Photo from factoidz.com
Looking for a job in Greece? The ability to decipher job ads will save you time and precious energy if you exercise good judgment and a little common sense.
Much like other countries, you compete with all workers in the open market in Greece — there aren’t separate jobs for foreigners/Americans in Greece and separate jobs for Greeks. Advertising for a specific nationality is against the law, just as it is in your country. You will never see an ad that says, American companies in Greece willing to sponsor work permit or jobs for Americans in Greece. Think about it. Have you ever seen a listing for “jobs for EU citizens” in the United States or “Italian jobs in Sweden”? Jobs are advertised publicly and privately for everyone, just like at home. A more relevant search would be “jobs in Greece.”
Unlike other countries, placing false ads or requesting specific personal characteristics (i.e., Attractive, presentable, under 30, women only or no foreigners) is common practice in Greece, and the Greek ombudsman needs time to resolve unfair or discriminating practices once reported.
*Article last updated July 1, 2013
Important note for non-EU citizens
In addition to this article, I highly recommend reading “How American/non-EU citizens can get a permit to live and work in Greece,” as there is little point looking for a job unless you can get a permit. This also applies to Croatian citizens until July 2015.
Greece is not open to all workers, much as your country is not.
Five tips for browsing jobs
1. Avoid ads referencing a personal attribute
— “Gentlem@n looking for personal assistant,” aka, man looking for secretary or any woman to handle his affairs and perhaps eventually become his girlfriend. The key word here is “gentlem@n.” If this was a legitimate professional ad, it would list the company or field and/or his title (i.e. CEO, President, Marketing Manager).
— “Bar looking for presentable women,” aka, bar, gentlem@n’s club or g@y club looking for young attractive men and women to work as servers, dancers or bartenders. If you are attractive and open to showing a little sk!n for a higher salary, be sure to clarify your employer’s intentions and expectations. You may be asked to wear certain types of clothing or perform duties unrelated to your actual job. In “100 Euros for a Waitress,” a 52-year-old bar owner advertised for a waitress but in reality was looking for prostitutes to work a “champagne room.”
I once answered an ad like this. A woman asked to see me and then offered me a job without looking at my qualifications or asking questions relevant to skills. When I showed up on Rhodes, I was picked up in a Mercedes by a man named Antonis who owned the “P” (cens0red) Club. I was fortunate to negotiate my way out and have enough money to move to another village. See, “One day on the island of Ios” to read my experience before landing on Rhodes.
— “Young attr@ctive women under 30, no experience required,” aka, someone hoping to employ women as sales reps or managers because his clientele is predominantly men; it is a way to retain or increase business.
A Canadian girl I know was hired by a financial firm to work as an investment manager, even though she had no experience, was fresh from college and spoke no Greek, which you’d think was required for a place catering to Greek clientele. I was suspicious and told her to not work there. She didn’t listen. Her boss made $exual advances the first week, and she quit. It wasn’t her qualifications in which he was interested, it was her huge bre@sts and innocence in which he hoped to take advantage. Luckily, she had a rich boyfriend to support her and dual citizenship with the UK, so she wasn’t forced to keep working that job for money or to keep her residence permit.
— “Single,” is usually a bad sign. If the position requires travel, perhaps requesting someone single is legitimate, but this is rarely the case.
— “Photographer seeking female m0dels, cash paid,” an ad that frequently appears only in summertime. Draw your own conclusions. In “Promising Career,” a 32-year-old photographer claimed to have extensive connections and promised a career to up to 1,500 girls seeking to be models as long as they posed in various states of undress.
2. Pay Attention to Revolving Ads
— If you see the same employers with the same ads week after week or at least once a month, there is a reason for it. High turnover, poor working environment, low salary, etc. Every week or every few months in
the Athens News (bankrupt) or Skywalker.gr, I see the same hotel, travel agency, ESL school, publishing house and proofreader ads. I interviewed and worked for a few of them, and there are reasons I don’t anymore. The owner of one ESL school interviews people for sport, calling them back 2-3 times, even though there are no vacancies.
— Check the phone numbers. Is it a different ad with different wording, but the phone numbers are the same or only off by one digit? Don’t be fooled.
3. Read Between the Lines
Does the ad say “British accent” or UK citizens? That’s because their company is UK-based or texts are written in British English and/or they are likely unwilling to take on English speaking non-EU citizens from America, Canada or Australia.
Does the company claim to be associated with Apple Computers, but requests PC knowledge? Inconsistencies are usually an indication of other inconsistencies.
4. Don’t Agree to Perform Tasks for Free
— If you answer an ad and secure an interview, it is wise to not agree to type letters, do translations or take tests. Some employers place ads to have certain tasks performed for free by an outsider, when they cannot do it themselves or are too cheap to hire a proper freelancer.
A Greek-American friend of mine was asked to translate and type a letter in English as part of her interview. The thing is, it was an actual letter to a client, and she felt used afterward for not seeing that. The company refused to hire an hourly translator and per-page typist for one letter, so they instead placed an ad for 11 euros and had it done for much cheaper by an unsuspecting person interviewing for a job that did not exist.
A UK citizen was told to edit a dissertation, with the company saying it was part of a trial before hiring, leading him to believe he would be given the job after proving his skills. In the end, they commended him on being very proficient and delivering just what they wanted but suddenly had no full-time position to offer as advertised. He was offered on-call temp work for which he was never paid on time and no insurance, and he eventually parted company.
An TEFL company asked me to take a writing test as proof I could write in English, which seemed suspicious since I am a native English speaker and they were not. I confirmed with former employees that they were looking for new material for textbooks and tested a lot of people to accomplish that for free. I have also been given translations to do as part of a test but could see it was relevant to a real company. When I told them I would do it if they had current projects to show me, it turned out they did not have a position or steady work to offer me, so I never did it and walked out.
Also see Graffic’s experience with an IT company in ‘Comments.’
5. Don’t Place An Ad Yourself
Employers with any sort of reputation or credibility do not seek out employees this way; they place ads and let potential candidates come to them.
Be suspicious of an employer approaching you on the street or calling you if you do place an ad. How desperate is this person? How good can this job be if it cannot be filled by professional means? Does someone on the street know your qualifications? No, so don’t you think this proposition has some personal motivation? Think about it. Most of the stories I hear are from women who had nothing but boys and men contact them for a date or “practice English” with a f0reign girl.
It is a waste of money and time, and it invites pred@tors of different types to make contact or meet you. Are you willing to take that risk? Are you willing to have your privacy invaded and waste your precious time, money on sms and calls that are likely not from employers?
Photo from pegasus.gr
Jump start your job search
You can start your job search with the links I’ve provided in the third column by scrolling down to the heading “Jobs, Homes and Auto Ads in Greece” and clicking anything that interests you. To avoid confusion across nationalities, I don’t use the terms job classifieds or mikres aggelies (little notices), I just refer to them as ads.
Many sites are bilingual, with the best jobs usually listed in Greek.