Each month, around 15 people are interviewed for the position of Project Manager at Inlingo. This guide will explain what this position entails, the qualities we’re looking for, and how to pass the selection process to become a member of our team.
This text is the first part of a series of articles on the work of project managers. In the upcoming material, read in detail about the tasks of a PM, the challenges they face, and principles that we adhere to.
What does a Project Manager do?
Our team works with dozens of clients every month. So how can translators, editors, artists and narrative designers all communicate with them directly? Well, they can’t. So this is precisely where the Project Manager, with their separate schedule and set of skills, comes in.
The Project Manager is responsible for communication between clients and our team of professionals. This is the person who negotiates the price of projects, agrees upon and controls deadlines, requests references, relays corrections, and deals with documentation. For us, completing projects on time and to the highest possible standards of quality and marginality is key.
Who can become a Project Manager?
Candidates without experience in the field of localization can successfully complete the test assignment. What matters is being a quick thinker who can stay level-headed under stress and work on several tasks at the same time without sacrificing quality.
We value candidates who are able to think strategically, quickly come up with several solutions to a problem, and, ideally, predict any problems that might crop up ahead of time.
Imagine a manager overseeing a project that we’re translating into 5 languages at once. The first translator turned down the task, the second asked a whole array of questions before disappearing, and the third can’t work to a deadline. And at the same time, the client sent negative feedback for the previous task, so now that needs your attention, too.
It’s situations like this which demand a clear head under stressful circumstances, and the ability to think quickly and to solve and predict problems.NATAlia Osipova, HR Director
When applying to be a Project Manager, we take your higher education into account simply as an indicator that you are able to see a difficult, and not always pleasant, task through to the end. Having a degree is always a plus, but what subject you studied doesn’t matter. Our team is made up of professionals from a variety of different backgrounds, such as mathematics, linguistics and computer programming, just to name a few.
How can I enter the selection process?
We invite candidates to complete a test assignment and, depending on their results, a follow-up interview. Each stage of the process has its own nuances—let’s take a look at what you’ll need to pay attention to.
Stage One: The Test Assignment
Our test is made up of four tasks. Some of them will take you no more than half an hour, and for others you will have to set aside a couple of hours. If you follow the whole thing through to the end and send us your completed work, this already says a lot about you. Let’s take a look at some tips for getting the best possible score for this stage.
Read it carefully
Completing the test stage always begins with reading the assignment. You might be tempted to just scan through it and dive straight into work, but your further success really does depend on this step.
The key quality required for a successful test assignment is attention to detail, and this begins with reading the instructions. Each task has introductory notes and a question that needs answering, and somewhere in the mix we even sneak in hints on what should or should not be done. So, a lot of the time, simply going over the task with a fine-toothed comb is all it takes to succeed.
Check over what you’ve written
When you think you’ve finished, make sure that you reread your answer. This will help you avoid those pesky minor errors that could hurt your application. Unfortunately, we often see candidates make unfortunate typos with their name or the name of the company. This might seem insignificant, but when it comes to large projects, rushing like that can cost a lot of money and even result in the loss of a client.
Carefully reread everything you have written, do an extra grammar check and make sure all your formulas are correct. You have plenty of time for all of this.
One potential candidate, when filling in a task where you need to write a hypothetical email to a client, signed off as a project manager from an unknown company—LLINGO. Such a mistake might seem like no big deal, but it really is extremely important.Natalia Osipova, HR Director
Unfortunately, people these days are still taught the rules of correspondence according to old-fashioned and outdated textbooks, which means that a lot of candidates end up writing stuffy and awkward emails which only obscure the key essence of the situation at hand.
We work in game dev and for game dev, so it’s important to bear in mind the specifics of the industry when communicating with clients. Remember that the main point of any message is to convey information to the client as clearly as possible so that you can solve the problem together. Simplicity is always best.
Just compare these two emails. The first one is from one of our candidates, and the second is an example of the straight-forward approach that we like to see.
A sample email from an unsuccessful candidate:
Dear James, I hope this message finds you well. Our organization signed a contract with you for the translation of a text, dated July 24, 2020, No. 123/45, the execution of which you committed to submit no later than 10am GMT on July 30, 2020. However, in violation of the terms of our contract, the translation in question has yet to be submitted.
In accordance with this, our organization is prepared to give you until 4pm GMT today to provide the translated text. If the translation is not completed within the specified timeframe, then penalties will follow, the details of which are specified in the current contract.
How we communicate with clients
Hello, James! We received some feedback from our colleagues that we’ve been having a few delays on receiving translations lately. Let’s think up a way to sort this out together.
Maybe we could give you more time or slow down the workflow?
Let me know what you think, and feel free to give me a call if you like.
Which of these messages would you rather reply to?
Don’t give up halfway through
The test assignment is given to gauge a candidate’s different skills, so it may seem rather long and complicated. Think of it as a concentrated selection of tasks and situations that a project manager may encounter as they work—don’t take it as an accurate representation of your typical working day.
I would advise you to prioritize quality over speed. You can split the task up into different stages and spend a few days working on it. You need to show us that you can see any task through to the end without giving up, no matter how tricky it might be. And if you don’t have time to meet the deadline, you can always ask for an extension. As long as you let us know beforehand, we can work something out.Natalia Osipova, HR Director
Stage two: The Interview
Each question in the test assignment is given a score, and candidates who rack up enough points are invited for an interview. Our company takes on employees from all around the world, so we interview candidates online, via video calls.
This stage will take about an hour. In this time, we’ll get to know each other, find out about your skills, experiences, your views on the work process, and how you communicate in a team. Aside from asking general questions, we also give candidates a few cases to solve.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Interview questions aren’t mathematical equations—they have more than one right answer. So take a moment to think and suggest the different options that come to mind. This is how we test your ability to be flexible and think on the spot.
A future Project Manager is somebody who always has multiple options at hand to solve a problem. This is why we always ask candidates to talk us through their creative, logical and reasoning process, and not to try to mold their answers into any kind of framework.
Get to the point
Knowing how to give a straight answer to a given question is a surprisingly difficult skill to master, and one which we really value in our company.
We understand the value of time—both ours and that of our clients. So if you can answer the question in two sentences, why do it in ten?
Imagine that a candidate is asked a simple question during the interview—what tools do they use to plan out their work? In response, they might name two or three tools, like “a notebook and a pen”, or they could just admit that actually: “I don’t use any, I keep everything in my head.”
But instead of answering, the candidate goes off on a tangent about how responsible they are, or that their planning skills extend not only to their work, but to their personal life, too. Oh, and they’ve even done professional planning courses!
We heard a lot of words, but we’re still left without an answer.Natalia Osipova, HR DirectoR
What if I get accepted?
We provide our new employees with a two-week training course. It focuses on gaining general knowledge about the game development field and obtaining the specialized skills that project managers need. From day one, newcomers are assigned a mentor, who monitors their work throughout the probationary period and constantly gives them the feedback necessary for development.
In our company, you can grow not only vertically, but also horizontally. If an employee takes the initiative and wants to develop—be this working with larger clients or perhaps on specific large-scale projects, then we always give them this opportunity. Moreover, you can work on tasks in other areas, get to grips with related positions and subsequently change your role in the company. We provide all the resources we possibly can to make this happen.
We’re searching for a Project Manager right now
Follow the link, try your hand and join our team