Recruiting Tech-writers: Problem Areas

Managers leading the documentation teams have mastered the ability to understand the expectations of their global clients and partners, communicate critical information clearly by avoiding cultural misunderstandings, and build global relationships that are critical to international success. But first and foremost, the requirement is for effective hiring because everything else depends on the “human” resources that form an effective team.

In today’s competitive world, companies do not have the luxury to learn from mistakes. Instead, they should try to learn from the mistakes committed by the others. Some of the managers who have been involved in offshoring the technical publications jobs to India find recruiting in India a difficult and time-consuming experience.

The hiring problems are largely due to ten reasons:

  1. Lack of Trained Writers

  2. Educational Background

  3. Great Expectations

  4. Wrong Attitude

  5. Time Consuming Process

  6. Location and Relocation

     

    Most of the trained and experienced technical writers are located in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Noida. People who are well settled in one location (say, Pune) may not want to relocate to another place (say, Noida) even if they are offered monetary incentives. For bachelors/spinsters, the location where the family (read parents) resides determines whether or not they will relocate to a particular place. Even if they relocate, they may soon look out for a change of job that will allow them to go back closer to their families.

    Recommendation: As far as possible, try to recruit local employees. This does not mean that you should not recruit out-station candidates. There are cases, wherein the candidates may want to move out of the town or city they belong to. If you find someone who fits in the profile very well, go ahead. You just have to spend some extra time trying to check the stability factor.

  7. Pretendence

Very often, you will come across candidates who reply confidently with well-rehearsed answers, without knowing what they are talking about. They pretend to know everything related to the job. They may define technical writing and tell you about a few skills required for the job. But when you probe a little further, they will be unable to answer intelligently.

  • Some candidates say that they are voracious readers when they probably read a book or two in a year.
  • Some make a generalized statement, “I love reading,” and explain that they regularly read the newspaper. Whereas a few others exclaim how much they love reading Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and books by Enid Blyton. Nothing wrong with these books, except that they are kiddies stuff!
  • Some candidates claim to love writing. Ask them what they have written and they proudly tell you that they have created their project reports.
  • I have heard many candidates make the statement, “I am extremely passionate about writing,” but they don’t have any writing sample (story, poem, article, travelogue, blog, etc.) to show off their passion. What kind of passion is that? A person who cannot shake a leg to music or who have not yet danced to music cannot say, “Dance is a passion“. The same applies to writing as well.

Recommendation: It is better to avoid candidates who pretend a lot—who pretend to be interested in technical writing, pretend to be voracious readers, and pretend to know facts. Chances are they may pretend to work too!

8. Too Little Communication

Most of the time, Indian candidates, especially the freshers are reluctant to ask questions during an interview. Experienced writers may ask questions and clear any queries they may have. Candidates just out of college may be interested in knowing only about the salary and perks. This reluctance in asking questions often gets them a job they are not interested in. Later they would want to move on.  This causes a lot of problems both for them and for the employers.

Recommendation

  • Students at the college level must be made aware of the changing interview scenario. They should be taught the art of writing resumes and attending the interview.
  • During the interviews, make the candidate feel comfortable and tell them that they are free to ask any type of questions, queries, or concerns they may have.
  • Even if they don’t ask, tell them in detail about the job profile and what they are expected to do.

9. Too Much Communication

It is very unfortunate that at times the community of writers is not very professional. They not only discuss the writing tests given by the organization with their friends but also publish them in the mailing lists and online forums.

Such candidates should know that recruiting managers may also be the members of such lists and forums. So there are chances that they might lose out the chance of being recruited even if they are found to be suitable for the position they have interviewed.

Recommendation: Discussing the corporate tests and interviews on a personal level (with an individual) is acceptable, but announcing it in a mailing list cannot be called sharing information. It only shows the unethical and unprofessional behavior of the individual. The need is to educate the younger generation and instill the element of professionalism in them.

10. Confusion and Disinterest

(shall add information on each of these areas)

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L­a­ck of Com­m­u­n­ica­tion­

One of the most important aspects of a successful relationship is effective communication between both parties.

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Here, I am talking about relationships between spouses, but lack of communication destroys any type of relationship (parent-child, wife-husband, teacher-student, employee-employer, etc.). Lack of communication affects the whole personality of the human being—-personal, professional, and social life. These days with people being addicted to their mobiles, the situation has become even worse. People sit next to each other without having a conversation.

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Remember people are not mind readers. You need to explicitly say what you feel and what you expect. If not, there will be a vast difference between your expectation from your partner and what you receive.
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Open communication happens when there is love, respect and mutual understanding in the relationship. Do not take your spouse for granted. Many times we forget to say those three magical words, I love you. Share your worries with each other, stand by your spouse in all his/her endeavors, and support your spouse.

