Why this country?
Sun-lovers flock to the Black Sea coast's beaches, while the more adventurous can hike the rugged mountains and forests still roamed by lynx, bears and other rare wildlife. History fans can view plentiful Roman remains and get acquainted with the ancient Thracians, a prehistoric tribe known for their metalworking, horsemanship and artistic culture.
Bulgaria has seen strong economic growth since it joined the EU in 2007. However, it still has high levels of unemployment and low wages for Europe. There may be more opportunities for entrepreneurs, while many multinational corporations require staff for their growing business interests. Most jobs are in the services sector, followed by manufacturing and agriculture. The hotel business and tourism are sectors with a significant demand for workers.
'Bulgaria is a good country to live and work in. Hospitable and respectful of those from other countries, its people are open, frank and warm. The countryside is very beautiful, the climate is good, there is a vibrant cultural life - and the wine and cuisine are excellent!'
Elena Vidinska, EURES Adviser, Bulgaria
Looking for work?
Jobseekers can start by looking for work through the national employment agency, the biggest mediator on the labour market. A number of private agencies are also licensed to operate, including Adecco Bulgaria, Manpower Bulgaria, Job Tiger and Jobs.bg. For web links to these organisations, visit the EURES portal's Links page. Other resources include the EURES page on the Bulgarian national employment agency's own portal (http://www.az.gov- ernment.bg/eures) as well as the local labour offices across the country.
Tips for job applications?
The normal application procedure is that candidates apply for a job and are then invited for an interview with the employer or his or her representative. In addition to a CV, the employer usually requires a short motivation letter, showing why the candidate is interested in that vacancy.
Is it standard to include a photo on the CV?
A photo on the CV is advisable, though not obligatory.
Is there a preference for handwritten applications?
No, the covering letter should be typed on a computer.
Is the Europass format CV widely used and accepted?
Yes, the European (Europass) CV format is preferred.
Making contact by phone
In general it is not recommended to apply for a job by phone, as it allows the employer to rule out the candidate more easily. The aim of a phone call is to fix an appointment for an interview. Be sure to do the following: introduce yourself and clarify which position you are interested in and your reason for calling. Focus briefly and clearly on why you are suitable for the position and try to fix a date for an interview.
Do I need to send diplomas with my application?
No, but you may be required to present a copy of your diploma during the interview.
Should I supply references, letters of recommendation or proof of good conduct?
Previous employers can act as referees and supply references to prove that the candidate is suitable for the job vacancy. Some employers may require letters of recommendation. Whether or not proof of good conduct is needed depends on the nature of the work.
Usual length of time between publication of the vacancy and start of the job
This depends on the employer’s requirements, but it rarely takes several months.
Preparing for the interview
The applicant should know about the activity of the company, the management, the clients and competitors and the opportunities for development. The employer pays attention to accuracy, appearance, composure, confidence and gestures during the interview.
Clothes should be smart casual: no sportswear, short skirts or bright colours. Clothes should be clean and shoes should be polished and should match the clothing. Avoid strong deodorants and perfumes and pay attention to details like clean hair, nails and hairstyle. Men should be clean-shaven or have a well-groomed beard. Do not wear eccentric jewellery.
Who will be there?
If the interview is held at the local labour office, the participants are the labour officer, the candidate and the employer or their representative. If the interview is held at the company, the participants are the employer or their representative and the candidate.
Do we shake hands?
Sometimes, but only on the initiative of the interviewer. If there is a panel of interviewers, you do not shake hands.
Is there a typical interview structure?
The meeting takes 1/2 hour to 1 hour at the most. Where an employer insists on the candidate taking a practical test after the meeting, the procedure will be longer. Typically, the interview follows a basic structure, which starts - after the greetings - with the employer or his/her representative asking questions to the candidate. The employer will try to have a normal conversation with the candidate, who is expected to be self-confident and composed.
Candidates should be polite, friendly and smile; make eye contact; listen carefully to questions; answer each question for up to 2 minutes; speak distinctly, self-confidently and calmly; briefly summarise their strengths; and compare their experience with the requirements of the position they are applying for.
A candidate can ask questions at the end of the interview. Questions may cover the management structure of the company, a typical working day of an employee in that position, the deadline for receiving feedback, the company's staff training and qualification programmes, etc.
When is a question out of bounds?
The employment promotion act forbids direct or indirect discrimination in job application procedures. The employer may not ask for information about a candidate’s private life. The law on personal data protection provides that private information is defined as any information about an individual person that can be traced through an individual number.
Negotiating your pay and benefits
Candidates should not raise the question of pay during the interview. It is common to wait for the employer to make a job offer before negotiating pay and other benefits. Depending on the contract, payment is calculated by the hour or it is monthly. The level of pay is deter¬mined by the duration of the work or by production figures. The amount of pay for one item (the production quota) is negotiated between the employee and employer and cannot be less than the amount set out in the collective labour agreement. There are payment thresholds for certain groups of professions. In all other cases, the level of pay should not be less than the minimum salary annually fixed by the government.
The salary is usually paid each month, though in some cases a weekly payment is possible. It is common to get an advance payment (part of the monthly salary) approximately in the middle of the monthly period. Some large private companies pay performance bonuses.
It is unusual to negotiate other benefits. Social insurance contributions, health insurance contributions and taxes are fixed by law and deducted from the salary by the employer. If the employer wishes to offer additional benefits or more days of holiday, they may do so.
Is a trial period likely?
Only as part of the probation period.
How long is the standard probationary period?
Companies usually ask candidates to agree to a trial/probation period for up to 6 months, which is allowed by the Bulgarian labour code. During this period, the employee may be released without notice.
Will the employer cover my costs for attending an interview?
This would be very rare. Travel costs may be covered under some specific programmes for unemployed persons registered in labour offices.
When will I hear the result?When an applicant is referred to the employer by a labour office, the employer is obliged to inform the local labour office about the result of the selection procedure within 7 days. When the local labour office is involved in organising the interview, they are expected to inform unsuccessful candidates about the employer’s decision. In other cases, there is no legal requirement for employers to inform applicants about the result of the selection procedure.
Getting feedback and further follow-upAt the end of the interview, thank the employer for the time taken or even write a letter of thanks afterwards. Somewhat later, the candidate can contact the employer to ask for the result of the interview, unless another agreement was made in advance.
How early should I arrive for the interview?Job applicants are expected to arrive some 10 minutes before the time fixed for the interview.