Introduction to Argentina
Argentina is known as the land of the gauchos, who play football to the romantic sound of the tango and eat beef of high quality. It is the second biggest country of South America with huge geographical variations that range from desserts to mountains and jungles.
This country has more than forty million inhabitants, 85% of which are European descendants. Argentina was declared independent from Spain in 1816 and is very proud to be an independent republic. During and after WWI and WWII there was a vast amount of Europeans that immigrated to Argentina. They were predominantly Italian and Spanish. The resultant sharing of traditions and customs between the different immigrated cultures and the locals shaped the Argentinean culture to what it is today, which could be described as European with the warm Latin-American touch. They call the capital, Buenos Aires, the European city of South America. European influence is reflected in the architecture all around the capital. The mix of the European touch of the city and the South American hospitality gives a comforting feeling. Argentina’s economy benefits from its rich natural resources and is a big producer of agricultural products.
Argentina’s business communication
Argentineans are very emotional people who hold their family as their highest priority and put them above all. Family and close friends are a very important part of their lives, so they make a point of always maintaining contact and seeing each other on a weekly basis. One of these weekly gatherings with family and friends is the famous Sunday barbeque they call Asado. The work environment clearly reflects the family related culture; Argentineans want a warm and friendly work environment in which communication between management levels is open and all employees are aware of all the information concerning the business and each other, similar to a family. When handing over a task or asking for something to be done, it is better to ask it as favour, or gauchada, rather than an order as it comes across in a much friendlier way, and the employee will not feel ordered around. Companies in Argentina are relationship-driven hierarchies. This means that the chain of command does not exactly have to be the same as the way it is outlined in the organisational chart. It rather follows an unconventional structure. Who reports to whom depends a lot on a web of relationships obligations, and possibly on the title of the person. Due to this hierarchically driven culture, it is very important to talk to the right person in the organisation. Do not waste time trying to close a deal by talking to the wrong person who will not have the last word on the matter.
The importance of family and friends in the Argentinean culture is transmitted into the work environment, which is why having a good relationship with your employees is more important than being focused on tasks or the capabilities of the person. Managers do not divide tasks the minute they step into the office; they will most likely first drink a coffee or the famous “mate” tea and talk for a few minutes with their employees. Co-workers want to connect with their colleague at a personal level. If the employee feels that they are respected and part of the work family then they will be much more eager to perform at their best for the company.
In addition, Argentina is a country that uses a low-context style of communication. A low context-style of communication is a style of communication where unwritten rules are being used. If you are from another country you have to get to know those rules before you get in contact with the Argentinean people. Expect a lot of small talk before, during and after meetings. Take your time to be a part of the conversation as it will help you to build a relationship; share personal information about your family and experiences as it will be appreciated it if you open up. Be patient and do not try to rush the small talk. Keep in mind that it is a crucial part of doing business in Argentina. As Argentineans are very proud of their country, try to avoid discussing issues like past political problems or conflicts, such as the loss of the Falkland Island War.
Employability on the Argentinian market
The Argentine application procedure
A lot of Argentinean business-people can speak English, but finding a job also requires knowing Spanish. If you do not speak Spanish, it is recommended to work with a native speaker who can help you in negotiations or business meetings. To improve and build a relationship with your prospective business partners, it is important to communicate in Spanish.
Although jobs are offered in newspapers, it is more effective to make certain connections to get access to the job market. Besides, the spoken word is of bigger importance than the written word. Do not rely solely on email to communicate a message, follow up with a phone call or a meeting (World Business Culture, 2014).
One of the respondents of the CCBS survey mentioned, “Looking for a job would require research on websites. Have your LinkedIn updated and search for recruiting agencies that can help you”.
