Screening tests

Subject: Screening tests
From: "Scudder, Beth" <beth -dot- scudder -at- retek -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2000 16:05:52 -0500

Hi folks,

I'm going to be working on putting together a screening test for technical
writers applying to work for us. I'm looking for any input you all may have
on this.

What my manager wants to measure with this test:
*Microsoft Word Proficiency
*Writing ability
*Organization of content
*Ability to write a procedure taken from a paragraph

We're planning on having the applicant use a computer to demonstrate MS Word
proficiency, and we could do other parts of the test on the computer, as
opposed to in handwriting. I haven't determined too many of the basics yet.

I know that no test will tell you who is the best writer, or weed out some
of the sneakily bad ones, and it's no substitute for writing samples and a
good interview. I also know that lots of people out there loathe this kind
of test, but it's not my policy, so I'm looking to make this as painless and
efficient as possible by hopefully keeping it short and obviously useful.
(Personally, I didn't mind too much when I had to take a similar test for a
previous job; as long as the test wasn't stupid like the ones some temp
agencies use.)

I would be interested in hearing suggestions or comments that specifically
pertain to having a test measure the items listed above. For example, I'm
not sure what I would say distinguishes an advanced Word user from an
intermediate one, or an intermediate one from a beginner. I might have more
of a clue with the remaining three items on the list, but I would still like
to hear advice, suggestions, and stories.

TIA!

--Beth




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