<!–:en–>How can you use Samsung Galaxy Note to organize your information? <!–:–>

Below you will find the transcript of this video which contains a lot of excellent ideas on how to embrace new technologies using Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Note devices.
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How do you prepare a student for a world that in five years we can´t even imagine what it´s going to look like? Technology has grown exponentially. If you look at the human race and like where we are now, it´s tremendous, it´s amazing how quickly we´re evolving and changing and so, in order for kids to truly survive, right, they´re going to have to know how to speak this language.

You can be actively researching, right, using your device, and then writing your responses on this page here.
All that technology, all that access has changed the way students get to information, and by result it has changed the way students will leverage that information. The old model knowledge is a set of facts that´s static that you try to pour into a student´s head, and in the new model, knowledge is actually something that´s created in a community, it´s always alive, it´s always living, it´s something that as the students are learning about it they are actually participating, so the students are no longer just consumers of knowledge, they´re actually producers.

What if instead of filling a student´s head or educating them around knowledge, we started educating them around thinking?
We are going to start Evo Quest right now, we are looking for the team with the highest number of their species still left, so that means you guys have done a good job of deciding what traits you want it to have your species evolve with. So you guys ready? Yes. You guys ready? Yes. All right. Who do you think is going to need sharp teeth? The carnivores or the herbivores? The carnivores. Send a small out.

What we´ve been missing in education is really focusing on student engagement, we do what´s called game-like learning here, that consists of taking things that make games really fun and engaging, and incorporating them into the curriculum.

Imagine if kids are super focused, and they´re trying to figure out how to go to the next level in this playful experience, and what if the turning point of that level up is actually an element for a periodic table, that is a learning moment for us. It´s not, I was told to remember hydrogen, I wanted to remember it because I wanted to go to the next level.
We have a team working together of a game designer, curriculum designer and teacher, who basically work to look at the curriculum over the course of a trimester or semester and develop games to help support student learning.

All the work we do at the Institute of Play is in service of fundamentally changing how people interact with the world, so we want people to see the world as a single uninterrupted opportunity to learn.

What we´re going to be doing today is taking pictures while we´re out here in the street, at the trees, the buildings, the sky, and trying to capture an egg that we can then hatch into a wing monster, to send the students to Chicago quest they can use to complete their mission.

So the idea of connected learning is that learning doesn´t just happen in the classroom but that it happens everywhere, all day, all night. The kids live the curriculum, they live the learning, and we think that because they live it it´s going to be more memorable, but also they´re going to get the big ideas.

What we´re really trying to have our students come away with is this sense of empowerment or enfranchisement, that´s they´re somebody who can affect change, if you have a device at your fingertips that you can access every bit of information that the world has, the requisite for you is no longer to ability to retain information, it´s the ability to sort of put it together in unique, creative ways that nobody´s thought of before.

I think we all believe that there’s so much potential in all our students and having a way of teaching that really reaches each and every one of them is powerful, so that´s what we´re really striving to do.
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<!–:en–>New International Leipzig Start-up company: Lingustika GmbH<!–:–>

Leipzig’s international business community has grown by the addition of yet another start-up company: Lingustika GmbH. As of now, the team consists of an anglophone triumvirate Ralf Meßmann, an Irish German entrepreneur who is 100% bilingual, an Australian investor and Kevin Bell, an American businessman who also runs 341Hilfe, another Leipzig based German/American firm.

Lingustika provides a range of international business consulting services, especially for German companies who plan to promote their products in the United States or even want to set up an American subsidiary. In addition Lingustika offers language services such as translations and business English training.

The company is also building two web-based business — an online language learning community and a shop where expats can order native food and candies they can’t get in any other store in Germany. In a few months you will be able to buy food from the UK and Australia at www.expatfood.de

As for the company’s name, ‘Lingustika’ is based on the words ‘linguist’ and ‘gusto’ since Lingustika GmbH offer language and business consulting services on the one hand and expat food delivery on the other.

Many people I have mentioned the company to have pronounced the name as ‘Linguistika’ and that’s also what Google suggests if you type in ‘lingustika’. However, over time Google will learn that Lingustika is a thriving online business because more and more people are going to search the term. Since Google analyzes how often the term ‘lingustika’ is sought, it soon will stop suggesting ‘linguistika’ when you type in ‘lingustika’. This is one aspect of modern SEO.

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<!–:en–>Interview with It's Ukraine!<!–:–>

“It’s Ukraine” is a web portal about different aspects of life in Ukraine. A few hours after English-Team published the article on how Google purchased the Ukrainian start-up Viewdle, it was republished on “It’s Ukraine!” with a ping back to our website. That’s how I found “It’s Ukraine!” and today English-Team is talking to Olena Savenko, the owner of this ambitious web project.

