Recruiting Technical 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 is critical to international success. But first and foremost, 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, Hydrabad, 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. In case of 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, where in 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. Pretendance 

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,” while some may tell you that they read the newspaper regularly, the 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, travellogue, blog, etc.) to show off their passion. What kind of passion is that? A person who cannot shake a leg to music or who has 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 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 for both the employees and the employers.

Recommendation

  • During the interviews, make the candidate feel comfortable.
  • Tell them that they are free to ask any questions, queries, or concerns they mayhave.
  • Even if they don’t ask, tell them in detail about the job profile and what they areexpected to do.
  • Students at college level must be made aware of the changing interview scenario.

9. Too Much Communication 

It is very unfortunate that at times the community of writers are 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 and they might loose out the chance of being recruited even if they are found to be suitable.

Recommendation: Discussing the corporate tests and interviews on a personal level (with an individual) isacceptable, but announcing it in a mailing list cannot be called sharing information. Itonly shows the un-ethical and unprofessional behavior of the individual. The need is toeducate the younger generation and instill the element of professionalism in them.

10. Confusion and Disinterest

(shall add information on each of these areas)

Effects of L­a­ck of Com­m­u­n­ica­tion­

Lack of communication affects the whole personality of the human being—-personal, professional and social life. If you don’t communicate with your partners, they will feel lonely and isolated which might make them emotionally vulnerable and make them withdraw from social activities. Lack of communication creates a chain of problems. One thing leads to another, which results in another problem.

  1.  Lack of Intimacy: Lack of communication causes loss of romance. Men and women think and communicate differently when it comes to 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.
  2. Depression: When romance flies out a relationship, healthy intimacy will be missing too. 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 root cause of other problems and ailments.
  3. Loneliness: When there is almost no communication and when conversation goes nowhere, and when depression and lack of intimacy creeps in, partners feel disconnected from each other. You sense the feeling of loneliness even when living in the same house. The couple no longer talk about themselves, the kids family, or what happened at the office. They lead separate lives and have different set of friends. This makes them feel even more isolated.
  4. Arguments: Lack of communication results in unsettled issues which further leads to tension and harsh words. They talk to one another, but don’t actually communicate. If ego creeps into this situation, then the couple usually ends up communicating through blame and shame. Then, they engage in name calling, mud-slinging, and accusations. Hence, their arguments either remain unresolved or will probably get worse.
  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 relationship with family members, friends, as well as at work place. Failing to communicate on a regular basis can cause people in a relationship to feel less connected to one another.
  6. Separation: One of the most important aspects of a successful relationship is effective communication between both parties. 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.
  7. Children: Lack of communication can even affect children. It is not a good idea to get the children involved in all these whirlpool.

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 endeavours, and support your spouse.

If the issues are not fixed in time, the lack of communication eventually it leads to separation. 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 you bond stronger. So before you criticize your spouse and say that he/she speaks to you loudly (literally screams), evaluate if it is because of you.

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 quite.”

Causes of Lack of Communication: Part II

Continued from Causes of Lack of Communication: Part I

  • Birth of baby: When both a young couple become parents for the first time, they are overwhelmed with the sudden set of responsibilities showered on them. Hence, birth of the first baby can sometimes cause 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 day time. As a result the couple barely get 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 about 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 fear of dirty, angry verbal exchange. This is another factor that causes lack of direct communication. Most of the human beings back off from a fight because they fear it, causing lack of communication. The essential ingrediant 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.Every one 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 stated 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 feed 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 distant 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. Infact, 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 an 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. Infact, it is a danger signal that you need to heed to on an immediate basis. Communication in a marriage does not mean agreeing with each other. It means talking and/or discussing about anything and everything—day-to-day happenings, children, problems, issues, house, interiors, family, and in short, any topic under the sun. Communication is very important in for sustaining a relationship.

Not conveying proper feeling, inappropriate facial expressions, and saying things that hurt the partner can destroy any relationship (professional and/or 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 always 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 are saying to you and don’t put in 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 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 and do not learn those skills as youngsters. Some of them continue with the same behavior in their own marriage.

A few of them understand the problems caused by such surroundings/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 stress of work makes a person easily irritated, withdrawn, and reserved. Earlier, men used to be the bread winner 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 partner is stressed, the other is in a situation to help listen to the problem and may be 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 a 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. Matured people will be able to handle such a situation very well.
  • Busy lifestyle: These days women are also career oriented and are individualistic. Both men and women believe in personal space, but too much of space only widens the gap between the spouses. Most couples believe in individualistic activities and get busy with their own separate activities—work, hobbies, children related activities, and friends, among other things. They have a busy life in separate directions and barely find time to 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 is any negative 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 non respect 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….