RE: Tech Writer screening questions

Subject: RE: Tech Writer screening questions
From: "Rock, Megan" <Megan -dot- Rock -at- fanucrobotics -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 07:52:17 -0400

Darren wrote:

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

I'll second that! In all of my writing-related classes (grammar,
journalism, creative writing, creative non-fiction writing, technical
writing, technical editing, etc.) and in all of my on-the-job conversations
we have never delved into rhetoric at the level that Ms. Charter recommends.
We focus more on finding out what the products do, identifying our
audience's needs, and then presenting the material in a way that is accurate
and beneficial to the audience.

When I interviewed for my job, I interviewed with nine people over the
course of the morning. The company wanted to make sure I would fit in well
with the needs of not just the writing department, but also the engineering
departments. My future co-workers interviewed me, my future manager
interviewed me, HR people interviewed me, an engineer interviewed me, a
director interviewed me, and one of the VPs interviewed me. They all asked
different kinds of questions, and I'm assuming they pooled their opinions
and observations when it came time to decide whether or not to hire me.

I would agree with what others have said: the person doing the hiring should
come up with the questions to ask. But if you're forced to come up with the
questions, think back to your own interview prior to being hired by your
company. What questions did the writing department ask you? Are some of
those questions still applicable or useful for weeding out people that won't
fit the bill?

What is most important to you in a new employee? Tool-specific knowledge?
Writing-focused knowledge? Specific experience? Technical or product
knowledge? Ask to see writing samples. Pay attention to the person's
grammar as they talk with you. I think that most writers who obsess with
grammar and sentence structure on paper are also fairly conscientious about
how they speak, especially in an interview environment.

Megan E. Rock
Technical Writer
Product Information
megan -dot- rock -at- fanucrobotics -dot- com

All views expressed are entirely my own and are not necessarily shared
by my friends, co-workers, or employer.

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