Short sited and narrow minded company climate.


I moved to France a little bit more than a year ago.

The reason for this was that I met a French girl whom I had a 2-year-long distance relation with before I was given a beneficial opportunity to move here.

I took a chance, win or lose if you want.

It´s proven to be a lose scenario.

During this year I have applied for more than 800(!) jobs and I have gotten 800 NO´s!

With more than 32 years of proved experience in the industrial industry with great references and a skill and experience mix that I believe is hard to match I lack two things.

I don´t speak fluent French (yet) and, maybe more important, I don´t have a Bachelors degree.

Out of these 800 jobs I have only been contacted once for a brief telephone interview and even though I made it extremely clear in my resume that I don´t speak French the interviewer insisted on speaking French, thus I had to give the phone to my girlfriend so she could conduct the interview for me.

Understand much more French than I can speak I listened to the 15 minute conversation and quickly understood that the topic was my lack of French and Bachelors degree.

When making my girlfriend ask the women if sha actually read my resume she said, -"It wasn´t her field of expertise".

She was/is the responsible HR-manager for this big French company and she didn´t understand the needs for the position they were seeking people.

And by the way, French was, expressly, NOT required for this position.

I worked my way up from a machine operator to a manager level with years in service-, customer and business development but in France I can´t get ANY jobs!

So, after a year in a country that I otherwise love and would like to stay in, I now have to move somewhere else or go back to Sweden from where I came because of this narrow mindedness that is far to present in ALL the French companies I´ve encountered.

I find it very sad!

It's absolutely mad for companies to want qualified people who can communicate with their coworkers.

In france, if you want to work in special or expert position, exactly you have to passed a diploma in France, even you have many experiences in your country.
So my opinion, dont go back to your country , continue learn french and after starting get diploma.

Thanks for your input Kaseps but time is running out.
Because I came to France voluntarily I do not have any financial aid from either Sweden or France.

I held an employment in Switzerland for a short period but that company unfortunately closed down and despite the fact that I paid taxes for that job to France, since I'm living here, I am not eligible for any kind of financial help here.

I'll keep learning French but I think it will take a long time before I have a sufficient level of French and add the fact that I am 48 years old I'm not that keen to go back "to school".

I don't want to deplete my savings in the odd chance that I'll get a job in an unpredictable future.

While you learning french in "school " , you can subscribe in pole emploi.
And my opinion, you can find another kind of job out of your experiences, it will help you a bit financial in France.
So you can do course and work in the same time, as my friends did.

Now I am learning french in gretta, its obligation because I don't speak french well.
And I have my friends, they do course and working in the same time in supermarket and after they will take diplome to get better job.

I am so sorry! I find it extremely difficult too.  I really am in impathy with you and I understand. 

I get no help here and they don't care.  Coming from a customer service centric city in Portland, Oregon and friendly people it has been shocking to me.  I don't know if its culture or a huge population of cranky people .   If you ever need a friend to complain to or network with let me know.  I can meet for coffee.  I'm in a relationship so just know it's not a "come on" just a person in the same boat and it gets lonely !


Hi Lara, thanks!

It's ok, I'm in a relationship as well. :-D

I believe it's a cultural thing more than  a people thing.

I find the prejudice of French being rude and annoying extremely exaggerated.

I've met more unpleasant people in Sweden in a year than I've done here.

My girlfriend is a teacher and so is most of her friends and they've told me scary story's about the level of common knowledge among kids and adolescents.

We're talking about 18-20 year old students that can't spell correctly or know the four basic methods of math, something I was required to know when I was 12.

I've seen 25-30-year-old cashiers use calculators to figure out how much to give back on a 10-euro bill when the cost was 5,50!?

So maybe the degree requirement is a way to make sure they get people that at least can read and write.

That's an entirely different topic than the original letter.  In all it's frustrating and diifucult.  It's a culture that lacks customer service as well as being living and extending themselves to others.  I do my good parts everyday and shake my head in disbelief of the attitude here. C'est tout!  If it weren't for being in love I would return to home.....