English-Team: Olena, I found your site through the ping back you placed on my site. Now, how exactly did you come across my article about the Google/Viewdle deal? Olena Savenko: Thank you, Torsten for your interview invitation. Usually every morning I look through Ukrainian news to find some interesting information to post on the “It’s Ukraine!” website and re-post it in my “It’s Ukraine!” group on Facebook. I heard about the Google/Viewdle deal, so I decided to see who’s posting about it in English, and what the real story is. :) That’s how I came across the English-Team Blog and your article. English-Team: Very interesting. I’m pleased to hear you found our Google/Viewdle article and re-posted it. Now, could you please tell us a

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bit more about “It’s Ukraine!”. How and when did you conceptualize the idea and how did you come up with the name? Olena Savenko: It all started in the late nineties when I met my best friend. He was from the US but loved Ukraine very much and decided to stay and live here. Every day I saw what kind of problems he was facing, what kind of questions he had and what kind of information he needed, being a foreigner in Ukraine. I’ve been also meeting and talking to people from different countries, who’ve been visiting Ukraine, who’ve been interested in Ukraine, its people and its culture. So, I thought, maybe I should start a website where I would be able to share all the tips and information I know about my country to help not only my friends, but other people and make their life a bit easier. I started to work on my idea in 2005, when I came up with the name bestofukraine.com. I had no clue how to make websites but my desire was so strong, that I just decided to give it a try. I found a special program for my PC, installed it, saved several websites to use them as a learning material and tried to understand HTML code. A month later I created the first HTML version of bestofukraine.com Just a couple of years ago I created BestOfUkraine page on Facebook to be able to interact more with my visitors. After some time I understood that I also need a place where I could write not only about the best things, but everything and anything, all aspects of life in Ukraine, good or bad. So many times I’ve heard from my friends the phrase “It’s Ukraine!”, when they were happy or when they were disappointed and frustrated. Finally, after I was told another crazy story about a Ukrainian adventures by one of my friends, I thought, it’s time to start some type of a blog to share such stories and news. The name for it was obvious – itsukraine.com and I was lucky to get it! :) This year, I’ve also started It’s Ukraine! group on Facebook, which is growing rapidly. We’ve already got a great community of people from Ukraine and other countries, locals, ex-pats or just travelers, but all of them somehow and in some way are tied to Ukraine. I like my Ukrainian projects and enjoy developing them, because they give me a chance to meet new interesting and wonderful people, make new friends and learn new things. English-Team: Your English is very good. Where and how did you acquire it? Olena Savenko: Thank you. I was always interested in the English language. I started to study it at school, then university, I was reading books in English, but even after my graduation I wasn’t satisfied with my English. I had quite a large vocabulary, knew some grammar, but the main thing is practice, and I was lacking it. Everything improved fast after I met my American friend. He didn’t speak any Ukrainian or Russian, so we had to communicate only in English. He had a great ability to explain words and phrases I didn’t know in other words, his pronunciation was clear and easy to understand. I was doing lots of translations for him, first in a written form and then later simultaneous interpretation at meetings. It was a lot of fun when he was teaching me slang and dialect words and phrases, for example, wouldja, couldja, gonna, gotta, wanna, gimme, gotcha, goofy, dough, etc. As a result, I’ve created yet another hobby website myenglishforum.com. English-Team: How often do you communicate in English nowadays and with whom? Olena Savenko: Nowadays I have many English speaking friends, so I communicate in English very often. Because of my Travel Ukraine websites people write to me with different questions and requests, and these are also mainly in English. English-Team: Where do you get the material (news articles) for “It’s Ukraine!”? Olena Savenko: Everywhere. Online and offline. I just keep my eyes open for any interesting news about Ukraine. My friends are a great source of information as well, because they share their Ukrainian stories and adventures with me. Also, I live in Ukraine and see everything from the inside. So, when something strikes me, I write about it. :) English-Team: Do you emphasize any topics over others? For example, do you like business more than politics and tourism more than statistics? Also, some of the articles on your site contain a few rather sad facts about Ukraine such as your countries high AIDS and death rate. What kind of image do you think such reports might create in your readers’ minds? Olena Savenko: Actually not, at least I am trying not to emphasize some topics over others. There are of course times when several days in a row I find interesting news on one topic and I post it. But anyway I have it as a rule to keep a balance and post in different categories, like travel, politics, science & technologies, business & finances and others. I agree that some of the articles on It’s Ukraine! don’t show Ukraine in a positive way, but this is our life. We cannot describe only positive things and close our eyes

