To set the tone for our company in localization recruitment for 2011 I tried to get a feel for the hiring expectations of our clients over the next year. And – wowza – I came across a lot of positive news! Things are looking up for those of us in the language industry for 2011 in the US.
Many sources whispered sweet nothings to our tired little recruiter ears:
The Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011 edited by the US Labor Dept’s Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that language jobs in translation and interpretation will have a ‘faster than average’ job growth trajectory compared to other occupations at a rate of 22% through 2018.
Dice Holdings, the company behind dice.com – a leading tech job board, says “After 10 consecutive months of private sector employment growth, half of employers and recruiters anticipate more professionals will be hired in the first half of 2011 than the previous six months,” based on a survey they did in Dec 2010.
US News.com’s Careers section cited that “Next to healthcare there is no greater opportunity than in technology” in their Best Careers 2011: Technology Jobs article.
Careers on MSNBC cites a survey by CareerCast.com that says “Software Engineering is the Best Job for 2011” due to the increasing need for developing new devices, gadgets and mobile apps.
This week’s Time Magazine (Jan 17, 2011) features a cover story called “Where the Jobs Are” with a strong focus on professional and business services. Further they dedicated a whole section called “Tech Leads the Way” wherein they say: “Among the happiest people around will be those working in the technology sector…” .
And were there is tech development, hot software engineering opportunities and new things being built, there is localization work.
This is music to our ears – Happy 2011!
How a Recruiter Reads Your Resume
By: Denise Spacinsky
I bet you wonder what happens to your resume when you send it into a company or a recruiter. You probably spent more than a few hours pulling it together, checking grammar and making sure it was perfect. And perhaps you struggled some with finding the right format and keeping the information concise and to the point. Once it is sent in I imagine that worry about getting the message across about what you have done, can do and want to do in your next position.
Already this week (and it’s Wednesday) I personally reviewed many 100s of resumes. Things have gotten so busy that all of us are pitching in on candidate reviews. While I was knee deep in the database, I started to contemplate how I screen information. Before I started in recruitment I had no idea what would draw someone’s attention to a resume – one of the first door openers to a new position. Now I know.
I figured I could share that with you and take out some of they mystery about getting your information noticed. I hope these tips help.
(Fair disclaimer – we are all different. The folks on our recruitment team may look at resumes very differently than I do. But here is what I look for, pretty much in this order, below.)
Job Titles/Positions Held
I don’t know why, but I always look for this first. If we are looking for a Senior Localization Project Manager – I’ll want to see that same (or similar) title appears on your resume. I know there is a trend to use wacky titles. That’s fine, as long as the equivalent ‘real’ title appears on the resume. So if you were “Secret Weapon” on your business card, please also tell us that that means that you were “Lead Localization Engineer” as well.
Sometimes we see ‘confidential company’ on resumes – but this doesn’t help us very much. It’s much more powerful to put the real employer names on the resume, and preferably a brief description of the company, their products and services and how large they are. That helps particularly when a company name is not immediately recognizable.
Key Accomplishments (preferably quantifiable and bolded)
This is so important – I want to be able to see right away from scanning a resume what you have done in each position. If you managed 425 localization projects in 83 languages – let us know. If you brought in $5M over quota – let us know.
This is practical – we want to know that you are located where the jobs are. Many clients do offer relocation, but clients often like to see local candidates first for positions.
We have to know how to reach you. And it’s probably best that you create a professional email for your job search. We see things like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ which creates it’s own impression. Further, we will almost always contact you via email first vs. by phone. If you only put a phone number it’s likely you may not get contacted.
My Preferred Format
Title, Company, Length of Service
This is key and should always be in there. Ideally, for length of service you should put month + year – Jan 2007-Dec 2009 reads very differently than 2007-2009. And if you have contracted with companies vs. being a permanent employee, note that too. Contract roles can be shorter term (which is ok) but if we don’t know you had a series of short assignments, we might get the impression that you hop around (or get let go) a lot.