Letter of application guidelines
The Argentinean business culture is about building relationships. Therefore, you should try to personalize your cover letter. You have to make sure that it is addressed to the right person. It is common for people to refer to each other through the use of surnames rather than first names. This is a sign of respect rather than aloofness. A person can also be addressed by their title like Ingeniero (engineer) or Abogado (lawyer) (World Business Culture, 2014). After reading your letter, it should be clear who you are and why you are suited for the job. The information written in the cover letter has to be relevant to the function and company you are applying for. Write about your affection for the company and make it clear that you did your research and know relevant facts about the company. Make it seem like you want to be part of the family. If you have certain contacts or references that could be interesting for the company to know about, mention it in your letter.
Although a CV might look like a pretty standard document - white sheets of A4 paper summing up personal information and previous achievements - each country has its own do’s and don’ts when it comes to preparing one. There is no such thing as one ideal CV format per country that ensures success, but there are definitely some golden rules to stick to, so that an applicant leaves a good first impression.
Information has been taken from a number of sources, including 5 Argentinean CV’s and a survey conducted by students of the Cross-Cultural Business Studies minor program at the University of Applied Science, Amsterdam. The information provided by this survey and the CV’s was examined and compared to the information that was presented in several other sources. The conclusions that were drawn are provided in this research document. It will provide applicants that are aiming for a job at the Argentinean labour market with some advice that suits the style and format expected by employers in Argentina.
Length of CV
A typical Argentinean CV is more or less 1-2 pages. Most information on a CV is about the work experience, but also personal information like the marital status is very important. In Argentinean CV’s, it is common to build a short personal profile with a picture of yourself. The 5 CV’s that were compared also contained 1-2 pages. It is recommended to stick to this amount of pages to make sure the CV ends up at the right pile in the recruiters’ office.
Word choice and textual style
The Spanish taught in Argentinean schools is the same variety of Spanish that is overseen by the Royal Spanish Academy in Spain. The so-called, Castellano is the Argentinean version of Spanish and is nearly identical to the Spanish from Spain; the difference is that Castellano has some adaptation that originated from the Italian language due to the vast amount of Italian immigrants. Depending on the province, the intonation in the words can also change. But there should be no problem in understanding what the person wants to say. English is taught in school from primary school onwards. The level of English depends on the level of education that the person was able to achieve.
After analyzing the 5 Argentinean CV’s it is recommended to write your CV in Spanish or find someone who can translate it properly. The collected CV’s are looking very simple and organize. Do not make an art work of the CV by using any colors or unusual fonts. Only a picture of yourself could be in color. ‘Arial’ is the most chosen font within the 5 collected CV’s. The headers are in bold, capital letters or underlined. An Argentinean CV is not for storytelling; make use of bullets with short sentences or keywords. It should be easy to read and organized.
The CV should be easy to read, but do make sure to mention your titles even if they are complicated. Explain your position at previous work experience in a brief way.
Headers and respective order
An Argentinean CV always starts with personal information; first and second name, address, date of birth, nationality, telephone number, e-mail address and age.
After a short introduction of yourself it is common to start with your educational experiences. In which year you started and finished your education and the name of the school or institute should also be noted. It should be clear in the CV if the course is finished (diploma yes or no). This information is all on the first page of the CV.
The second and very important page is used for the work experience and references. The company name, the function and also the proceedings of the job are subscribed. If there are any references, put them also in the CV. In Argentina it is easier to find a job when having certain connections. The following order of the jobs is not set up by rules. One can start with the last work experience or start with the first work experience.
After these subjects it differs what to mention. In the collected CV’s, it can be seen that competences, skills and/or interests outside of the workplace can be mentioned. It is also a good thing to mention the extra activities someone took part in, for example a project that was set up and successful finished.
It is customary to enclose certain attachments to a CV, such as letters of recommendation, a picture of yourself and photocopies of results and/or diplomas. It is not obligatory to attach a photo of yourself, but most Argentineans do it and it will be accepted and appreciated. The collected CV’s did not all include a photograph of themselves, only 2 did. It is a personal choice whether you include it or not. Some have the opinion that appearance should not matter. But personal relationships in Argentina are very important and including a picture of yourself can help you come across as trustworthy to Argentineans.
Other CV matters
The CV should be seen as a personal marketing tool. It should be accessible and easy to read. It is important to add all the relevant skills and information such as which university you went to, where you are from and where you currently reside. Such personal background information carries importance because Argentina is such a class-conscious society. It is important that a recruiter gets to know you already via your application letter and CV, therefore it is common to mention aspects of your personal life.
The information in the CV should be 100 per cent consistent with reality, as any form of dishonesty is considered very rude and could lead to the end of that relationship. Do not put too much information in the CV, and make it clear to read. Trust is a very important value in Argentina. Do not mislead a recruiter by making your CV look more valuable than it actually is. Building a relationship is one of the most important aspects of doing business in Argentina. A certain relationship could be built faster if you show you are connected to the right people. If you have any, references should certainly be added at the end of the CV. The recruiter can get in contact with your references and find out whether you are trustworthy or not. Therefore, you might want to consider which references you should mention in your CV and which to omit.
If other social activities are relevant, it is also recommended to mention them, for example voluntary work shows you are a social person and involved with people.
The language used to communicate in Argentina is Spanish. The Spanish taught in Argentinean schools is the same variety of Spanish that is overseen by the Royal Spanish Academy in Spain. The so-called, Castellano is the Argentinean version of Spanish and is nearly identical to the Spanish from Spain; the difference is that Castellano has some adaptation that originated from the Italian language due to the vast amount of Italian immigrants. Depending on the province, the intonation in the words can also change. But there should be no problem understanding what the person wants to say. English is taught in school from primary school onwards. The level of English a person speaks depends on the level of education that they were able to achieve.
|Professional experience||Experiencia profesional|
Before the job interview takes place, it is prudent that you read the job and company details carefully. Managers in Argentina like to see that the applicant has some basic knowledge about the company. The interview is your opportunity to show your knowledge about the company; in what way you are going to improve the functioning of that company and especially why your personality will fit in the working environment. When travelling by public transport it is advisable to leave early as the Argentinean public transport might be delayed.
First of all, it is essential to be on time for the interview. However, this does not necessarily mean your interview will take place on the arranged time, since punctuality is not one of the best attributes of the Argentineans. Just sit with a smile and wait patiently until you are called in.
The business clothing style depends on the level of formality of the company. For most companies, men are expected to wear a dark suit: dark blue, grey or brown, with a tie and matching dark leather shoes. Women are also expected to dress formally and therefore wear a (women’s) suit, a silk scarf and modest jewellery. Furthermore, it is recommended to wear closed flat shoes or comparatively high heels. Argentina is still very conservative and traditional in their values; this is what determines the formal clothing style while doing business.
Furthermore, it is important to come across as enthusiastic and easy going, simpatico as they would call it in Argentina. Being very rigid and tense will make the interviewer uncomfortable and the interview will not have a nice flow.
When meeting a person in a business- related context the best way of greeting each other would be with a handshake. Nevertheless, people who know each other from work and have established a certain type of relationship will greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. On a first encounter, a handshake is always the safest forms of greeting.
Last but not least, always make eye contact with the interviewer because failing to do so will be viewed as a lack of respect. It is also important to be yourself, which will be explained further on.
During the interview, it is likely that the interviewer will ask you questions about your personal life, for example about which football club you support, your weekend activities, or holidays plans. This conversation about random topics is used to build a relationship between the interviewer and the applicant. It is essential to just be relaxed and come across as easy going. The interviewer could also ask questions about family or studies. Argentina is a very status conscious country, which means status can have a big influence when applying for a job.
Another important aspect in the interview is to be yourself. The interviewer wants to see the true personality and character of a person as it is important that the applicant fits in well with the atmosphere of the company.
During the interview, the candidate should not mention anything related to salaries or bonuses; building a relationship has priority. Money issues can be arranged later on in the process.
Survey results and what local respondents say
In an online questionnaire of CCBS 2014 of the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam, a number of professionals in Argentina were asked to share their knowledge and experience on the recruitment process and on working in Argentina. Below you will find the most interesting outcomes of the survey.
