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I don't know about anybody else, but (despite my three years as a technical
writer and degree in Creative Writing) I'd pretty much flunk Ms. Charter's
questions. Though, I'd certainly get 100% on Mr. Posada's questions
regarding style guides and bullets, etc. It's my impression that Ms.
Charter's questions are largely theoretical, while Mr. Posada's questions
are much more practical. That is, I think I'd prefer to know the name of a
good style guide as opposed to how to distinguish the difference between
prescriptive and descriptive. But then I've been accused of being a bit
What does this tell us? In short, be very careful how you choose your
screening questions because it's going to determine what sort of technical
writer you end with. I know a couple of my more academic colleagues that
might breeze through Ms. Charter's tests, but might be hung up on Mr.
Posada's questions. Caveat Employer. My two cents. DB.
From: Charter, Tara M. [mailto:Charter -dot- Tara -at- mayo -dot- edu]
Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2000 8:36 AM
Subject: RE: Tech Writer screening questions
How about the following:
> Q: In what instance would you use an imperative vs a continuance vs a
> A: i don't know = not very experienced
> A: An imperative is a ____ and is used to ____; A continuance is a ____
> and is used to _______; A directive is a _____ and is used to ______ =
> somewhat experienced or freshly graduated from college grammar
A: A document has quality and depth if all imperatives are followed
by a continuance and have a directive. An example from my portfolio is
______ = experienced
> Q: How do you distinguish prescriptive from descriptive?
> A: Prescriptive would apply to the writing of requirements while
> descriptive would apply to the writing of definitions.
Q: What tool do you use to check the readability of a document?
Q: When does text structure matter and how do you test its depth?
Q: When does the size of the document matter and how do you test it?