Description: Bullets with Bolded Key Information
We need to see just enough so we can scan quickly and get the information we need. Fast. Like in the first 15-30 seconds.
Listing expertise with languages and tools
This is particularly important for engineering or other technical profiles.
Stuff I really like to see
Participation in associations and conferences; giving speeches or writing papers
It shows you are a leader, you know your stuff and can separate yourself from the crowd.
For example: you saved millions of dollars for a client or brought in billions in business. If we don’t know exactly what you have done it can be difficult to assess your level of experience and expertise. Our clients are very specific about what capabilities they want to see in candidates to fill their business need. If you are vague we can’t make a match very well.
Sample Client List (if you work/ed for an LSP)
This shows us a couple things: 1) what industries you are used to dealing with, 2) what level of complexity and market size you are accustomed to serving.
Resumes that Read Like Novels
If we can’t see clearly what you have done at the first glance, we’ll move on.
Resumes that Don’t Say Anything
Need I say more?
What I mean here is information like ‘I’m a team player’ and ‘I have great communication skills’. That’s all terrific, but not really important when we are looking at a profile. I’ve seen resumes full of stuff just like this and not much more.
Humor or Goofy Tidbits
We like humor as much as anyone, but you will want to save that to share with your coworkers – once you have the job.
Poorly Formatted Information
If your resume is sloppy it gives the impression that you might be careless or not serious.
Know Your Strengths as you Navigate Your Career
By Denise Spacinsky
In the language industry many of us have common passions – language, culture, travel and a kind of multiculti view of the world. Luckily we have been able to find a practical application for our interests through jobs in translation, localization and related businesses.
There are paths for us to take in our career development. They range from a myriad of specialist positions that focus on linguistics or engineering, to business-oriented roles in project management, operations, strategic planning, sales and executive leadership.
It is a big enough field to spend your career – a $15-17B industry from the last estimate I saw from Common Sense Advisory. But have you considered what you really want to be doing, and maybe (more importantly?) what you should be doing?
As a primer for our next entry on Localization Career Paths (check back next week) I wanted to promote the idea of developing a strong self awareness in your career planning.
Here are some tips.
First and foremost: “Know thyself”
The best thing you can do for your career planning is to find out what you love and find out what you are wired to do. In other words, learn to identify your strengths. Generally these are things that come easily to you and that you enjoy. From these, you will find a passion and that will make all the difference in how you move along your career.
Here are a couple resources to get started in figuring out more about yourself:
There are books: Strengths Finder, What Color is My Parachute, Finding Your Own North Star (and many, many more…)
There are tools: Myers Briggs (personality type indicator)
And online (free) tools to give you a sense of your type: Human Metrics, Similar Minds
Challenge the idea of “Constant Forward Motion”.
Many of us are taught to keep growing and growing, climbing and climbing. Well, that’s how it is in the US culture anyway. What’s tricky about that is if there is a constant forward and upward motion, we might actually miss the position and function in a career by thinking we have to push higher and eventually get that ‘corner office’. The truth is, not all of us are managers, not all of us are strategic thinkers. Some of us are excellent at detail and delivery. Some of us are excellent at talking to clients. These are equally as important as running a department or company and can be rewarding and lucrative. Try to avoid the concept of hierarchy (someone being ‘above’ someone else). It gives the illusion of management being better in some ways than others. The fact is that management and executives need the skills to see the big picture, set a vision, then support it along. How many managers in the language industry do you know that love linguistics or solving challenging technical problems and loathe strategic planning? Chances are they missed their calling and are looking to get back to it. For more on this idea, check out the Peter’s Principle.
Finally, chart a path.
There is specialized training for everything we do in this industry, so pursue development in areas that interest you. If you have an inclination toward a certain discipline in our field, check out these links:
Offers numerous links for training and certification for linguists, DTP pros, L10N & I18N engineers and their CAT tools.
California State University – Chico
Has a unique certification program for project management in localization.
