If you read the news, you might have read that Cluj is one of the easiest places in Europe to find a job. Yet some people do not know where to look. After two years in Cluj, this is what I discovered.
Non-EU? Start in your home country.
According to the Romanian Newspaper Journal, next year Romania is planning on bringing in 200 thousand people from outside the EU (principally Vietnam) to replace Romanian workers who have moved west in industries like construction, information technology, and HORECA. The problem here is they are normally recruited through specialist firms. What I would do is talk directly to others from your home country and ask them where they found their job. (And ask around, not all recruiters are worth using).
Beware of scam artists, as you should when applying to any job abroad.
Also, beware that employees have fewer rights than they used to. After a new law, aimed to protect employers who invested in recruiting abroad (or to join Schengen, depending on who you ask), you are bound to your first employer for a year. (We may have a full story on that later, but Libertatea Newspaper did an article on 12 December 2022).
EU and already have a work permit?
The rest of this article will assume that you have EU citizenship or are a refugee with full work rights or married to an EU citizen and have full employment rights. However, I hope it may be of use to everyone.
If you are in Cluj, and you are not using a VPN, you simply have to google “jobs in Cluj” and a lot of websites will pop up.
I found a lot of English language jobs in Cluj on the following websites:
I put my CV on ejobs.ro recruiters phoned shortly afterward. I wish they offered an affiliate program because that is my top recommendation for ex-pats.
Others recommend LinkedIn. I don’t have the best experiences with LinkedIn, but it does allow you to connect with colleagues and find jobs through the grapevine.
Through your industry websites
Teachers have websites like the Times Education supplement, which has a database for teachers in the British system. (There are other websites, but you should know how to find them if you are a qualified teacher. Maybe ask your LinkedIn connections how they found their jobs).
Filmmakers have a few newspapers, like Daily Variety and Hollywood Reporter (but be warned that most popular film sites are filled with scams).
I have looked at medical journals, construction magazines, and others for research for my stories and occasionally see jobs there. Although they do not always have jobs, they might say who won a contract, and then you know who to look up when you send your speculative CVs.
Follow the news in your industry, and you will know which companies might be hiring, and then you will know where to send your CV.
Through employers’ websites or media
Many employers advertise their jobs on their own websites and find sufficient candidates that way. They may prefer to hire people who are familiar with their company.
Throughout the world, I found that special effects, 3D, and games industries tend to put jobs on their websites. They do not usually go through recruiters or job websites.
At least one local TV station had advertisements for crew members during commercial breaks. And of course, newspapers, magazines, and other media produced by an employer are likely to show available jobs.
At the employer’s location
Some stores and restaurants advertise jobs in their windows, just as they do elsewhere. I have seen recent immigrants and foreign students working at fast food and supermarkets, some of whom had less-than-perfect Romanian.
Just look up. But not while you are driving, please, we don’t want any accidents.
I have seen so many jobs advertised, especially tech jobs. Bosch rented a huge billboard in front of Iulius Mall recently. I have seen job ads in the malls, on billboards along the side of the road, and in the airport. I even saw a job ad in the credits before a film at Cinema Victoria. Just go outside and open your eyes.
Let the AI spy on you
I don’t really believe in the law of attraction, but it seems to work with AI.(Artificial Intelligence). If I mention basketball in a private message (PM), my feed is filled with random posts about basketball. If I talk about jobs in the PMs instead and search for jobs and join job groups and reply to messages about jobs, and click on the links, then the job adverts start popping up.
Join the groups that are relevant to your industry, go to the websites, and let the AI find out what you are interested in.
Also, turn off the VPN, so the AI knows that you are in Cluj. Turn off incognito mode, you are not a criminal. (If you are a criminal then turn yourself in, there always seem to be employment programs for those who get released on good behavior).
Big Brother is watching you, so let him help with your job search.
Join the relevant groups
If you are an English speaker, join the Expats in Cluj and Expats in Romania group. There are also groups for other languages, such as French speakers. And then there are groups for specific industries. This will not only help the AI, but there are also jobs occasionally advertised there. However, beware of scams. Expats are often the target of scammers (not in Romania necessarily, but online they could be from anywhere and pretending to be in Romania, Ireland, Portugal, or wherever else is a popular ex-pat destination…).
You can ask in these groups too. You might be told about Teleperformance or Sitel.
Many of my favorite companies never advertise a single job. They don’t have to, because their reputation means enough people will send speculative CVs.
But even when employers do advertise a job, sometimes the speculative CV helps the boss to write the job description. (If it is their first time offering a job, or if other employers were not qualified, the employer may not realize what skills are relevant until they see your CV). They also might see and like your CV, and write the job description according to it. Then you have a better chance of getting the job because it was almost written for you.
It is estimated that in Belgium half of jobs are filled through speculative applications, and two-thirds or more in the UK and US. I would guess the numbers in Romania are also quite high, especially for good jobs.
Start your own business
Not recommended. You need permission from your landlord, and sometimes even your neighbors. Registering any kind of business in Romania is much more complicated than in any other country that I have lived in. Corporations are complicated to start and fold, and that is only the beginning of the paperwork. (or digiwork, bureaucracy, red tape, whatever metaphor you want to use. Even if it is online without physical paper, it is still annoying).
If you have an SRC, or limited company (the equivalent of a Ltd or PLC in the UK, and of Inc in the USA), you need an accountant by law. And I guess you will want one anyway, because of all the filing requirements.
And if you want to be self-employed, then some bureaucrats seem to be hellbent on rejecting any application from a non-Romanian citizen, even EU citizens. In the UK, by contrast, all I had to do to be self-employed was fill out a simple tax return at the end of the fiscal year.
Some jobs, like delivery, are normally self-employed by nature. So, you might be stuck with having to register as a PFA. (pronounced roughly as puh fuh ah).
You can’t always get permission from your landlord for this. But, you can always use a headquarters that is not your place of residence, the best host for an external headquarters is usually an accountant.
If you are from the UK, you might be surprised that you cannot just start a business, but you need to register what you are working as, known in the EU as a NACE code or in Romania CAEN code. If you are an artist, video editor, and graphic designer, those are three different CAEN codes.
If you have a very simple business that only works in one CAEN code, and you don’t hire any employees, I would recommend Solo. This was by far the easiest way to register a PFA (Persoane Fisic Autorizate, or self-employed). Yes, even to be self-employed you have to declare an industry.
The disadvantage of Solo is that you can only choose one area of work. But it seems to be the most economic option for self-employed people who do not have a landlord’s permission, includes not only a headquarters but some basic tools for filing your accounts at the end of the year.
Solo will give you the place of business and even possibly a card. However, you still may have challenges in opening a bank account if you do not have a contract with a client in Romania. So, remember to go to the bank with all the relevant paperwork, including any contracts you may have with clients.
Once you grow to employ others or add additional areas of expertise, I would recommend getting a full accounting service.
Any other suggestions?
How did you find your job in Cluj? Where you have seen jobs?