Lack of communication also creates a chain of problems. One thing leads to another, which results in another and thus begins a chain of issues and problems.

  1. Lack of intimacy: Lack of communication results in loss of romance. You may wonder how? You need to understand the basic concept that men and women think and communicate differently when it comes to intimacy. A woman feels loved and wanted when her partner spends time listening to her. Even if he does not understand or agree with her problems, just spending time with a woman, listening to what she has to say helps a lot!

    Lack of communication gives birth to a lack of romance and intimacy. Unfortunately, men do not seem to understand this part of a woman’s psychology.
    When romance flies out a relationship, healthy intimacy will be missing too.

  2. Loneliness: When there is no communication, even a normal conversation does not seem to go anywhere. In such conditions, partners feel disconnected from each other. You sense the feeling of loneliness even when living in the same house and seeing each other every day. You no longer talk about yourselves, the kids, family, or what happened at the office.

    If you don’t communicate with your partners, they will feel lonely, disrespected, and isolated. This might eventually make them emotionally vulnerable and make them withdraw from social activities. You then end up spending time with a different set of friends and leading separate lives. This situation will make the less active partner feel even more isolated and lonely. sucks
    Loneliness is not a good thing.  The mind gets a chance to think about all possible unwanted things in a lonely situation. This situation is almost like allowing cancer to grow without any treatment.

  3. Arguments: Lack of communication results in unsettled issues which further leads to tension and harsh words. You may talk to one another, but don’t actually communicate. If ego creeps into this situation, then you will end up communicating through blame and shame. Then, the communication progresses to name-calling, mud-slinging, and accusations. Hence, the most important part of the arguments either remain unresolved or will probably get worse.

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    Before you criticize your spouse and say that he/she speaks to you loudly (literally screams), evaluate the person is exhibiting this behavior as a reaction to your behavior. You are probably not being attentive or listening what your spouse says, which makes them raise their voice. If that is the case, you are at fault and you cannot point fingers saying “You scream and shout causing the argument. I am usually quiet.”

    If that is the case, first fix your behavior and then blame the person for their behavior. For all you know, once you fix your behavior, theirs will change too.

  4. Depression: Lack of communication coupled with lack of intimacy, care, and affection will further strain relation and you are bound to feel depressed. As you know depression is a major cause of other problems and ailments.
  5. Failing Relationship: Lack of communication can break existing as well as potential relationships. It creates a sense of dissatisfaction, confusion, restlessness, and fear between partners. It also affects the relationship with family members, friends, as well as at the workplace. Failing to communicate on a regular basis can cause people in a relationship to feel less connected to one another.
  6.  Lack of Intimacy: Sex and romance are topics that many couples don’t talk about openly, even today. This failure to communicate can build walls and barriers and ultimately destroy the relationship. If a woman does not communicate her needs, likes, and/or dislikes, she ends up feeling disrespected. A man who does not communicate his desires will be unsatisfied because he ends up feeling that his partner doesn’t want to satisfy his needs.
  7. Separation:  Lack of communication in a relationship can result in hasty decisions that can even lead to separation. We need to understand the reasons behind communication breakdown and how they can be avoided to ensure a fulfilling relationship.
  8. Children: Lack of communication between parents severely affect children. It is not a good idea to get the children involved in all these whirlpools. It not only spoils their childhood, but they will become vary of relationships as an adult.

You have one lifetime. If honest and frequent communication can solve all the above issues, why not try it out? It does not cost you a single penny. If you don’t take care of your non-communication issues, it could cost you the relationship. If the issues that crop up in relationships are not fixed in time, the lack of communication eventually it leads to separation.

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So express yourself to your partner, talk about the problems in your life, share your deepest fears and secrets with each other, and cherish the best moments of life together. It will make you come closer and will make your bond stronger.