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to negative facts. I think, bringing attention to problems might help to solve them and improve things in future. So, on It’s Ukraine! I want to show a complete picture, without beautification, and that was my first intent when I started this website. I hope, my readers appreciate this fact and keep their minds open. Every country has got its bad and good features. English-Team: What do you think needs to be done in order for ordinary Ukrainian citizens to improve their situation and live better lives? Olena Savenko: This is a difficult question and the answer might take a book. :) To make it short, Ukraine needs a government that thinks of its people and does things for people, and those improvements should be done not only before the elections but all the time. Everybody knows the main problems in Ukraine, which are corruption, heavy burden of taxes, ridiculous salaries of medical professionals, teachers and other government employees, difficult climate for entrepreneurs and investors, etc. Changes must be comprehensive and radical and include all systems of government and administration. English-Team: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: ‘Every country or nation has the government it deserves.’ Olena Savenko: I mainly disagree with it. It is great when in some countries people have the power to change the government. In this case it is their responsibility to make the right choice. But more often in many countries elections are just dirty political games, where people are simply used as a tool to achieve someone’s aims. In this case it can be very hard to change something, as well as to see the real picture. Talking about the statement “Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite”, I’ve read that it belongs to Joseph de Maistre, a French-speaking Savoyard philosopher, writer, lawyer and diplomat. One of the translations of Maistre’s aphorism is “Every nation has the government which it is fit for” and they think it may best capture what Maistre really meant. English-Team: So who would you say is responsible for the economic and social problems Ukraine is facing, the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian politicians or the Ukrainian people? Olena Savenko: I would say that the government and politicians are responsible for creating such a climate for people to be able to build a stable and comfortable economic and social environment. English-Team: Would you consider Ukraine’s politicians and its government part of the Ukrainian nation and the Ukrainian people? In other words, is there anything Ukraine’s politicians and Ukraine’s people have in common in addition to the language they speak? Olena Savenko: Ideally, Ukraine’s politicians and its government should be a part of the Ukrainian nation and the Ukrainian people, and, of course, to some extent, they are, but the question is how big and strong that connection is. It’ll be interesting to see the results of Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine on the 28th of October, 2012. I hope the political and economic situation in Ukraine will improve, so the country will attract investments, encourage new business startups and future development of already existing businesses. I am open and ready to discuss any new insights, opportunities, ideas and proposals for cooperation and the further development of my projects about Ukraine. You can contact me via email itsukraine@ukr.net It’s Ukraine! group on FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/391526840883542/

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<!–:en–>Vodafone increases LTE coverage in Germany<!–:–>

Yesterday I spoke to Ketan Mahapatro, who works as Verification Manager, Mobile Next Generation Platforms at Intel Corporation. He says that Vodafone Germany is a key account of Intel and that Vodafone plans to increase their LTE coverage dramatically by the end of 2013.

As of now, Vodafone LTE is available only in large cities, making any LTE plans and packages rather unattractive. According to Phone Guide Germany, Vodafone’s competitor, Telekom is planning to offer LTE coverage in over 100 German cities and 2,000 rural areas with Telekom’s 4G by the end of 2012. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to correspond with reality since in many regions of Germany even UMTS coverage is very thin.

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<!–:en–>Google's New Chromebook is out<!–:–>

In this video you can learn more about the differences between the old and the new Google Chromebook. Below you can read the transcript of the video.

Hey it´s Kevin Tofel from GigaOM, I´ve got my hands here the Google´s Chromebook made by Samsung, I´ve been using one of these for the last two or four months or so but I haven´t been using this one, what? No, I´ve been using this one that runs on an Intel processor, costs 449 dollars for the Wi-Fi edition, 549 for the 4G edition.

Well then, what´s this one? It looks lighter, it looks thinner, that´s because it is. Even better, it´s cheaper, at 249 dollars, this new Samsung Chromebook runs on an ARM processor, the same types of chips that powers smartphones and tablets, it´s lighter, it´s thinner, the battery runtime is the same, the performance is I´ll say comparable, maybe not quite as good as that old one that I´ve been using for the last four or five months, but pretty darn close. Google says this is the Chromebook for everyone so let´s take a closer look, compare the two and I´ll share some impressions because I´ve been using this for the last couple of hours.

So here are the two Chromebooks side by side, on the left is the original edition that I bought four or five months ago running the Intel processor, on the right this is the brand new one, you can see there´s a hinge on the outside here, what´s done there it´s for design purposes in order to make this thing thinner, in fact let me put these two top and bottom so you can see. It´s not a huge difference but it´s definitely noticeable, the device is definitely thinner on the top, the brand new one, and as a result some of the ports that are on the old one had to get moved to the back on this new Chromebook.

