La Perle Rare: How to put the spotlight on your uniqueness and value in a job interview


As a recruiter based in France, I came across the French term “une perle rare” which literally translated into English means ‘rare gem’ or ‘someone who is rare and precious’. Rare here means ‘not found in great numbers and precious ‘of great value because of being rare’.

In the recruitment world, in the English language,  you can find a lot online about the ‘Ideal Candidate’, often described as a candidate who fits all the must-haves, that is: experience, skills and specific qualities for the job role. 

A 'Perle Rare' is an 'ideal candidate', but they are also much more than ideal, they are 'unique'. 

'What makes you unique,' is a question often asked by recruiters. 

As a candidate you will find tons of advice online on how to answer this question. You will often find the same answers such as ‘I am a great communicator’, I am exceptionally good at…’

However, if we return to the above definition of a ‘Perle Rare’, then a ‘Perle Rare’ is by definition more difficult to find than an ‘Ideal Candidate’ because of their scarcity and great value because of being rare and precious. A ‘Perle Rare’ is someone who stands out from the crowd, is different, is of great quality, shines and has that something else which is difficult to discern but we just know that they have it.

So, what exactly is it that distinguishes a ‘rare and precious candidate’ from an ‘ideal candidate’?

An ‘Ideal Candidate’ ticks all the boxes for the must-haves.

A ‘Perle Rare’ has that something else, that ‘rarity’ and ‘preciousness’.

As individuals, we are all unique. You possess ‘other qualities’’ that are not always mentioned in a Job Description and which can swing the balance in your favour. These ‘qualities’ belong to you and are part of what makes you unique.

To understand what makes you totally unique, spend time on introspection: look deeply into yourself, look into your thoughts and emotions to identify who you are and what forged you as a person, to find out what makes you different.

What were the intense experiences and emotions you encountered which forged your personality, character, and mentality?  This will help you to discover yourself, as well as the soft skills and values which you apply and adhere to.

It is through experience that we develop our character and enrich our individuality.

What makes you different from others, is you, your life, your experiences inside or outside of a professional horizon, where you came from, your life path and how you adapted to different situations.

As an Expat, living abroad comes with its ups and down. With retrospection, you are aware that you experienced something in your life that not everyone has or will experience: something which  is unique to each experience abroad. 

This blog ‘Third Culture Professionals’ was initially launched for you as what you experience is a unique experience of working and/or living abroad in a culture that is different to your homeland culture.

During an interview process, your experience as a Third Culture Professional will help you to distinguish yourself as the ‘Perle Rare’. Work on your ‘story telling’, highlight your expat experience in a sincere and constructive manner.

‘Each brain is exposed to different circumstances. It's very likely that your brain is unique in the history of the universe’.     

Gerald Edelman

So, what exactly is your story? Take time to reflect on it.  Find out what differentiates you from others.

The following are some keywords to help you on your journey of self-discovery and certain skills that will make you stand out from the crowd:

  • -          Adaptability
  • -          Self-assurance
  • -          Self-worth
  • -          Integrity
  • -          Empathy
  • -          Kindness
  • -          Charisma
  • -          Sincerity
  • -          Critical observation
  • -          Tenacity
  • -          Resilience 

Remember that we cannot all become a ‘Perle Rare overnight, but we can always try to change and  to adapt. 

Be sincere and confident with yourself and others will notice it!

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Photo Татьяна Чернышова🍒 Pexels



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"I enjoy reading your blog as it gives very useful information to people like me – working on restarting his/her professional life after a period of expatriation. Your useful tips help to deal with this situation in a stress-free mode and help to methodically face few challenges. I highly recommend Brid’s articles to anyone who knows they have to do something to find a new job, but they don’t know how to do it”.

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"As an expat myself coming to the end of my current contract and planning to return home to Ireland, I found the article "La Perle Rare", particularly helpful. I will soon be searching for job opportunities. Undoubtedly, I do have to distinguish myself from the crowd. Following the suggestions and advice given by Brid, with self-reflection I discovered that I have an abundance of highly developed soft skills. These are skills I had taken for granted for so long never thinking they would highlight my uniqueness to a potential employer. In the past, my focus was on my qualifications and work experience. Although this focus is important, there is room for self-promotion too. Now, I shall forge ahead with a renewed sense of myself and the confidence to promote my other strengths in interviews. Thank you, Brid. I strongly recommend Brid’s blog to expats who find themselves seeking new job opportunities “. Fiona

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