Causes of Lack of Communication: Part II

Continued from Causes of Lack of Communication: Part I

  • Birth of baby: When both a young couple becomes parents for the first time, they are overwhelmed with the sudden set of responsibilities showered on them. Hence, the birth of the first baby can sometimes cause a lapse of communication between the couple. The mother has to give more time to the baby and is always tried. The father has to spend time helping out at night, causing burnout during daytime. As a result of the couple barely gets time or chance to sit and talk peacefully. They can, but it takes a little bit of flexibility, planning, and effort. When they talk there are more complaints, problems, and disagreements to talk about. They end up arguing over trivial issues such as what the baby needs and who will take on what responsibilities. When things get out of control they stop their communication altogether and become withdrawn. Again, I would like to add that maturity, understanding, and concern plays a big role in situations as this.
  • Lack of love: When you are no longer in love with your spouse, you probably are not interested in communicating as well. If you find yourself not in love with your partner, ask yourself what are the reasons. Is it because you have found someone else? If yes, it is probably time to move on rather than stay in a stale, unhappy, and troubling relationship. If not, try to find the love that you two once shared. Give it a chance rather than walking away from it.
  • Ego: Ego sprouts problems and arguments between spouses. This, in turn, affects the communication between them. When the lines of communication fail, both you and your partner will stop discussing your mutual or personal issues.  Learn to accept each other’s opinions and focus on the similarities that you two share when you argue. Some couples can sit in a room and not say a word to each other for hours—this is because they are grounded in the foundation of their love. But if you feel that the lack of constant conversation is hurting your relationship, take the initiative. Good and open communication is essential in the relationship of a husband and wife to ensure that both partners understand each other. So, whenever there is some problem in a marriage, it becomes important for the partners to communicate properly and should never choose the silent path, as it might lead the path towards the court.
  • Fear of anger: When there is a distrust and ego in a relationship, there is a fear of dirty, angry verbal exchange. This is another factor that causes a lack of direct communication. Most of the human beings back off from a fight because they fear it, causing lack of communication. The essential ingredients of problem-solving is open communication. But fear of anger or inacceptance may not allow you to do so. But you need to know that relationships can only exist only if you have the habit of resolving differences.
  • Nagging/embarrassing: Nagging and embarrassing are two different things. But then, both of them result in one thing—your spouse may not want to listen to you. From personal experience, I would like to say there will barely be any communication if you are always nagging and blaming your partner for everything wrong that happens. You should also ensure not to embarrass your spouse for the heck of doing it. As a result, they may not want to listen to you because they know what you are going to say and in which track your discussion is going to go.

Ram worked in a senior position in a well-known firm. He was good at his work, but apart from that he was disinterested in any other activities. On the other hand, Roshini, his wife, who also worked in a good position in an organization, had diverse hobbies. She was a voracious reader, an excellent cook, a good painter, and a wonderful dancer. Roshini not only balanced her work life and personal life very well, but also took care of her son’s studies herself. Everyone appreciated her talent and some women also named her to be their role model.

Ram was jealous of his the appreciation his wife enjoyed. Since he was not interested in actually doing anything to gain some appreciation himself, he started taunting and embarrassing Roshini in the presence of their friends. Ram would say things like, “Roshini is so busy that she gets time to have bath only once a week.”

Things reached to such a level that Ram actually began enjoying the insults he showered on Roshini. He felt good about it. He started displaying this behavior even without an audience. Ram does not realize that by insulting his wife in public, he was displaying his upbringing, his behavior, and his character (or lack of it) in public.  On the other hand, Roshini initially ignored this behavior, but when it reached a point when the topic of discussion reached a personal level she began to resent it. She initially asked Ram to stop such talks. When he did not and started doing it frequently, she slowly stopped communicating with Ram.

This case is basically about respecting your spouse. Here Ram is disrespecting your spouse because he is unsure about himself and is incapable. Roshini had a valid reason to disrespect Ram. He has been displaying and showing all the behavior to earn disrespect. Be true to yourself, does nagging/ embarrassing really help you other than feeding your already bloated ego? Before you start looking out for defects in your partner, you must first take a stock yourself. You have problems, issues, and drawbacks just like everyone else does. Your relationships will go far if you will stop pointing out the minor and insignificant things about your spouse, especially in front of friends and relatives.

  • Distance: Distance results in lack of communication and eventually total breakdown of communication. This happens when you don’t live together for a long time. If your partner has to live somewhere else due to work factors, make sure you two talk on a regular basis and meet often. Never let distance come in the way of your love. Though long distance relationships are hard to manage, stick with it no matter what happens. Once you have a made a decision, stick by it and try to make it work.

You may presume silence as dignity and being in control. But, silence is the killer of a relationship. In fact, it does not even allow a relationship to be formed. So it is very important to know the cause of lack of communication and try to fix it. No, if a person is not interested in accepting that is a problem in him/her and does not want to fix the problem, it is another issue altogether.

Like any good thing in life you need to work on all the aspects of a relationship to make it work. It is not easy, but if you need to do it, not for the others, but for you.

Causes of Lack of Communication: Part I

In any relat­i­o­n­shi­p, silence­ whether it is intentionally or unintentionally is a si­gn­ o­f­ f­ault­y co­mmun­i­cat­i­o­n­. In fact, it is a danger signal that you need to fix something in the relationship on an immediate basis. Communication in a marriage does not mean agreeing with each other or telling each other to buy grocery or to pay the bills. It means talking and/or discussing anything and everything—day-to-day happenings, children, problems, issues, house, interiors, family. In short, discussing any topic under the sun. Communication is very important in for sustaining a relationship.

