Excerpted from the Belgium Career Guide
It is advisable for a candidate to seek out information about the company and the available position before an interview in order to evaluate if it is appropriate for his or her profile. This will also help the candidate properly prepare a résumé – known as a Curriculum Vitae (‘CV’) in Belgium – that outlines what the candidate brings to the position in line with company goals. It is customary in Belgium to bring a copy of the CV to the interview, as well as a cover letter – or application letter – that allows the jobseeker to tailor personal accomplishments to the requirements of a specific position. Because Belgians are modest by nature and dislike what may be seen as bragging or arrogance, the jobseeker must be careful with how he presents his talents and experience in both the CV and the interview.
In an interview situation, the candidate should expect rather intense eye contact and a high degree of formality. He or she should address the interviewers by title. With the differences in linguistics, it is important to be aware that titles may differ from region to region. Mr., Mrs. and Ms. should be used for Flemish titles, and Monsieur or Madame for French titles. First names should not be used until specifically invited to do so.
Interviewers in Belgium may ask very personal questions, which the candidate is not required to answer. A brusque refusal, however, will look bad. If the candidate does not wish to discuss an issue, it is best to work around such personal information without refusing to answer outright.
Linguistic skills are very important. Candidates can expect to be tested in any languages listed on the résumé/CV. Depending on the company, position and requirements, this may be a simple oral conversation or a formal written and oral exam.
At the conclusion of your interview, thank those with whom you have met, and shake hands with everyone, including any administrative staff with whom you have had contact. A follow-up email, letter or card is appropriate after the interview, thanking the interviewer for the opportunity.
This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Belgium Guide.