Trying to Make Sense of the French Job Market

Yesterday, Marc Thouvenin (Regioneo founder) posted a tweet that caught my eye:

“Can interns make good community managers” with a link to this blog post by Benjamin Rosoor of Web Report.

Traditional recruitment meets realtime web.

For anyone that can’t read French, Rosoor’s post argues against younger employees – and more specifically, interns – doing the job of community managers. Naturally, you don’t want your average slacker representing your company and your brand on live, social internet. But Rosoor’s post ties in the fact that the job of a community manager isn’t well defined and that many companies don’t put a lot of money on the table for their social media strategy. The result: putting an intern behind the Twitter account could be fatal.

But aren’t we forgetting something?

I think that Rosoor’s post raises a good point – that community management is in fact an important job that should be given to someone with a good grasp of the product, the company, the business, the industry and what have you. And if the person is to be trusted with such an important task, it should be reflected in their paycheck too, no?

But the issue should not be reduced to a question of age or experience.

This is a typical mistake I see in traditional French recruitment practices. The French torture themselves at school (believe me, I am living it) and get diplomas from top universities. But when they graduate, nobody trusts them with anything because they lack experience. What on earth kind of ridiculous logic is that? 10 years of experience to become an engineer? Forget it. I’d understand if it involved a History major trying to become a brain surgeon but that is usually not the case. Plus, how is anyone supposed to get any experience if even as interns they are reduced to doing purely trivial tasks?

Is “trust” a four-letter word?

Maneuvering new web applications may come more naturally to the younger Web 2.0 generation. Would it be so wrong to perhaps trust someone with less experience? I’m sure that with a little training and a bit of trust, the right candidate would hardly set-out to ruin a company’s reputation on the internet.

The French Evolution.

Fortunately, I do feel as though the French tech job market, in particular, is evolving – embracing Twitter, Facebook and the likes for recruitment purposes, thus finding a younger, geekier candidate pool. But it is still not necessarily the norm.

Need experience? Start a company.

Starting a company has possibly become the answer to unemployment and entering the over-hierarchical job market. Once more people realize that online community sites – like Facebook, Deezer, Creads, etc. – were founded by 20-something-year-olds, perhaps they’ll reconsider giving someone with less experience a community management (or other) role.

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4 thoughts on “Trying to Make Sense of the French Job Market

  1. think it depends on the company…if you are a lean startup, believe it’s perfectly acceptable to hire an intern to help with the massively time-consuming task of keeping up with community management. Also the “plus jeune” are often more in touch with the platforms used, like Twitter. But major brands who can afford it should consider it the key part of their marketing strategy, and given their budgets, should probably have a large team…including a few interns 😉

  2. The age issue is a very, very big one in this country… it’s almost impossible to be under 30/35 yo, and to be someone that people can officially trust in a working environment. No matter your degrees, your efforts, your talent, if you’re young, you’re basically supposed to become trustable by… getting older.

    When people ask me what I really liked about living in the US, it’s always the first thing I mention: the possibility (accepted by all) to be someone, even under 35. What a relief.

    No wonder why the 15-24 are having such a hard time here:

    http://www.insee.fr/fr/themes/tableau.asp?reg_id=98&ref_id=CMPTEF03310

  3. Comparing the US and France… same old story ! When you are a recruiter in france, first of all you look at what degree the candidate has, and then age and then experience. Lets be honest, my degree give me the ability to get a job within two weeks in Paris, without even having to proove my skills. And some companies actually have salary spreadsheet, depending on the school you went to !

    Here (US), basically, when someone hire you, he does not care how old you are, what kind of degree you have and what is your favourite color, he just want to be sure you know how to do the job

    I believe France will not change, or maybe I’m just pessimistic…

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