Video and Quick Overview
There's so much to explore! Here's our Snapshot:
- Friendliness and sociability
- Group affiliation and loyalty
- Personal character and integrity
- Respect for hierarchy and titles
- Mistrust of government and institutions
- Ceremonial Castilian Spanish is the norm.
- Formal language is appreciated in many settings.
- Expect boisterous and overlapping conversations.
- People are candid and emotional.
- Answers or decisions may be communicated indirectly to “save face.”
- A good sense of humor is important.
- Physicality (hugs, pats on the back) is common and is a sign of friendly affection.
- Casual conversations are common before business.
- Oral agreements should be taken seriously.
- Fluid and flexible. Relationships are more important than time.
- Tardiness is acceptable, but not for business meetings.
- There are many national, regional and local holidays.
- Work hours are often 9 am to 8 pm with a long break in the afternoon.
- Late hours are common at work, for dinner and for social activities.
- Many organizations switch to a compressed, intensive work schedule during the summer.
- Greet others with a firm handshake in business meetings.
- Socialize with colleagues over a drink and a tapa after work.
- Ask assertively “¿Quién es el último?” (Who is the last one?) if a queue or line is not clearly defined.
- Show interest in local traditions.
- Respect hierarchies and the chain of command.
- Boast openly of your education or accomplishments.
- Assume generalizations to be true, such as all Spaniards love siestas, bullfighting or flamenco.
- Wear sloppy or informal clothes, especially in churches, offices or good restaurants.
- Make critical comments about the monarchy, local traditions or the country’s history.
- Expect a team approach or sharing of ideas in making decisions. Most organizations are top-down.
- Make the ‘OK’ sign with your hand. It is a vulgar expression in Spain.
- Yawn and stretch in public.
¡Adelante! Become a Spain Expert!
- While the economic recovery is slowing down, the country continues to grow above the EU average.
- Life in the main cities is expensive, but general costs are relatively low by international standards.
- Unemployment remains high (around 14%), particularly among the youth.
- The tourism industry offers many opportunities, as well as many seasonal contracts.
- Most jobs are available in Madrid, the Northeastern provinces and coastal tourism destinations.
- The legal minimum wage has registered the biggest annual increase in over 40 years.
- Rent prices in the main urban centers have reached unprecedented peaks.
Get the Inside Scoop
- Many jobs are not formally advertised, so personal networks are essential.
- Explore social networks and online groups to make connections.
- Castilian Spanish is the norm for most CVs, but other co-official languages might apply.
- Spaniards value fashion and style. Grooming and the appropriate attire can impact an interview.
- Polish your online professional profiles, as these are becoming important for many recruiters.
- Most international non-profits are based in Spain’s largest cities.
- Consider volunteering as a useful access point to new professional and personal contacts.
- Take copies of your reference letters and credentials to an interview: traditional employers might request them.
Boost Your Success with Expert Advice
Get started with the Spain Career Guide!
Tip: Use the Topics Menu to find all there is in the Spain Guide. Laptop and Desktop users: look for drop-down menus under the country graphic, above.