The Job Market in Buenos Aires: How is training yourself to speak English for a job interview different from speaking English in everyday life ?

This article is part of our section “inglés in company” which provides help for Argentine professionals working in English. Click here to know more abour our offers or workshops (Next workshops : Tuesdays 13 y 24 of April, “inglés en el entorno laboral” y “inglés para la busqueda de trabajo”!)

Do you feel comfortable speaking English in a relaxed atmosphere, or casual work conversation? That’s great! But don’t get confused… That doesn’t mean you are ready for a job interview in ENGLISH! Today we will talk precisely about these differences to help you land your next English-speaking job!

In the third quarter of 2017, Argentina had a 15,4% rate of employed looking for work (u.e. the percentage between the employeed population looking for a job and the economically active population), of which 12,1% are located in the Greater Buenos Area. Looking for a job in Buenos Aires is not something so uncommon. Let’s assume you are looking for a job yourself : you might have to train for a job interview in English as the number of jobs for English speaking professionals is growing in Buenos Aires.

We can assume it was an easy job to do your resume or CV in English (if you need some tips, here are good links of Infoempleo or The Entrepreneur – links in Spanish). You now know the vocabulary you used in your resume. You may feel ready to do the interview in English.

Why is it a mistaken thought many people have?
Why is English for interviews different?

There is a big difference between speaking English in a relaxed atmosphere, or casual work conversation – and speaking English while being at a job interview. Avoid making the mistake of thinking you are ready for a job interview because you are good at speaking English in informal settings.


  • Because the skills you will have to demonstrate, and thus the vocabulary, are not the same
  • Because the way to introduce things, concepts, ideas, are different in English than in Spanish.
  • Because you will need the confidence and attitude you would have in Spanish in English

Let’s break down these three ideas to see which area you should dig into to prepare yourself successfully:

1.The skills you will have to demonstrate – and thus the vocabulary- are not the same.

The HR and person conducting the interview will generally start by asking questions about yourself. The question “Tell me about yourself” can be a bit tricky because it’s easy to get lost into details “I went to school here, and I worked here for 2 years and there for 3 years”. Skip what’s not essential and try to talk in terms of skills learned. An example would be:

I went to school there – where I developed a strong capacity to teamwork. I further enhanced that skill while working at (name of the company). I was regularly working on projects involving international teams. However, in my second job, I developed other skills such as (name the skills). Today, I believe my profile is a mix of (name 3 essential skills/knowledge you have).

You might also be asked to conduct reflexion upon yourself with questions such as “What weakness can you convert into a strength?”. Think thoroughly of your weaknesses and strengths and how one can be turned into the other. For example, you might be inflexible sometimes -weakness- but that makes you an organized person capable of leading a group -strenght-. A very good reference on this topic of weakness-strenght conversion is this infographic.

Another question might be a reflection on your future : “Where do you see yourself in five years”. To answer that question, take the time to reflect on what you want to improve and for what work purpose. Don’t think it in terms of position but in terms of skills. It might be developing your management skills to be able to manage a team in the next years. Show your interlocutor that you want to learn and improve! The sky is the limit!

Finally, another type of question you might deal with is reflecting about you vs others. You might face questions such as “ What can you do better in this position that others can’t” or “How did you deal with past conflict situations with your bosses/colleagues”. Always think over it in term of positive outcomes and without criticizing others.

2. Because the way to introduce things, concepts, ideas, are different in English than in Spanish

In this paragraph, we wanted to emphasize what you have to do, absolutely have to do, in an interview in English. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do it in Spanish, but you might have to do it MORE in English 😉

First, stating that you’ve developed a skill without giving a supporting example will not make your point. For example; if you’ve learnt team management, you can give an example of a situation in which you had to take the lead. How did you do it and how did it result? A good way to make sure that you explain your thought through and in a relevant manner is to use the STAR method. The idea is to support your idea (“I learnt team management”) with an example structured in the way “Situation, Task, Action, Result”. An article that explains it thoroughly is this one (link in Spanish).

Secondly, try to use connectors and introduction words. Linking phrases together is nicer to hear and follow. For example, you could say : “I have 2 years of experience working in your sector. Furthermore/ On top of that, I believe I have the skills and attitude necessary to fit into the role and contribute to the thrive of the activity”. It give strength to your speech!