You´ll notice there´s a vent for the fan on the old one, this one is fanless, the new one is with the ARM processor is fanless. No ports over here, and everything is the same there. Now the screen on the new one is slightly smaller, it´s 11.6 inches, so it´s about half an inch smaller than the old screen, it´s 1366 x 768 resolution, brightness is only 200 nits and I will say that I have a problem with the old one even with the brightness when I´m trying to use the device outside. Speakers are on the bottom same as the old version, I´ve already tested them and they`re quite loud, and, yeah it´s definitely lighter this is 2.43 pounds, the old one I believe is a little over 3 pounds, noticeable difference I can feel it, thinner, smaller, and here I´ll give you a little walk around the ports too since they´re all right here on the back.

This here is a sim card slot, now this is a Wi-Fi edition so I can´t put the sim, a sim card here and have anything happen, Google says there will be a 3G version, there are no details on that at this time. We also have 2 USB ports, just like we did on the old version, however one is USB 2.0 and one is USB 3.0, or superspeed, so that boosts your transfer speeds by quite a large margin. Instead of the old display port, the display port plus plus, it´s HDMI here now, it´s full size HDMI, here´s where you plug in your device to charge it, over here we´ve got the headphone jack and we´ve got a SD card slot here, the device comes with 16 gigabytes of onboard flash storage just like the old edition and then you can expand memory right through here. Also Google is throwing in 100 gigabytes of Google Drive storage with the new Chromebook so you get 100 gig online storage plus you have 16 onboard and then you can expand here. Nothing else there and nothing on the right side.

One noticeable difference is that the old version had an Ethernet port right here so you could actually plug in to a wired network. You can´t do that with the new one so it is Wi-Fi only. It is 802 ABGN, it´s a 2×2 antenna so you should have good through put, my little bit of testing so far has shown no issues on that. And let´s see, battery life, oh before I talk a little bit more about the device, it´s actually I would say not much if any better than the old Intel-powered one, it´s rated for about 6 and a half hours so you´re not saving tons of battery life by going with this one, you´re saving space and you are having a lighter device.

So, let´s open this up so I can show you how fast it will start up, you get the Chrome logo, notice I didn´t press the power button just like the old version, you literally just open it up. Let me sign in, which I´ve done, and boom, we´re pretty much online at this point, it´s a blank tab, that´s how I have it set, Wi-Fi is already connected. It´s the same Chrome OS that I´ve been using and that other people are using today, it´s the most current, there are a few actual tweaks on here though, the interface looks a little bit refined, there´s some nice things like up here at the top right here let me see if I can zoom in and show you a little bit more detail here, up at the top right the settings looks a little bit different, it looks a little bit nicer, and also if we go to the settings down below, just a little bit of a cleaner look, no I don´t have 596,000 hours of battery life left, I´ve noticed that already.

You do have Bluetooth on this, that´s a huge upgrade in my opinion because it supports maybe Bluetooth mice, external keyboards, possibly even game controllers, so that is a plus because I did not have Bluetooth on my old version, so let´s see what else, everything else is pretty much the same here, I will also note that you get the integrated camera again, just as you did before, microphone port is up here now, and there´s also an ambient light sensor up in here and that I´ve noticed is doing a better job with adjusting the screen display brightness than the old one so that is good.

As far as the keyboard, it´s the same keyboard as near as I can tell, and that´s a good thing because I actually really like the keyboard on the Chromebooks today. Now the mouse pad, trackpad, let me move this up, is, is it a little smaller, it is a little smaller, let me put this one here so you can see, just not as deep, same width, and I´ve noticed, and maybe this is just me, that the tab 2, the tapping buttons are more geared towards the top half, I´ve occasionally been hitting new tabs and such on the bottom half and they´re not opening, so that means it amounts for a second, let me see if I can show you that. I´m going to try and open up a new tab by tapping kinda on the top of it, this button here, or on the bottom rather, and nothing happened, I get about half way up the mouse pad and then it does so, and my hand is right here and that´s where it starts working, so it seems like these are more of select buttons than anything else. I noticed the same thing on the older one but it doesn´t seem to be half and half, it seems to be like three quarters and a quarter in terms of tapping and response, so.

As far as performance, this is running what I believe is the first Cortex A15 chip and that is Samsung´s Exynos 52 50 and we knew that this was being tested, Chromebook has been tested on that chip oh several months ago, so it looks like the testing is complete at this point because that´s the chip that´s in here. I believe it´s 1.7 GHz, I haven´t gotten confirmation on that but that´s what I´m getting out of Samsung´s site, that it is 1.7 GHz.

Now, what does that mean in terms of performance? Well let´s see, most people would be using this say for Facebook, and other things, so let me just go log into Facebook, no problems there, I would read Techmeme a lot and various other sites, it´s fine, it´s all loaded. If I wanted to load our own site which isn´t totally graphics-heavy but we have a graphic for every post, let´s take a look at that, that´s loading. I´ve noticed that the performance seems to be, at least to me, I´ll say a half stat behind that of the old version, the old Intel version, and I suspect that´s possibly due to software optimization and yet for this chip, it´s a new chip, but I wouldn´t say it´s the same, and I wouldn´t say it´s better, I´d say it´s comparable.

