Re: Technical Writing Tests

Subject: Re: Technical Writing Tests
From: Eugene Kim-Eng <gene -at- genek -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 09:34:22 -0800

I've found software tools to be the least important factor when deciding to hire a prospective writer.
If a candidate has the ability to identify a target audience, wade through the inevitable pile of data
of questionable value to distill it down to what the intended user actually needs and present it in a
coherent manner, I can teach them how to use the tools. With a properly designed template, I can
sit a chemist or a biologist down at a FrameMaker seat and get a manuscript that an editor can
polish up with minimal effort, at least on something a small as a data sheet or product insert. But
if the candidate doesn't have that basic ability, then no matter how well they take a set of canned
data and manipulate it into a predetermined "test" format, my chances of getting productive results
from them on original work is poor. I can't tell you how many candidates I've seen who are aces at
FrameMaker, but haven't got the tech savvy to write anything more complicated than the directions
for a toaster oven.

Gene Kim-Eng
Technical Publications Manager
Half Moon Bay, CA

At 10:38 AM 2/11/2003 -0500, Beth Agnew wrote:

This in itself could be a very useful indicator of how adept a candidate is with technology. How do they approach trying to get something useful out of an unfamiliar tool? Are they able to figure out enough of the technology to at least make a stab at using it? These days, there are very few applications that are so un-intuitive and user-unfriendly that a competent technical writer cannot make sense of them.

If a techwriter needs training on something before being able to work with it, I'd be very loath to hire that person.


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RE: Technical Writing Tests: From: Rock, Megan
Re: Technical Writing Tests: From: Beth Agnew

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