RE: Interviewing writers = writing tests?

Subject: RE: Interviewing writers = writing tests?
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "'Geoff hart'" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 08:45:21 -0500

I find writing tests to be helpful--but I never require them until the
second (read last) interview, after I've checked references, and whittled
down the crop to one to three candidates who seem to be a good fit. And I
always notify candidates in job postings and phone screens that a writing
test is required. The content of which is subjective, but so's an
interview. The idea of providing a test that actually gives you something
you can use, and paying the interviewee for their time is one I never
thought of--thanks Geoff!

You use the tools at hand to do the best job you can hiring the right

Connie Giordano

-----Original Message-----
From: Geoff hart

[liberally snipped]

....A take-home test is similarly awful, particulary if the candidate has
editor for a friend. .....Just as the best jobs often go unadvertised other
than through
networks of colleagues, the best employees often get picked up this way.

Speaking as a potential employee, I hate writing tests with a passion. I'm
going to be spending (wasting!) up to an hour of my time in the vain hope
that our styles will be compatible...... Bottom line: I don't consider that
of testing to be a fair situation. Resolving these and other issues might
make me less annoyed by the test, but I'm still not going to be grateful for
the "opportunity" to spend the time with no clear indication that this is a
good investment in my future.

One thing that balances the scales somewhat would be to use the writing test
as a final hurdle, to be jumped only after the candidate has passed all
other hurdles (i.e., don't make someone take the test until you think you're
ready to hire them, or need to decide between them and at most 2-3 others).
You don't really want to review 50 writing tests anyway, do you? ......
Or sit them in front of a screenshot (or the actual
product) and provide samples of your current docs; then ask them to document
that screen for you, so at least you're one screen closer to completing your
current workload. But do recognize that tests are an imposition,
particularly if the person isn't in the top three candidates. Science
fiction? Nope. I got my current job by doing an edit for my current boss on
the condition that they'd pay me for the edit, no matter how well I did, and
would almost certainly hire me if they liked the results. Win-win situation,
and the results speak for themselves.

--Geoff Hart, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"The paperless office will arrive when the paperless toilet
arrives."--Matthew Stevens

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