RE: Interviewing potential coworkers

Subject: RE: Interviewing potential coworkers
From: "Hager, Harry (US - East Brunswick)" <hhager -at- dc -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 10:31:26 -0800


First, please recognize that is a good thing that your supervisor is asking
you to participate in the interview.

When I've done interviews of tech writers, I more or less ask the same
questions, regardless of whether I'm the hiring manager or a staff person,
unless the interviewing tasks were divided into separate categories of

When more than one person is interviewing a candidate, it is a good
opportunity to have each interviewer concentrate on different aspects of the
tech writing job. For some simple examples, a supervisor might ask lots of
questions about dealing with deadlines, working under stress, what are you
looking for in a manager, and so on.

On the other hand, a coworker might ask questions dealing with how the
candidate goes about working on a new writing project, how they work with
fellow team members, how they react to critical review comments, and so on.

When a department grows to more than a few tech writers, the chemistry of
the people involved is critical. The new candidate's working style,
temperament, and so on needs to fit in. I remember very specifically a few
years back when I was in a group of about 10 tech writers at a large
computer manufacturer (that had a total of about 300 software technical
writers employed) and we interviewed a very knowledgeable and capable tech
writer who was not hired because he was simply too intense. We all agreed
that "too intense" was rather nebulous but we all agreed that he didn't fit
the chemistry of the group.

As a staff person in the group, this is your opportunity to ask questions
that will let you find out what it would be like to work alongside this

Good luck,

H. Jim Hager
hhager -at- dc -dot- com

-----Original Message-----

Subject: Interviewing potential coworkers
From: "Ehr, Meg" <Meg -dot- Ehr -at- smartworks -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 17:39:19 -0500
X-Message-Number: 93

I did check the archives, but couldn't find anything similar, so here goes:

We have a *brand*spanking*new* opening for another permanent tech writer in
our department. There was a contract TW in the position until his contract
ended a couple of weeks ago, and I've been on my own since. I'm anxious that
we get someone on board (before I drown...), but I want to make sure it's
the *right* person. I am not the hiring manager, but the boss says she will
want me to talk to candidates to help determine fit, etc. The final decision
will be hers, though, not mine.

That said, does anyone have any questions/techniques/criteria that might
help me determine what someone would (could...) be like to work with?
Certainly, I'll make note of any red flags or obvious signs that the fit is
wrong. If anyone has ever been involved in "peer interviewing" (for lack of
a better term) from either side, what tips can you give? I have a few ideas
churning around in the back of my brain, but I value your input.

Meg Ehr
Technical Writer
Print Management Integration, Inc.
Miamisburg, OH

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