I did a Sunspider test which is to test JavaScript in the browser, a lowers score is better, this scored about 620 min/sec, the Intel-powered one scored about 450 min/sec, so that one is clearly faster for JavaScript, all things being equal. Would I say this is bad performance? No, I would say this perfectly fine for what most people would be doing, you know like what do I do, I go to Fantasy Football, I mean, this is my everyday computer so I´m using it for all kinds of stuff, you know, various bits. I don´t really use it for gaming and such, so I don´t want to say anything about that.

I will say that this supports 1080p videos even the screen is not 1080p capable, the chip itself is, so let me go to movies, let´s get a Youtube movie trailer, and I´ll turn the sound up, I´ll say three quarters and I´ll turn the brightness, it´s all the way up right now. And the Avengers is pretty dark so I don´t want to do that, it´s hard to see at maybe the same…, I just said I wasn´t going to do that and then I did, use my back button, Promethous is also…, Madagascar should be bright and cheery, ooh, let´s check the preview, I´ll full screen it, there it is, looks perfectly fine, let´s change it from 360p to we´ll start at 720p, now that´s even better to me, looks fine, let´s turn the sound down, and let´s go all the way up to 1080p. Visually you may not be able to tell a difference, it looks pretty darn good to me, there was a little stutter there but now she´s all caught up, and it looks pretty good. So in terms of graphics performance at least for videos, I don´t see any difference whatsoever between this and the old version.

So, so let´s talk real quick about the pricing on this because 249 dollars is a very big difference from the 449 dollars of the last model that I purchased, and that makes this more accessible to people which I think is a great thing. A lot of people question the value proposition of 449 dollar Chromebook, I understand that, it works for me that´s why I bought it. 249 dollars, now you´ve got, netbook type pricing or lower, you´ve got a dedicated browser that works perfectly fine for most everyday tasks for people. Are businesses going to rush out and get this? No. Are everyday consumers going to get this? I think yes.

I think there´s a much more compelling argument for this type of device when it looks this sleek, lasts for a good 6 hours on a charge, and shuts down instantly, wakes up instantly, boots very quickly, let´s wake it back up, and you´re only paying 249 dollars for it.

I think it´s a good compelling deal, I don´t know if I will switch away from my Intel-powered one, only because I do use this as an everyday machine and on performance, it´s still something that´s important to me. But I may give this a longer try and see, because I like the fact that it´s lighter, sleeker, thinner, and I would take this everywhere, there´s no question about it, just like I do with the other one, but it would be easier to take this one, so I´ll have more thoughts as I use this longer but for now, that is an overview of Google´s new Chromebook running on the ARM processor made by Samsung, and that´s 249 dollars. I think it´s a good deal.

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<!–:en–>Interview with Natalya Klimenko, HR Director at Zfort Group<!–:–><!–:de–>Interview mit Natalya Klimenko, HR Director der Zfort Group<!–:–>

What is the most important ingredient of success for any company? Is it sales, marketing, IT? Of course, your company is a system that consists of many components which need to work together in perfect harmony, like a Swiss clock. To ensure that all the different departments and divisions of your company work together, you primarily need a state-of-the-art HR team. So Human Resources is by far the single most important department in your company.

HR is responsible for attracting, filtering, selecting, recruiting and training all your company’s staff. Whether or not your company grows faster than your competitors largely depends on how successful and effective your HR team is. Think about it: Everything we do or say has somehow to do with people. No matter what industry or business you are in, your ultimate goal is to help make other peoples’ lives easier and more pleasant.

The IT industry grows and changes lighting fast. It develops at Internet speed. New web technologies and processes emerge almost on a monthly basis. This causes a lot of challenges for IT recruiters because they constantly have to search for new talents that blend in perfectly with existing teams. The average age of web programmers is very low because web software programming requires a high level of concentration and a permanent willingness to learn. Successful IT companies grow at rapid speeds which means that the Human Resource departments need to be innovative and effective.

One of the fastest growing IT outsourcing companies in the world is Zfort Group, Ukraine whose HR Director is Natalya Klimenko. Natalya has already given several interviews on Zfort’s recruiting and human resource development techniques because many IT recruiters want to learn from her expertise and experience.

English-Team is glad that Natalya Klimenko has agreed to give an exclusive online interview that will reveal some of Zfort Group’s success secrets.

English-Team:
Natalya, you are one of the most successful recruiters and HR managers in the IT industry worldwide. According to your Linkedin profile you have been working for Zfort Group since July 2010. How did you get hired by Zfort? Did you apply proactively or did they approach you?

