Why this country?
Comprising the ancient lands of Bohemia and Moravia, the country is at the crossroads of European cultures. Prague, its stunning capital, has a vibrant arts scene; the wider countryside is dotted with castles, historic villages and spa towns.
The economic crisis has proved challenging for many Czech companies. However, jobs in the construction industry and services sector have held up relatively well. Unemployment levels vary widely between regions: the north and east have much higher levels of unemployment than Prague and the central region, which enjoy sustained interest of foreign investors and large numbers of tourists. Vacancies commonly look for catering and retail staff, sales representatives, security personnel, truck drivers, skilled engineers and technicians, and machine operators.
Looking for work?Free vacancies are provided by the labour office and by employers, although many employers in the Czech Republic use the services of private employment agencies, which provide details of job vacancies when you register with them.
Tips for job applications?
Reply as soon as possible to a job announcement that interests you, taking into account the criteria mentioned in the advert. You want to attract the employer's interest, and your first contact with them is very important.
If you apply electronically, send a covering letter of one page maximum and a structured CV. Do not send your application from your present employer's e-mail box, from an e-mail address with a nickname or by mass mailing.
Fill out the subject of the e-mail with the title of position, for example, and clearly describe the attachments to the e-mail. Send your CV as an attachment.
Is it standard to include a photo on the CV?Yes, this is usual practice.
Is there a preference for handwritten applications?No, applications can be handwritten or typed. If handwritten, make sure the script is legible.
Is the Europass format CV widely used and accepted?Yes, this is the preferred format.
Making contact by phoneIf you are contacting the employer by phone, it is better to do so at the beginning of the working day. Try to speak to the person responsible for your field. Be prepared for questions - make sure you have a pen, a notebook and your CV to hand. Reply briefly and to the point and ask for the opportunity to meet in person. Do your best to accept the time suggested.
Do I need to send diplomas with my application?No, recruiters usually check diplomas or other documents at the interview stage. Applicants must normally submit copies of their diplomas and documents after signing the job agreement.
Should I supply references, letters of recommendation or proof of good conduct?
References or letters of recommendation are usually not required. Employers verify information about the applicants’ last jobs by means of a phone call to their former employer.
Proof of good conduct is generally required for certain jobs, such as teachers, judges or police officers. This is issued by the Czech filling and verification information national terminal (Czech POINTs) - a network of assisted public administration centres where every citizen can obtain information on the data kept on him or her by the state in its central registers.
Usual length of time between publication of the vacancy and start of the jobThis is variable. The advertisement may state an exact start date or the employer and the applicant may agree this between them.
Preparing for the interview
Recruiters expect applicants to be informed about the company (structure, scope of activities) and about the details of the position on offer. They will ask the applicant why they want to work in that company in particular. The candidate must also be prepared to answer questions related to his or her expert knowledge and any other qualifications (personal qualities, ability to work individually or in a team, reliability, adaptability and previous experience). To verify an applicant's personality, some employers also require that they take psycho-diagnostic tests.
The most common type of interview is in person. However, the first round of interviews may be carried out by e-mail. New media resources are just starting to be used for interviews.
Dress-code tipsClothes 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?One to three interviewers, as a rule.
Do we shake hands?
Yes, this is standard practice.
Is there a typical interview structure?Most meetings start with a short introductory chat about personal details. This is followed by questions that help the personnel officer to obtain more detailed information about the applicant, their expectations and career aims. These questions focus on education and job experience. The next part of the interview is about the position itself This informs the candidate about the company, its internal relationships and working environment.
Common questions include: Can you tell us something about yourself? What do you expect from a job in our company? Why do you think we should employ you? Why did you leave your last job? What did you do when you were unemployed? When can you start work? What are your salary expectations? Are you willing to work overtime?
The end of the interview can cover non-profes-sional questions or the applicant may be given the time to explain their motivation for the job and to show their skills and knowledge. It is important to behave confidently and show your interest in the job and the company. The question of pay is best left until employers raise it or tell you that they want to employ you.
When is a question out of bounds?Anti-discrimination law is covered in statutory regulations (e.g. labour code, employment law, etc.). Questions about political orientation, membership of a political party, religious affiliation, family situation and property, or partnership relations and marital status should not be asked.
Negotiating your pay and benefits
If you want to negotiate pay, you need to have salary/wage awareness, as rates can differ from branch to branch and place to place. There is a better chance of negotiating pay with private and smaller employers. In large companies, public or state administrations or budget-dependent institutions, salary scales are generally fixed. Remuneration is expressed in hourly or monthly terms, rarely in annual figures - except for top management positions.
Rules for paid holidays are set out in the labour code but can be modified by agreement between the employer and trade unions. In some cases, annual bonuses and conditions can be negotiated, mostly where managers' contracts are involved.Other benefits may be offered as a perk, e.g. discounts on company products, meal vouchers, vouchers for theatres, swimming pools, money-off vouchers and holiday allowances. There is room to negotiate between the employer and the trade union of the company.
Is a trial period likely?A trial period is not legal. Employees must have a contract and receive pay for any work they do.
How long is the standard probationary period?
The employee or employer can withdraw from the contract anytime during the probationary period, which is 3 months maximum (6 months for managers). It may be possible to reduce the length of this (i.e. to make it shorter than 3 months). Applicants generally accept the company’s proposal.
Will the employer cover my costs for attending an interview?No, this is not usual.
When will I hear the result?
Sometime after the interview, you will receive the employer’s decision (which should be in writing). If this is positive and you decide to take the job, contact the personnel officer (HR manager) of the company, inform them of your decision and negotiate your start date and other important details of the employment contract.
Getting feedback and further follow-upRejected candidates may call to find out why they were not selected, but this is not common practice.
How early should I arrive for the interview?Lateness to an interview on the part of a job applicant is not usually tolerated. Usually 5 minutes is acceptable, but not more.