Finally, the salary topic. It might be sensitive and you might not want to talk about it during your first (or second interview). You can read on Glassdoor what people comment about the average salary. It will give you an idea of what to answer if the question comes up.

3. Because you will need the confidence and attitude you would have in Spanish in English

Well, for this one, it all comes down to one thing : practice, practice, practice.
We want to emphasize on this one, especially because group interviews get more and more common nowadays. What does it mean? That you’ll need the confidence to know you’ll be able to speak English in front of people – and maybe not just a HR.

What can you do at home to train ?
Wy is it worth it for you to train ?

No need to panic. It just takes practice.
How can we advise you to train beyond preparing your answers (following the advices we suggested above 😉 ) ?

Practice, practice, practice

In front of the mirror. With an English-speaking friend. If you want to practice with a native and you don’t have an English-speaking native friend, Conversation Exchange platforms are for you. This article lists some good ones!
However, to be honest, it will always be better to train face-to-face with a native. In lvstudio, that’s what we do in many different formats! Come for conversation class, take an individual class focusing on interview training or join one of our workshops!

Listen to podcasts

Below, we suggest some podcasts related to job interviews or the workplace in general:

> ESLPOD : Getting an interview (podcast)
> ESLPOD : Hiring for a Job (podcast)
> ESLPOD : Nervous at interview (podcast)

Any other suggestions? Let us know!

Record yourself

Record yourself with a camera while doing the interview. Watch it and notice your weak spots, where you have difficulties and why. Watch out your body language, which is as important as the spoken language. Here is a good article about it (link in Spanish). Try to correct your vocabulary/sentences when they seem too complicated and confusing. Make them shorter, clearer – and don’t forget to smile!

4. Do personality tests

Do some personality tests to know more about your work behavior. These tests will give you hints about your weaknesses and strengths at work, your way to deal with pressure and workload, how you communicate with others or your relationship to hierarchy. Of course, a free test on internet is never 100% accurate but it might give you some ideas, which you can develop with examples. By personalizing the analysis of your answers, you will get useful ideas to answer interviewers’ questions about yourself. Here are links to some well-known tests: DISC test or the MBTI test.

5. Do a worskhop

At lvstudio incompany, we propose some workshops for people looking for a job or employees looking for training in English. The ideas we proposed above will never be better than a face-to-face and personalized guidance! Our workshops leaders are native teachers with teaching and working experience, who will help you to be comfortable during the interview and to show the most out of your strenghts in English.
Want more info on our workshops? Click here!


Workshop 1: Inglés para la búsqueda de trabajo
Workshop de 2 días : martes 17/04 (18.00hs-19.30hs) y martes 24/04 (18.00hs-19.30hs)
Dirección: Palermo
Precio: $600 (hasta el 01/04)

Workshop 2: Inglés en el entorno laboral
Workshop de 2 días : martes 17/04 (19.30hs-21.00hs) y martes 24/04 (19.30hs-21.00hs)
Dirección: Palermo
Precio: $600 (hasta el 01/04)

MORE INFO HERE! or send us an email at


Thanks a lot for taking the time to read! Do you have any other suggestions on how to train for an English-speaking interview? Let us know!

lvstudio in-company


An Englishman’s struggles with language abroad

I started travelling late in 2009 and like a lot of Englishmen I had had very little experience with foreign languages, especially when compared to other Europeans. There isn’t an emphasis on learning languages in the UK like in other countries. Also, I would be lying if I said I didn´t have a slightly bullish attitude to foreign languages, in that I expected everyone else to speak enough English for me to get by. Travelling throughout India I found communication to be a mixed bag. Most people spoke good English in the southern states (it is the official language) but up north it was either very broken or nonexistent. Getting about wasn’t too hard but it was a shame that due to my lack of Hindi I couldn’t form proper friendships with a lot of the great Indians I met. taj

Last March my wife and I holidayed in Japan and it was the first time I came across such a definitive language barrier. The Japanese were wonderfully polite and you could see that they wanted to help when we asked or enquired, but such distinct and different cultures and languages really did stop any true connection through speaking to one another. As you can imagine there was plenty of body language and pointing from our end and plenty of awkward, polite smiles and bowing from theirs!

taj 2 An impression I got from experiencing India and Japan, to some degree, was that they didn’t expect foreign travelers to understand their languages. That didn’t make it any easier getting around, but there was an: “Ok, so I can’t understand you, you can’t understand me, let’s work this out the best we can” attitude that helped.

