Once versed on how to job hunt in Argentina how does one seal the deal with a killer interview? The Argentine entrevista is similar to its American and British counter-parts but has just a few cultural caveats.
Here’s some advice to win over the hearts and minds of future Argentine jefes (bosses):
Demonstrate reliability for the job duration
The single most important aspect of interviewing in Argentina is demonstrating the ‘here-to-stay’ attitude for the duration of time required by the position. The main reason for rejecting candidates is because their stay in Argentina seems too temporary for the position.
Companies want the training and time invested in the candidate to be worth the effort. A company will not to waste its resources on an employee who seems as though they may pull up stakes and return home at any time.
Argentine CEO Richard Low made it clear in his ‘writer for software company’ position that he posted on Craigslist that no applications would be accepted from abroad and that the applicant must be installed in Argentina. “I only hire people who are here to stay for a while,” he says.
If demonstrating long-term reliability proves to be a problem, consider whether the job is a good fit – employers want someone in it for the long haul.
Entrance: Cool, Collected, and Coiffed
Argentines are notorious for looking sharp, but interviews almost never necessitate a full business suit. ‘Business casual’ is the dress for most companies, but large international firms and banks are the exception to the rule.
As a precaution, add at least thirty extra minutes to the estimated commute time. It’s easy to get lost in Buenos Aires, and subway and bus delays and malfunctions happen regularly. As with any job interview, it’s best to arrive early to leave room for error and also to allow time to simply sit and observe the workplace onda or vibe before your meeting. Is the atmosphere enticing?
Arriving late is never good but because Argentina is so unpredictable it may not mean certain failure. If you happen to be late, do advise the interviewer or company contact, but do not rush. In Argentina, it’s better to arrive late looking cool and collected than to arrive just on time but sweating and out of breath — this rule even applies to interviews.
Salutations: Kissing a future boss?
Interviewers may greet with the classic Argentine cheek kiss rather than a handshake. It’s best to let the interviewer take the lead and follow suit. If they go in for the Argentine kiss, remember to present the right side of your face and that it’s more about cheeks touching while making a kissing sound than actual lip-cheek contact.
Clear Verbal Communication
If your interviewer is Argentine, remember to speak clearly, slowly, and with simple sentence structures. Slight rambling, side comments or witty quips may confuse non-native speakers and be misunderstood. Avoid ethnocentrism and stay away from pop-cultural references unless they are industry related.
Extra tips: Come with ideas
Nadia Perujo, a human resources analyst for a local consulting firm, says, “You must do some technical research about the company before the interview.” As with applying for a job anywhere, do your background research and familiarize yourself with the company’s website. Depending on the position, you may be required to edit web material, a common task for native English speaking employees. If this is the case, simply jot down a few general ideas of what you could offer to improve the company’s online presence.
If the company regularly seeks native English speakers, share some visions on how you can work to target English-speaking employees. If it is a large company actively seeking native speakers, look for ideas on how to gear the recruiting ‘employment’ section of their website more towards resident foreigners or suggest spearheading a recruiting committee locally or with your alma mater.
Follow-up: Thank you and Persistence
It is best to send a follow-up email right away. Thank them for their time and mention hopes of working with them soon. Highlight your availability and eagerness and reference back to well-received ideas or small talk from your interview.
If the firm does not reconnect for a week, feel free to send them another email or call. Politely request information on the status of your application. Persistence pays off in Argentina.
Being polite, presentable and demonstrating commitment, while bringing fresh ideas and effective communication will give you an edge to stand out among the masses.
— Catherine Wright