The Idiot's Guide to Finding a Job in Israel

The Idiot’s Guide to Finding a Job in Israel

In some ways, finding a job in Israel is very much like anywhere else. Except for the whole job search part.

This is a guest post by Benji Lovitt of WhatWarZone. If you'd also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.

With the shekel's value continuing to strengthen, it's good times all around in the Israeli economy. A land known too often for politics and conflict is slowly becoming recognized for its hi-tech and innovation. With new opportunities all around, it's a hot job market out there and potential candidates can make or break their careers with their next job offer. But look out, Western immigrants- just because you came from a Fortune 500 company doesn't mean you're ready to play ball in the Middle East; there are cultural differences after all. Without further ado, I present to you The Idiot's Guide to Finding a Job in Israel.

Where to begin?

Before you're ready to land the dream interview, you better get your resume in order. Do know that whereas long gaps in employment are frowned upon in many Western countries, you need not worry in Israel.

Interviewer: Ehhh.waht eez dees three month break een between jobs?
Candidate: India, nu?!
Interviewer: ONLY three months? What eez wrong weeth you?

You may also want to fix any misspellings. If you are applying however for a position in menu or street sign creation, please disregard the previous sentence.

Israeli Sign Misspellings

3 mistakes? You're hired!

Ready to start searching?

Great, let's go! Uh oh. Proceed with caution. Like the American hiring process which comes to a screeching halt between Thanksgiving and New Year's, Israel too has its slow season, taking place just before ‘acharei hachagim' (after the Jewish High Holidays) and lasting about 5 times as long as the actual holidays. Occurring in September and October, this phrase roughly translates to ‘you have a better chance of swallowing a basketball whole than getting anyone on the phone'.

Candidate: Ehh, ahr you hiring?
Company Rep: I ehm soh-ry, we ahr veh-ry busy right now.
Candidate: Why, are you about to go public?
Company Rep: Ehhh no. Shemini Atzeret with Doda Tzipi. Her ketzitzot are makseem!!!

Despite the ‘acharei hachagim' answer, you might get lucky. Typically, you can expect a job to be offered to you after either 1 day or 6 months.

Getting your foot in the door

So how does someone get an interview anyway? The Internet is a great place to look for jobs in the Western world but should be avoided in Israel at all costs (unless you are a freier.) It's all about Vitamin P here. (If you're looking in Superpharm, you obviously have none.)

Looking for Proteksia

Looking for Vitamin P? Keep looking

Vitamin P is short for proteksia or ‘having connections'. Knowing someone high up typically helps. Of course, someone can also be defined as the son of the brother of the girl who used to date your uncle's cousin. When questioned, you should pretend as if this person is the best friend you have ever had and refer to him as a ‘gever' (guy) or ‘ach sheli' (my brother) at least 37 times in discussion. If you pull this off believably, congratulations, you just landed yourself a job.

The Big Day

Yikes! You're interviewing with the boss in 1 hour and you haven't a thing to wear! Take a deep breath and check your closet again. See those jeans? No, not the Tel Aviv pair with the hole in the crotch. The nice jeans- put them on (the other ones you can wear once you're hired.) For the ladies, cleavage is also encouraged in the Israeli job interview and workplace. Here's a typical office exchange:

Worker: Hey, Dafna, what's with the revealing outfit? Hot date tonight?
Sexy Co-worker: Ehhhhh no. Shareholders' meeting. Why?

Those of you from other countries may be surprised to learn that there is no such thing as an inappropriate question here. Whereas questions about sexual orientation, religion, or family aspirations are grounds for a lawsuit in other countries, in Israel these topics are called ‘the first 5 minutes of the interview' and are apparently encouraged. If you're expecting to be asked where you see yourself in 10 years, forget it. This is Israel, people- nobody knows what they're doing Friday night, you think they've made plans for 2018?

Of course, you should fully expect to know someone in common with the interviewer. And if not, you will. Because even if you didn't get the job, there is roughly a 57% chance that you'll be offered a date with the CEO's daughter. Whether or not you accept, just make sure not to burn any bridges. You never know- you could be doing miluim (army reserve duty) with the interviewer 6 months later.

RIIIING!

Mazal tov, you got the job! We ll see you at 10 AM on Sunday. Wait, are you thinking about getting pregnant?