Coming to Argentina has been by far the biggest eye opener in the language stakes. My wife is Argentine but we never talk in Spanish and so I came to Argentina with very little Spanish vocabulary. I have been fortunate because my wife’s family all speak English well enough, but of course tend to talk Spanish when we are together socially. My bullish attitude of expecting everyone to speak English around me has been well and truly shot down!

I have so far struggled to pick up Spanish which has made it difficult at times. I get the impression that there is an expectation to know Spanish when you want to engage with Argentines (and rightly so!) and so understanding conversational Spanish is all the more important.taj 3

What I’ve learnt when on the road is that if you want to travel and just do the tourist traps then a limited understanding of that country’s language will get you by, just barely. But, just doing the tourist traps means that you are missing a big part of travelling. Going off the beaten track is how to experience a country’s true culture and people, and this requires you to put effort into learning their language.


How to Avoid the Dreaded Comma Splice

semicolonPirates have nasty attitudes, this is frequently the result of wearing their pants too tight.

What’s wrong with this sentence? Most style manuals agree that there is a problem here. When two independent clauses are connected with a comma without a conjunction, a comma splice is the result. An independent clause is a clause that can stand alone as a sentence. There are several ways to resolve this situation. The easiest way to fix the problem is to separate the two clauses into two sentences.

Pirates have nasty attitudes. This is frequently the result of wearing their pants too tight.

Another way to resolve this problem would be to combine the two clauses with a conjunction such as or, but, or and. The addition of the conjunction makes one of the clauses dependent on the other.

Pirates have nasty attitudes, but this is frequently the result of wearing their pants too tight.

A third way to fix the problem is to use a semicolon. This is only possible if the clauses are independent. Semicolons are frequently misused so be careful with them.

Pirates have nasty attitudes; this is frequently the result of wearing their pants too tight.

For a clear and succinct description of how to use a semicolon, visit The Oatmeal



The Passive Voice

Which facts about Seattle do you think are true and which are false?

  1. The basketball team “The Lakers” are from Seattle
  2. It often rains in Seattleseattle
  3. Silicon Valley is near Seattle
  4. Bill Gates and Microsoft are located in Seattle
  5. Chrysler cars are manufactured in Seattle
  6. Bruce Springsteen was born in Seattle
  7. “Grunge” music comes from Seattle
  8. Seattle is in the Southwest of the United States

My Hometown

Many years ago, I was born in Seattle, Washington USA. Seattle is located in the  northwest corner of the USA. Recently, Seattle has become the focus of much international attention. Many films have been made there, probably the most famous of which is Sleepless in Seattle starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Seattle is also known as the birthplace of “Grunge” music; both Pearl Jam and Nirvana are from Seattle. For older people like me, it should be noted that Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle! NBA fans know Seattle for the “Seattle Supersonics”, a team that has played basketball in Seattle for more than 30 years. Unfortunately, Seattle is also famous for its bad weather.

Seattle has also become one of the fastest-growing business areas in the United States. Two of the most important names in the booming business scene in Seattle are Microsoft and Boeing. Microsoft was founded and is owned by the world-famous Bill Gates (how much of his software is on your computer?). Boeing has always been essential to the economic situation in Seattle. It is located to the north of Seattle and famous jets such as the “Jumbo” have been manufactured there for more than 50 years!

Seattle is positioned between Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains. The combination of its scenic location, thriving business conditions and exciting cultural scene makes Seattle one of America’s most interesting cities.

Chrysler cars are manufactured in Seattle          Chrysler manufactures cars in Seattle

Which sentence is ACTIVE and which sentence is PASSIVE?

The passive

The passive voice is used when focusing on the person or thing affected by an action.

  • The Passive is formed: Passive Subject + To Be + Past Particple

They built the house in 1989         The house was built in 1989.

  • It is often used in business when the object of the action is more important than those who perform the action.

Over 20 different models have been produced in the past two years.

The passive uses the same patterns for the other tenses:

  • PRESENT CONTINUOUS: is/are + being + past participle

Susan is cooking dinner                 Dinner is being cooked by Susan

  • PAST: was/were + past participle

      James Joyce wrote “Dubliners”      “Dubliners” was written by James Joyce.

