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Working in Costa Rica

Article Summary:

It can be challenging to find a job in Costa Rica as an expat, as the government is very protective of its domestic workforce; but don’t be dismayed, there are ways to become employed in paradise.

Photo Credit: Costa Rica News

Original Article Text From Costa Rican News:

Doing Business in Costa Rica

The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Costa Rica is a beautiful place to live, full of stunning scenery and friendly people. An additional bonus for expats is the affordable cost of living. That said, it can be challenging to find a job in Costa Rica as an expat, as the government is very protective of its domestic workforce. The easiest way to relocate to Costa Rica is to be transferred to a branch office of your home company.

Many multinational companies choose to open a branch in Costa Rica because of its Free Trade Zones, which offer nearly universal exemption on the import of goods. If you do not transfer within your current company, you need to possess skills which cannot be found in the local workforce that make you specially qualified to fill an open position.

Once you have found a job in Costa Rica, being able to navigate the intricacies of cross-cultural communication is essential to a successful expat assignment. Costa Rica has its own set of cultural norms that may vary from what you’re used to in your home country.

When meeting someone for the first time in a business context, give them a firm handshake and maintain eye contact. Direct eye contact is also usually favored during business conversations. One thing you may have to get used to in Costa Rica is that locals tend to leave only a small amount of personal space between each other when conversing. They also tend to touch more than in other cultures.

It is a good idea to have one side of your business card translated into Spanish, and present the card with this side facing up. The use of professional titles is important in Costa Rica. These should be written on business cards and used when introducing or addressing someone. Some examples of professional titles are Ingeniero for engineers and Abogado for lawyers.

It is vital to success in the Costa Rican business world to take time to develop a personal relationship with your business colleagues and associates. Small talk serves an important purpose before getting down to business. It allows both parties in a business relationship to get to know one another better and build trust.

As life in Costa Rica revolves around the family, inquiring after the health of a business partner’s spouse and children is always a good topic for small talk. Other recommended topics include nature, culture, art, soccer, food, habits, dancing and history. Try to avoid talking about religion and don’t use this opportunity to dole out any personal criticism. Wait for your Costa Rican colleague to introduce the business part of the meeting, else you may come across as pushy and rude.

When you are invited to a business meeting in Costa Rica, it is important to know that punctuality is valued more highly here than in many other Latin American countries, especially in a business context. It is considered rude and unprofessional to show up late to a meeting. For presentations and meetings, prepare handouts and proposals in both English and Spanish.

Costa Ricans tend to favor an indirect communication style, and do their utmost to avoid open conflict and confrontation. You should therefore avoid using hard selling and pressure tactics, as this approach will probably not receive a positive reaction. Decisions are reached by common consensus, and are not made hastily.

Link to Original Article:

From Costa Rican News

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