This week on Café Oleh, we sit down and talk to Zev Stub and Ron Machol, the respective representatives of the websites Janglo and IsraEmploy, which provide employment listings and community resources to Anglo olim. Read on to find out what Israeli employers really think about olim, how concerned you should be about your Hebrew level, and more insider information to help you make the most ofyour first Israeli job hunt.
Zev Stub grew up in Chicago, and made aliya in 2000 right after graduating university. He launched Janglo as a Yahoo group a year later to help fellow olim in Jerusalem share information. Eleven years later, Janglo helps tens of thousands of olim a month live their dreams and thrive in Israel.
Ron Machol made aliya from California 15 years ago. He has a BA in computer science and 20 years professional experience in hi-tech, split evenly between the US and Israel. He originally became involved with IsraEmploy as a volunteer, but soon found himself much more passionate about his volunteer work than his actual position marketing technology. And so, five years ago, he officially joined IsraEmploy on a fulltime basis. Primarily, he helps new olim conduct more effective job searches and makes Israeli employers aware of the high quality multi-language speakers available to them. Every day that he helps new olim find work, he has a smile on his face. Ron can be reached at email@example.com.
The Israeli employment market is a fairly daunting place for non-Hebrew speaking olim. In your experience running a job-search website that caters to English speakers, Anglos and olim, what kinds of opportunities are out there for non to low level-Hebrew speakers? Do you have any advice on navigating the language barrier?
It’s clear that not every job is relevant for new olim. I don''t think I''ll ever hear a nice girl with an American accent pick up the phone at Bezeq or my gas company. But there are a fair number of companies that work only with Olim. Native English is a big asset in most hi-tech business environments, and olim have a nice edge when it comes to sales and marketing, especially to International markets.
Entering the Israeli employment market is a challenge for all new olim. Those that don’t speak Hebrew well face the additional hurdle of not always being capable of doing the jobs which they did professionally before aliya. On the other hand, English is a valuable skill in the local job market, opening up many opportunities, including teaching and writing. Keep in mind though, that English is most useful as a complement to Hebrew, not as a substitute.
For certain profiles of job seekers in Israel, lack of Hebrew is not a huge barrier. For those that live in the center of the country and are relatively young (20s & 30s), the online sector can be a great option. There are thousands of people working in this industry, engaged in marketing, sales, and customer service. No Hebrew is required, rather English and European languages are in great demand. Of course, any company/organization that has international customers, partners or suppliers needs employees that have foreign language skills to act as interfaces.
How are most Anglo olim viewed by Israeli employers? Are there any reputations—good or bad—working for or against these potential applicants? Do you have any insider information that could be beneficial to olim? Care to share?
Anglos come to the table with the attributes that Israelis are thirsty for: A natural sense for customer service, fairness, hard work, and politeness. In general, Israeli society wants itself to embrace those values more and more, even if it doesn''t always know how to. Israeli executives are secretly jealous of our politeness and willingness to work for the team, and respect that a lot.
The flipside of that is that nice Anglos can come off as vulnerable and naive to aggressive Israeli executives, and signs of weakness can open you up to abuse. Like everything in life, you need a proper balance to succeed.
Many new olim complain that their pre-aliya education and work experience are not appreciated enough by Israeli employers, and there is some merit to this. In addition, new olim often are enthusiastic enough to shout out loud how excited they are to be in Israel, and it is important to understand that this is not always beneficial to highlight your recent arrival.
Companies in Israel don’t always have an automatic positive viewpoint concerning the candidacy of newcomers; in fact, their typical reaction may well include some element of doubt. Oftentimes, new oleh’s previous employers and universities are unknown to Israelis. In addition, especially for job seekers that have never worked in Israel, employers can have concerns of whether the new oleh will fit into the local workplace, in terms of language, culture, and other aspects of the Israeli workplace environment. For instance, will new olim be too passive in the relatively aggressive (normal) Israeli interactions? Without local job references, potential employers have a level of uncertainty.
To combat this, do what you can to improve your Hebrew skills and gain any local experience (even if it volunteering), the best combination to make yourself more marketable in the Israel employment market, at the same time minimizing the risk that an employer might perceive by hiring you.
Do you have any advice you''d like to share with Olim entering into their first job-search in Israel?
The first rule in everything I''ve read or written about job searching is to network. Tell your friends what kind of job you are looking for, and keep your ears open.
My other tip is the opposite of what others say. Don''t go too crazy with your job hunt. Spend a few hours working on your job search every day, pray for success and clarity, do what you need to do, and then let go. Now is your time to enjoy the treasures of Israel, especially while you aren''t cooped up behind a desk. If you can do that, not only will you enjoy your time more, but you''ll have a more "Israeli" mentality that will help you for the rest of your life in Israel.
Networking is a wonderful way to offset some of the difficulties in landing your first job, as well as subsequent positions. Speaking to people in your profession, as well as others that speak the same language as you, will help you identify hidden jobs (studies indicate that two-thirds of all jobs available are NOT publically advertised).
Flexibility is the key ingredient in getting started. Some people are fortunate enough to land a first job that is comparable in responsibility to their pre-aliya positions, but this is generally the exception. For most people, there are one or more intermediate jobs along the way before they reach to their ultimate employment goals. However, each of these initial jobs will further prepare you for your end-goal. All jobs add some combination of developing language skills, networking with new people, learning new skills and getting local references, (as well as allowing you to earn some money), critical components to enable you to reach your larger employment objective.
What is unique about your website? What makes it an asset to for olim?
People sometimes refer to Janglo as Israel''s largest English classifieds site, but we pride ourselves on being much more than just a huge listing of jobs, homes, sales, events, and businesses. Since we launched in June 2001, users have flocked to Janglo for the sense of community we provide. People use Janglo to feel like they are part of something bigger.
Olim sometimes complain that since they are new to Israel, they don''t have the "protexia" and networks that resident Israelis have. Whether or not that''s true, our Anglo network is a huge and growing institution with its own standalone rules, communities, and infrastructure. Our communities are open, friendly, and supportive, and often envied by our native Israeli neighbors. Janglo is proud to play a strong role in our community development.
IsraEmploy is focused exclusively on employment, targeting those job-seekers that speak a foreign (non-Hebrew) language at a high level. This encompasses a variety of languages, not exclusively English, although the entire website is accessible through English. We list about 4,000 new jobs a month, the huge majority of which are published in English. New jobs are sent by email each day to our subscribers, and are searchable through the website itself.
Additionally, we offer a host personalized employment services, including assistance in:
· Defining suitable job targets
· Creating Israeli-style CVs
· Identifying relevant job opportunities through a variety of methods, including networking.
In addition to our main website, we publish a blog, Job Search in Israel, replete with articles about CVs, networking and much more.