Not conveying proper feeling, inappropriate facial expressions, and/or saying things that hurt the partner can destroy any relationship (both professional and personal). Leaving out essential/important details in your communication, not listening actively, not saying the right thing, and saying the wrong things, prevent you from being able to properly communicate, affecting the relationship.

You may do more talking and have forgotten about listening. You may feel that you are correct and the other person is always wrong. You may not do any self-analysis or self-criticism but continuously criticize your partner. You rarely hear what people are saying to you and don’t put in an effort to try to change what has disturbed or wounded them. As a result of this, you end up not communicating with your partner. There can be one or more reasons for a lack of communication. Some of the causes for lack of communication are as follows:

  • Broken family: People who grow up in families that communicated grow up to be naturally good communicators and are cooperative in nature. They have seen their parents do it and inculcate the behavior. Hence they usually try to immediately fix any issues that arise in their marriage. But some unlucky souls do not get the opportunity to grow in a well-knit family. They have not seen their parents communicate and hence do not learn those skills as youngsters. Unfortunately, most of them continue with the same behavior in their own marriage.

    But then, there are some who understand the problems caused by such surroundings or environment and try to avoid it in their own marriage. They try to rectify the factors that caused problems in their parent’s relationship. This is called learning from other’s mistakes and creating a good life for yourself and your family.

    A few others live in self-denial. They feel, “This is what I have been through and so this is how I will be.” Adults have to be mature enough to understand what is important for them, their families, and their kids.

  • Stress at work: We all know that the stress of work makes a person easily irritated, withdrawn, and reserved. Earlier, men used to be the breadwinner and women looked after the homely duties. So if men had work-related stress, women used to be the calming factor for them.  If one of the partners is stressed, the other is in a situation to help listen to the problem and maybe solve it too. It is another thing that in many cases, men don’t want to seem vulnerable and hence don’t like to discuss problems with their partners.

    But now, there are many cases of both the spouses are earning members. For a woman, it is no longer work for additional income, it is about following her dreams in form of a career.  But when both the partners are in such a stressful state, they both may not be in a condition to listen to each other’s problem. In such a situation, you should be able to understand your spouse’s condition because you are undergoing it yourself. This should make you feel comfortable in openly discussing your issue with your spouse. You should be matured enough to understand and be able to handle such a situation very well.

  • Busy lifestyle: These days women are also career oriented and are individualistic.  Most couples believe in individualistic activities and get busy with their own separate activities—work, hobbies, children related activities, and friends, among other things. BYou might believe in personal space, going out with your own set of friends, and being in your space doing what you like. But too much of my space (my friends, my hobbies, my vacation idea, my trips, etc.) only widens the gap between the spouses. When you have a busy life in separate directions, try to find time to spend with each other and communicate with each other.
  • Financial problems: Sometimes, financial problems can also be the cause of communication breakdown between spouses. Men may not want to speak of financial problems/issues as they feel it shows off their failure. Women like to openly discuss it with their respective husbands as they feel it will provide some emotional support to them. It also gives them a good idea about how much control they need to have over the expenses.

    Unfortunately, when you try to resolve money issues, you may usually end up arguing, which might result in more problems. Eventually, you stop discussing other things in an effort to stop discussing finance related matters. Slowly you start hiding your personal and professional problems from your spouse because of the fear that it might irritate them even more. You need to remember that lack of communication is the first baby step towards a failed marriage. Hence, you should assure to keep the communication flow going!

  • Distrust: Sometimes communication breakdown is caused due to mistrust and doubts you may have about the loyalty of your partner. Instead of making any effort of discussing your doubts with them, you probably start observing their actions and reactions. Instead of speaking openly with your partners, you may end up talking to a third person.

    As a rule, don’t wash your linen in public—try to resolve your problems in marriage yourself, with the help of your partner. Discuss, find out what the issue is, and try to fix it. The third person should not be a friend or relative—it should only be a marriage counselor.

  • No respect: If you are not listening to your partner or if he/she is not listening to you, there IS something seriously wrong. If there is no other reason for this lack of attention, it is usually due to lack of respect. There must be mutual respect in a marriage—you must respect the person that you are married to and your spouse must respect you. If you are in a relationship that lacks respect, it is usually better to end it!

    But if you want to try, make a list of all the positives and negatives in your spouse. Check if there are any negatives you can overlook and/or ignore. Make a comparison of the existing positives and the negatives. If the positives are far more than the negatives (let’s say 10:2), and your disrespect is due to one of the 2 factors, go ahead and have a discussion. Tell your spouse that the disrespect causes a major problem for you, but that you want to give a try in maintaining the relationship because his/her positives weigh more than his/her negatives.

continued….