From Chile to Spain: Yohan’s Relocation Story

A surprising number of Personios have packed up their lives and relocated to one of our offices in Dublin, Munich, Madrid, and London. In Yohan’s case, he and his wife Claudia moved from Santiago de Chile, Chile to Madrid, Spain in February of 2021. As you might expect, COVID meant that the Morales family had to change their plans more than once. But with a little luck, a lot of patience, and the support of family and the Personio team, they made it!

Now that he’s here, Yohan is a Senior Backend Engineer for our Payroll tribe. In his daily work he helps to design, develop, and maintain high-quality features for Personio’s payroll product. Read on to learn more about his relocation experience, advice he’d give to other prospective transplants, and why he chose Personio in the first place.

Yohan (third from right) with members of the Payroll Engineering tribe in Madrid.

What was your hiring experience with Personio like?

A Personio recruiter (hey, Mona!) Found me on LinkedIn and messaged me about an opportunity at a company called Personio. I did a little research and liked what I saw, so decided to move forward with the interview process.

It was the first time in my career that I’d experienced such a smooth, organized hiring process. From that first call with Mona to the technical interview to the loop with stakeholders and founders, I felt welcomed and came away with a clear picture of Personio’s goals and values. Each person had such a clear passion for their role and contributions to Personio’s BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).

Why did you decide to accept the job and move to Madrid?

There are two reasons that Claudia and I decided that I would accept the offer: The first was that we have always dreamed of living and working in Europe. So when this opportunity came up, we couldn’t miss it.

The second reason is simple: Personio. There’s a long list of things about this company that made the decision easy, but here are a few:

  • The level of professionalism demonstrated by every person I met throughout the hiring process
  • The maturity of the business, especially given that Personio was founded in 2015
  • The ambitious goals
  • The diverse team and chance to work with so many international people

How was the overall moving process?

The moving process was definitely stressful, and the most important thing was to just be patient! We faced some setbacks and had to be flexible with our plans, but it all worked out in the end. After kicking off the hiring process and accepting the job in February of 2020, by March we were already packed up and ready to go. Of course, at that point the pandemic was gaining momentum, borders started closing, and the Spanish government (like many others) froze the visa application process.

By late September the visa process had opened up, so we kicked off the paperwork once more (be prepared, there’s a lot of paperwork!). We were able to send in our applications in November and had them in hand by December!

We then spent January of 2021 packing and preparing for the move, and in February we were finally able to actually move to Madrid! Then, on March 1st, I had my very first day at Personio.

What challenges did you face during the move?

The most challenging (and impactful) aspect of the move was the visa process. The process took much longer and was more convoluted because of the pandemic. We had to be very patient and open-minded, and keep up regular communication with Personio’s People Operations team and the Spanish relocation partner, Antares.

Another challenge was how to move our cat, Mia. There was almost as much paperwork for Mia as there was for Claudia and me! We had to do a lot of research on what the home country and new country both required. In our case, it was ensuring she had all of the necessary vaccines and veterinary paperwork confirming she was healthy enough to travel.

Yohan and Claudia exploring Segovia City, near Madrid.

What aspect (s) of your move went well?

Even though it was a long and sometimes stressful process, having the support of our People Operations team and Antares was key. Once the visa process was unblocked, they made sure the rest of the process went very smoothly! (All of the time and effort they put into helping me and my family move to Madrid was a great example of one of our core values, #CustomerEmpathy. We couldn’t have done it without them!)

Then the actual travel from Chile to Spain was long, but upon arrival we got settled into our temporary apartment easily enough. From there, People Ops and Antares helped us with scheduling all of the necessary government appointments and finding a more permanent home to live in.

Yohan visiting Metropolitano Stadium, home of Atlético Madrid.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone considering relocation?

Keeping up constant communication with your HR team and relocation agency is the single biggest piece of advice I can give. Be transparent about your current status, timelines, pending paperwork and all the other travel requirements you’re juggling.

I also highly suggest researching apartments before you arrive: read blogs, watch YouTube videos, check sourcing platforms, compare neighborhoods and prices … all of this will help you to find a location and price you’re happy with.

After all the challenges you faced, was it worth it?

Definitely! Despite all the paperwork and stressful situations, we are super happy living in Madrid. We love the city and have settled in nicely. Working at Personio has also been an amazing experience! I get to solve interesting problems every day, and with each sprint I get to meet and work with great people. We’re so happy we’d made this move!

Mia the cat, ready to travel!

Yohan and his family relocated from Chile to Spain to join Personio. The journey was full of challenges, but at the end of the day, it was worth it. If you’ve ever been interested in a job abroad – at Personio or elsewhere – don’t let potential obstacles scare you away! With the right support, even the trickiest, mid-pandemic move can go smoothly.

With offices in Dublin, Madrid, London, Munich, and Amsterdam (coming soon), and employees that have come from 67 countries around the world, we’re well versed in relocating team members. Check out our careers page to see our open roles in Engineering , Sales , Customer Experience , Talent Acquisition , and more!

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