Re: Samples Query

Subject: Re: Samples Query
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 16:50:09 -0400

David Castro wrote:

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.)

My point was that hiring and interviewing are two-way transactions. I'm interviewing the company at the same time the company is interviewing me. We have to _agree_ before there can be a successful hire. If I walk in with the attitude that the company has the power and the right to decide unilaterally to hire me, then I am going to wind up in a miserable job more often than not.

I guess that begs the question:

No, it suggests the question. Begging the question is something else entirely.

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).

Oh please sir, may I have some more? I don't beg for jobs, and I'll bet Michele doesn't either. The goal is not, unless one is truly up against it financially, to be hired _somewhere_; it is to be hired into a position where one can have a positive, fulfilling work experience. If the only goal is to have a job that puts food on the table and you don't care about anything else, there are easier ways to earn a living.

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).

I take it from the Krautgrrl mailbox name that Michele has a different take on that issue from yours. I could be wrong. She should speak for herself on that issue. The point is, just because something is a majority view doesn't mean it is the only acceptable or arguable view. (And by the way, I am not arguing in favor of the objectification of women; I am suggesting that not everyone agrees that all photographs of women in swimsuits necessarily objectify them.

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.

My goal--I don't know about Michele--is to work with people who are mature enough to express their own opinions and listen to others' opinions in a way that respects individuals' differences and their rights to hold a variety of opinions. I learn a great deal more from people who have a different view of the world from mine than I do from people who agree with me all the time.

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?

You are misunderstanding. It is only an impediment to being hired by people I (and perhaps Michele) wouldn't want to be hired by.

Do you disagree that people in general tend to like to hire people who
are similar to themselves?

I agree with that, and I also agree that they are most likely to lay off people dissimilar from themselves. In some categories of similarity and difference, we have laws against that sort of thing. In other categories we don't. People who are narrow-minded in general or simply uncomfortable with diversity for whatever reason will use any excuse they can find to avoid working with people different from themselves. That is hurtful, both personally and financially, to the people they discriminate against; and it leaves the perpetrator isolated from what _I_ think of as the mainstream. But that's just my opinion.

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).

I don't consider sociopathically narrow-minded people as potential employers I want to be attractive to--again, speaking for myself, not for Michele. If I have to pretend to be one of them in order to get a job ... no thank you.

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.

Punchline of an old joke (I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to Google for the source): "... murmering, 'Don't make waves. Don't make waves.'"

Granted, it's anecdotal evidence

Anecdotes aren't evidence; they're anecdotes. Anecdotes can suggest a hypothesis, but they can't test it.

(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.

Correlations are arrived at statistically and do not imply causation in any case.

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.

That suggests that if you have a question about what someone is thinking or what motivates them, you might do something radical like _asking_!

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.

The interviewer can ask for additional data. In any case, why should a candidate treat an interviewer as "a typical audience" if she wants to work in an atypical company?

Appropriateness is determined by the majority and can be influenced by
the vocal minority.

Huh? Appropriateness is determined by the majority? Only within whatever subculture one happens to be part of or happens to be traveling through. (When in Rome, ....) It is not a fixed point determined for all situations for all time.

If putting something in your portfolio increases
the chances of your application being scuttled, then think long and
hard about leaving it in.

Well, yes, thoughtfulness in all things is to be encouraged.



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

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