5

They are looking simply curious, why I am here. The real reasons for this are these:

  1. I grew up in small, communist country in Central/Eastern Europe where we've seen (West-)Germany as the land of the dreams. So, Germany was my childhood dream.
  2. Germany has a well-developed IT industry and step into it was a logical next career step.
  3. The wages are here bigger (but not much more, currently there is only a 30-50% difference which is already not enough to the switch to a new country).
  4. I've found the common mentality of my home country not enough well developed, especially in the sense of the business ethics.
  5. If I ever go back to my own country, my German experience will be viewed a significant advantage in the job interviews of the future.
  6. I thought German jobs, and integrating into the German IT would cause a development in my social skills, psychological state and intelligence.

Currently I mention only (1) and (2).

And this is what I would normally say, but I think maybe it is too long and hits the taboos of this society. They are pathologic PC-fan, and in the case of the foreigners (Ausländer) the bosses have a constant fear that a rejected applicant, or fired ex-employee would sue them for discrimination (which I wouldn't ever do, but I don't have anything to convince them from that). So, there is also a very hard athmosphere of secrecy, which is masked by the athmosphere of politeness. In my home country, after 3 months of co-working had been enough to know and hear things from my co-workers as it is 3 years isn't yet enough, and clearness was relatively more important as politeness.

So, this is the true answer to the question. If we would talk behind two flasks of beers, this is what I would answer. (But we won't ever sit behind two flasks of beers, except company events where the common taboos still exist.) But on a job interview, 1) it is too long, and 2) I want to give them an answer, which optimizes my chances.

So, what should I answer on a job interview for this question?

  • 1
    Don't overthink this question. Imagine a stranger meets you and asks "so what made you move to X?" They're just trying to get to know you. Imagine how you would answer if you want to make a positive impression, but don't imagine too hard. – Brandin Jun 19 '16 at 13:39
  • 2
    The real question isn't why you moved to Germany. It's why do you want to move back for what is almost certainly a job that pays considerable lower and less exciting than what you had in Germany. This is what you need to be prepared to answer. – David Hammen Jun 19 '16 at 17:33
  • 1
    @DavidHammen Thank you very much! The real answer for that, that on the German job market, I don't really have access to really exciting jobs. There are, but I can't win the race with the native Germans for them. I have access to better paying jobs (as in my home country). Thus, I can't answer this question while I say the truth. Furthermore, I don't have any plan to go back, if I would do this, I would do only if my situation here would be hopeless. But I think saying this to them clearly also wouldn't sound very well. – Gray Sheep Dec 18 '16 at 15:11
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    They're not asking why you came here, they're asking what the chances are that you'll go back again (causing them to having to retrain someone else again). – pmf Oct 25 '18 at 10:55
  • 1
    @pmf Thank you very much! Your comment is the most valuable answer. Now, two years later, I've got the real answer to my question! – Gray Sheep Nov 8 '18 at 1:12
9

You can be straight-forward and answer them with the same reasons which you mentioned in your answer, as there is nothing wrong with your reasons here. (And being honest helps. Almost always)

And, if you think your answer would be too long, then break them into (verbal)bullets and answer them, like:

There are several reasons behind the decision. The most important ones being:

One, I grew up in a small, ........

Two, Germany being a well-developed nation, I think .......

This'd help you put all the points forward, and you wouldn't really appear as reciting an essay.

3

This is one of those questions that doesn't have a win-the-job answer, but has some lose-the-job ones. Stay away from those. For example:

  • oh, I don't really care where I live, the money seemed good right now, I could easily move to some other country later, whatever
  • the police were looking for me in my home country so I thought it would be best to move away
  • [twenty minute rant about how awful everything is in the home country]
  • [twenty minute rant about how Germany is the most amazing place on the planet and you've always wanted to move here and you're so thrilled that you finally have a chance as long as you manage to get this job]
  • What? Move? I was hoping to work remotely from my home country!

Just go with one or two fairly neutral sentences about knowing it's a nice place to live - not so much that it outshines the job, but enough that they're not worried you'll get homesick and leave. Things may be different between your two countries, but where I live I would worry more that a new hire would go home than that they would sue me. IF they honestly believe all foreigners are just angling for a lawsuit, I doubt any answer you can come up with will change their minds about you. So simple, short, honest, move on to the next question.

