1. About FranceFrance
  2. Working conditions
  3. Sectors and companies that are recruiting
  4. Applying for a job
  5. Major recruitment pointers
  6. Recruitment Resources and networks

1. About France

France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent decades, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common exchange currency, the euro, in January 1999. In the early 21st century, five French overseas entities – French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion – became French regions and were made part of France proper.

Population: 65.3 million

GDP per inhabitant (2009): USD 33.000,-

Unemployment rate (02/11): 9.3%

2. Working conditions

The French business environment is very sensitive to courtesy and a certain level of formality. It is very important to build a network of personal contacts in the business world. Meetings must be planned in advance, sometimes by as much as two weeks. The French appreciate it if you demonstrate your intellectual capacity by rapidly getting to grips with a situation and its ramifications. The dress code respects a certain formality.

Legal working hours : 40 hrs / week max. Average: 41 hrs / week

Length of trial / notice period: 4 months

Employment formalities: No special sheet for Euro citizen. Work permit to be processed by the potential employer trough the french administration for non euro citizens (renewable). Medical check upon recruitment to be set by the employer.

3. Sectors that are recruiting

FMCG, High Tech and Telecommunication,Services, Health, Insurance, Law, Logistics, Banking, Consulting, Industries,Automotive, Food, Energy, Construction, Finance and Public Sectors.
Areva, Total, PSA, Renault, Veolia, Danone, Nestlé, L’Oréal, LVMH, Hewlett Packard, IBM, SFR, Orange, Bouygues, BNP, Societe Generale, Axa, TF1, Canal Plus, M6, Carrefour, Auchan, Leclerc, La Fnac, Darty, Virgin…

4. Applying for a job

Application documents: Motivation letter: short and clear, explanning motivation and brief summary of the professional project, including position. CV in french and english. Of course, internet mail is most welcome.

Advice regarding the CV: One to two sheets (except special applications for R&D for instance). On the top on the left, civil status (photo, birthdate are not an obligation). On the top on the right, educational background and languages (level). Below, suite of positions to be presented in chronological reverse order, with information on the company, position, results and figures. Publications, leisures or interests,could be the last part. Employer will make his own reference checks but a names list could be asked.

5. Major recruitment pointers

Business Etiquette/knowing how to behave during interviews: Shake hands if given by the recruiter, pay attention to your counterpart, be structured, be coherent, give figures to demonstrate what you achieved, show interest, enthusiasm, and flexibility. Don’t be surprised in front of certain personal questions, regarding your leisures for example. French try to evaluate competencies and to understand your whole personality.

Languages you must be able to speak: French, English

Flagship training: The master degrees of the french “Grandes Ecoles” are the first ones: Business schools like HEC, or ESSEC, Engineers schools like Polytechnics, Ecole Centrale de Paris, Supelec. Famous universities for law (Assas), Medecine (Salpétrière, Necker), IT (Orsay, Compiègne), Finance (Dauphine), RH + Communication (CELSA). Famous masters during professional life like INSEAD, HEC masters…

Compensation&Benefits / Taxes: Fixed salary connected to educational background + experience. More and more bonus linked to the position (area and level of function) and the company organization. Company car, laptop, mobile. Profit sharing scheme is often offered. Five weeks of vacation period. Share allocation plan. Tax policy: taxes are paid each year apart from salary: rates are linked to remuneration level, between 0 to 43 % of direct income.

6. Recruitment resources and networks

Important business networking sites: Viadeo, LinkedIn, Facebook

Best sites for jobs:,,,

Where to network: Alumni, professional associations, french or international “chambres de commerce”.