Have you found your perfect job in France? If you’ve made it to the interview, you’ve already overcome several obstacles, from visa requirements to job qualifications. French jobs are in high demand, both internally by French citizens and externally by foreigners. French worker protections are among the best in the world, and the government provides generous vacation time and excellent pension plans.

To ace the interview, you’ll need to be familiar with French interview customs to make a good first impression. The French interview process will be similar to what you’re used to, but some differences may surprise you. This guide can assist you in preparing for your interview.

Quick Tips On How To Prepare For An Interview In France

You should thoroughly prepare for your job interview in France, just as in any other country. This entails understanding the job role and researching basic information about the company, such as its:

  • Mission
  • History
  • Structure
  • Culture
  • Key points of contact

This information is typically available on a company’s website, as well as in annual reports, blog posts, and social media feeds. You can also prepare by researching salaries in your industry or at the company in question. Sites like Glassdoor can assist you with this.

How Do I Do a Job Interview Via Skype?

Don’t be concerned if you live abroad or cannot attend the in-person interview. Some businesses will provide the option of conducting interviews via Skype or another type of face-to-face conferencing system. Online video interviews can be challenging because reading body language is more difficult than in-person interviews.

A Skype interview should be treated the same as any other interview. Prepare similarly and appear presentable (even if you’re secretly wearing pajama bottoms). Take the call in a quiet place. Assemble a good set of headphones, a clear speaker, and a microphone. Make a practice call ahead of time, and make sure your internet connection is stable.

It’s critical to take notes on what your interviewer says during the video interview. You’ll be glad to have these notes later because you’ll better understand how things went. Because of the fuzziness of a video connection, you may feel like the conversation is stilted when compared to an in-person conversation. It’s fine to take your time answering questions and to take a deep breath before responding. Allow for the lag between when your speaker stops speaking and when you begin.

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What Are Common French Interview Questions?

Although it may appear obvious, some interviewees struggle with the most important and common interview questions, such as:

  • Tell us about yourself.
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What’s a time you demonstrated leadership?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What do you know about this company?

Consider your responses to all of these questions ahead of time. Writing them down and practicing them aloud may help, especially if you are not a native French speaker. Make sure you’ve thought about answers that show what sets you apart from the competition.

Other common French interview questions are as follows:

  • What’s your academic background?
  • What’s your professional background?
  • What, in your opinion, are the qualities needed to do well on this job?
  • Why do you wish to leave your current employment situation?
  • How good is your French? (if you’re a non-native speaker)
  • When can you start?
  • Do you have any references?

You do not want to say anything bad or negative about your current employment situation, just like in other countries. This can be difficult if your interviewer directly asks you why you are leaving your current job. Make sure to emphasize the direction you want to go rather than what you dislike about your current job. You can also discuss how you’ve gained valuable experience in previous positions and how you’d like to apply it to a position in a new company.

10 Common French Interview Questions (And How To Answer Them)

The goal of a job interview is straightforward: to determine whether or not you are qualified for the position. Acing a job interview, on the other hand, is not always so easy, especially in a foreign language.

But don’t worry, I’ve got your back! It is entirely possible!

Here’s the deal: Regarding the questions, you’ll be asked, job interviews across domains are similar. Acing your job interview in French comes down to doing some research on the company you want to work for (How long has the company been in business? Who established it? What size is it?) as well as practice, practice, practice, which entails anticipating the types of questions that will be posed to you.

Do these things, and you’ll be on your way to a CDI (contrat à durée indéterminée, or permanent contract). Bring it on, questions!

Parlez-Moi de Votre Expérience Professionelle

(Tell me about your professional background.)

This is the question to which you will be expected to respond with information about your previous work experience. Even if your Parcours (trajectory) appears décousu (disconnected, lacking coherence) at first glance, it is your responsibility to weave a coherent narrative. A great method to do this is to explain how the skills you developed in previous positions make you a great fit for the job you’re currently applying for.

Assume you’re applying for a position at a tutoring service.

“During my studies, I worked as a tourist guide, and after that, for four years as a bookkeeper for a travel agency. Today, I am interested(e) in your company because it will allow me to pursue my passion for sharing my knowledge of art and history, as well as my quirky personality.”

Quel Est Votre Parcours Scolaire?

(Can you tell me about your academic background?)

