Preparing for an interview in France is not that much different from preparing for an interview in any other country. However, there are certain differences worth noting. To increase your chances of getting hired you have to master the 3 P’s, politeness, preparation and professionalism in accordance with the French working culture.
Remember that the French culture is a formal working culture and you should address your interviewer with the formal versions of you, which are vous and votre. If not asked otherwise, it is expected of you to address the interviewer with Madame or Monsieur.
You might think that a short chit chat in the beginning will break the ice. In France you are expected to keep it formal, so stick to talking about relevant topics.
There is a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance. Choosing to be more modest is the right way to go. Use phrases like ‘J’ai eu la chance de…’.
It is one of the basics of a successful interview. Research the employer in advance because you might find yourself needing to answer questions like:
- Why do you want to work for our company? (Pourquoi voulez-vous travailler dans notre entreprise?)
- What do you know about our company? (Que savez-vous de notre société?)
- Why are you interested in this position? (Quelle est votre motivation pour ce post?)
It is worth noting that in France it is acceptable to ask questions relating to your marital status or whether you have children.
Show engagement and interest until the end by asking questions at the end of the interview.
Arriving on time, better yet five to ten minutes earlier, is a must in France. It is also important to know that appearances matter, so make sure you are well groomed and neat.
Going in for the typical French greeting kiss is a no-go at interviews. Keep it professional and stick to the handshake.
Avoid mentioning topics like salary and holidays. The subject will be brought up, if the interviewer will be interested in hiring you.