real estate agent, formal and polished, the other one was wearing jeans and sweater. While they were grilling me with behavioral questions, the latter showed a middle finger – to illustrate something. Why didn’t I leave? I was too curious!

– Interviewers decided to show off their socks and conducted the interview barefoot. At first I hesitated to take off my shoes, however, I remembered that I only remove my shoes at home, when I visit someone, and in Buddhist temples. I trusted my intuition. I assume that they hired the candidate who took their shoes off.

– The interviewer wore a ski hat during the entire interview. How cool! Another interviewer had a hole in his jeans in a very strategic place – his crotch. In addition, he was using snus, a popular form of smoking in Norway by placing a small bag with tobacco under the upper lip. During official meetings too.

– After arriving on time for a job interview, I quickly found out that I had to:

  1. Either wait for an hour outside
  2. Come back later

The man on the phone strongly believed that the interview was scheduled an hour later. So long and thanks for the fish.


Who said job search was painful, miserable, and depressing?!





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