RE: Interviewing writers

Subject: RE: Interviewing writers
From: Chuck Martin <CMartin -at- serena -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 10:02:36 -0800

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kimberly [mailto:JKWilson -at- concentric -dot- net]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2000 5:00 PM
> To: TECHWR-L
> Subject: RE: Interviewing writers
<snip>
>
> OTOH, I don't think very highly of being "tested" in an
> interview. A test
> and an interview are two different things, IMO, and while I
> might agree to
> a writing test, I wouldn't expect an interview to be the place for it
> (unless I was informed ahead of time) or for the test to BE
> the interview.
>
Don't interview for a programming job at Microsoft. I've been told on more
than one occasion that candidates for programming jobs there are usually
asked to solve some programming problem as a routine part of an interview.

An interview *is* a test. True, many interviews for tech writing jobs don't
feature on-the-spot written tests, but I wouldn't rule them out. But then,
I've had many oral "tests" in interviews: "Such-and-such is the situation;
how would you resolve it?"

Interviews are also tests for the company; I'm testing just as much as they
are.

Besides, how many times in our careers have we had things dropped in our lap
quite unexpectedly? Doing such a thing in an interview would be a good way
to gauge the interviewee's response. If I were interviewing a tech writer
and decided to give a small written test, and got a response that, verbally
or non-verbally, communicated the message that "I didn't expect this," that
person sure wouldn't be at the top of my hiring candidate's list.

--
Chuck Martin
Sr. Technical Writer, SERENA Software

"People who use business software might despise it, but they are getting
paid to tolerate it....Most people who are paid to use a tool feel
constrained not to complain about that tool, but it doesn't stop them from
feeling frustrated and unhappy about it."
- "The Inmates are Running the Asylum"
Alan Cooper


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