Provides links to a vast number of resources connected to the sales world in training, tips and experts you can follow.
We’d love to continue this discussion – let us know what you think. And remember – we plan to write on Language Industry Career paths next week (or the following…it is summer after all!) so check back in.
Language Industry Recruitment Perspectives – What’s Happening in US vs Europe?
By Denise Spacinsky & Inger Larsen
Today the Partners at Larsen Globalization, Denise Spacinsky (Americas) & Inger Larsen (Europe), had a conversation about how recruitment is playing out in the localization industry in the US and in Europe.
Denise: Hi Inger! It’s great to speak to you. You know I have been blogging, and I thought our followers might want to get a feel for how things are in recruitment in the UK and Europe and compare it with how things are fairing in the US.
Inger: Sounds lovely. I’ve been wanting to check in with you. We have been so busy lately that there hasn’t been time.
Denise: Good news about being so busy! That’s a good way to start the conversation. What is the most significant thing you have noticed in 2010 compared to 2009 (a relatively quiet recruitment year) in Europe?
Inger: From a Candidate perspective, we have noticed that people have starting to look now because they are unhappy, or the company is not doing very well. Or the company has made a lot of changes that the people are not happy with so they leave. Some leave because of mergers, management changes, lost enthusiasm, fed up and just leaving with confidence that they will find something new. This is a significant change from 2009 where people would hang on in any situation since they were not always confident their next job was right around the corner.
Denise: That is interesting. It’s a good sign that people are getting back to having choices and confidence that they’ll find a new job if they need to. We have noticed something interesting here and I’m wondering if you are seeing the same. We have seen quite a number of Sales People come on the market because their employers have started changing commission structures. Normally we see compensations plans including commissions on gross sales, and it’s shifting for some to commission on net margin. That’s quite a difference. Have you seen anything like that in Europe?
Inger: We did see that, but only once. As it turns out the manager was new to the company and was American – is that a US thing? Maybe they are responding to pressure on pricing?
Denise: Probably some pressure on pricing but it could be that that the companies trying this new tactic are trying to pay as little as possible…that can backfire with Sales folks who can be (and often are) motivated by making money.
Denise: What are your most popular jobs at the moment in Europe?
Inger: Sales. Companies have become opportunistic and are looking to take over business from other companies that have not done well. It could be a reaction to a slow market making the companies look to sustain and grow. Not just replacements either, mostly expansion. What about in the US?
Denise: Sales positions here too. But for us that is typical. Have you had good luck finding Sales candidates? I know that can be a little more challenging in Europe than here.
Inger: In UK & Europe we do tend to have a shortage so if the skills don’t match it can be challenging and can take quite some time. Instead we do reverse head-hunting. What that means is that when we do have a great candidate we approach our clients to see if they might be interested where we think there might be a matching person-company culture, geography and also industry specialisation. It works out well in many cases. Do you have enough qualified Sales candidates in the US for the positions you have?
Denise: In the US we do tend to have a lot of Sales candidates looking at any one time, but the matching skill sets and requirements in these roles can be so particular. They are always challenging recruitment assignments.
Denise: What works well for you when collaborating with your clients?
Inger: We really like it when a company can share their expansion plans with us. It allows for some advance planning for finding the right person and keep an eye out. Companies don’t do that enough – if they did we can start looking for really good talent that fits their timeline. This fits sales staffing very well, but can apply to production roles too.
Denise: That is an interesting way to work with us as well. Though admittedly our clients tend to come to us when their own efforts have been unsuccessful, and by that point there is a lot of urgency. I have been promoting the idea of using us earlier on so there is no extreme delay in getting people in place. We’ll see if that picks up more or not. We used to get a steady flow of cross-national referrals from European companies wanting to expand to the US. What is happening there to do you think?
Inger: Expanding to US seemed to be more important and a priority, earlier. But recently not too much. Maybe just some waiting-and-seeing. When you are asked to help expand language companies into the US, what is typical?
