Top Mistakes Expat Tech Job Seekers Make in Singapore
By Kylee McIntyre26-Feb-2018Views 4779

Job Seekers

Every Job Seekers Face Ever - Photo credit: Pixabay.

In a lot of ways, searching for a job outside your current country can be helpful - potentially higher salaries, a more suitable way of life, and new opportunities all can lie in a position abroad. However, even if the country's culture is similar to your own, it's easy to make mistakes when applying for work, even if you have done your research.

That's not necessarily your fault. You can't be expected to know everything when you walk into an unfamiliar situation. Ignorance can be bliss, but it can also mean that you're blissfully ignoring something really hurting you in your job search.

Let's go beyond basic research. You're applying for a tech role in Singapore, and you've already educated yourself on documentation requirements and turnaround times for the work pass you require. You've asked your potential new employer about life in Singapore and feel that it's a liveable place for you. Great!

That still may leave you with gaps in your knowledge, however, and those can still hurt you if you approach your offer negotiation with the wrong attitude.

Here are things to avoid so that you can approach your potential new job with the right attitude.

Asking for an unreasonable raise

This isn't to say that you shouldn't ask for a bump in your offer - we cover out how to do that here, but you should generally expect a 10 to 20 percent raise from what you made at your last job, adjusted for cost of living. That means that a 50 percent raise, even if you'd need that for a dependent pass, might not be reasonable. Remember, if your employer is equipped to budge on the offer amount - assuming the company is not already giving you the maximum amount allowed for expenditure on talent - it'll fall within 10 to 20 percent. Asking for more can give the company the impression that you're greedy or opportunistic, and it may reevaluate how that fits into its culture.

Job seekers asking for more can give the company the impression that they're greedy or opportunistic.

A lot of factors should go into how you evaluate your offer - a previously-named amount in the job posting, other parts of the offer package (like bonuses or benefits), and how well-funded your future employer happens to be. If you're working with a good recruiter or internal HR, you'll get some help on evaluating the package.

Taking fake news at face value

So, you get your offer package. It looks pretty good, and the explanation from the company and/or your recruiter makes sense. But your friend who knows someone who knows someone who works in Singapore tells you that the amount isn't right - he knows someone who makes much, much more, and you should ask for that yourself.

Job SeekersJob seekers - Photo credit: Pixabay.

We get it - it looks suspect, especially when you're dealing with a market that you've never worked in before. How do you know who is telling you the truth? For starters, you can check out salary comparison sites like Glassdoor or Salary to help you get a ballpark on what people make, keeping in mind that the sample size may skew things. For example, if you look into the candidates section and find that all the information was reported by five people who work at Google, you're going to know that you're getting something skewed toward the higher end, most likely.

Don't listen to fake news. Evaluate your information and its sources critically. Your friend is going to be biased because he wants the best for you - that's alright, but take the advice with a grain of salt. And remember the general rule of thumb for raises - if the difference really is that big, then you're likely not to get it if you ask for it.

To put yourself a little more at ease, feel free to ask to speak to an employee at the current company. You may not be able to ask about salary directly, but you can ask about other things that will give you an indication of how fair your package is - the hours spent at work, vacation time, culture. Another perspective can't hurt.

Failing to account for an adjustment period

Moving jobs brings along a lot of extra duties - you need to train and learn the ropes, even if you're doing a job you've been doing for years. Day-to-day operations are likely to be a little different in a new environment, and it'll be hard to work to your full potential for the first three months or so.

Consider then that you're also transitioning into living in a new place, that you're working on employment papers, finding a place to live, and moving your possessions. That's going to take extra time and resources out of you - more things that keep you from working to your full potential, at least at first.

Know that your company is also aware of these things, especially if it's hired a foreign employee before. Keep a humble attitude - you're not going to know how to do everything exactly right at first, but that's alright. You're in your new position to work and also learn. Staying open to possible bumps in your transition can go a long way to helping you get and keep your new job.

Transitioning into a new job outside of your comfort zone can be hard, but people have done it time and time again, and you can too. Still, you'll want all the help you can get. Our talent consultants at 100offer in Singapore specialize in helping job seekers with visa processes, cultural transition, and other things needed by candidates who get jobs through our tech talent marketplace. Experts in the space, they know how culture at each company works and can help you in your negotiation for free. Sign up for our curated platform today, and start the next chapter of your life.


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Kylee McIntyre
American tech, science, health, and environmental writer. Lover of scifi, fantasy, travel, and coffee. Find her on Twitter @ejkyleem.
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