Re: Technical Writing Tests

Subject: Re: Technical Writing Tests
From: Beth Agnew <Beth -dot- Agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 09:59:39 -0500

Yes, the "How to brush your teeth" or "Making a Cup of Tea" tests are insulting to any experienced technical writer. What I have found to work very successfully is to present the candidate with a real technical document written by an engineer or developer. I choose one that contains enough background information and context. Then I ask questions that elicit their understanding of the document, such as "From the user's perspective, what is the most important point in this document?" and "Does this information suggest any potential problems for the user?"

After that, if it seems as though they have a grasp of the kind of writing we're looking for, I ask them to write up a short readme or release note based on the document given. I don't expect it to be exactly as we'd do it in-house, but as long as it serves the purpose, it illustrates well enough whether the candidate can handle the intake and output of technical information. I also give a copyediting test.

Erika Yanovich wrote:


Forget about the nonsense tests you'll find in the archives ...

Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, Ontario
416.491.5050 x3133
beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca


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RE: Technical Writing Tests: From: Erika Yanovich

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