Weird or not, I dunno, it's common in here; Iran. No matter how I hate it personally, it's considered as a gesture of good will, not bribery.

My wife insists that it's a good idea to bring some Iranian pistachios to the meeting for the team and I say it's gonna be awkward in their culture. What's your stand as a native German?

Clarification: It's not an interview interview. I've been through various HR and technical interviews, all positive. I’ve been also working remotwly with the team for almost 4 months. Now they wanted "to meet me in person to know me more in person." as they said.

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    I think you should ask this question in workplace.stackexchange.com There you will find also many HR people, so a more relevant answer. Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 10:04
  • 3
    The only thing you should bring to an interview in Germany is maybe a printed version of your CV, and additional documents they requested you to bring. If you work in a field where that's needed, bring your portfolio. Ask over on workplace as Giacomo suggested and I'll write a longer answer.
    – simbabque
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 15:02
  • 1
    Just a small linguistic note: a souvenir is something you bring back from your travels, to remember them by. What you'd be bringing would be a present. But in France it wouldn't be appropriate either in a work situation..
    – user61942
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 16:29
  • @GeorgeM Yeah, my mistake. Fixed it.
    – sepehr
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


No, bringing a present to a job interview when you are the applicant would be seen as extremely weird in Germany. Don't do that.

If your wife insists, take them with you and eat them yourself.

But when you got the job and it's time for your first day, then bringing some sweets for your new co-workers will certainly be seen as a nice gesture. Although it will not be expected from you.

In general, you don't give gifts to people who are above you in the company hierarchy. Gifts are given to people below you or to people you consider your peers.

  • Please see the update and let me me know what you think.
    – sepehr
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 15:36
  • Why no gifts to higher-ups?
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 20:51
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    @JoErNanO Because that's the custom. We could now have a lengthy discussion about the reasons, pro's and con's about gift giving customs around the world, but I don't think that this would be on-topic on this website.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 13:08
  • @Philipp No but it might be on topic for the chat. Why is it the custom? I'm just curious here.
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 13:29
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    @JoErNanO FWIW, "no gifts upward" is a general rule of Western business culture not specific to Germnay. askamanager.org/2016/12/… Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 23:12

importing nuts from Iran into Germany is going to be almost certainly illegal as it falls under agricultural products and importing those into the EU from outside the EU without a license is heavily restricted.

If it's an informal meeting with colleagues, bringing some snacks is probably welcomed. If it's like a job interview or sales meeting, it might be seen as an attempt at bribery and have quite the opposite effect from what you intent.

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    There is no blanket ban or heavy restrictions on importing plant-based foods into the EU. Products of animal origin are more difficult. If I understand it correctly, Iranian pistachios can be imported, but must be declared to customs. Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 10:34
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo I was hoping that Last update: 20-02-2017 is an indicator that this is still valid. Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 18:01
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    To actually put this into the test, I brought 2kg and declared it to the customs. Not an issue! I dunno what to do with it now 😁 @Tor-EinarJarnbjo
    – sepehr
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 20:54
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    (-1) You are confusing many things and just making stuff up with no evidence whatsoever. If there are restrictions, it's about a specific product from a specific place, not a blanket ban. Anecdotally, I can testify that I personally landed at Schiphol with about 1.5kg of various nuts from Lebanon a few days ago without any issue. And it's not even that I got lucky doing something questionable, a customs officer actually stopped me for a brief questioning, mostly about alcohol and cigarettes, and was totally unconcerned with the nuts.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 21:25
  • 2
    @sepehr So the answer is flatly wrong, it should not be marked as “accepted”.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 21:26

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