Oops loving not living!

I am really sorry to hear about your experience.

What you are experiencing it,s only an extension of what happens when you arrive to a foreign european country.
People does not care about your origin. However, do not give up, because eventually it happens, you find a job that suits your profile and that,s it.

For me, to be considered in the profile, in Ireland I had to have a perfect english. Perfect. It took me 7 years to get to what perfect was for my job position. France is in a crisis, therefore, they select wherever they can (language, formation...etc).
If I was you instead of getting blocked I would try to improve basic french speaking skills, and that will open your way through your search, if that ,s what you want to do. It,s stupid, but it is.

I was today in a job interview for a position teaching english and the interview, surprise surprise was in french!

But, look it this way, adapting to difficulties makes us wiser/ faster/better, whatever our experience and age.

Good luck!

The job search is actually necessary for a fulfilled life.

But in reality, nine out of ten people do not know how sell themselves properly on the job market. THE writing a resume that makes people want to meet with you is much more difficult than most people think.

Knowledge of French is necessary for local integration. But this is not an end in itself.

Professionally traveling around the world, I am sure that with a good reworking your resume and the development of your skills, you'll find a job.

French mentality or that of any other country has nothing to do. It's just a matter of technique.

Yeah and this is a funny thing as well.
I was approached by a French company wo had looked on my CV on-line and gave me "free" advice of what was the problem with it and offerd to help me fix it for a neat sum of money.

I´ve seen these suggestions before but thought, -"What the heck, I´ll give them a chance". I looked them up on the internet and they seemed legitimate.

So they re-wrote my CV which I paid for and tried the new CV on my following applications with absolutely no diference.

Imagine my surprise when I, about a month later, get a mail from the same company giving me the exact same critisism for my CV that THEY WROTE!!!

They don´t answer my mails buy the way.

I have been in the recruiting position for many years and I can honestly say, it is NOT difficuly to write your CV, it´s actually very simple.

When presenting your self, either in writing or in person, there is only one very simple thing you have to keep in mind.

Say or write in the same way you yourself would like to read or listen to someone presenting themselfes, it´s so simple!

The business of telling people that, -"you are not good enough to present your self", is only a a new market to fool people to out of their money and increase their disbelief in themselves.

Oh, and by the way! I was contacted by a recruitment agency in Thailand a couple of weeks ago, they were looking for people on behalf of a French company in Thailand.

Today I got the response that the company had declined my application and the agency don´t understand why, but the fun part is that the recruitment agency informed me that they have stopped their collaboration with this French company because they, and I quote,

-"We have in fact told them we are no longer searching for candidates now - we have decided to walk away citing their unrealistic expectations and salary budget being significantly below the market standard".

Karma!  :)

I'm sorry, but it seems that you have very unrealistic expectations; why on earth would a French company hire someone without the relevant qualification who doesn't speak the language fluently so would struggle to communicate with clients and colleagues, over many other candidates who presumably do speak fluent French and have the required qualifications? It seems perfectly reasonable for companies to hire better qualified people. Simply wanting to work doesn't give you the right to whatever job you want.

First, I haven't applied for any job where French has been a requirement but have, reapetidly, been denied the job because of it.

Second, believing that over 30-years of documented experience is less valuable than someone just coming out of school is not only, as I suggest, being narrow minded but actually out right stupid.

The French companies and country as a whole is decades behind most other European countries when it comes to digital infrastructure, well fare, salary levels and last but not least bureaucracy and this, I mean, is because French don't think further than the reach of their nose.

Making a person's basic education level a criteria for whether he can perform an advanced job or not is highly unproductive and you can take any other country, like Sweden, as an example of this where it is much easier for people without higher education to get more prestigious jobs and STILL be more productive per capita than, i.e., France.

A couple of posts in this thread are looking aggressive and insulting.
Perhaps it's time to calm down.

My intension has never been to upset anyone, I was simply asked to post my reflections of France and I did.
In my mind people are completely free to agree or disagree with me.

