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Human resources in Turkey Human resources in Turkey
by Joseph Gatt
2019-11-07 10:28:30
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Sweeping generalizations about human resources in Turkey, in no particular order.

-I discussed the importance of networks in Turkey. There are two countries in the world where networks play a huge role: Turkey and the Philippines. So a lot of people will find jobs through networks, without every sending a resume or a cover letter.

-Most Turkish people spend many, many years on the job, try hard to perform well on the job, and will try their best effort on the job. Many can concentrate for long hours at a time, and will do everything to beat deadlines and provide work that borders perfection.

turk01_400_01-Office politics is the main problem with a lot of Turkish companies. In Turkey there's something called “abilik” which roughly translates into “abuse of the powerful” and something called “artistlik” which roughly translates into “behaving like a diva who throws tantrums.” Turkish bosses can ask their staff to “sit” and “shut up” and can in some cases slap them in the face or make them clean the office or engage in other humiliating acts. Bullying and workplace harassment are very serious problems in Turkey.

-So foreign companies tend to be very coveted, because rumor has it foreign companies treat their staff better. So many will try to learn foreign languages and try their luck with foreign companies, and foreign companies receive lots of resumes when posting job ads.

-First thing you'll notice. Many Turkish people drop out of two, three or four colleges before they settle for a college, finally start studying seriously, and graduate. What I find strange is they mention all the colleges they dropped out from. In some cases they start Master's or Ph.D. that they never finish and put that on the resume as well. Resumes also include information on high school and if they failed college entrance examinations they will include that on the resume as well. I think this is because Turkish companies tend to run background checks with the education authorities.

-In Turkey, people also mention pretty much every company they've worked for, be it for 1 month, for 2 weeks, for 6 months or for over a year. Again I think this is because Turkish companies tend to run background checks with the labor authorities.

-During job interviews, expect a lot of sincerity. If they don't know how to do something, they will tell you they don't know how to do it but will try to learn it. They tend to give honest assessments of themselves, and will probably tell you the exact reason they quit or got fired from their last job.

-Now to some minor notes. Most companies have three meals. In the morning, most companies provide “kahvalti” which is usually sesame bread and “ayran” which is like “labne” or milk yoghurt if you prefer. Lunch tends to be provided, and at 4 PM or 4:30 PM they have another “kahvalti” (Turkey provides the official translation as breakfast, but I'll call it breakfast/snack) which in the afternoon will tend to be lemon juice and sesame bread. This is an important ritual in Turkey.

-Many companies provide transportation (called “servis” in Turkish) where the company rents a bus and picks up pretty much every worker and drops them off after work. If people work overtime, you will have to pay for their taxi (in most cases).

-Final note: most Turkish workers have very complex debt resettlement accounts. Their bank is going to come to your company and “seize” their paycheck, meaning your worker will only be getting something like 20% of the paycheck and the rest will be debt settlement. In some cases they are resettling their parents' or spouses' debt. I often ask my Turkish friends what's up with all the debt? They usually tell me it's a mixture of a bad real estate deal, of giving away money to family members who had huge financial issues, and a few family members who are so addicted to gambling that the mafia almost killed them, so they had to resettle the gambling addict's debt. On a side note, a “bad real estate deal” is a common scam in Turkey where you get “sold” a house but the paperwork won't be done properly so you lose the house and the money.

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