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Response from a job poster - a must or my whim?
Thread poster: Aleksandr Okunev
Aleksandr Okunev
Local time: 22:06
English to Russian
May 30, 2006

A sort of a poll, rather.

I used to bid on Proz a looooooong time ago. Throughout my ‘Proz bidding career’ only one job poster who declined my bid sent a notice to me. Through bidding I got a few jobs, with good and not-so-good clients, and then gradually discovered other (not to say ‘better’) ways to find clients and stopped bidding completely.

One of the reasons was this silence when my bid was not accepted. It looked to me quite similar to what I saw every weekday morning when I took my daughter to school. It’s a spot in my town where quite a few lumpen folks, mostly drunks, gather every day, in the hope to get some sort of one-time jobbing, like clearing construction garbage or digging a trench. The ‘employers’ come by car, pull over and get surrounded by them, exactly like in Hollywood movies about Mexican border back in the twenties.

I may be exaggerating here, but I also work for a lot of companies conducting tenders, including a few global players. There always are different bidders, nearly always there is a bidder who should have never done it at all, so inexperienced is he and so little has he to offer (often for too much, as well). My observation is that, without exception, all bidders are treated equally, at least formally. Leaving a bid or an RSVP message unanswered is a taboo, a thing unheard of.

As you might have guessed, I responded to a recent job posting (do not ask which) and got dead silence in response to it. To me it is an insult. I am not a teenager, I’m in translation for quite a while, when my cat has kittens and I put an ad in a newspaper I do not tell the people who call to go %&$# themselves when all the kittens are already gone. At the same time I saw quite a few nice people leaving feedback about active Proz job posters, and it has occurred to me that I may be just hypercritical in this respect. Or just not fitting into the joyful and resilient Proz community.

So...

When you send in your CV and stuff in response to a job posting, do you think a response from the job poster is/is not mandatory and why?

Thank you!
Aleksandr


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Luis Zepeda
United States
Local time: 12:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Response from a job poster May 30, 2006

Good Question.

I wonder how many more members feel the same way

You have aksed what I have been thinking for some time. I also have stopped bidding on the advertised jobs for the same reason you ennumerate.


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Dr Sue Levy
Local time: 21:06
French to English
+ ...
the polite thing to do May 30, 2006

I've also been rather surprised at the silence of job posters. Politeness, however, is not compulsory. I wouldn't even mind an impersonal response. It wouldn't take more than a few seconds with email. It's particularly annoying when the announced deadline is tight and you're waiting around to know whether you've been accepted or not before you pop out to do the grocery shopping (or pick up daughters from school).

I must say however that I was delighted when a job poster - a pleasant lady in Germany - did write to thank me for my offer and to let me know that she had found someone else.

There are still some well-mannered people around


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xxxEmmanuelleAn  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:06
English to French
+ ...
Agree with Sue May 30, 2006

I fully agree with Sue. I would not say it is compulsory but when the deadline is tight, it can be a bit annoying. You keep checking your email...An impersonal response would suit me. I must admit that when you post a job (I did it myself once) you suddenly get tons of emails in just 5 minutes. I tried to answer them all. However I did not bother answering to some people i.e those who were non native in the target language although I had clearly stated I WANTED an English native speaker. It appeared as quite unprofessional to me.

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AutoLingo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:06
Spanish to English
No automated Proz feature? May 30, 2006

I never got a response either when not chosen. I would strongly prefer some notification. I just assumed that there would have been some feature within Proz that would allow the job poster to respond to all non-chosen bidders when he has finalized his/her choice(s).

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Serdar Oncu  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 22:06
English to Turkish
A response should be mandatory May 30, 2006

I think a response from the job poster should be mandatory for jobs with a deadline. The job poster does not need to reply to all bidders one by one thanks to “reply to all” option. However, it is a better idea that it is mandatory for the job poster to select one among the options like a) we have found someone else b) we cancelled the job ... to be decided and imposed by proz. Then proz may send a notification to the bidders. “The job has been closed and awarded to another bidder.” as in Kudoz points. Is it applicable?

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Branka Stankovic McCarthy  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 21:06
English to Serbian
+ ...
A first May 30, 2006

I must admit I was rather surprised (should it read shocked?) when I received a polite reply this morning, declining my services.

To be honest I got used to NOT getting a reply and it doesn't bother me any more.


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craigs
Local time: 15:06
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The savvy business person will always respond. May 30, 2006

but like you said, so very few bother to reply declining an offer; so you better believe I save the emails of the ones that do. Those that don't respond fall quickly into the undesirable category.

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:06
English to French
+ ...
Depends if they offer you something - or if they need something from you May 31, 2006

Dear colleagues,

I agree that it's not pleasant to not get a reply back. As mentioned before, I too find it hard to decide whether I should go tend to other things because I probably didn't get the job or if I should wait to see if MAYBE I am about to get that very urgent job. This is very important, as some activities just can't wait and I feel that often, when we don't get a reply, job posters are robbing us out of our time - and sometimes even out of contracts we would have accepted right away, but didn't because we were not sure if we would get this one. So, we fall between two chairs on the floor. I think it is important to realize the importance and the seriousness of this situation.

What I have noticed is that the way an outsourcer perceives the translator and the job at hand greatly influences whether they will reply or not. When an outsourcer feels that THEY are asking YOU for a service - by asking you to translate something - they are much more likely to reply. But sadly, many outsourcers out there think the other way around - that THEY are offering US something that we want - work. In these cases, they don't care to reply. So what if they don't reply? THEIR business is being taken care of either way, anyway.

I do think it would be an excellent idea to "force" job posters to send at least automatic if not personal notifications to absolutely all job posters. However, this would only be enforceable if the outsourcer was also required to award the job to the chosen translator through the job posting - not directly through e-mail. Otherwise, this possible new rule would be far too easy to circumvent.