About the author

Benji LovittBenji Lovitt is a stand-up comic and writer. He blogs about his immigrant experiences at www.WhatWarZone.com. You can book him for a show at www.BenjiLovitt.com. He enjoys Tel Aviv coffee shops, eating brunch with friends, and lying out at Hof (Beach) Frishman.

This article is part of the 2008 JobMob Guest Blogging Contest.

Ehhh, looking for Israeli job search help? Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for the funniest guides to a job in Israel.

About the Author Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

Leave a Comment:

39 comments
Jacob Share
Rebecca says

Oh Benji, it’s funny because it’s true. Especially about the chagim time frame which is usually 2 months before the chagim and 2 months after. and then there’s all the other holidays. when do people actually get work done?

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Jacob Share
josh says

It’s been a while since I thought about the issue of long-term career planning. In Israel, at most, people might think about the year ahead, but yeah, who can be bothered when I’m not sure if we are eating at friends this Shabbat or desperate to find guests to invite over.

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Jacob Share
Baila says

I’ve forwarded this to my husband. It’ll be very helpful as he is sniffing around for a new job.

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Jacob Share
arnie draiman says

yafeh! this is great benj-benj. you da’ man. now, hire me.

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Jacob Share
Hadassah says

You have made me so happy I am not looking for a job right now!

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Jacob Share
Jacob Share says

Hadassah- Benji’s writeup is hilarious but let me tell you that the job market in Israel is not nearly as bad as Benji makes it seem. There’s a bit of exaggeration in there, but that’s what great comedians do so well 🙂

Proteksia helps in every country in the world, and some industries more than others, which is why people should actively network all the time whether employed or not. It’s always better to build your network before you need it. That said, on my last hitech job search I used precious little proteksia and still had many opportunities.

Baila- I’m sure your husband will enjoy the read – please do pass it around, it really is funny – but at the very least he should also read the Israeli Must-Reads under the Best Of tab.

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Jacob Share
Regi says

Vitamin P is especially important if you are looking for jobs popular with Olim. There are jobs Israelim will almost never be hired for, that you need be part of the Anglo clique, to get.
So get busy networking.

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Jacob Share
Hadassah says

Jacob – Don’t worry, I know it’s not that bad!

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Jacob Share
Benji says

I read Hadassah’s comment as “You have made me so happy.

I am not looking for a job right now!”

Is it possible America is making me forget how to read English?

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Jacob Share
Israelity » The Idiot’s Guide to Finding a Job in Israel says

[…] you best be prepared for some cultural differences.  Here’s a quick sample from “The Idiot’s Guide to Finding a Job in Israel.”  So how does someone get an interview anyway?  It’s all about Vitamin P here…short […]

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Jacob Share
anna.weltman@gmail.com says

loved the article…well said and all “oy-so-emet”

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Jacob Share
jent says

Jacob-Benji is just telling it like it is. Israel is the exaggeration. :->

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Jacob Share
spiraljetty says

So what’s the whole “gender” culture thing. Can woman work there?

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Jacob Share
Jacob Share says

Jennifer- good answer! I like to tell people that Israel is an extreme country. Life can fantastically awesome or unbelievably stressful – and many times both – but there’s no real middle ground unless you close all the windows, lock your doors, put on earplugs, refuse to turn on your computer and never leave the room.

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Jacob Share
Moty Kanias says

???’? ????,
???? ?? ?????!

????

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Jacob Share
Miriam Schwab says

Benji, as always, you rock.

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Jacob Share
Ushpizen says

Benji:

This soooo reminds me of the time I tried getting a job as a gay porn star in Israel. I began my search in some of the major papers in Israel and it went no where. Next, I went to all of the major movie studios, but none were in the gay porn biz. I was really at my wits end when I was convinced by a friend to run for public office. Before I knew it I was Prime Minister.

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Jacob Share
josh says

That was a lame comment and reused joke.

And if aren’t just a troll, then franky, you probably did not look too far at all if you really wanted that job. There is a small, yet lucrative ‘alternative’ film industry in Israel which always needs fresh faces and fluent Hebrew speakers.

