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Important Values


  • 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.




  • 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.

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  • 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.

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