Finding a job in Italy is vital for most people to create a new life in the country as an Expat. The job market in Italy is not as good as other parts of Europe but there are plenty of opportunities for foreign English speakers and Expats. Once you have secured a job you can really start to settle into life in the country without financial concerns looming over you.
However, to be successful in a job interview in Italy you need to understand the customs and unique etiquettes that could mean the difference between rejection and acceptance for the role.
There’s no doubt that everybody gets a little nervous before an interview but this can be even more pronounced if you’re interviewing for a job abroad. Of course, the overall structure of an interview is fairly universal. However, there are certain quirks and peculiarities of interviewing in Italy compared to the United States and other parts of the world that you need to be aware of.
Italian Employers Are Cautious In The Recruitment Process.
Italian employment law is very strict and because an employer can’t cancel a contract with their employee without good reason they tend to be quite cautious in the recruitment process.
This is completely different when compared to the United States. In the US, most States have “at will” employment laws, which basically state that an employer can terminate an employee at will for any reason, except an illegal one. On the other hand, compared to most countries, it is also much easier for someone to find a job in the United States. The overall process is short and quick.
Of course, the employment law is supposed to protect the worker’s rights but in some cases it actually dampens the job market by imposing strict overarching regulations on employers.
As a result, you need to be in great form when you go to your interview to be accepted! However, there’s a few other things that you also need to get right to secure a job in Italy.
Great Ways Of Succeeding In Italian Job Interviews.
Keep the following in mind during the interview process:
Your Resume And Cover Letter.
Your cover letter and resume is the very first thing that a potential employer will see about you. This means that you should take plenty of time when you’re putting them together to give the best impression of yourself that you possibly can.
For most jobs in the US, a cover letter is not that important anymore, particularly jobs that require experience. But this is not the case in Italy.
You should also make sure that you get someone else to give your cover letter and resume a quick proofread, especially if you’re writing in Italian, so you don’t miss any obvious mistakes. If you don’t know anyone who can help you with Italian you can always hire a professional translator online to look it over for you.
Always tailor your resume to the specific job you’re applying for. Of course, you should always include your educational qualifications and professional experience but you should still be modifying your resume and cover letter for the specific company you’re applying to.
Prepare Before The Interview.
It’s vital that you properly prepare before your interview in Italy. This means that you should read up about the company and its history. Try to find out a few things about the company’s past successes so you can mention these in the interview because this is bound to impress the interviewer.
As well as researching the company itself you should also make yourself familiar with the industry in general and any major trends that are going to be important in the future. All of this information can be hugely valuable during your interview and will immediately give you an authoritative presence and a professional demeanor.
Honesty And Transparency.
When you’re interviewing in Italy it’s really important to be as transparent as you can. You should be completely honest about your motivations for wanting the job, the amount of time that you expect to be in the country for and the ways in which you can benefit the company.
If you hope to be able to work flexible hours because of family commitments for example, you should be up front about this from the start. You should also be transparent about your weaknesses and be ready to point out ways in which you are working to improve these shortcomings.
For instance, if your Italian is a bit rusty or not quite up to scratch yet you can point out that you’re currently taking evening classes to get your language skills up to a fluent level. Being honest in this type of way will never be held against you and will engender trust between you and the company’s management from day one.
Meeting The Interviewer.
Although most people greet each other with a kiss on the cheek in social situations you shouldn’t do this in an interview! Instead, you should simply offer to shake the interviewer’s hand when you meet them. You should also maintain eye contact when you meet the interviewer because this makes you seem confident and professional.
If you do try to kiss the interviewer on the cheek this will more than likely be seen as being far too overfriendly and could make the rest of the interview awkward and ultimately unsuccessful for your chance at the job.
Language – Keep It Formal.
If you’re interviewing in Italian then you’ll have to be careful to use formal language as opposed to the casual language you’re probably more used to using. For example, in Italian there are two different ways of saying ‘you’. Firstly, you can say ‘tu’ which is informal and suitable for addressing friends and family. However, you can also say ‘lei’ which is more formal and should always be used in your interview.
This is the normal custom when you’re speaking to an interviewer or in any other formal situations in Italy. You should also speak in a formal way with the interviewer even if they are younger than you are. This is a way of showing your respect for the situation as well as showing that you are competent in the Italian language.
Similarly, you shouldn’t refer to the interviewer as ‘signore’ or ‘signora’ if they have official degree titles. Instead, you should use the more formal and respectful ‘dottore’ or ‘dottoressa’ if they have a degree or other official title.
In recent years foreign companies that are much less formal in their workplace etiquette have been moving to Italy but the traditional Italian firms still favor a much more formal approach. So to be safe it’s always best to be formal when addressing the interviewer and other staff unless they specifically ask you not to.
Dress Code For An Interview In Italy.
You no doubt already know that style is important in Italy! Everywhere you go you’ll see people dressed in the latest fashions even if they’re just popping down the street to get some groceries. Therefore, when you attend an interview make sure that you really go the extra mile and dress to impress.
For men it’s best to wear a suit and tie while for women a smart office outfit is ideal. Women should avoid wearing too much makeup and men should ensure that they are neatly shaved. If you need some extra guidance you can check the company website to see how smartly they dress and what their general style is; however, as a general rule you should just dress as smartly as you can to make a great impression.
Be Confident In Your Abilities.
To make a good impression on your interviewer you should portray a confident demeanor. Being confident is particularly important if you’re a foreigner applying for a job in Italy. This is because the company will want to be sure that you’ll be able to settle into your new life and overcome any challenges that may come your way.
However, there’s a fine line when it comes to being confident. You should avoid being boastful or arrogant because this will come across very badly. So try to be yourself while remaining humble but honest about your strengths.
Should You Talk About Your Hobbies?
In many countries it’s normal to discuss your hobbies and outside interests during the interview. This is seen as a way to get to know a candidate but in Italy this is not so common. Generally, an interviewer in Italy will not be interested to hear about your personal interests and will only be wanting to hear about your professional expertise and experience.
Of course, after you’ve got the job then you can certainly talk to your new colleagues about your interests but in the interview phase this is not customary in Italy.
Be Punctual – But Don’t Over Do!
You may have got the impression that Italians are not well known for their time keeping and although this is certainly true it does not apply to an interview! You should always try to arrive at least 10 minutes before your interview is scheduled to begin.
A good strategy to ensure that you’re not late is to arrive an hour or so before the interview starts. Then you can sit in a nearby cafe and have a coffee while you gather your thoughts and mentally prepare yourself for the upcoming interview.
Interviews In Italy – Your Gateway To A New Career Abroad.
Once you’ve managed to secure an interview for a job in Italy you finally have an opportunity to get a job that will financially support your life abroad. The stakes can feel pretty high and so you being confident and calm might be hard. However, as long as you make sure that you’re well dressed and treat the interviewer with respect using formal language you’ll be halfway to success.
If you’re going to be interviewing in Italian then it’s worth taking a little time to practise some potential answers that you may use on the day. This means you should practise using the formal conjugations, such as ‘lei’ instead of ‘tu’ and get comfortable talking about your professional experience in smooth Italian.
After you’re prepared yourself as best as you can then it’ll be up to you to impress the interviewer with your expertise, attitude and smart appearance. Don’t forget that many Italian companies are looking for English speakers so you do already have an advantage over many of your Italian counterparts!
So as long as you keep the local etiquette and customs at the forefront of your mind you’ll be well on your way to a successful interview and a new job in Italy.