Better Than McDonalds

“Good evening Chris. The freelancer idea all came together. Pending one more interview, I have a 6mo contract in Essen. 👍
C.A.
 
Last week a former coaching client called me. In the US he was a top notch IT professional with management experience. Got calls from headhunters all the time.
 
Overconfident he ignored my advice at the time and moved to Germany right away. A year later he reached out to me, because he didn’t know what to do anymore. All his savings were gone and so was his self esteem.
 
Rejection after rejection after rejection by HR in Germany. He was so desperate – when we talked he had already applied for a job at Mc Donalds. (Apparently you have to fill out 18 pages of documents for the privilege to serve hamburgers.)
 
We spoke for 30 minutes and I adviced him to change his game. “Don’t apply for jobs – offer your services as a freelancer.”
 
This morning, seven days later, I woke up to the message below.
 
“Good evening Chris. The freelancer idea all came together. Pending one more interview, I have a 6mo contract in Essen. 👍
 
He will work for six months. His fee is 750 EUR per day. Compare that to Mc Donalds.
 
The same professional. The same skills. The actual managers will pay huge sums for his services, the HR manager will reject him.
 
What does this say about professionalism in HR?
 

I am glad for your success C.A.

Context Matters

The same professional. The same skills. The same list of achievements. No chance as an employee, highly paid as a freelancer. I have seen this theme play out over and over again. Expatriates are “unusual” candidates and that scares clueless HR managers. Offering your services as a freelancer gives you an opportunity to talk directly to the people who do the actual work in a company. Even better: The power balance is even. Two professionals discuss a real world problem. As a jobseeker you are always in the weaker position.

If you can’t get past HR, try to position yourself differently. With HR you are “too old”, “too foreign” and you “don’t know German”. As a freelancer you are “experienced”. You have”deep knowledge of the local market”. And “of course we talk English. We are professionals, after all.”

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