Natalya Klimenko:
In 2010, I was actively looking for a job. I got interviewed a few times and after awhile it was up to me which of those companies to choose for furthering my career. At the time, Zfort had an HR Director opening and it seemed like a whopper of a challenge and something really exciting… I sent them my CV and was invited for an interview almost at once. Soon after another interview followed, at which I met Zfort’s dynamite top management team I’m still working with. To be honest, if it hadn’t been for their friendly attitude and great atmosphere at that interview I’d have accepted an offer from another company. Now I’m very happy it all stacked up so I’m currently working with some of the IT industry’s best experts.

English-Team:
How many people worked at Zfort’s HR department when you joined and how many HR people do you have now?

Natalya Klimenko:
When I joined Zfort Group, the company had only one recruiter. Currently, the company’s HR Department employs three recruiters and one PR manager. We are now capable of solving personnel sourcing and recruitment, brand promotion, and PR tasks of any degree of complexity.

English-Team:
Please tell us a bit more about Zfort’s recruiting process. I saw the interview you gave at Rabota.ua and would like to hear some more details. What phases has a candidate to go through before you hire them?

Natalya Klimenko:
Zfort’s recruitment process isn’t too complicated. Normally, a candidate is interviewed just once, after which we try to make a decision on whether he or she should be employed and contacted for this purpose. However, sometimes, we arrange for another interview if the candidate is applying for a top management position. The entire selection procedure, from receiving a CV to interviewing the candidate, takes no more than 2-3 days. We’ve tried to simplify the recruitment procedure as much as possible. This allows us to respond to the changing employment market quickly and flexibly and make timely decisions.

English-Team:
What kind of skills and characteristics do you look for in a candidate? What does it take to join the Zfort team?

Natalya Klimenko:
While selecting personnel, we try to balance between the candidate’s professional qualifications and personal traits. If the candidate is a qualified professional but he or she has difficulty mingling with the team it’ll be hard for this person to do his or her job well. The same happens if the candidate has good communication skills but lacks professional qualifications, – he or she is unable to do the job well. Actually, we try to be balanced throughout the recruitment process.

English-Team:
What is the female/male ratio at Zfort?

Natalya Klimenko:
The mankind’s better half is lucky to work at our company – there are more guys here than girls. Talking of the percentage ratio, 20% of our employees are females and 80% are males. Ladies normally hold manager, QA, and recruiter positions. The guys tackle more difficult tasks: programming, analytics, and building of processes. Overall, everybody seems to like the divide).

English-Team:
How important are English language skills and how do you measure them?

Natalya Klimenko:
For our company, knowledge of English is highly important. All our customers are overseas companies and the communication with them is mostly in English. All our employees use English to some extent for communicating with our customers, doing business correspondence, creating functional specifications, etc. Even the incoming CVs are in English and we here at the HR Department have to know and understand this language. We also try to continually improve our command of English. For example, the company offers an English acquisition course any of our employees can take gratis to improve his or her grasp of the language.

English-Team:
Do you expect programmer candidates to submit code samples?

Natalya Klimenko:
As I’ve already mentioned, Zfort’s recruitment and interviewing process is not too complicated. We try to have an interview and make a decision as soon as possible. However, sometimes, when we have our doubts regarding a candidate and we can’t make a decision quickly enough, we ask him to provide code samples to be able to better gauge the person’s qualifications.

English-Team:
If you had to decide, which would you say is more important — soft skills or technical and professional qualifications?

Natalya Klimenko:
If one had to choose between the different qualities of a candidate, we’d most probably focus on his or her technical and other professional qualifications.

English-Team:
Does Zfort Group’s recruiting and HR strategy differ from that of Kharkov based IT companies with German or EU branches such as Qualium Systems or Intetics?

Natalya Klimenko:
There are no major differences between the recruiting strategies of the IT companies with a business presence in Kharkov, be it companies originating from Germany, the UK or some other country. There can be differences in the requirements, deadlines, numbers of the personnel to be recruited, but the recruitment strategy always remains the same. All the companies want to source qualified, motivated, and inexpensive workforce.

English-Team:
What is Zfort’s staff turnover, how long does an employee stay with Zfort on average?

Natalya Klimenko:
The reasons for which our employees leave the company can be different. They can be external reasons, when an employee, for example, is not happy with the project, company, or setting he works in. There can also be some internal reasons. For example, an employee can make a decision to move to another country, start his or her own business, and so forth. On average, the time period spent by an employee at Zfort constitues 2.5 years. We believe this to be quite normal and have no worries in this respect. We also try to stay on friendly terms with all our former employees. Quite often, our former employees return to Zfort.

English-Team:
What value do you place on language skills and how do you measure them?