Denise: For us in the US, expansion tend to be focused regionally or by industry (mostly regionally though). For expansion within the US, the most popular areas are California (SF Bay Area), Northeast (NY, Boston), Texas and some Midwest. Or, generally companies are okay at being flexible on location based on where we find talent – as long as they are near a major metropolitan area.
Denise: What are the most popular regions that companies elect for expansion in Europe? Further, how are the different countries doing with regard to hiring in the language industry?
Inger: Ireland is definitely picking up again – it was slow even before 2009 (years and years now it’s been slow), and UK has quite a lot on. Sales for Germany, Spain and France.
Denise: What has been going particularly well in recruitment in Europe lately?
Inger: As opposed to putting thing on ice or toying around with hiring we are noticing our Clients are really hiring. Games have been doing well throughout this difficult period. We are starting to see more production positions (internal translators, engineers) – that is a very good sign generally. And good PMs. Haven’t seen a lot of Sr. Operation positions yet though.
Denise: Good news on our side is that clients are very happy to start hiring again. At least they are posting the reqs with us and we are recruiting. There does seem to be a lot more cautiousness before hiring though but that is lessening. All in all it’s feeling a lot more like a healthy hiring period again. That’s a relief!
Inger: Here too.
Denise: Thanks Inger – talk to you soon!
Would you like to learn more about the dynamics of language industry staffing in the US vs. the European region? Let us know what you’d like us to discuss!
Cost of Recruitment – The Full Picture
By Denise Spacinsky
Lately we have been rather fixated on the costs associated with the recruitment process. In recent blogs and presentations I have discussed the costs associated with delay in recruitment, which we fondly refer to as “CORD” (Cost of Recruitment Delay). The concept is that when a company knows they need a new person in their position – regardless of role or level – there is a hit to the company when they wait too long to hire.
Another side of this discussion has to do with understanding what it does cost when companies recruit. There are intrinsic and passive costs as well as actual dollars spent.
The truth is that recruitment is a time-consuming and complex process, though arguably one of the most important in any organization. It is the path for top talent to enter an organization, and those people will be responsible for doing everything a company has set out to do. It is important that it be done carefully, swiftly and effectively.
To understand the full picture costs associated with the recruitment process, we offer the following checklist. It may help you understand how to gain efficiencies in the process and see if shopping some of these tasks out to a partner or agency might be worth your while.
We hope it is helpful.
Cost Factors In Recruitment
Baseline Information about New Position and Organization
o Full Time Employees Currently in Position
o Anticipated Monthly Hires for this Group or Department
o Average Annual Salary of Employees in Position
o Average Time to Fill Vacancies (weeks or months)
o Full Time Employee Recruiters
o Annual Salary of Full Time Employee Recruiters
o Annual Expenditures on Job Boards
o Annual Expenditures on Classified Ads
o Annual Expenditures on Other Recruitment Processes (Job Fairs, etc.)
Recruitment Process Costs
o Average Time Spent Sourcing Resumes (per Week)
o Average Time Spent Reviewing 1 Resume
o Average Time Spent per Phone Interview
o Average Time Spent per Personal Interview
o Average Manager Time Spent on Realistic Job Preview (or 2nd Interview)
o Average Time Spent Preparing One Offer
o Average Number of Resumes Reviewed per Phone Interview
o Average Number of Phone Interviews per Personal Interview
o Average Number of Personal Interviews per Offer Extended
o Percentage of Offers Accepted After Extended
Additional Screening Costs
o Cost of Performing Background Check
o Cost of Individual Skills Assessment (personality tests, other)
o Cost of One Employment Verification
o Percent of Employees who Pass All Screens
Training/ Ramp-Up Costs
o Cost of Orientation/ Training Materials per New Employee
o Total time New Employee Spends in Training (in weeks)
o Training Instructor’s Salary
o Number of Full Time Instructors Dedicated to New Hires
o Time for new hire to be productive (weeks)
o Average Number of Hours Manager Spends with New Hires During Ramp-Up
o Average Annual Salary of Supervisors/Mgr
Next week, we will do offer a real-life example to illustrate the calculator and how it works.