  • FUTURE: will/going to + be + past participle

I will finish it tomorrow.                 It will be finished tomorrow.


 Practice using the passive

1. They make shoes in that factory.

Shoes      —             are made in that factory.

2. People must not leave bicycles in the driveway.

Bicycles      —             must not be left in the driveway.

3. They built that skyscraper in 1934.

That skyscraper      —             was built in 1934.

4. The students will finish the course by July.

The course      —             will be finished by July.

5. They are repairing the streets this month.

The streets     —             are being repaired this month.

Change these sentences into the passive voice

1. They had finished the preparations by the time the guests arrived.

2. You should take care when working on electrical equipment.

3. They are going to perform Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony next weekend.

4. Someone will speak Japanese at the meeting.

5. Karen is going to prepare the refreshments.



Crowdsourcing New Language Skills with Memrise

Looking for a unique and fun way to learn new vocabulary? Memrise is an online learning tool that uses flashcards augmented with mnemonics partly gathered through crowdsourcing and the spacing effect to boost the speed and ease of learning.   memrise

It was founded by Ed Cooke, a Grand Master of Memory, and Greg Detre, a Princeton neuroscientist specializing in the science of memory and forgetting. It works like planting a seed and watering the plant until it has grown into a plant with flowers. After certain periods of time (working alongside the science of how our short, medium and long term memories work) you must water and harvest new seeds to keep learning new vocabulary. You can follow friends and see how they are getting on with their flowers and you gain points which puts you onto a leader board.

It is a great and fun way of learning a new language as well as learning
other things too!




Fileteado Porteño

fileteado   As iconic as the face of Carlos Gardel, the stylized artistic style of fileteado can be seen throughout Buenos Aires adorning storefronts, buses, taxis and just about anything else that porteños care about. The curled flowers, loops and hand painted swirls that began as a simple decoration for produce carts developed over the years into a way of distinguishing the myriad of buses (colectivos) from their competitors. Now the style is recognized as a unique and disctinctive art form of the city. From plumber’s shops to Milongas, the characteristic flowers, cornucopias, and vivid colors are  more than just a means of filling the free space on signs; they are an art form as distinctive as Buenos Aires itself.

Excellent examples of fileteado can be found when walking around La Boca or outside the Carlos Gardel museum in Abasto. It is not necessary, however, to make a special trip. Just about everywhere you go in the city, you can see hand painted fileteado signs and walls used for advertisements or simply for decoration.  fileteado 2

There are even tours that  will take you around the city to see the best  examples of this unique  art form. Or, if you are  feeling creative, you can  even take a class from a master of fileteado.  Wherever you are in the city, there is a good chance that you can find a beautiful example of this distinctive art within walking distance.




Shopping in Buenos Aires

calleflorida   Whether you just came to Buenos Aires for a short vacation or whether your visit to Buenos Aires is part of a longer journey, it is definitely a good place to go shopping and get your money’s worth. If you just arrived in Buenos Aires, you are probably spending some time in the neighborhood of Palermo. Just walking around this neighborhood you are likely to encounter loads of stores that offer everything from jewelry to jeans. If you happen to be there during the weekend, make sure to check out Plaza Serrano where every weekend the streets turn into a small, open air shopping mall. Moreover, all the bars that at night allow you to enjoy nicely chilled Quilmes convert  into small markets during the day. You can find clothes and jewelry here that will definitely be cheaper than in a normal brand store. If you are in Buenos Aires a bit longer, this is perhaps not the place you want to go. So now you are asking yourself, “Where then should I go shopping?” Ask in any hotel or hostel and most likely they will tell you to try your luck on Florida Street. Which is very nice to see and is the closest that you will find to a “European” style shopping street. The street is closed for traffic and so you can easily shop at your own pace and enjoy looking at whatever it is you are looking for. However, that being said, it is worth considering just sticking to looking at things and not buying it there. It won’t be a surprise that to find the best possible shopping for the best price, go where the locals go. In this category there are  two options that you might want to consider, depending on how much you want to buy and  how long you are staying in Buenos Aires. The easiest option would be to go to Avenida Cabildo. This street is easily accessible from Subte linea D and takes you right from Plaza Italia or Palermo to the heart of the Porteno’s shopping street. Leave the Subte at station Juramento and you will find yourself surrounded by stores and the more familiar food chains. You will also notice that there won’t be as many tourists hanging around  there, although that’s definitely not the only reason to go.
In case you are staying for a bit longer, maybe to learn some Spanish before starting your travels throughout South America, there is one other place that might be worth visiting. The name is La Avellaneda and that is where you will find good quality clothes for an incredibly low price. It is easily accessible since you can take the Metrobus that leaves from Palermo station and which will take you just a couple of blocks away from where you’ll need to be. The only catch is that to get a cheap price in general you will have to buy at least a couple of items in the same store. But no worries, in general you just have to buy 3 articles of clothing in the same store, which is often still cheaper then buying just 1 article on Florida Street.
So if you are not afraid to explore a little bit and are looking to buy good quality clothing for traveling, or if you are just looking for something to take back home, Buenos Aires will definitely serve you well.


