Hungary - why work abroad?

Country: Hungary
Official languages: Hungarian
Government: Parliamentary republic
Population: 10 million
Capital: Budapest
Currency: Hungarian forint (HUF)
Member EU or EEA: EU
Phone code: +36
Internet code: .hu

Why this country?

Hungary has a culture and language which are unique in central Europe. The capital, Budapest, is vibrant and beautiful, straddling the Danube and attracting lovers of architecture or culture. The country is also blessed with the world's largest reserve of thermal water after Iceland and spa culture is fundamental to the Hungarian people.

The country has attracted significant foreign investment in the past two decades, but in recent years this has shifted away from the textile and food industry to luxury vehicle production, renewable energy systems, high-end tourism and IT. Unemployment has risen in the wake of the financial crisis; the largest numbers of new jobs advertised are for production-line assembly workers, metal workers and technicians, as well as hotel and catering staff.

Looking for work?

Most positions in Hungary are filled via personal contacts. Those that are published appear in newspapers and on job portals on the Internet.

Tips for job applications?

Sending a CV with a covering letter is the most typical way to apply, but for blue-collar posi­tions it is often enough to call the employer as an initial step. Larger companies may require candidates to complete an application form (sometimes online).

Applicants should prepare by finding out about the activities and profile of the company and about the position in order to decide if they are really interested and to know what the position is about.

For electronic applications, you should either use the online application form (if there is one), or send (only) the documents requested in the announcement.

Is it standard to include a photo on the CV?

Yes, a photo is generally included.

Is there a preference for handwritten applications?

No, do not handwrite your application unless it is explicitly requested.

Is the Europass format CV widely used and accepted?

It is not widely used, but it is widely accepted.

Making contact by phone

It might be a good idea to make contact some­time after sending your application to show that you are really interested. It also helps to remind the company of your name.

Always prepare for any telephone contact, as you need to get your questions answered (do not forget them) and also be able to respond spontaneously. Make sure you are told what the next step should be.

Do I need to send diplomas with my application?

Send a copy if requested. You probably will be required to present them at the interview or before signing the contract. The authenticity of documents is not verified initially, but for certain positions (e.g. for doctors), it must be checked before the contract is signed.

Should I supply references, letters of recommendation or proof of good conduct?

References are not common in Hungary, but may be useful if they are relevant, for exam­ple a written statement about your previous employment and an assessment of your abil­ities. The employer may phone your previous employer if you have no objection.

Letters of recommendation are not common, but they may look good if from a well-known company, especially if in the same field. Some jobs require proof of good conduct (even if it is superfluous), but this is stated in the advert.

Usual length of time between publication of the vacancy and start of the job

The employer will usually make their decision within weeks of the application dead¬line, although this depends on the position and number of applicants. Sometimes it can take months from the application to the start of the job.

Preparing for the interview

Employers mostly want to see your personality and commitment during the interview. They also want to see how you react in professional situations and in unexpected circumstances.

Dress-code tips

Dress code depends on the job, but it is usually formal (suit, dress, etc.). Jewellery is tolerated in moderation, but only for women.

Who will be there?

There will typically be one to three people at the interview.

Do we shake hands?

Generally yes, you shake hands with your interviewers.

Is there a typical interview structure?

An interview usually takes 1/2 hour, although some companies do several interviews or tests (e.g. one professional, one personal, etc.). Inter­view structure varies, but the atmosphere is almost always formal (even if it is friendly). You should be slightly reserved unless you see the employer adopt a more relaxed atti­tude. The content of the interviews is usually job-oriented, but there is an increasing ten­dency to cover personality, skills and attitude, intelligence and general behaviour. You should always try to sell yourself explaining your moti­vation and why they should choose you, with­out of course being too pushy. Often the CV is referred to during the interview, and candidates are almost always asked why they left their previous job and to name their five best and worst characteristics.

You can ask anything about the job, but you should not start the interview by asking about the salary - this topic is normally raised by the employer. You should, however, be prepared to discuss your salary expectations, in which case it is always better to give a range than an exact figure. Nowadays the applicant is the one who has to state a price for his/her work as an office employee.

When is a question out of bounds?

There is anti-discrimination legislation in Hungary, which means that you do not need to reveal 'sensitive’ information about yourself (religion, political allegiance or sexual orientation, a planned pregnancy, etc.) to employers. If you are uncertain about a question’s relevance to the job, you can simply ask why it is important to disclose this information.

Negotiating your pay and benefits

Contract negotiations usually take place at the end of the application procedure. You can negotiate pay, but you should always justify this. You should also take into consideration that in some fields (e.g. civil servants) wages are set by law. Salaries are expressed in monthly terms, and the contract should mention holiday entitlements (the minimum is fixed by law). Bonuses are negotiated separately, but if they represent a large proportion of earnings, this is covered in the contract. Remuneration and non-statutory benefits are discussed with the director.

Is a trial period likely?

Yes, almost without exception.

How long is the standard probationary period?

The probationary period is usually 3 months or can be extended to 3 months if it is less. If there is a collective agreement at the company, it can be up to 6 months.

Will the employer cover my costs for attending an interview?

Costs incurred when going to an interview are almost never reimbursed.

When will I hear the result?

You will generally hear within a few weeks, but sometimes within a month or two.

Getting feedback and further follow-up

It is not usual to ask for feedback - you either get the job or a rejection.

How early should I arrive for the interview?

Punctuality is a must. If you are late, inform the employer if possible. You should confirm that you will attend the interview. If necessary, you can make a new appointment, but you should make sure to be there the second time.

last modification: 2014-09-03
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