Date of update
Are you seeking employment in France and wondering about the recruitment procedures followed by companies based in the country?
Learn more about the key steps of the recruitment process.
When a company hires an employee they must undertake certain formalities, regardless of the form of contract used.
When a company needs to recruit staff, the employer must draft a job offer that accurately describes the position to be filled within the company, so as to attract suitable candidates.
The job offer must enable any interested talent to assess their suitability for the position with respect to their profile (qualifications and/or experience) and their career plan. The offer must be strictly objective, non-discriminatory and consistent with the other information provided (experience, form of employment contract, remuneration, etc.).
Job offers may be posted on the websites of the two government entities that assist individuals seeking employment in France:
There are also many private alternatives.
Job offers must be drafted in accordance with certain rules. Such offers must therefore be dated, be drafted in French or be bilingual, and avoid discriminatory language. Indeed, no individual may be excluded from a recruitment process because of:
- Their origin.
- Their gender.
- Their customs.
- Their sexual orientation.
- Their gender identity.
- Their age.
- Their marital or pregnancy status.
- Their genetic characteristics.
- Their particular vulnerability due to their economic circumstances, be it apparent or known to the employer.
- Membership or non-membership, be it actual or assumed, of an ethnicity, nation or supposed race.
- Their political opinions.
- Their activities within a trade union or mutual association.
- Their role as a local elected representative.
- Their religious beliefs.
- Their physical appearance.
- Their surname.
- Their place of residence or their main banking provider.
- Their state of health, loss of independence or disability.
- Their ability to speak a language other than French. Indeed, while proficiency in a foreign language may be a recruitment criterion, the language skills required must be directly related to the skills needed for the job.
As part of its public service role, Pôle Emploi, which is there to support applicants and companies during the recruitment process, has published a guide for recruiters. The latter can also benefit from the expertise of a business advisor when conducting their recruitment processes.
How to write a job offer?
|Good to know: Are you looking for a job in France and struggling to find a job offer that matches your profile? You can also send an unsolicited job application (CV and cover letter) to a company you are particularly interested in working for, either by email or via their recruitment website.|
During a job interview, the recruiter requests information from the candidate so as to assess their suitability for the position in question, based on their profile, career plan and professional skills.
The questions asked during this interview must relate directly to the job being offered or serve to assess the skills required to perform the latter. The applicant must respond to these requests for information in good faith.
Asking questions relating to the candidate’s personal circumstances is prohibited, particularly those relating to their state of health, familial status, etc.
Offers of employment
When an employer makes an offer of employment to a candidate, which must specify the position in question, the start date at the company, the salary and the place of work, this can be:
- An employment contract offer, if the employer is offering a commitment to a candidate.
- A unilateral promise to offer an employment contract, where the employer promises to make a commitment to a candidate.
In both cases, the candidate has a certain amount of time in which to accept the job. Both the candidate and the employer can reverse their decision during the reflection period specified in the offer of employment.
Recruiting a foreign employee
To be able to work as a salaried employee, foreign talents who are citizens of a country outside the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland must apply for a residence permit specific to the position being sought and their profile.
For more information on the residence documents available to employees recruited by French companies, please read our “Fact sheet: Employees recruited by companies in France” and our other dedicated fact sheets.
A pre-recruitment declaration (déclaration préalable à l’embauche – DPAE) must be submitted by all employers before they recruit an employee who is covered by the French social security system. This is mandatory for all recruitments, regardless of the form and duration of the contract and the position held by the future employee.
The employer must declare this recruitment to the URSSAF (the government organization in charge of collecting social security and family allowance contributions). The DPAE allows the employer to complete all the mandatory formalities at once, namely:
- The establishment’s first-time recruitment declaration.
- Request for registration of the employee with the Primary Health Insurance Fund (Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie – CPAM). If the future employee is going to be working in France for the first time, they must also contact the CPAM of their place of residence to follow up their registration.
- Request for an employee recruitment health check-up, which is mandatory.
- If the employer is hiring someone for the first time: the employer’s registration with the general social security system and the unemployment insurance system.
- Registration of the employer with an occupational health service.
- Preliminary completion of the annual declaration of workforce data (déclaration annuelle des données sociales – DADS).
This DPAE must be completed and submitted to the local URSSAF office of the recruiting establishment less than eight days before an employee is recruited.
This DPAE can be submitted online. Access is free of charge once the company’s SIRET number has been authenticated.
An employer whose company does not have an establishment in France and whose head office is abroad must also declare the recruitment of any employees covered by the French social security system. A guide for employers with no establishments in France has been published on the website of the URSSAF in Alsace (the national center for foreign firms). Follow the instructions provided.
The Foreign Firms Slip (Titre firmes étrangères – TFE)
Thanks to the TFE, foreign companies with no establishments in France, but which employ individuals covered by the French social security system, can submit a simplified form each month to the national center for foreign firms, which will:
- Calculate the social security contributions applicable to the employee’s gross income and arrange their payment to the appropriate social security organizations.
- Issue pay slips to the company, which will pass them on to the employee.
- Carry out the mandatory social security declarations.
Membership of a supplementary pension fund
All new companies must sign up to a supplementary pension fund when they hire their first employee.
When an employee starts working for a company, they are therefore registered with a supplementary pension fund once their employer has declared them to the relevant body.
For more information, visit the Agirc-Arrco website and read our “Pensions” fact sheet.
Registering an employee on the general personnel register
All employers must create a general personnel register when they recruit their first employee.
This register must be made available to employee representatives and the Labor Inspectorate. It must include an up-to-date list of all employees and related information (identity, type of contract, etc.).
|Good to know: When individuals are on temporary assignment in France, the secondment declarations of these seconded employees must be attached to the register.|
Occupational health examinations
If they encounter problems during the course of their work, employees may contact the occupational health service, which is responsible for monitoring their health and preventing any exposure to hazards in the workplace.
Within a maximum of three months following the recruitment date, the employer must organize a medical “information and risk prevention check-up” for their new employee, to be conducted by an occupational health doctor.
At the end of the examination, the occupational health doctor or health professional issues an occupational health certificate to both employee and employer, to prove that the examination has taken place.
Another check-up must be organized within five years of this initial examination. A check-up must also be performed when an employee returns from a period of sick leave lasting more than three months.
Employees may contact the occupational health service if they encounter issues during the course of their work that may be detrimental to their health.