One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation!
This document is tailored to job seekers on the French market and covers interview basics! It is not designed to be exhaustive.
- Be on time! Plan for last minute public transport problems and bad weather.
- Be the image of your future employer.
- Be organized! Take a clean copy of your CV and other supporting documentation (written references, diplomas, …). Take notes (you won’t remember everything)!
Did you know that you may have the right, during your notice period, to paid time off for interviews? It is not French law that allows this, but rather your collective bargaining agreement “CBA”. Check your CBA to see if you can attend interviews during your paid working hours.
THE THREE TRUE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS!
All questions are just other ways of asking one of the three questions below. Remember this and questions will become easier to answer.
1. Can you do the job? (Do you have the hard skills?)
2. Will you love the job? (Are you motivated? Will you stay a sufficient amount of time to make our investment in you profitable?)
3. Do I like you? (Do you have the soft skills? Will you fit in? Are we on the same wave length?)
- What are your strong/weak points? If you are uncomfortable describing yourself, we advise you complete some free on-line personality tests. The results will guide you. (soft skills)
- Why are you leaving your current job? (motivation)
- Why do you want this job? (motivation)
- Tell me about yourself? See Elevator Pitches below and/or narrow the question down by asking your interlocutor if there is something specific they want to know. (soft skills)
- Give an example of how and when you showed such skill. (hard skills)
Many of us have career “blips”, experiences we would prefer not to discuss. Nevertheless, we are sometimes obliged to answer uncomfortable questions. Our advice is:
- Plan your answer,
- Remain positive,
- Remember, most often it is not what you say, but how you say it,
- Ask your Consultant for advice,
- If all else fails “less said the better”!
Interviewers with little time may ask you to introduce yourself briefly. Americans call this an elevator pitch. In a few words, answer the questions below and you have your pitch!
- Give a few personal details, name, age, residence, married, children, enjoy sport, … (something brief, along these lines);
- Name your skills (see personality tests, end of year evaluations, think about your transferable skills);
- Name your greatest strength, achievement or a compliment you’ve received (inspire yourself from professional references, general feedback or some other outstanding experience, personal or professional),
- State what you would like to do (this obviously should correspond to the position for which you are applying), and;
- Why you would like to do it (you should know why you applied!).
- Know your salary expectations! HR professionals talk in gross annual salary (including the 13th month). Discuss your package separately. Interviewers take notes, it is complicated to go back on what was said in the initial interview.
- As a general rule sell yourself first, negotiate afterwards! Salary is important, however, your first interest should be the job! Asking about salary and perks before being invited and putting too much emphasis on them is badly perceived. Ask your Consultant for advice.
TWO FINAL POINTS
Planning increases confidence at interview. What is prepared can be used again and again. Leaving an interview knowing you’ve done your best is all you can do. If, despite your efforts, you are unsuccessful, try not to take it personally.
It takes a lot of preparation (references, tests, interviews) to send quality files to clients to increase your chances of success. It’s a shame to waste your interview opportunity by not preparing. Maximise your chances until the very end, it will save you time and your “interview” skills are transferable, the preparation will neither be lost nor wasted!