Natalya Klimenko:
English skills’ evaluation is quite a difficult task for all IT companies. There’s no clearly formulated standard upheld by Ukrainian IT companies. There’s no requirement at Zfort that our employees pass the TOEFL test. However, we can gauge a candidate’s grasp of English by using our own tests or by conducting part of the interview in English.

English-Team:
How does Zfort Group motivate its employees to achieve to stellar results?

Natalya Klimenko:
Zfort has a large-scale social program. One can get familiar with it by visiting our Ukrainian web site http://www.zfort.com.ua/company/about/. The program is based on three principles: the highly professional managers who are always willing come to an employee’s aid, qualified employees capable of solving even the most difficult tasks, and a friendly atmosphere.

English-Team:
Apparently Zfort Group uses a very flat organizational structure with little hierarchy. Can you please tell us if there are any hierarchical levels within the company? Also, do you divide your staff into coders, programmers, web developers, quality managers and project managers?

Natalya Klimenko:
Yes, Company has quite a flat hierarchy. Actually the company is divided into production departments and office support departments. The production departments are the following: Development department; QA department; Front-end developers and creative designers; project managers. The office support departments are: Research & Development Department; Technical Department; HR Department; Financial Department and Maintenance Department. All departments have direct managers and are coordinated by the Chief Executive Officer.

English-Team:
I take it you use Russian as the means of internal communication and English when you communicate with clients?

Natalya Klimenko:
Yes. Internally, we communicate in Russian and all our external communications are in English.

English-Team:
Do you face any internal conflicts from time and to time and how do you solve them?

Natalya Klimenko:
I’d suggest that we refer to internal conflicts as work-related issues.

Almost Definitely got as article.

We don’t have any pronounced conflict situations arising at Zfort. The company has endeavored to come up with a methodology for resolving various work-related issues. For example, we have our “Piggy-bank for Ideas,” to which any of our employees can submit a proposal of any kind, a complaint, or just thank the company or a specific employee for something. All the workings of this system are absolutely transparent. Also, we have a number of different forms of communication with our employees: one-to-one, in teams, with one of the managers participating… We try to discuss all problems openly and resolve them together. Any employee can freely visit and of the company’s top-managers, including the Chief Executive Officer, and openly discuss any issue at hand. Openness and friendliness are the two approaches that help us avoid conflict situations.

English-Team:
On your website I saw that you engage in a lot of different team building exercises such as paint ball shooting and white water rafting. Who organizes those events and how often do you have them?

Natalya Klimenko:
Yes, we just love outdoor activities! Moreover, we come up with a new kind of activity every time. And it’s not only paintball, soccer, table tennis, or rafting. We love trips and we’ve recently been to the Krasnokutsk arboretum. A team of our employees has also recently visited Instanbul. All these events are initiated and organized by the company’s HR Department. On average, our team building activities take part once-monthly. Currently, we are preparing for our Helloween celebration that will include a consumed party with treats and various different competitions.

English-Team:
When we visited Zfort’s headquarters earlier this year, I noticed that you decided against an open plan office. Instead, you have many rooms in which your teams work together. How many people work in one room on average and how do they communicate with other teams during the day?

Natalya Klimenko:
As we were looking for new premises for Zfort Group, one of the requirements was that the new premises consist of small and cozy rooms that could each house one project team. Indeed, we tried to avoid open space and we have succeeded in that. Now all the members of one team are all seated in the same room, which is quite helpful in solving he various issues related to the working process. I can’t really say the average number people on a team as it depends on the project requirements. The numbers can range from 3 up to 15 people. The internal communications are done using email, an internal messenger, or just with the help of a personal visit which is normally fun here too.

English-Team:
How many of Zfort’s staff smoke?

Natalya Klimenko:
Just like anywhere else, we do have smokers among our employees but it is a pleasure to know they are a minority here.

English-Team:
I saw many of your developers listen to music while they work. Do you happen to know their preferences?

Natalya Klimenko:
Yes, music helps our developers do their job well. Their tastes range from light pop music to heavy metal. Our employees are different and so are their tastes. I wouldn’t be able to define any common preferences.

English-Team:
Zfort is one of the most bicycle friendly employers in Ukraine. How many of your staff come to work by bike? What about the rest, do you have a car sharing program in place?

Natalya Klimenko:
Yes, in 2012 our company became the winner of the Kharkov Bicycle-Friendly Employer competition based on the voting results from several social networks. Around 15 of our developers come to the office by bike. There is a special bicycle parking lot and a shower room set up for this purpose. Unfortunately, we have no car exchange program in place as yet and I haven’t really heard of any other IT company having it.

English-Team:
So what are Zfort’s plans for 2013? How many staff are you going to add over the next year?

