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Spain: Interviewing Conduct

by GoinGlobal

Interviews vary significantly from small, local, family businesses to international/global companies. Understand the difference and prepare accordingly.

Always be on time for an interview in Spain, although you should be prepared to wait for the interviewer for up to 30 minutes. An identification card might be required to enter the premises.
Upon arriving for an interview, present yourself and mention the name of your contact or the department in which you have been given an appointment. The receptionist will inform the interviewer of your arrival.
Dress should be formal or classic, although this might vary depending on the professional sector and company philosophy. Men’s business attire consists of a conservative but well-fitted suit, including a jacket and tie. Women generally wear stylishly tailored dresses or suits. Black or brown shoes for men and high-heeled shoes for women are preferred.
Nowadays, in the creative sector, as well as in communication and new technology-related companies, the dress code tends to be less formal; men are not required to wear ties and women are not always expected to wear tailored dresses or heeled shoes. In these contexts, a smart-casual look for both men and women is usually welcome and valued as a sign of modernity and originality.
A one-on-one interview is typical in Spain; panel interviews are less frequent. The interview usually takes place in a meeting room or the recruiter’s office. Often, a second interview, immediately following the first, could include the hiring manager and HR personnel.
You will typically receive the business card of the person conducting the interview. Come prepared with several business cards, as well as additional copies of your resumé or CV, in addition to materials with which to take notes.
Shaking hands is typical when meeting someone in business or social circumstances. The gesture must be firm. When formally introduced, it is appropriate to say buenos días (good day) or buenas tardes (good evening), and to add a compliment such as ‘I am delighted’ (encantado, if you are a man, or encantada if you are a woman).
Kissing cheeks is a common thing to do in Spain, but it is mostly reserved for already established contacts. Men usually don't kiss cheeks unless they have a very close relationship.
Typically, you will be offered a drink, usually coffee or water, before entering the interview room or before starting the interview.
Be relaxed and sit in a position that will allow a constant view of the interviewer. Avoid the appearance of stress, doubt or impatience. It is best not to smoke, even if the recruiter offers you a cigarette (and especially since smoking is no longer permitted in Spanish office spaces).
Your tone of voice should be clear and sufficient in volume to show confidence. Spaniards are used to speaking loudly and often interrupt each other, so don’t be surprised or become disconcerted if you’re interrupted while speaking.
Behavior and the ability to socially interact within the company are of great importance for Spaniards. Smile and show enthusiasm during the interview.
It is proper to shake hands again when leaving the interview.


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