4 differences to better understand individual interview and professional interview

Coffee machine, team lunch, afterwork… The opportunities for informal exchanges in the company are legion. These exchanges are important for circulating information and cementing the teams.

But what about more formal occasions to assess the performance of employees or to support their professional development?

Among the one-to-one interviews, the individual (or annual) interview and the professional interview are often confused. It has even often happened that certain elements of one are integrated into the other. A false good idea that certainly saved time but created confusion.

These additional interviews are essential to promote employee commitment and develop performance in the company.

To help you better understand and use them, here are 4 differences between the annual interview and the professional interview.

Legislation: legal obligation vs right offered

If the annual interview is not mandatory but rather constitutes a right offered to the employer, the professional interview constitutes a legal obligation as specified in article  L. 6315 -1 of the Labor Code and this since March 7, 2014.

The employer must notify the employee of this from his job interview. The interview must take place at least every 2 years and during working hours. If he has been warned sufficiently in advance, the employee cannot then refuse to participate in the interview under penalty of dismissal.

A professional interview should also take place systematically after:

For any company with more than 50 employees, any breach of this obligation will give rise to a sanction by the Labor Inspectorate.

Thus, an employee who has not participated in any professional interview for 6 years may require his employer to top up his CPF (Personal Training Account) with €3,000. If companies with less than 50 employees are not required to notify and pass this interview to their employees, its absence may constitute discrimination (and therefore a fault) by the judge in the context of a procedure before the industrial tribunal.

To note! 

The annual interview may be compulsory for the employee if the collective agreement or the branch agreement of the company has so decided.

The principle: operational results vs. professional expectations

If the professional interview and the annual interview both make it possible to give feedback, their principle is however different.

The professional interview is an exchange focused on skills management of the collaborator. It is therefore directly linked to his employability.

It is based on his professional aspirations and constitutes a privileged moment for him to:

Certain key points related to skills development will be addressed:

The professional interview is therefore an excellent opportunity to align the desires of the employee with the real needs of the company.

The individual interview measures the operational results of the employee and therefore his ability to implement his skills to bring value to his position and to the company.

It is therefore situated in a logic of performance measurement and constitutes a privileged moment of exchange with his manager to approach:

The topics discussed in the interview are therefore varied and range from the analysis of the employee's well-being to the assessment of the past year, including the monitoring of skills, training or even future prospects (salary increase, development )

The annual interview makes it possible to set new objectives. It makes it possible to prepare for the future in a concrete way in the short and medium term.

It is also an opportunity to:

The objective: long-term vision vs. short-term vision

Here again, the two exercises differ.

The purpose of the professional interview is to project a long-term vision based on the career of the employee and his progress.

We will consider all of his skills, both hard-skills and soft-skills. Even those that are not implemented as part of his position.


In order to be able to diagnose possible training needs and outline possible development prospects.

The professional interview must correspond to a professional project approach, that is to say the strategy to be adopted to achieve one's professional objective. It must therefore be consistent with:

Based on the information collected during the exchanges, the company can then build an appropriate skills development plan.

The purpose of the individual interview is to take stock. Traditionally, that of the past year. Hence its name “annual maintenance”. It is part of a short-term vision because its goal is to analyze results to set new objectives.

The exchange between the collaborator and his manager will make it possible to draw up a performance evaluation which will measure the achievement or not of the objectives set and satisfaction with regard to the work carried out.

In a nutshell: are the figures reached or exceeded? Are the employee's professional skills satisfactory for the position held?

Depending on the results, the manager can propose an action plan to his employee with new objectives and indicators to achieve.

To note !

Only professional skills will be discussed and not private life (Article L1222-2 of the Labor Code). We are nevertheless within the framework of an exchange which must be carried out in goodwill and good faith. Everyone must participate by taking their responsibilities to move the discussion forward in the right direction.

Practice: professional interview grid vs evaluation grid

The preparation and implementation of the two interviews differ in their content and the frameworks used.

-Before: the employee must be informed of the agreed date and the terms of the interview process using a professional interview grid. The N+1 (manager or HR) like the employee must prepare this exchange so that it turns out to be more fluid and more efficient.

The manager can, for example, prepare the employee's job description, his CV and any previous reports. Preparing questions on both sides can also be fruitful in order to better structure the exchange.

-During: a professional interview can last up to 2 hours depending on its recurrence and will address topics prepared in advance such as development wishes or planned training.

-After: The essential elements (date, position, summary, training actions, etc.) are recorded in a report

-Before: it is also mandatory to notify the employee of the date of the meeting and to send him an evaluation grid upstream which will serve as a common thread during the exchanges. Manager and collaborator will be able to compare their versions, which will serve as a basis for discussion.

-During: an annual interview lasts approximately 1 hour but this may vary depending on the exchanges. The manager must open the discussion with questions focused on performance and relating to the objectives, missions and skills implemented by the employee. These questions are free but reflect the objectives of the company, its culture and its values.

-After: just like for the professional interview, a report must summarize the exchanges. It is at this time that any promotion or salary increase proposals also come into play.


Both the professional interview and the individual interview are essential for:

Although the themes covered by the two types of interviews are different, they are on the other hand complementary and both have points in common:

So, how to promote simpler and faster access to data ? How, at a time of hybrid work, and a more uncertain market, can managers and employees improve responsiveness and fluidity in exchanges?

A digital solution promoting regular, fluid and recorded exchanges will promote:

Discover Flashbrand

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.