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Excerpted from the Costa Rica Guide

Once an interview is confirmed, find out as much as possible about the industry and the company using such resources as its website, specialized magazines and discussions with people who know the company. Learn about the company’s mission, vision, values and objectives.

Pre-Interview Preparation

As in the rest of Latin America, traditional interviews (face-to-face and by appointment) are the most common in Costa Rica. The traditional interview typically will take place in an office, with the interviewer on one side of a desk, and the job candidate on the other. Exceptions to this practice are becoming increasingly common, however, and technology is now being used to interview candidates. You may be interviewed by phone, or online through GoToMeeting, Skype, MSN or other videoconferencing service. You may meet with your interviewer in such places as restaurants, job and product fairs, and facilities tours. Depending on the company, you may deal with two, three and even more interviewers (panel style). You may be asked to take part in a problem-solving simulation through written or live case studies, or you may be sent to an assessment center, where many candidates are being evaluated at the same time.

Interview Conduct

Costa Rica shares Latin America’s general lack of emphasis on punctuality; it’s not rare for meetings and other activities to begin 15 minutes late, or even longer past the specified time. Arriving late to a job interview, however, is highly disqualifying, especially if the job is with a company based in the US, Canada or Western Europe. Bottom line: arrive early and be prepared to wait.

In almost every case, formal business attire is required for interviews; for example, a suit for men and the equivalent dress for women. As with many other aspects of personal marketing, however, it is important to follow organizational culture — some companies are extremely formal while others are highly informal, so appropriate interview attire is relative.

The Interview

Most interviews last between 30 and 60 minutes, though at some companies the first interview may be brief, while at others it may go on for 90 minutes or longer. The length of the interview often depends on who is conducting it, as well as how much attention you have attracted as a potential employee. Human resource/human development people usually will spend less time with a job candidate than will unit heads, managers, presidents and CEOs. Depending on the company, your first interview could be conducted by any one of these people.

This is just a sample of what you'll find in the complete Costa Rica guide.

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