If you’re considering a move to Israel, you’re likely asking yourself the same questions that Bari did in a recent email:

I am planning to move back to Israel this summer (most likely in August). When should I start seriously looking for a job? Is it unrealistic to have a job in place before I arrive?

These 2 questions are slightly different but very much related. Let’s look at them in reverse order. But first-

El Al jetKeep in mind these 2 points

  • You will almost always want to physically meet the key people with whom you’re going to be in close contact at work i.e. your boss and colleagues. Budget for at least one trip to Israel to meet them and sign the contract.
  • The higher your level of Hebrew is when you begin your job search, the higher your chances of finding work in Israel quickly. This is true regardless of whether you begin your Israeli job search in Israel or halfway around the world.

On to the questions…

Is it possible to find a job before moving to Israel?

If your profession requires a license to practice in Israel – e.g dentistry or medicine – forget a job search from abroad. You should focus instead on getting the conversion exams done as quickly as possible after arriving, perhaps by beginning your studies at home first.

For most other people it’s also unrealistic. Israeli companies will simply not be willing to take the chance on someone they can’t see in their office during the next week or two. For all they know, you may decide not to come, or to postpone and then where would they be?

However, there a few cases where it is possible:

  1. You get lucky – the company you’re targeting is having trouble hiring locally. To compromise, they’re willing to wait a reasonable amount of time until you arrive. In Israel, this is not as unusual as in other countries because so many companies work on the international level and may have trouble finding people who know the necessary languages and culture. This is where researching your target companies can pay off.
  2. Internal transfer from your current multinational employer – for example, if you work for Google in California or Zurich, you can try to be relocated to Google Israel.
  3. Freelancing for an Israeli company – using a website like Xplace you can begin working for an Israeli company today. You’ll start learning about the Israeli sector of your industry right away and make contacts that can help you transition into a full-time, salary-paying job later.
  4. Aliya organizations’ placement programs – in France in 2005, the Jewish Agency was pushing an employment program aimed at bringing people to Haifa and the northern regions of Israel. The program promised to help you find work in your field with employers who were willing to wait up to 6 months for you to begin in their offices. Contact your country’s aliya organizations for information about similar initiatives.
  5. Your moving date is soon – which leads nicely into the next question: When Should You Start Your Job Search Before Moving to Israel?

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--Jacob Share