The Good Life France

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Going to a French job interview

french job interviewSo, you’ve submitted your CV (European style and in French of course) and your lettre de motivation (letter of motivation) and you are summoned to a French job interview.

Try not to panic!

Practice what you’re going to say to make sure you don’t stumble over words.  Get friends to go through a mock interview process – in French of course!

On the day – get there a little early, 5-10 minutes is fine.

Take extra copies of the CV and letter of motivation – just in case.

Address the interviewer as “Monsieur” or Madame – formality is the name of the game when it comes to interviews. Always use the ‘vous’ form of the verb never use  ‘tu’ – it is far to informal for an interview and will be considered as rude.

If the interviewer gives you a business card, read their name out loud to make sure that you have pronounced it properly, let them correct you straight away if necessary so that you don’t make a mistake further into the meeting. If you have a business card to give them, it’s a good idea to do a French style card – with the Nom (surname) first and in capital letters, followed by Prenom (first name).

Kiss greetings are the norm in France with people you know or are introduced to sometimes – but in an interview situation it is handshakes only and keep it a light handshake and only one or two up and down movements – not like in the UK or US with a firm shake and a few up and downs.

French people often wear casual dress for work including jeans but for an interview – keep it smart and be well groomed.

Keep your answers professional and non-personal unless specifically personal questions are posed.  French interviewers may interrupt you more than you are used to! This is normal so be prepared to be interrupted – it’s not rude in France, this is normal and actually a good sign, it means the interviewer is listening to what you’re saying and interested enough to butt in and ask more.

You may be called back for another (or even more) interviews – it is not unheard of to have to sit through six interviews before a final decision is made. If you’re not living in France, this can prove time-consuming as well as costly so bear it in mind.

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