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'The Italian lifestyle compensates for money'

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Alessandro Bossi says market experience is more important than linguistic skills.
16:44 CEST+02:00
Italy is a tough place to find a job. But there is a demand for skills that have been acquired from abroad. Alessandro Bossi, a director at the recruitment firm Hays, talks to The Local about the best way to secure a job in Italy.

Is there a big demand for foreign workers in Italy?

There is not a big request from foreigners for work at the moment in Italy, this is due to the lower salaries offered in Italy compared to other countries in Europe. When Italian companies hire foreigners, it’s usually because they bring new skills related to various markets.

What kind of skills do companies look for when hiring foreigners? For example, is it essential to speak and understand Italian?

Speaking and understanding Italian is plus, not a must have. The most crucial skills needed are those related to market experience and experience acquired in different contexts - mainly from abroad.

What kind of salary can a foreign professional command?

Foreigners usually come to Italy to acquire specific experience or as a personal choice. Italian salary packages are not competitive; indeed, experience and the Italian lifestyle tend to compensate for money.

What would you advise foreign professionals seeking work in Italy? For example, is it good etiquette to approach a company directly?

The best way would be to target specific companies in their sector directly, or they can apply through headhunters. A headhunter is often good for introducing them to a company and sector.

Does the cliche: "It's not what you know, but who you know" ring true in Italy?

In Italy, as in other Mediterranean countries, it is a mix of both. As you can imagine, relationships play a role, but nowadays the job market is getting more and more competitive and companies choose among the best in class. Knowing people in companies is a good way to swiftly understand what the role would entail and whether the person applying is a good match or not. A good way to speed up the recruitment process is by already coming with the key competencies that the role and company require.

Is the job climate as tough for foreign professionals as it is for Italians?

It really depends on the company and the type of job openings. Of course, the economic situation of the country plays a role, it is a matter of fact.

What "interview" tips would you advise applicants?
They need to promote themselves effectively during the interview as well as listen carefully and respond clearly. They should dress appropriately, demonstrate curiosity and exploit their strengths. They should also show determination, avoid acting aggressively, research the company well beforehand and avoid contradicting themselves.

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