Congratulations! You landed a job in Germany and are about to enter the workforce here in Germany. We will give you some tips to help you avoid any first day blunders at your new job.
1. What to Du?
It may seem like you have a relaxed boss at your new job in Germany, which is a good thing — that helps create a comfortable office atmosphere. However, regardless of your boss’ demeanor, you should hold off on using the informal “Du” when speaking with your superior. Using the more formal “Sie” shows respect, and should be used until your boss suggests the informal “Du”.
2. Casual Dress Code at Your Job in Germany
Dressing too casually at work can leave a bad impression on your colleagues. A quick tip: It’s better to start your job over-dressing than under-dressing. With time you can gage what clothing is acceptable in your office. One more thing: Companies often have a dress code as part of their HR materials. Make sure you are dressing according to company policy.
3. Personal Questions
In some cultures, forging personal relationships is exceptionally important and asking personal questions is considered polite. In Germany, work is typically separated from personal life. As a result, you should be careful not to ask your colleagues too personal of questions. After a while, you will gain a feeling of what topics are and are not too personal in the context of your workplace.
4. Cut The Smalltalk
Smalltalk is more important in some cultures than in German culture. In other countries, smalltalk is polite and a way of strengthening your standing in the workplace through personal conversation. This is not usually the case in Germany. In a meeting, for example, the conversation should quickly focus on the business at hand, and stay on this topic.
Punctuality is very important in the German workplace—down to the minute. Coming a couple minutes late to work or to a business meeting is considered very impolite. That is a general rule—it applies even more so to someone who is new to their job, and thus has more to prove.
6. Please Silence Your Cellphones…
Cellphones belong in your pocket during business meetings, and preferably on silent mode. It is considered impolite to look at your cellphone during a business meeting, much less check your Facebook.
7. Wait Your Turn
The following rule holds true for meetings, interviews, and all professional dialogue: Interrupting someone does not make you look good. Interrupting can make you appear disrespectful, even when what you have to say is important. Wait until your conversation partner has finished what they have to say before laying out your ideas.
Also in our blog: Are German language skills necessary for working in Germany? In most cases at least, the German labor market is rather inflexible when it comes to language diversity. More often than not, German language skills are necessary for finding and exercising a job in Germany – in some cases German language proficiency is even mandatory. See what people experienced in recruiting have to say on this topic!
Main photo: stevanovicigor / Istockphoto.com
This post is also available in: Deutsch