Natalya Klimenko:
We do have great plans for 2013. Currently, we are making preparations to welcome 50 more employees into the company. Next year we are also starting a new round of cooperation with technical institutes of higher learning by offering courses to young professionals. Redesigning our Russian website http://www.zfort.com.ua/ is also part of our plans and you will shortly be able to see its new version online. The company office is due to be redesigned to include work rooms and corridors. A gym and a shower room are part of the redesign plans too.
We’ll continue with the projects that have become popular with our folks: the Basketball Cup, taking part in the IT soccer league, and, in particular, the Charity Program, which is especially dear to us. We have a great
many plans but I can say with confidence that all of them will be implemented in full.

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<!–:en–>GreatView: Chinese company creates 120 jobs in Leipzig<!–:–>

The Chinese company ‘GreatView’ has set up an aseptic packaging facility near Leipzig at the Autobahn A14. GreatView is the international market leader in the packaging industry and the company is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Plant manager Stefan Mayer says that there are two reasons why GreatView chose Leipzig as its European location.
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First of all, Leipzig is situated in the heart of Europe and has an excellent logistics infrastructure. In addition, you can find a large pool of qualified employees who will contribute to GreatView’s European growth. It goes without saying the production costs in Leipzig are higher than at GreatView’s headquarters in Hong Kong. However, the increased production costs are easily compensated by much higher sales prices in Europe.

GreatView’s Leipzig facility is a 13,000 square meter operation where two robots are churning out aseptic packaged products around the clock. The plant has now 100 local employees for the test phase and 20 more will be recruited once the operation reaches its full capacity. What’s most interesting from English-Team’s perspective is the fact that the corporate language at GreatView’s Leipzig plant is English rather than German. CEO Stefan Mayer says that his Chinese colleagues provide constant support via daily video conferences. His receptionist, Xin Zhou speaks three languages: Chinese, English and German.

The GreatView Leipzig project is only the beginning of a process that I would call ‘reversed globalization’. In the near future, more and more Chinese companies will set up European operations in and around Leipzig to get direct access to the German consumer and B2B market. 000-958

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&lt;!–:en–&gt;Who is going to be the next US President? &lt;!–:–&gt;

Dear [Friend], Just in a few day, on November 6, the US citizens are going to elect their new president. There are only two candidates left: The incumbent president, Barack Obama and his republican counterpart, Mitt Romney. Recent polls show that it will be a very close election and right now, nobody can tell who’s going to win. That’s why we’ve recently started our own poll on the forum and I’d like to invite you to cast your vote her: Who will be the next US president?

For more information on the topic you can read these threads: Does the US need a republican president now? Julian Mann for US president! Whoever will be the next US president he is going to face tough times as the US has long reached a plateau in its economic and social development.

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<!–:en–>English For Winners Workshop at BarCamp Jena<!–:–>

Last afternoon about 15 participants of the BarCamp Jena took an active part in the English For Winners workshop delivered by English-Team.

We did the entire 60 minute session in English since all participants were at level B2 and above. During the seminar we collected a number of great ideas as to how we can improve our English even more effectively. For example, Martin Eckart, CEO of MAD Mobile Application Development GmbH said that he frequently speaks English with his wife to practice their language skills.

For the two TowerConsult junor recruiters Claudia Dietel and Daniela Just, speaking English is an essential part of their daily job activities since they frequently interview job candidates from EU countries such as Spain and Italy.

TowerConsult also said that there at least 3 active English language get-together’s (Stammtisch) in Jena and English-Team plans to write a report about this to see how active other German cities are in conducting frequent meetings with expats and English native speakers.

You can download a summary of the workshop here: English For Winners BarCamp Workshop.

After the session TowerConsult and English-Team had a meeting during which they discussed how both companies can collaborate in the future. As a first step, they decided to create and publish in interview covering questions of modern recruiting strategies in the IT industry in Germany, the EU and worldwide. The TowerConsult interview can have a similar structure and format as the Interview with Natalya Klimenko, HR manager of Zfort Group.

English-Team is going to speak with TowerConsult about inviting international IT companies to take part in the BarCamp Jena 2013 event. Interestingly enough, Olga Uchatsch of TowerConsult and one of the Bewerblog.de authors, greeted the BarCamp crowd by saying in perfect Russian: ‘Здравсвуйте ребята, как настроение?’ (Hi folks, how are you?’) As it turns out, Olga was born and raised in Kharkiv where English-Team’s web development company is headquartered. So Olga could take

In addition, Martin Eckart, CEO of MAD Mobile gave an impressive presentation of his company’s profile and services and English-Team is going to meet up again with Martin to design a project plan for a two new mobile web applications.

PS: Here is a little BarCamp Jena SEO blurb:

Barcamp Jena SEO

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