I can go on and write lots of positive things about France, why would I otherwise have moved here?

It just happens to be so that I worked my whole life and I love to work so for me the frustration of not finding a job is what lies closest to my heart and since I can isolate the cause of this i wrote the post to maybe give a heads up to people in my situation to let them know what to expect.

This is a subject I´ve discussed with a lot of French people as well, both in work relation and in private and so far all has agreed with my point of view so it doesn´t seem like it´s a French we aginst them scenario since all French I´ve talked to so far thinks the system is flawed.

Even if french isn't a requirement, I merely meant that it still seems logical that speaking french would still be an advantage that other candidates could have. For me, it is necessary to accept the differences when living in another country rather than analysing them or wishing that things were more similar to what you are used to as this won't get you anywhere.

By 'you' I mean anybody by the way. My previous comment was not intended to be aggressive, I was just offering my perhaps 'narrow minded' opinion

Wow! So much defensiveness going on.   Yes France is way behind in so many ways.   As much as I love it here, and in love here I feel it is very hard.  I've talked to people who are from here and they find it just as difficult.  I get a stomach ache everyday and stressed just thinking about trying to do minimal tasks. Because, I get the response of no or they don't know.  Even with speaking French.  I had an eye emergency in a store yesterday where I needed a Kleenex and their response was no they didn't have nor did they even bother to help me!  As a human being come on people.  Be nice and stretch out farther than your nose!  You see it's all levels!! Not just jobs but with everything! It's lazy and they don't care.  Period!  My own French CEO boyfriend gets disgusted!  Im done giving excuses as to why they act this way.  It is part of the culture!

I think people uses this forum to express their frustration towards a country they can,t understand. Logical, I don,t attack anybody for doing it. It,s a good way to see other,s opinion, find support. However, I have seen way too many people using this forum to throw their bad opinions about France, without giving the new people a chance to read good coments about the place. Why not being constructive?
I can understand the frustration of a person who does not speak french and wants to live here.

But, perhaps, the person who says that is logical to want to hire a person whom speaks french in France has some logic. I agree, maybe the job does not require to speak french but I bet that if I go to another country saying that I speak english, they will require me to speak at least a bit of the local language.

Why? Because is part of the country to speak that language. France wants to keep the french language in the offices. Same way when I was in Ireland some shops forbid the workers to speak other language than english in the staff rooms. Why? Cultural preservation.
If you come to France you must expect that France will be France, not England, USA or any other country.
Whether we accept this fact or we will never be able to integrate in this culture. Personal choice, I did mine, I decided to learn as much as I could before coming here, so I wouldn,t have to ask people to speak in english. I do it as much as I can. That will open doors.

I disagree that it is in the culture to be rude or not helpful or this kind of things. I have to say that other countries are even worse. What we are missing here is that there,s a cultural gap to save between us and this people, and the worst way is to approach it with anger.

Hi Matt, I think you are lucky to get 800 NOs from 800 applications! I have had zero responses from 50 odd apps! Just no answer at all! And I have a bachelors and Master's degree!
Not sure the answer but is there anything you can do in English? Teach it perhaps?

I would like to ask you three questions.
1. Where in France are you?
2. What was the 'opportunity' that presented itself, if not a job?
3, Do you speak any language apart from English?


Give us your news...How is the job hunt coming along - it's been about 3 weeks since we've heard from you.

I have a very similar story to you matt been with my french girlfriend for 2 years plus in a long distance relationship from England. I thought I would give it a go and try and live out here, only been here for 2 months and I have applied for numerous jobs but no response even jobs in bars and restaurants where they ask for English speaking people to be able to talk to tourists but still np reply. your story worries me that in the year you have been here you have struggled. I just hope this isn't the same for me. I feel for your situation it is difficult. I hope you find a job and dont have to move away.

Good luck

I do understand what you are talking about. I have seen this is many occasions. The first day I arrived in France I thought of getting back on the flight and nearly did that.

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