But I think it IS a must - although I haven't quoted on ProZ jobs in aaaaaages.

[Edited at 2006-05-31 01:28]


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Mark Xiang
Local time: 03:06
English to Chinese
+ ...
The same river nourishes different people May 31, 2006

What you can do is doing what you think is right and worthwhile. Do not expect too much.

As I see it, most job posters invite bidding to seek the most favorable prices. Quality is pushed back as the second thing to be considered. That is why most bidders could not get the contracts with their regular rates. Quite a lot of job posters have a long listings of posting records. Some have as many as more than 200 postings in record and they are still posting! Do you think one still could not nail down to some right and good translators after so many jobs have been done in the past and has to continue to post the bidding invitation here? On the other hand, why they are willing to keep spending time in posting, screening, negotiating with endless new contractors? Why they are willing to take time to work with ever-changing new translators? There is ONLY one answer: TO REDUCING THE COST!

So I seldom bid. But I may send a resume to one of them only if I think the job poster is worth this while. Reply or no reply, I do not expect much.

Different people make different decisions, so are the posters.

Just my own opinion.

Mark


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Francesca Pesce  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:06
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
Not always easy to be polite May 31, 2006

My coop has recently posted 2 jobs on proz, and the first time we were really overwhelmed by the amount of bids we received.

It took us so much time to select the translator and then to answer to all those that hadn' been selected.

The second time we chose a quicker way to answer: an automatic response to everyone which was a bit less time-consuming.

I am happy I took the time to answer, but I also am aware that many will choose not to use 1-2 hours of their day to write 30-50 emails, thinking that "if they don't hear from me, they'll understand anyway."

What also happens is that some translators/agencies that send a bid, decide to insist and start phoning or sending emails. Others instead, once they receive the message declining their offer, send you an email thanking you for the answer but also asking of you could specify what was wrong with their bid, on what basis they were not chosen (rates, quality, CV).

All this is perfectly normal and comprehensible. On both sides.

In an ideal world everything would go as we all wished.

In this world when you find yourself rushing, rushing, rushing, you loose some of your priorities on the way....


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:06
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Reasons for posting a job May 31, 2006

As far as reasons for posting a job go, so-called "reducing the cost" is a reason. However, that is not the poster's fault, but the translator's fault.

Supposing I post a job, and a well-qualified translator wants to do it, and offers 2 cents per word less than I had expected to pay. Based on the remuneration that this translator wants/appears to be happy with, I quote a final price to the end customer. Everything goes smoothly from then on: translator is good, customer happy, translator gets paid and customer pays up (in that order).

Now, supposing that end customer comes along about 2 months later with a second job, unfortunately they expect to get it done at the same price per word. What happens, then, if I contact the same translator who did the first job, and discover that now that translator wishes to charge me his/her "real" rates - which I discover to be no less than 6 cents per word more than he/she did the first job for?

I negotiate with the customer. The customer insists on paying the same word rate as before. I had not even added 6 cents per word to the price last time round in the first place. Should I actually pay to get the job done? No, of course not! I have to forget about the first translator and post a job again this time round, so that I will once again get a reply from someone offering me 6 cents less than his/her real rates.

It creates an interesting cycle.

Astrid


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 14:06
English to Russian
+ ...
What a textbook example... Learn, guys! May 31, 2006

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

1. offers 2 cents per word less than I had expected to pay. I quote a final price to the end customer.

2. Now, supposing that end customer comes along about 2 months later with a second job
have to forget about first translator .

Astrid


I truly enjoyed reading this:-)

Dear Astrid,

Im my humble opinion:

1. You should have kept decent rates for the client and pocket the difference - you are a businesswoman:-)

2. Dear colleagues, do I need to add anything al all... Well, can't refrain myself - and you thought you are gaining by lowering your rates.

BTW, how do you mean "translator's fault"? Not dumping the price forever or dumping it the first time?

Regards,
Irene


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Aleksandr Okunev
Local time: 22:06
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
Back to etiquette Jun 2, 2006

(I am writing this on my mobile phone, please, pardon any typos).

I am never going to get used to impoliteness, it took my mom and dad too long to make me used to it.

Politeness IMVHO can neither be enforced nor automated. It is either there or is not.

To me it is an important constituent of a client's image, "an early warning" so to speak. I have enough experience to back this opinion.

Stay well!
Aleksandr

Rates are rates, but.


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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree/Anecdote Jun 6, 2006

Hi Aleksandr,

Besides my total agreement with your comment that a company with a minimum degree of infrastructure organization/education should at least reply to any correspondence/email message, I just wanted to add what could be considered an anecdote in this respect.

I rarely bid to job offers (I do not like this system), but I do send every now and then email messages to potential customers.

It has happened to me, more than once, that a company has what I consider a "strange" (very bureaucractic) system of handling email messages, and thus the original message I sent (usually to a "general"/human resource company email address) was forwarded, without my knowledge/consent, to other people in the company, apparently in charge of handling my kind of requests.

Since I usually use the "receipt confirmation" option, this has generated a series of "Not read" replies, because each person receiving my message and not interested in it then deletes it, which then generates the "Not read" message back to me.

So more than once I wrote back to the said companies, after receiving such "Not read" replies, first because I found this policy, from a general point of view, rather rude, and second because I was receiving replies from people to whom I had not even addressed my message in the first place.

In some cases I got a pleasant feedback. In some others, not so pleasant, so it just shows that a company's bureaucracy can definitely create barriers. And I guess in these cases sometimes receiving no reply at all is better than receiving a series of "Not read" replies.

But I also definitely agree with you that the way a company handles its emails can be considered a good sign of the quality of their communication.

Best regards,

Ivette


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