Re: Samples Query

Subject: Re: Samples Query
From: David Castro <thejavaguy -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 16:15:56 -0400

> I won't say that you're wrong, only that you have a one-dimensional view
> of the employment relationship and a narrow view of what constitutes the
> mainstream. Finding a good fit is a two-way transaction. I have
> shibboleths in my résumé that absolutely exclude whole classes of
> employers. I don't want to work where I'm going to feel that my values
> are compromised by the corporate culture any more than a company would
> want to have someone working there who doesn't fit within that culture.

I absolutely agree. If a company I interviewed with calls me and tells
me that they don't think I would be a good fit for the position,
that's a *good* thing to me. I figure that they know the position
better than I do, and therefore are in a better position than I am to
determine if I would fit. I probably avoided a whole lot of grief by
not being offered a position that wouldn't have worked. (If only that
happened at the last place I worked...but that's another story.)

> In my response to Michele, I suggested that, although I don't know her
> views on this issue, she could, if she wished, use the sample in
> question in the same way.

I guess that begs the question: what is Michele's goal? If her primary
goal is to get hired somewhere, then leaving out the item would likely
be a good idea (my opinion). I can't imagine that I'm that far in the
minority for objecting to the objectification of women (again, I'm
making that judgment based on the text, not having seen the portfolio
piece myself).

However, if her goal is to get hired only at a place that would have
her working alongside people who don't mind the kind of material that
she worked on, then of course leaving it in would make sense.

> But the vast majority of people work for smaller
> companies, where managers and owners often have more moxie than the
> average megacorporation HR drone and often do seek out the best, rather
> than the safest, candidate.

By implying that it takes moxie to get past that portfolio piece to
determine that Michele was the best person indicates to me that the
piece in question is an impediment to being hired, rather than being
helpful. Or am I misunderstanding?

> Why do you equate showing off a sample that is edgy with poor judgment?
> Yes, it suggests that the candidate might see things differently from
> you, but does everyone who sees an issue differently from you ipso facto
> exhibit poor judgment? If so, please don't offer _me_ a job.

Do you disagree that people in general tend to like to hire people who
are similar to themselves? If you want to make yourself as attractive
as possible to a potential employer, it seems to me that it would
behoove you to present yourself as mainstream as possible (though this
of course depends on the potential employer).

> > One of the candidates, when asked
> > what she did in her spare time, answered, "I write about SEX"
> > (emphasis hers). I know *I* wouldn't say such a thing in a job
> > interview, even if I did do that in my spare time.
> Yes, precisely. _You_ wouldn't. Again, you are suggesting that there is
> only one true way and that you know what it is. Sorry. I don't buy that.

No, I'm not suggesting that there is One True Way, but rather that
there are accepted social norms and mores, and putting yourself
outside of those boundaries opens you up to the situation that Michele
is finding herself in.

> > We ended up hiring
> > her anyway, and she ended up being as loose a cannon in her work as
> > she was in her interview. She avoided following any style conventions
> > in the company, and disregarded all feedback on her work.
> Well, then she wasn't very professional, and I hope you fired her at the
> earliest opportunity. But that doesn't, from the evidence you've
> presented, follow from her interviewing style or her willingness to talk
> about her off-hours activity.

Granted, it's anecdotal evidence (it's hard to quantify and measure
something as multi-faceted as hiring people for tech writing jobs),
but I'm surprised that you don't see the correlation between her
answer in the interview and her working style.

> Think about it. How many times have you gotten resistance to the whole
> idea of hiring tech writers because someone had a bad experience once
> with a previous tech writer? That's a topic that's been discussed to
> death here. Now you've fallen into the same trap: in your mind, if
> someone demonstrates that they think independently about political
> issues, you can blackball that person as being a dangerous hire. I don't
> think that makes a lot of sense, but maybe for you it does.

When you interview someone, you want to get as much information out of
the process as possible, so that you can make the most informed
decision that you can. If someone has exhibited a willingness to put
something in her portfolio that is virtually guaranteed to offend at
least a segment of a typical audience, then in the absence of other
information about how that person works, it can give the interviewer
an idea of what to expect from that person as an employee. Maybe it's
not an accurate idea, but an intervierwer is working on a small amount
of data.

> > I'm not correlating this employee with Michele, as that would be a bit
> > of a reach, but I *would* compare the appropriateness of the portfolio
> > selection with the appropriateness of the interview answer.
> >
> Appropriateness is in the eye of the beholder.

Appropriateness is determined by the majority and can be influenced by
the vocal minority. If putting something in your portfolio increases
the chances of your application being scuttled, then think long and
hard about leaving it in.

-David Castro


ROBOHELP X5: Featuring Word 2003 support, Content Management, Multi-Author
support, PDF and XML support and much more!

WEBWORKS FINALDRAFT: New! Document review system for Word and FrameMaker
authors. Automatic browser-based drafts with unlimited reviewers. Full
online discussions -- no Web server needed!

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Re: Samples Query: From: David Castro
Re: Samples Query: From: Dick Margulis

Previous by Author: Re: Samples Query
Next by Author: Re: a different resume red flag
Previous by Thread: Re: Samples Query
Next by Thread: Re: Samples Query

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads