Finding a job
Finding a job in Barcelona can be easy or difficult. There are a lot of employment opportunities. However, there is a lot of competition, especially in the current economic climate, which means that the interview process can sometimes be long and hard. You’re best to focus on what merits you have over Spanish and Catalan applicants, being a native English speaker, and apply for jobs where this will be a bonus as a native Spanish speaker will be favoured in most other jobs that do not require this.
If you’ve only just arrived and you’re looking for work but you only have a minimal understanding of Spanish or are a non Spanish speaker there are fewer job opportunities available to you, however it is not impossible to find something. The jobs available to you range form bar work (especially Irish bars), waitressing, telesales in English, aupair work, English TEFL teaching, and some receptionist jobs. The best place to look for this type of employment is in the English language magazines (Barcelona Connect, The Metropolitan) or the Spanish newspaper (La Vanguardia – Sunday edition. You can also use websites such as www.barcelonaconnect.com/classifieds and www.loquo.com, which have new job offers every day.
If you already have your foot in the door and are feeling more confident with your Spanish language skills, you might be wondering what else is available and how to find out about it. Employment opportunities available to Spanish speakers include secretarial and administrative work, customer service, Import-Export, public relations, sales, business, graphic design and free-lance journalism. The following information is a guide on where to look.
Temping Agencies (ETT's)
Spanish temping agencies can help you to find temporary or permanent work. You will have to take along a CV and fill in their own forms as well as carrying out a spoken interview in Spanish, you may also be asked to do some timed aptitude tests. The agency will then look for jobs that are suitable for your candidature and organise an interview with the company. You will be employed by the ETT and your pay includes holiday pay which means that you are not entitled to any paid holiday leave. The company might decide to employ you themselves after a trial period of 3 – 5 months. (Manpower www.manpower.es , Albecon www.allbecon.es , People www.people-ett.com , Select www.select.es )
Online job searches
Infojobs is hugely popular with Spanish employers and it is currently one of the most successful methods of finding a job. You must create a profile within the web site, which is similar to an online CV. You can then look for jobs using the search engines and apply online. If a company is interested in your profile they will call you, usually on your mobile, and arrange an interview. When you initially sign up to create a user profile in Infojobs, be prepared to spend at least 30 minutes. Make sure you have a copy of your CV on the computer to remind you of everything that you want to include. Infojobs also gives you the option of including your CV at the bottom of your user profile, although it is recommended to only include information that is different from that which is already included as part of your profile. On the personalised candidate’s menu you will have the option of viewing you CV as a potential employer would see it and it is advisable to check this continually to make sure that the information is correct. Potential employers also like to see that you update your CV at regular intervals. The date on which you last modified your CV is displayed on any job application you make. You are also given the option to include a photograph on your profile. It has to be a passport sized photo in GIF format. (Info jobs (www.infojobs.net), Monster www.monster.es )
To find a job as a language teacher, the easiest way is to use a website called Lingobongo www.lingobongo.com which is a website dedicated to putting teachers in touch with schools and academies in Barcelona (and also Madrid and Berlin). They have a very handy CV/resumé sending service which sends your CV/resumé around every single school in the city at the touch of a button (you could also do it “manually” by slogging through the Yellow Pages and sending off emails one by one, but believe us, it will take you forever!). It costs 10€ but it’s well worth it as it means that you can arrange to get the hours that suit you in the places you want and also puts you in a much better negotiating position with schools as most people get multiple offers from various schools, which means better wages.
Interview Techniques - handy hints
• Appearance is very important and a potential employer will expect you to be wearing smart clothes. It is advisable to wear a suit or at least a smart suit jacket. Remember a potential employer will base their entire opinion of you on this first meeting and your aim is to create a good first impression so that they will call you back for a second interview.
• Basic Catalan is a must. Employers in Barcelona often want to know that you can get by in Catalan and it might well be an internal policy of the company to only employ Catalan speakers. Any person who has contact with the public in their job must, by law, be able to speak some basic Catalan. Local councils (ayuntamientos) normally offer free courses.
• Your body language is very important as recruitment people are often trained in human psychology and will analyse this as well as what you say! You should try to maintain eye contact for 90% of the time. Your hand gestures are also important so try to keep you hands on top of the table and use them to give open gestures while you are talking.
• Prepare some questions for the end of the interview. This has the double effect of showing yourself off in a good light, while allowing you to find out information about the company. Typically good questions to ask would be:
-What promotion schemes do you have in place to act as an incentive for staff to stay?
-What career opportunities are there in this company?
-What sort of regular training schemes are there in this company?
-Are there regular meetings with staff and employees?