While working for a large French corporation based in London, I often noticed the differences between French and British approaches to work.
One of the most obvious differences to me was the British emphasis on experience and skills, compared to the French focus on formal qualifications.
Many of my senior French colleagues had attend one of France’s “Grande École”, which are prestigious business schools. Whereas, some of my British colleagues had achieved the same job position thanks to lots of hard work and experience. Once already established in their careers, they picked up more formal qualifications while working. This is just one example of a variety of differences. Vive la différence ! as they say in French-speaking countries (even if I do prefer the experience and skills-based approach).
I found these great tips today on the website of the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain. I wanted to share them, as they provide a valuable insight into working in the UK. Have a read and let me know if you have any tips of your own!
Presentation, Recruitment Process & CV
- The amount of personal information on CVs is reduced compared to France, mostly in reaction to discrimination laws. It is now illegal, for example, to ask a candidate’s age
- Heavy emphasis is put on recent responsibilities, experiences and soft skills (team player, keen sportsman, charity work, etc.) in addition to academic achievements.
- A recruiter in the UK expects the candidate to come with a vision for their next career move, almost like a personal business plan
- French graduates seeking a first job in the UK should be aware that British interviewers are unlikely to ask them about the content of their university courses or extra-curricular activities
- Demonstrating initiative, self-confidence and leadership are important topics discussed during interviews
- It is common for future colleagues or team members to interview a candidate as part of the process
- Identify the direction you want your career to take and articulate this very clearly in all communications. A potential employer will be drawn towards profiles that show ambition, focus and logic based on the candidate’s trajectory and experience to date
- References are an important element of the recruitment process. Good employers and recruiters will use informal references from their network in addition to references provided by the candidate
Source: the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain
The Chamber also enables to you publish your CV in its CV library: You’re a Candidate | French Chamber of Great Britain (ccfgb.co.uk)
What a great option, I signed up too!
If you are looking for work in the UK and need assistance with the translation of university certificates, birth certificates, CVs or any other paperwork, contact me today for a provide free non-binding quote. I am happy to speak French or English.