RE: About proprietary writing samples

Subject: RE: About proprietary writing samples
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2002 11:19:43 +0100

<If during an interview you pull a manual you wrote out of a briefcase and
let the interviewer(s) look at it for a couple minutes, do you REALLY
think there's a big threat of them A) understanding, B) remembering, and
C) stealing this information?>

Sure there is. If your interviewer has an eidetic memory, and you're being
interviewed by the competition. :-)

<In every interview I've done, the interviewers have only briefly skimmed
the manuals, basically looking to see if they looked nice and contained
anything remotely recognizable as tech writing on their pages. Is my
experience far different from the rest of you?>

Hm. Once or twice I've been asked for a writing sample or an online help
sample before the interview. When that's happened, I've usually offered a
partial help file that wouldn't be very useful by itself, and warned them
that because it's only partial, it will be full of broken links: or I've
given them a style guide I wrote or something like that. Or a user guide
that I wrote a long time ago that is now WAY out of date as a user guide for
the product, but is still a sample of my work.

But, even if it's proprietary information, if it's a user guide available on
the open market, I am not giving away company secrets - what I'm showing as
my work is something they could get themselves if they bought my previous
employer's product. I wouldn't let something like that go ahead of me to the
interview, but I'd be quite happy to produce it AT the interview to let the
interviewers check through it and ask me leading questions about it.

Jane Carnall
"This is a lighthouse. Your call."
Apologies for the long additional sig: it is added automatically and outwith
my control. Home: hj -dot- carnall -at- virgin -dot- net


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