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Jacob Share
Santosh Pradhan says

I am looking for job in israel can any one tell me how can I get job there? Curently I am in Afghanistan.
Regards
Santosh

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Jacob Share
Jacob Share says

Santosh- visit 5 Ways to Find Jobs in Israel Before Arriving and read the comments, especially the first ones.

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Jacob Share
Nat Gordon says

Benji- great article- Could I have permission to link it to our website? Would you be intersted in doing a stand-up for a group of our applicants for whom we HAVE found jobs ?!…as a paid job!!
Nat Gordon, Director of http://www.marksman.co.il We have been finding English speakers jobs since 1982!

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Jacob Share
Michal Tal says

I am an artist, writer, editor and teacher of English (conversational and business English) of adults. I would love a job correcting street signs or the awful translations of programs by Hot’s cable TV non-English speaker (e.g. “toucing happiness” as a poor translation for “laggat b’Osher) which should be “”Achieving Happiness” or “Finding Happiness”, as there is no literal translation. I also want to laugh when I see “Wind” being used for “ruah” when it means “Spirit”. There are also hundreds of hi-tech Israelis who think they know English but when they write, I want to cry! They simply don’t know that they need me! I am desperate for a p-t (1/2-3/40 job or work from home which utilizres my ecellent English skills (and MA English Literature).I would be happy to privide my reusme but am in no position to pay. I need a job list. I am a singleparent with no connections or protexia, since I wansn’t born here and have few friends.I would be happy to hear from you. Sincerely,
Michal Tal

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Jacob Share
Robert Goldman says

you forget to mention AGE….. i’ve gone to interviews where I am perfect for the job and they even tell me so but I’m 52 years old and well. they guess at 52 I’ll have a heart attack and die within a week of getting the job. Sooooooooooo it’s back to the misrad ha kleeta sh lo koletit to hear them ask why did you come to israel if you aren’t going to open a company? and back to the lishka that says the same thing to me. funny. I can only wish i was as rich as they think every American is…

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Jacob Share
39 Best Job Search Tip Articles of 2008 | JobMob says

[…] The Idiot’s Guide to Finding a Job in Israel […]

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Jacob Share
Ramo J says

Hi guys;)

You made my day
So I’m not the only one who bumped into the wall, huh 😉

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Jacob Share
Who Is The Winner of the 2008 JobMob Guest Blogging Contest? | JobMob says

[…] The Idiot’s Guide to Finding a Job in Israel […]

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Jacob Share
nedal says

im looking for a job in isrel also im living i palestin _nablus and i have an order to inter to israil

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Jacob Share
robert goldman says

NEDAL
you really don’t want to work here, and I don’t want a job in your part of the country,,, open a business that beifits your people. and that makes good use of the manpower on your side of the line…
export it, make a million,,, and make sure that it is something that no one else is doing!

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Jacob Share
Looking for an Apartment (or Even a Job)? | Benji Lovitt says

[…] free to spread the word. And check out my guest post in the JobMob blogging contest as explained in the previous post. (Just once. This ain’t […]

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Dude! ‘VEG-E-TA-BLES!!!’ | Benji Lovitt says

[…] you still didn’t read the Idiot’s Guide to Finding a Job in Israel, today’s the last day to “cast your vote” by simply visiting the site. […]

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JobMob Contest: Job Job Job | Benji Lovitt says

[…] the meantime, let me direct your attention to my guest post in the JobMob blogging contest. According to the site, JobMob.co.il “is about bringing […]

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I Haven’t Had Chumus in a Week and I’m Starting to Shake | Benji Lovitt says

[…] deal, see here. 2) I’m “competing” in the JobMob guest blogger contest. Click here to read “An Idiot’s Guide to Finding a Job in Israel”. I’ll be oh so […]

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Jacob Share
paul says

i fell that if you get a job over there you will never return home alive

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Jacob Share
Benji Lovitt | Dude! ‘VEG-E-TA-BLES!!!’ says

[…] you still didn’t read the Idiot’s Guide to Finding a Job in Israel, today’s the last day to “cast your vote” by simply visiting the site. […]

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Benji Lovitt | I Haven’t Had Chumus in a Week and I’m Starting to Shake says

[…] deal, see here. 2) I’m “competing” in the JobMob guest blogger contest. Click here to read “An Idiot’s Guide to Finding a Job in Israel”. I’ll be oh so […]

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