Firstly, the respondents insists that the average length of a CV should be around 1-2 pages, which is similar to most countries around the world, with no legal restrictions on the content of the CV. It is expected that the CV should be in Spanish and English though it depends on the industry and headquarters of the company. As one respondent states, “[It] depends on which company, but for internationals both languages are required” Nevertheless, because of local pride, Argentineans highly value their mother tongue, and the country subsequently has a high rate when it comes to applying for a position in the local language only although this is slowly changing.
Furthermore, Argentina is one of the few countries where people add a small passport photo to their CV. This shows the priority in Argentina when it comes to personal relations, which is supported by the research of Geert Hofstede that shows that Argentina scores high in the collectivism dimension. This means that Argentineans find personal relationships very important.
The correspondents noted that in an Argentinean interview men are expected to wear a dark suit with a necktie and dark leather shoes. It would not be advisable to come with a colourful suit as it is seen as clownish and does not give a serious impression. Women should also be dressed formally, but the dress or suit can be a colour of preference. This formality shows how traditional Argentina still is. The masculinity dimension of Hofstede supports this outcome.
For men and women it is advisable not to wear head coverage outside of religious dress, as other forms of head coverage, such as a hat, is not considered acceptable. In fact, it is seen as rude when someone is wearing head coverage inside. It is advisable taking it off before entering the building. As Hofstede said in his study: “In this society status should be underlined. Appearance is very important: the (dark) attire or sober tailleur, the valuable watch, an expensive hotel, these elements allow inferring about power and facilitating the entrée.”
Here is some advice from respondents on job interviews: “Be yourself. Do not try to show [sic] someone you are not”; “Know the company, be punctual, dress properly and be yourself ”; “Just be yourself. Be short in your presentation, listen carefully and only speak when you are asked to”; and ”If you don't know an answer to a question, being sincere saying, ‘I don't know’ works better than trying to make things up”. As shown, advice to “be yourself” is mentioned quite a lot of times, which shows how important it is to see the real personality of the applicant in order to discover if the person will fit in the working environment.
Online job sites
When looking online for a job in Argentina it is not required to register on career websites although it is recommended because by registering, the offers will be much wider and you will receive a weekly email with updates of relevant job offerings. The different websites provide the jobseeker the option to search by industry, province, city, company and profession. Jobseekers can also post their CVs on these websites free of charge. The two websites that were most recommended by the respondents are ZonaJobs and Bumeran.
- Bumaran - http://www.bumeran.com.ar/
- ZonaJobs - http://www.zonajobs.com.ar
- Computrabajo - http://www.computrabajo.com.ar
- Clarin - http://www.empleos.clarin.com
The two main Argentinian newspapers that list job openings are:
- La Nacion
In the post, only the job description and the contact information are provided. The job applicant should call and ask for the details and hopefully will be given an interview appointment. The previously mentioned ZonaJobs is the website for La Nacion’s job offer listings.
Firstly, the respondents insist that the average length of a CV should be around 1-2 pages, which is similar to most countries around the world, with no legal restrictions on the content of the CV. It is expected that the CV should be in Spanish and English, though it depends on the industry and headquarters of the company. It is highly recommended to speak a good word of the Spanish language, this because most companies prefer to talk Spanish.
Furthermore, Argentina is one of the few countries where people add a small passport photo to their CV. This shows the priority in Argentina when it comes to personal relations. This means that Argentineans find personal relationships very important.
The correspondents noted that in an Argentinean interview men are expected to wear a dark suit with a necktie and dark leather shoes. It would not be advisable to come with a colourful suit as it is seen as clownish and does not give a serious impression. Women should also be dressed formally, but the dress or suit can be a colour of preference. This formality shows how traditional Argentina still is.
For men and women it is advisable not to wear head coverage outside of religious dress, as other forms of head coverage, such as a hat, are not considered acceptable. In fact, it is seen as rude when someone is wearing head coverage inside. It is advisable taking it off before entering the building. “Be yourself” is mentioned quite a few times, which shows how important it is to see the real personality of the applicant in order to discover if the person will fit in the working environment.