  • Thank you very much. The first is partially true, yes I could move to a third country, but 1) I love Germany, this is why I came here and not into a third country 2) I've invested already years in it, and I won't waste this effort. The others are fortunatelly absolutely not true. – Gray Sheep Dec 18 '16 at 15:20
2

I grew up in small, communist country in Central/Eastern Europe where we've seen (West-)Germany as the land of the dreams. So, Germany was my childhood dream.

Children rarely have very rational dreams, so not revising your childhood dreams as an adult might seem a bit immature.

Germany has a well-developed IT industry and step into it was a logical next career step.

That sounds better.

The wages are here bigger (but not much more, currently there is only a 30-50% difference which is already not enough to the switch to a new country).

So you are just in it for the money, after all? That's a yellow flag.

Also, when you still get the job, be prepared that they might think they can pay you below the usual market rate because that's still more than you would make at home.

(By the way, when you compare wages between countries, keep the relative cost of living into account. It isn't worth it to make twice as much money when you live in a country where everything costs thrice as much).

I've found the common mentality of my home country not enough well developed, especially in the sense of the business ethics.

Ethics are always good. This is a point you might want to elaborate on. Just be sure to generalize and not smear any specific ex-employers directly. "I don't like how it's common in my country for everyone to give and take bribes" - OK. "I didn't like how my ex-boss, Mr. X from Y Company, bribed Government Official Z to get him to do Q" - that would be a red flag.

If I ever go back to my own country, my German experience will be viewed a significant advantage in the job interviews of the future.

That might be seen as another yellow flag: You might be someone who wants tons of expensive training and then leaves as soon as they got the skills to pull their own weight.

I thought German jobs, and integrating into the German IT would cause a development in my social skills, psychological state and intelligence.

This will inevitably lead to follow-up questions about why you feel your social skills, psychological state and intelligence are underdeveloped. And there is no way to answer this without making yourself look bad.

  • 1) I don't want to be mature, I want to fulfill my childhood dreams. :-) But anyways thanks your viewpoint. 2) Mainly I didn't do this for the money, although also it played a role in my decision ( see 1-2, 4-6). 3) I don't have any plan to go back, I would do this only if my situation here would become hopeless (which surely won't happen if I have a stable job). But I don't have anything to prove it for them, furthermore I am not sure if it sounds well for them. – Gray Sheep Dec 18 '16 at 15:24
1

First of all, points 3, 5 and 6 are pretty much one process. "well developed IT (#3) causes your personal development (#6) which causes better future job offers (#5)".

Point #3 is the one that's easiest to understand. You mention that the pay gap is not that big, but I don't think this part ever sinks in, it sounds more like a lame excuse ("My country is so poor I came here - but it's not really poor because I love my country!"). And I would just skip the second part, because as you said this point is not actually valid because the gap is too small.

Points #1 and #4 the difficult ones. Even if you're right about them, they can be viewed as some kind of inferiority complex. You're concerned about Germans keeping their distance from you - but things like that only build the distance.

But - I would drop all your reasons and instead play the issue down to zero. This question can be asked without any meaning - but your answers are giving it a profound meaning. It's you who paint the difference between your home country and Germany, so it's hard to expect from them to treat you just like a local guy. You fear that they fear being accused of discrimination - but it's you who are discriminating!

I don't know if you're already in Germany and if you held an IT job there. If you already worked there then say that you moved because you got a job. Make it look like if next good offer comes from Spain - you'll take it. Instead of painting yourself as an Easter-European chasing his dream of a West-Berlin, make yourself look like an European casually being at home everywhere in the Union. Be equal.

On the interview nobody is trying to get to know you. They're trying to asses dangers you present. The old rule in negotiation is to never reveal what you really want, even if all you ask is to just be in the country.

  • Huh, it is hard to understand them. I think the fact that I am here already means that I won't discriminate them, rather I like them. I could have moved to other countries as well, I've chosen Germany. Thanks the other ideas, too! – Gray Sheep Dec 18 '16 at 15:29

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