While many Anglophone employers wish to know what kind of training you have had after high school, references to the kind of baccalauréat one have obtained are fairly common in France. There are three broad categories: professional, general, and technical)

In your response, you should mention the year you graduated from high school (and where) and any other degrees you have obtained since then.

“After graduating from high school in the United States in 2006, I studied art history and received a bachelor’s degree in 2010.”

Quells Sont Vos Centres D’Intérêt ?

(Can you tell me about your interests?)

When asked this question, resist the urge to respond “Netflix binges,” which conjures up images of blanket forts and insufficient showers.

It’s important to remember that your interviewer will ask you this question to assess not only your on-the-job personality and how you will get along with potential coworkers. You must show how you “recharge your batteries” (so you will be in peak condition on the job).

Create a response in which you speak about something you’re passionate about while also presenting yourself as the kind, dynamic, curious, and initiative-taking individual you are. For example, mentioning your dedication to a specific sport is a great way to convey commitment, discipline, and team spirit. In contrast, your love of travel can signify an ouverture d’esprit (open-mindedness).

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Pourquoi Voulez-Vous Quitter Votre Travail Actuel?

(What motivates you to leave your current position?)

When answering this potentially vexing question, tact is essential. Never criticize your current workplace, even if the work is tedious and your current boss makes you want to scream.

The important thing to answering this question is to make yourself the center of attention (and not your current boss). A strong desire for future growth is an excellent way to accomplish this. Consider the following examples:

“I’m looking for new challenges. I’m looking for new challenges that will allow me to showcase my experience and skills.)

I am ambitious and wish to advance to a position that is not available at my current workplace.

(I am an ambitious individual who wishes to advance to a position that is not currently available at my current workplace.”

Puis-je Appeler Votre Ancien Employeur? 

(May I contact your previous employer?)

Unless you were fired or are involved in a messy lawsuit, you should answer this question affirmatively: Of course (Yes, of course).

If you did leave your job on bad terms, answering this question will require some deft maneuvering. One way is to mettre les pieds dans le plat (literally “put one’s feet in the dish,” this vivid expression means to openly discuss a sensitive subject) and tell your interviewer that things aren’t going well between you and your former boss:

“I should warn you that Mr. Lédesert was not pleased with my departure, and it did not go well. As a result, I’m not sure what he’ll say about me.”

Another strategy is to gently direct your interviewer to those who aren’t necessarily your bosses but can attest to your work ethic:

“If you’re looking for people who have seen my work, I recommend speaking with Ms. Watteau and Mr. Leroy, the two leaders of my team.”

Giving the names of four or three people should be enough to mitigate the damage.

Quand Serez-Vous Disponible Pour Commencer?

(When will you be able to begin?)

There should be no hesitation on your part when you hear this question. You should respond as soon as possible with confidence (as quickly as possible). Although there are many logistical factors to consider when starting your new job, the job interview is not the place to dither (you can do that once you get home).

Furthermore, most interviewers are well aware that le plus tôt possible (as soon as possible) does not imply demain (tomorrow) and that many employers require one or two weeks of advance notice (one or two weeks notice message).

Quelles Dont, Selon Vous, Les Qualites Requises Pour Ce Traval?

(What characteristics do you believe are required for this position?)

To effectively respond to this question, ensure you know the fiche de poste (job description) like the back of your hand. From there, draw as many parallels as possible between what is expected of employees and your prior experience.

The interviewer is looking for an answer to the question, “Why should I hire you?” Here’s an example of a suitable response:

“This type of position, in my opinion, requires first and foremost team spirit and a detail-oriented personality.”

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Quels Sont Vos Points Forts?

(What are your strong points?)

This is your chance to sell yourself (within reason!). When answering this question, be confident (but not overconfident) and list only the qualities (two or three will suffice) that are relevant to the job at hand. However, simply listing your strengths will not suffice; you must provide evidence (charts and graphs are unnecessary; anecdotes will do the trick).

Here’s an illustration:

“I am tenacious and tough. Last year, I played in a golf tournament and went out in the first round. I worked hard, signed up again, and won the competition. I was not discouraged, which I believe is a necessary quality for a manager; one should not be afraid of failure. On the contrary, it should serve as a motivator.”

Quels Sont Vos Faiblesses?

(What are your flaws?)

