Customs of working and living in Belgium!
The Belgian culture!
The Belgian culture is very interesting as there are big differences between the French- and Dutch speaking part of the country.The big difference, looking at working cultures, is the amount of structure that the Dutch-speaking part has as opposed to the French-speaking part. This means the do's and don'ts from these parts will also vary from each other!
Overall, Belgium is mainly known for their tolerance, flexibility, modesty and open mind. Although they value a safe life with privacy, they do tend to be very involved in community events. And, while they are somewhat reserved around people they just met, family is the most important thing for them. They will organize a lot of activities with their family members and tend to have a close relation with them
We will also give you tips on how to ace your job interview and which laws & regulations you will have to comply with when working in Belgium.
What should you do?
- When being in a job interview, make sure your CV is on-point and you memorize all the key components for you to have a proper chance. Belgians aim for perfection and also expect this from their workers
- Be open to your employer, they want to know everything about you and really get to know their new colleague. This can become a bit personal, but it is nothing intentional
- Keep a positive attitude during job interviews and don't criticize previous employers, this will give off a bad energy and could give a lasting impression of you
- When entering or leaving a business room, make sure to shake hands with all present
- Try to respond immediately to any requests of your colleague or business partner
- Make sure to stick to any promises you made, Belgians typically don't like when you forget about them
- Belgians are known for compromise, negotiation and common sense. They appreciate clear facts and figures, so try to stay clear in your work as well!
What shouldn't you do?
- Don't point fingers, it is considered ill-mannered
- Don't keep your hands into your pockets during a conversation, it is considered inappropriate and gives off the feeling that you are not interested in the other person
- Giving someone a slap on the back is considered offensive in Belgium
- Punctuality is taken very seriously by the Belgians and an explanation is often required if you are delayed.
- It is not acceptable to call your colleagues when they are at home. Unless there is an emergency, you should refrain from doing so.
- Don't get down to business immediately, Belgians tend to socialize for a short period first