The Salary Dance – Working out Comp Terms
By Denise Spacinsky
Arguably the most stressful part of the hiring process is the negotiation of money. This goes for both the interviewer and the interviewee. The hiring company wants to be sure that they are getting the most for their money, and always keeps an eye on containing costs. For the interviewee (the one hoping to be offered a position) it’s a question of balance: don’t start too low for fear of compromising too much and being undervalued, but don’t ask too high and get knocked out of the running.
As an agency we have the opportunity to play in the middle. It works well for everyone for a number of reasons:
We have a strong sense of fair market compensation for positions (in the Localization Industry particularly), level of experience and considering regional and geographic conditions as well. And we’ll stick to it so everyone is getting a fair shake.
We are neutral about compensation. We look at a candidate’s salary history compared to level of experience and present that as a ‘asking’ compensation. Our clients – the hiring companies – will have a sense of salary upfront so there are no surprises, and can assess what their budgets will or will not allow.
We don’t have an emotional charge about compensation. When companies and candidates have to discuss salary directly it can get kind of messy. We’ve observed this many times and it’s fascinating. The hiring company – first focused on wooing the great candidate turns into a tough guy and won’t budge on compensation. Or, conversely, the candidate, suddenly feeling like his or her value is being questioned, will balk and walk at the first sign of resistance to their asking salary. Luckily we’ve been able to smooth out some of these situations, but sometimes it gets sensitive and deals fall apart.
Finally – and we hope you’ll keep this in mind – we always know that a compensation structure can be established if a company and a candidate really want to get together. We have crafted some very creative compensation plans for people in order to bring them together.
To elaborate on this point, keep in mind that everything (really, everything) is negotiable. There are a number of knobs you can turn when crafting compensations plans, so keep at it to make things work.
Some compensation plan knobs to turn
Turn a flat salary plan into a salary + bonus plan This is particularly effective when a company is queasy about spending top dollar for a new hire, without being sure what the person will accomplish. In this case, you can craft a salary plan that matches the asking rate, and split it into flat salary + bonuses based on MBOs (management by objectives, they are called – a fancy way to say ‘to do list’) or incentives for performing well. These MBOs and incentives should be reasonable and achievable so everyone wins in the end.
Offer a graduated salary increase plan based on goals and performance
A similar approach to MBOs as bonuses, is a graduated plan. A company and a candidate can agree that the end goal is to have the candidates OTE (on target earnings) for their first year match their asking rate, but in a gradual, increasing pattern based on the candidate’s performance. This does have to be planned out in advance and with intention of success, otherwise the candidate will like he or she is being swindled. But, when everything works out, everyone is happy.
Illustrate room for advancement and professional growth
When a company really wants someone but can’t meet their full asking salary, another approach is to illustrate how that individual can grow in the organization. Craft a promotion plan from the beginning. So, the candidate may start out at a more junior role, with a strong vision for the future (along with the proportional increase in salary) the candidate may be motivated to join anyway. This is especially helpful with companies in start up or early stages.
Offer ‘stuff’ instead of flat salary If cash is really tight for the hiring company, you can add tangible items to the plan. It’s a creative solution to salary. Since companies can write off business expenses, it can be easier to buy things for a new employee en lieu of cash. If you want to consider that, figure out what is important to the candidate and add that in as a perk to employment. It can’t hurt right? Some sample perks: a new computer, iPhone (or similar), an iPad (umm, I’d take that!), spending budget at bookstores or office supply store, etc.
Offer educational and travel opportunities, vacation or flexible work-from-home models
I urge you not to under-value these pieces of an overall package. Travel and work-from-home (or somewhere exotic) are particularly attractive incentives for people in the localization and language industry. They have value for many candidates and may just close the deal if you can’t make the flat salary numbers meet exactly.