Ahh! The fatal question (la question qui tue)! It’s a bad idea to take this question too literally. This is not the time in the interview to reveal your deep-seated insecurities or anxieties, nor is it the time to openly present yourself in a negative light (“I’m impatient” or “I’m always late”).

On the other hand, pretending you have no flaws is not a good idea. Don’t be the person who says, “My worst quality is that I work too hard, care too much, and can sometimes be overly invested in my job.” The key to answering this question is finding a happy medium between self-awareness and a desire to improve. Here are a couple of examples:

  • I’m a little shy, but once I feel at ease in a group, I can give (my work) my all.
  • I tend to become anxious when given a difficult or complex task, but this is due to my desire to do things well. I check in with my boss more frequently when I’m in this situation.

Avez-Vous Des Questions?

(Do you have any further questions?)

Almost every job interview will end with this question. Even if everything appears to be crystal clear, saying non (no) is not an option! Of course, you have concerns!

Consider the moment your interviewer asks if you have any questions as your opportunity to shine. It is not the time to interview your interviewer and ask if he or she believes you have what it takes to succeed at the job at hand.

Inquiring about your interviewer’s interests is also frowned upon. Instead, ask questions that show how interested and enthusiastic you are.

What Should You Ask During a French Job Interview?

  • With how many people will I be working?

Asking a question like this demonstrates that you’re already picturing yourself in your (hopefully) future role and are eager to collaborate with others.

  • What is the reason for the current vacancy?

Is the company hiring due to an employee going on maternity leave (meaning they will return) or someone recently retired (meaning they have left the job market)? By asking this prudent question, you’re expressing concern for your future advancement in the company.

  • What is a typical (working) day like?

Such a question can be frowned upon if you’re applying for a management position where you are expected to be a self-starter (and it will be your responsibility to plan the work days of others).

On the other hand, if you’re applying for a job where you’ll be working under someone else’s orders or supervision, this question demonstrates a conscientious attitude. After all, knowing what work needs to be done is part of doing good work.

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What Questions Should I Ask In An Interview?

At the end of the interview, the interviewer will usually give you time to ask questions. You’ll almost certainly have questions during the interview. Even if you don’t, you should have a few questions prepared that demonstrate your interest in the position; instead of asking general questions that could apply to any company, ask about specific projects, company-specific news, or product rollouts.

Some general questions to consider as a starting point are:

  • What’s a typical day like at [Company]?
  • What specific projects would the role be responsible for?
  • What’s the interviewing timeline/when do you expect to decide?
  • What would your ideal candidate do in the first eight weeks of the job?

Avoid asking about holidays, benefits, and salary until you’ve been offered the job. Questions like this may be considered presumptuous in France and other cultures before you have an offer. If the company is interested in you as a candidate, these topics will come up later.

What’s The Interview Etiquette In France?

The interview culture in France is unique. Unlike some other cultures, the French will not expect you to tell a lot of anecdotes when answering interview questions. You should stick to the facts without interjecting personal stories or deviating from the topic.

The level of detail in the personal questions that come your way may surprise you. As a foreigner, you may be questioned about your marital status, visa situation, whether you have children, what your hobbies are, and other non-work-related questions. Don’t be offended; it’s all part of the game. When asked a personal question, give a simple answer; there’s no need to overshare.

The French are known for their love of meeting new people. Unlike some of their Western counterparts, they may be content to stay in a meeting for a few hours without feeling rushed to finish. Don’t be concerned if your interview seems to be dragging. It could simply be that you’re moving slower than you’re used to.

Formal Vs Informal

It is always nice to be safe than sorry when interviewing in any country. It is preferable to be too formal than not formal enough. Language plays an important role in French formality. When speaking to your interviewer, you should always use formal grammar, such as you or your. You should include phrases like ‘I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to…’ or ‘I was fortunate to receive the opportunity to…’ You don’t want to brag or appear arrogant because the French will not find it amusing.

You’ll want to be on time for your interview, just like in other cultures. There is less latitude around start times than end times – a meeting may last longer than expected, but you are still expected to arrive at the designated time.

Small talk may be less prevalent in French interviews than in other countries. Don’t engage in small nervous talk, especially when it comes to personal questions like, ‘What are you doing this weekend?’ If you don’t know someone well, engaging in this type of conversation is unusual, and it shows that you don’t know how to be professional.

