TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
+ Good timing. I interviewed some people yesterday. My base set of questions
1) Why did you decide to go into technical writing? (I weeded out 2 right
2) What do you like most about technical writing?
4) What was the most interesting project you have worked on, and why?
5) What is your favourite part of creating a new document?
6) What approaches do you use to get information out of SMEs?
7) What is your pet peeve about documentation?
8) Hobbies, outside interests . . . . . . .
Conversation also flowed, and led into other things. My junior was also
part of the interview process, since part of the job for our new hire would
be as technical 'mentor' to her. She asked questions about favourite tools,
dealing with deadlines, and a number of technical things (if the new hire is
to mentor her, it was important that she was comfortable with their way of
explaining things, etc. etc.)
I must admit that I was a bit surprised at the responses to this question
so far. Grammar can be taught, providing you have someone with an open mind,
and an inherent facility with language. Tools can also be taught. The
questions for me are:
- Do they genuinely like what they do (passionate about it is also good)?
- Are they flexible, open minded, inquisitive, self motivated and intrepid.?
- Can they express themselves well? Do they work on improving themselves????
- Do they follow the advancements, discussions, etc. etc. in our profession?
(Membership in TECHWR-L, STC, ACM SIGDOC all count for a check mark in the
- When a project was unpleasant, or went wrong, what is their response to
it? Are they more likely to itemize what went wrong, or do they talk about
the lessons they learned, and what *they* could do better next time????
Cover letter and resumes give me a good idea of whether the candidate has
'base skills' as a writer. (Resumes and cover letters with spelling
mistakes, grammatical errors, etc get a quick 'thanks, but no thanks'. I
mean, Mercy, if the candidate can't even bother to proofread their resume .
. . . .)
Have a look at the most recent issue of Intercom for "Hiring Technical
Writers: Are we looking for the Right skills?". I was thrilled to read
that - my sentiments exactly.
Susan Brown [ mailto:sbrown -at- texar -dot- com ]
Senior Documentation Specialist
1101 Prince of Wales Drive, Suite 135
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 3W7
613 274 2248
Fax: 613 274 2204
"I am not young enough to know everything."
- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)