Applying for a job in the Middle East? Read our short guide to the recruitment process.
You’ve had enough of winter coats in July and overrunning engineering works on your daily commute, so have decided to give year-round sunshine and tax-free pay a go instead.
Applying for a job can be a fairly long and complex process in the best of circumstances; if the position happens to be abroad, it can be even more complicated.
That’s why we’ve drafted this short guide to help you understand what to expect from the recruitment process when searching for a role in the Gulf Coast Countries.
Finding a job
Most roles will be advertised on a job board or on a recruitment website.
If you’re looking for a job in a specific sector or a particular location, spend some time researching recruitment agencies that specialise in that area – for example, Eurocell Recruitment specialises in automotive management roles in the Middle East. Look for an agency with a good reputation and a long history in the market in which you want to work so that you can be confident they’ll have visited the prospective employer, understand the function and culture of the job and company, and be able to guide you through the process.
Don’t wait for the perfect vacancy to be advertised – if you find a good agency, get in touch with them proactively.
Many companies will use a recruitment agency to filter candidates. The purpose of this first contact is primarily to assess your suitability for the role in terms of experience.
Use the opportunity to talk to the recruiter about the culture and atmosphere of the organisation you’re applying to, and about life in the Middle East more generally, to find out if it’s right for you. Be open and honest about your reasons for wanting to work there. It’s a huge advantage if you can find an agency with recruiters who live and work in the region so that they can answer your questions based on first-hand experience.
On the shortlist
If you’re shortlisted by the recruiter, your details will be forwarded onto the employer who’ll usually then arrange to speak to you via Skype or on the phone. When liaising with a company based in the Middle East, make sure you know the time difference, and remember that their working week is Sunday to Thursday.
If the call goes well, the next stage will normally be a face-to-face meeting with the employer. Whether that takes place in the UK or in the Middle East will depend on the employer’s travel plans. Be aware that not all employers will cover your travel costs – if this is a deal breaker, tell the recruiter as soon as possible.
If you do have to travel abroad, put every second of your trip to good use. This will probably be your only chance to spend time in the country before you decide whether or not to take the job (if you’re lucky enough to be offered it!), so try not to be too swayed by tourist attractions and instead see as much of ‘normal life’ there as possible.
Accepting the job
It’s really important that you consider the whole benefits package on offer, not just the salary. Bear in mind that while you may pay significantly less tax than you do in the UK, education and healthcare aren’t free in the Middle East. Some employers will offer to contribute towards the cost of school fees, accommodation or health insurance as part of the benefits package but this isn’t universal, and you shouldn’t just assume that it’s included.
Moving abroad can be a fantastic opportunity for you and your family, but it’s a massive undertaking so you shouldn’t make the decision lightly. Do as much research into your potential employer and the country you’re moving to as possible. Read blogs. Join discussion forums. Speak to other expats. Your recruiter will be a great source of information and contacts – use them!
Getting the job
Being offered the job is really just the start of the process - a huge amount of paperwork will follow!
Whichever country you’re moving to in the Middle East, one of the first things that you’ll need to sort out is your work visa. And if you’re planning to move with your family, they’ll need visas too. Your recruiter will usually be able to help with any visa applications, or at least be able to point you in the direction of help.
There are hundreds of things to think about when moving to a different country – where to live, schools, travel, health insurance etc – and it can be difficult to know where to start. See the Government’s Living Abroad checklist for some top tips.