It’s also worth noting that interviewers frequently interrupt you while you’re speaking. This is not considered rude in France; rather, it indicates that the interviewer is paying attention and is interested in what you’re saying. During an interview, French professionals may become quite animated, almost antagonistic. Don’t take it personally; it’s just how the French operate in the workplace.

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Greeting Habits

Unless otherwise instructed, you should greet your interviewer with a handshake and address them as Madame or Monsieur during a French interview. Typically, people will greet each other with a handshake during an interview. Be prepared to receive a double-cheek kiss or bisous. You’re likely not used to kissing strangers in the workplace, but it’s not against the rules in France. Simply be prepared to take cues from the person greeting you before making sudden movements.

How Do I Dress For A Job Interview?

In an interview, your physical appearance is important. One of the first things people generally notice is the color. You should appear well-dressed and well-groomed. Some industries, however, do not require a full formal suit. If you have any questions about the dress code, you can contact your company’s point of contact ahead of time.

People in France like to dress up. You should avoid wearing blue jeans even if you’re interviewing at a startup or a small business. Make sure your hair is neat, and you look presentable. Even though France is a smoker’s paradise, make sure you don’t smoke right before an interview or take any smoke breaks. This will probably confuse your interviewers and is not appropriate.

How Do I Negotiate My Salary?

In France, most jobs are advertised with a salary or a salary range, so you should know what you can expect when applying. If you get the job, your salary will almost certainly be negotiable. Negotiating is common in France, particularly if you are a strong candidate and/or the advertised salary is a range. Consider the offer carefully before negotiating, and treat it courteously.

After accepting the job offer, you should open a bank account in France to prepare for your move and start date. Transferring money from abroad to your new French bank account can be time-consuming and costly. Traditional banks charge exorbitant exchange rates.

Wise is a less expensive option for making the transition to France easier. Wise improves international banking for those who travel or live abroad. Wise has local bank accounts worldwide, so when people want to send money to another country, they use a local bank transfer. Money is never transferred across borders, and no international sending fees exist. Wise also employs the mid-market exchange rate,

which can be found on Google. Try the new Wise borderless multi-currency accounts for an even more seamless experience, which allows you to manage and exchange money in 27 different currencies for up to 8x less than traditional banks. In addition, borderless debit cards will be available in early 2018 for use when traveling abroad.

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Do I Need A Visa/Work Permit?

If you are a non-EU/EEA national, you may need a visa to work in France. If you need a work visa, your employer may need to sponsor you. This is something that should be brought up during the interview. If you’re unsure whether you need a visa, contact your home country’s government or the French consulate for information on working in France.

How Do I End The Interview?

You may conclude the interview with any follow-up questions you may have. Thank the interviewer for their time, and then do the same when they stand up. Remember to remain formal and polite throughout the interview. It is customary to send a brief thank you e-mail for the opportunity to interview after you leave the office. Politeness and formalities may seem excessive, but they are used frequently in various situations in France.

Interviewing can be difficult, especially when conducted in a different culture. However, there is no better way to improve your French and immerse yourself in the language and culture than to work in France. Once you’ve gotten your foot in the door, it’ll be much easier to gain your employer’s trust and turn your position into a full-time career.

Passing the French interview is possible if you prepare and present your best self. This guide will help you in navigating the interview process in France.

Finishing Your French Job Interview On A Positive Note

Shake On It (Again)

Get up from your chair at the end of the interview and shake your interviewer’s hand firmly (sound familiar?) while smiling and looking them in the eyes. You should say, “I thank you very much,” in a cool, calm, and collected tone.

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Thank You Note

(All right, thank you email). When you walk out the door, your interview isn’t over. You can express gratitude for your interviewer’s time and interest in the position by sending a brief (5- to 6-line) thank you note. Waiting 48 hours will make you less anxious and on edge, giving you time to compose a concise, unemotional message.

You should mention the interview’s highlights in your message (Did your interviewer mention that a series of new products are in the works? Mention how excited you are to be a part of such an innovative environment, reiterate the skills required for the job in your own words, and then reaffirm how your profile fits the bill. You can also include any relevant details you forgot to mention during the interview if necessary. 

That pretty much sums it up! Your French job interview will go swimmingly with a little planning and elbow grease. Now, au boulot (get to work).