Re: Technical Test

Subject: Re: Technical Test
From: Tom Murrell <trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 11:54:31 -0800 (PST)

--- Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
> Now, if you're wondering why I don't ask about FrameMaker or RoboHelp -
> that's not the purpose of the test. This test is designed to see how much
> writers know about technologies we most often document. Not tools.
> Yes, I have had people get angry and say "This is ridiculous!" As James T.
> Kirk might say, "How we deal with death is as least as important as how we
> deal with life." Thus, the test is as much a test of character as it is
> technical aptitude.
> Moreover, just because somebody gets an answer wrong does not mean they
> didn't "pass". I think some of the best answers are when people try to reason
> out an answer and come to a logical conclusion.
> One candidate clearly did not know what NetBIOS was. But she recognized the
> term "BIOS" and that "Net" was attached to it. So she reasoned out that it
> had something to do with basic network operations. While not entirely
> correct - it showed she could reason out a problem. We hired her. She rocks!


I found your test interesting (and I think I'd have to study to get the answers
write in some places).

But I like your reasoning even more. Whenever I've interviewed--on either side
of the desk, so to speak--I've stressed that a Tech Writer's job is to learn
and explain what they've learned to others. Your comments about looking at how
writers react to the test itself, whether or not they get the right answers,
tell me you're looking for the same kind of mind I would be looking for: one
that can handle the technical stuff and write a fair schtick.

One other interesting aspect of the test is what it tells the prospect about
the work you do. As you pointed out, you're looking at how much they may know
about the core areas your clients require knowledge in. It would tell me where
to bone up if I was looking at your organization.

Tom Murrell
Lead Technical Writer
Alliance Data Systems
Columbus, Ohio
mailto:trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com
Personal Web Page -

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