Against all odds - A relocation story during covid

Finding a new job at a good company out of your own country can be a frustrating task under good circumstances. Can you imagine how much more complicated it can be during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Right before the Coronavirus became a global problem, I began looking for a job in Europe, with a focus on the Netherlands. I had interviews with several companies, and to be honest, not all of them went very well, but I gained more experience and confidence from each interview and started to perform better.

Eventually, I found the FindHotel career page, and I applied for the front-end engineering role there, and my first interview with FindHotel was around a year ago.

Coronavirus enters the picture

After the first interview, I completed the code assessment and had additional follow-up interviews with FindHotel. Job interviews are made to be hard and to challenge you, and I wasn’t very positive about my performance, especially since I did not have experience in the FindHotel tech stack, but I was still hoping for a job offer. I just needed to wait a couple of weeks for FindHotel to make a decision.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus was now in the headlines of the mainstream media and clearly, it was a major problem all over the world. Countries started to close their borders, making new rules and lockdowns to control the situation. I began to get emails from companies I interviewed with stating that due to the pandemic they couldn’t continue the hiring process. Most companies decided to slow down their hiring, and bringing someone from Iran to the Netherlands would definitely not be possible.

We want you…but not quite yet!

Caroline, the recruiter from FindHotel, contacted me to inform me that they had made an offer to a different candidate for the front-end engineering role. While I was disappointed at that time, I was not ready to give up and told them to keep me in mind for future openings. We had a nice experience on both sides and I really wanted to get to work with them.

The second time’s a charm

Around 6 months later, Caroline informed me about a new front-end engineering role at FindHotel. I knew the job market had not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels yet, but FindHotel did not downsize and even started hiring new people. For me, that was a good sign that the company was doing well, even during the pandemic!  

We didn't start the interview process from the beginning because I already had some interviews with them and they had some background knowledge about me. However, like all other good companies, they have a set of strict measurements to evaluate people which makes the interview process thorough and intensive.

After all the interviews, it took some weeks before I received an exciting job offer from FindHotel. Soon after we signed the contract, I was introduced to FindHotel's immigration lawyer who was in charge of helping me to relocate to the Netherlands.

My wish was to relocate to Amsterdam soon and start my new job, but it turned out that the Netherlands embassy in Tehran was working quite slowly at the time. The earliest appointment I could make with the embassy was for 3 months later! I began constantly checking the embassy appointment system, hoping I could find an earlier appointment.

My persistence paid off and I didn’t have to wait for months. A visa was granted, but traveling was still pretty hard and stressful at the time. There were no direct flights from Iran to the Netherlands and there were numerous restrictions. You needed to prove you don't have coronavirus by providing a negative PCR test result in the airport of the transit country. Rules and laws were constantly changing, and each airline company had its own set of rules. I knew that this situation was going to get even worse, and shortly countries will close their borders again.

That fear made me decide to travel as soon as possible. FindHotel purchased flight tickets for me and my wife, and they booked us the hotel of our choice for 30 days. All of that happened very fast and smoothly!

View of the Amsterdam-Noord from the Hotel balcony

We found land!

When we arrived in the beautiful Amsterdam, we needed to stay in quarantine for 14 days. During the quarantine, my team lead Luis came to visit, and he welcomed us by bringing me the FindHotel onboarding kits. Several days after that, FindHotel HR, Andreea came to see how we were doing and she brought us Christmas gifts!

Relocating to a different country can be very difficult and complicated, but I'm glad we had great support from the company.  As soon as we arrived, we felt very welcome, and my colleagues were constantly asking if they could provide any help. In addition to the warm welcome, the relocation package that FindHotel provided was great. We had enough time to find a place to rent, explore the city, and enjoy Christmas in Amsterdam!

I have been employed by FindHotel for about four months now, and I'm pretty excited to be working beside my smart and experienced colleagues who care about my growth and happiness at work. I feel that the company and its people are supporting me very much with whatever I need to achieve my goals and those of FindHotel to give our users a high-quality product that finds the best accommodation deal worldwide.

Museumplein, Amsterdam