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Languages key for tech jobs

Adela Bunčáková, Schneider Electric Slovakia's HR Manager, explained to The Slovak Spectator just how difficult it can be to find the right person for the job - especially when they need a relatively good set of language skills.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What sort of employees is your company looking for? What positions are you looking to fill?


Schneider's Adela Bunčáková.
photo: Courtesy Schneider Electric

Adela Bunčáková, Schneider Electric Slovakia's HR Manager, explained to The Slovak Spectator just how difficult it can be to find the right person for the job - especially when they need a relatively good set of language skills.


The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What sort of employees is your company looking for? What positions are you looking to fill?

Adela Bunčáková (AB): We're focusing on specialists, electro-technical engineers with different specialisations, but we're also looking for experts in electrical distribution and industrial control and automation, and so on. In addition, we require that our employees speak English because we are an international company. Basically, all our employees speak English - it's the company language.


TSS: What is your experience with labour in Slovakia? Is it difficult to find electro-technical experts with the language skills you require?

AB: There are a lot of electro-technical engineers in the country, and from the point of view of expertise, Slovakia has rich reserves. But the problem begins in combining the expertise with language skills and sales skills. We are looking for people who are not only good in terms of technical knowledge, but who also have the ability to sell our products.


TSS: To sum up, then, what qualities should your ideal candidate have?

AB: We need a persuasive sales person who is technically skilled and has good English. We also have positions where sales skills are not required, like working at our help desk or in our customer services department.

Usually, it's easier to find the technicians, but they don't necessarily have sales experience. Language is a general problem as well, because in Slovak technical universities there are many trained [technical] experts, but language is not a very strong skill among them. But this is improving. It's our job to find these people. Generally, we are a young company - the average age of our employees is about 30 - but we don't exclusively look for first time job applicants.


TSS: Do you offer initial training to freshly recruited employees?

AB: Yes, we offer both sales and technical skills training, and product-based training from our internal trainers, or from external training firms.


TSS: What can your company offer to potential employees?

AB: We are a team of relatively young people who work closely with each other, and therefore we are very open to communication. We hold regular morning breakfast meetings. We organise company weekends. We offer English and French language courses to our employees, and so on.

Naturally, people are remunerated for their hard work, and thus we motivate our employees to perform well in their jobs. We have a three month probation period, and close attention is paid to newcomers to the company. Each newcomer gets an individual adaptation plan, which finishes with an interview with the person at the end of the first month, another interview after 10 weeks to talk about how he or she liked the company, and where we tell him or her how happy we were with them.

The integration period then continues up to one year after the employee was hired.

It's very important for our employees to be geographically mobile. If our employees are really good, we have the means to send them to work abroad in one of our European branches, depending of course on the person's willingness, and on the languages he or she speaks.

We care a lot about our employees. We know that to have great results we need to have happy and motivated employees.

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