We partnered with FUTUREIL to give you a deeper dive into Israeli work culture, customs, and expectations.
1. Dive deep into your own company.
Get to know other projects and different teams, and network internally – this shows involvement, motivation, and rosh gadol (see number two). In addition, you’ll gain mentors and allies in the company.
2. Be rosh gadol.
This means going beyond the expected minimum. Managers and colleagues will appreciate if you try to assist and help out beyond your job description. Do more than is expected from you!
3. Your job description is just a suggestion.
Yesת you’ll probably have a long, detailed job description, but don’t get too emotionally attached. Take into consideration you’ll probably have additional tasks and projects that may fall outside your scope of work. See this as a blessing – with it comes opportunity for promotions and an exciting career.
Remember, Israel became the “Startup Nation” because Israelis are eager to constantly learn more and start new projects.
4. Open communication is key.
Don’t be passive-aggressive! Is there something on your mind? Communicate it in an effective and positive way, and as fast as possible.
No one is a mind reader, and expressing yourself builds trust. Pay attention to how Israelis communicate: They’re very honest, direct, and open. This is a trait most internationals must develop when arriving here.
5. Work is life (in a good way).
Compared to other countries, where there is a divide between work and private life, Israelis more often see the workplace as a integrated part of their daily lives. For example, friends from work are definitely friends to have drinks or Friday night dinner with.
6. Manage your expectations.
Expectations and timelines are often different — don’t be surprised if the meeting that was supposed to start at 12:00, really starts at 12:25; or if someone promises to send you something by end of the day, expect to get in the next two days. It’s important to “go with the flow” and not get frustrated.
7. Hit the nail on the head.
Israelis are very straight forward; they don’t sugarcoat anything. Feedback and advice will be direct and the honest truth — but as always, take it lightly. It might sound harsh for a foreigner’s ears, but we promise you this is not “mean” or “rude.”
It may take time, but you’ll learn this is part of the compassionate, caring Israeli personality. Don’t put yourself down, and don’t be afraid to push back – clearly explain your stance.
It’s also important to hear multiple opinions, but always listen to yourself. You bring a different and unique approach that Israelis are not used to.
8. Be assertive.
When relying on a colleague to get something done, walk right into their office or pick up the phone to discuss. These are more direct forms of communication, which are more appreciated here in Israel. Not always will people respond to your email right away, so don’t feel bad about approaching someone directly.
9. Say thank you, but only when needed.
Give credit to the people who deserve it, but no need for over-politeness, such as saying “please” and “thank you” after every request. When someone helps you and really makes an effort, make a point to make them feel appreciated.
10. You’re different.
Understand that, as an international, you bring special traits to the team; it’s an advantage to have a different outlook and workplace customs. Be humble, but know your value and be outspoken. Emphasize your own approach and ideas.
11. Work because you enjoy it, not because you need to.
Work hours in Israel are more flexible; don’t be surprised by the late hours. On the positive side, Israeli employers are much more willing to let you get something done during the workday if it’s important and/or urgent (e.g. a doctor’s appointment).
You’ll soon notice that everyone works hard and feels a belonging to their team. They see significance in their company’s purpose and give for their greater good.
Complaining is the national sport in Israel, so feel free to chime in. Of course, their intention isn’t to bring down the mood, but more so to offer their advice on how to make things better.
Israelis aren’t afraid to share their expertise and give advice about how to improve things. As the saying goes, “In a room of three Israeli, you have six opinions.”
13. Stay curious.
Learning opportunities are plenty in Israel; there are so many free meetups and workshops in Tel Aviv. This is a great way to network and learn new skills.
Try going to at least one workshop or meetup every other week — it’s worth the time.
14. Unleash your inner roar!
To get things done with Israelis (especially at work), you need to shout. Well, we mean this only half literally, but sometimes you really will need to raise your voice to be heard, in a meeting for example.
Ever heard the saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease?” Again, Israelis are always willing to help, but you have to speak up to get it. This might take some time to get used to.
15. Always say you love hummus.
Never insult an Israeli by saying you don’t like hummus (or tahini). Otherwise, you’re sure to get “the talk” from everyone at work. At a certain point, you’ll have to have your own favorite hummus place, and stick to it no matter what.
FUTUREIL’s annual job and networking fair is taking place June 24, 2019 at 16:00 (4 pm) at the Tel Aviv Expo. Click here to sign up.
FUTUREIL’s vision is to strengthen the Israeli economy and address Israeli workforce challenges, through the infusion of global talent, and putting Israel in the professional and personal future of thousands of young people from around the world.
FUTUREIL is the largest job and opportunity fair for international young adults in Israel. But, this is more than a job fair – it’s an ever-growing network of international and locals building common futures, creating ongoing connections, and bringing global talent to Israeli companies.