A los habitantes de Buenos Aires se le conoce mayormente como porteños, por la influencia del puerto en el desarrollo de esta cuidad. Ellos utilizan con frecuencia una jerga peculiar conocida como “lunfardo”, la cual surge de la fusión de lenguas, conocimientos y costumbres, traídas por los inmigrantes. Esta forma de hablar consiste en deformar el propio castellano, tomando palabras de algunos dialectos italianos y de otras lenguas, para luego adaptarlas en un nuevo idioma.

Es un leguaje dinámico y lleno de vida ya que se nutre constantemente de expresiones circunstanciales o improvisadas, renovándose constantemente. Al igual que el tango , nace en el ambiente marginal de los barrios pobres, debido a la convivencia forzada entre el gran caudal de inmigrantes que llegaron durantes las primeras décadas del siglo XX y la población local. Hoy se ha expandido a todos los niveles sociales y es cotidianamente utilizado en diversos ámbitos y situaciones. Lo podemos escuchar frecuentemente en los tangos, en los medios de comunicación y en los escritores más importantes de este país. Hay que mantener completa atención a la hora de escuchar hablar a un porteño, pues su español podría ser bastante complicado. He aquí varios ejemplos…

Algunas expresiones características del español rioplatense:
Opiniones favorables sobre una persona
• “Tiene onda”
• “Es re lindo/a”
• “Es copado/a”

Opiniones negativas sobre una persona
• “Es re mala onda”
• “No me cabe”
• “No me lo/a banco”

¡Ojo con los gestos! – Dictionary of Porteños’ Gestures

Cuando nos comunicamos, no sólo usamos las palabras; también hacemos gestos que pueden tener tanto significado como lo que decimos. Algunos son universales (como por ejemplo el pulgar para arriba), otros significan diferentes cosas en diferentes lugares. Acá, te enseñamos algunos gestos muy útiles para entender a los porteños.

When we talk, we use more than just words. We also do gestures that can be as meaningful as the words we say. Some of them are universal (such us “thumbs up”), some others mean different things in different places.
People from Buenos Aires are known for “speaking with their hands”. You might feel that we are making senseless chaotic movements but many of them are very meaningful and clear among locals.
Here, some of them.



¡Ojo! – Be careful!/Watch out!
[Pull down your lower eyelid with your index finger.]



¡Ni la más pálida idea! – I don’t know./I have no clue.[The chin flick: tilt your head back a bit and sweep the back of your fingers forward from under your chin.]


¡Ma sí, andá (a cagar)! – Get outta here!
[Throw your arm back toward your head.]



Montoncito – What the hell are you talking about?!/Just who do you think you are? [Bring all of your fingers and your thumb together with your hand pointing upward. Move your hand up and down at the wrist.]



¡Hambre! – You’re totally in the dark, out of it. You don’t know what time it is. [Bite your lower lip with your upper teeth and say: “mmmh!”]




Do you like photography ? ¿Conocés a Sebastião Salgado?

UNICEF Special Representative Sebastião Salgado

Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado is one of the most respected photojournalists working today. Appointed a UNICEF Special Representative on 3 April 2001, he has dedicated himself to chronicling the lives of the world’s dispossessed, a work that has filled ten books and many exhibitions and for which he has won numerous awards in Europe and in the Americas.

“I hope that the person who visits my exhibitions, and the person who comes out, are not quite the same,” says Mr. Salgado. “I believe that the average person can help a lot, not by giving material goods but by participating, by being part of the discussion, by being truly concerned about what is going on in the world.”

Sebastião Salgado