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Hmmm, Dick's right, I'm wrong. Michele did make the point that the model
work was for another client. And the point of "what's wrong with flowers,
monuments, children" is a good point. By the way, Michele, those are
beautiful pictures. I can see where they'd "jar" in a technical interview,
though, regardless of biases.
I'd say as a hiring authority, I'd like to see selectivity of material in
the portfolio that fits my business needs. A typical technical communicator
position does not need graphics that include flowers, bathing suits,
As a candidate, after hearing about the position, if I determined that these
things were appropriate, I'd have "art" or "possible to offend" pieces
safely tucked away, but available to present if the situation calls for it.
Otherwise, I'd have my technical professional pieces front and center.
The point is that samples are things that fall in the category of "beauty in
the eye of the beholder." Even though we have great training samples, I
don't show them to clients I know are only interested in documentation. I
wouldn't put "soft skills" samples in front of a client interested in API
training. I wouldn't put even our "award winning" documentation in front of
a client who is only interested in training. What "shortens the meeting" is
what could be perceived as a complete lack of interest on the part of the
candidate the position being offered. I literally have had candidates push
on me samples that were mediocre at best, and shouldn't be shown if I'm not
showing an interest. And those were meant to be technical!
On the issue of bias: Regardless of how a question (such as what religion
you are, say) is asked or why you'd ask it, it is illegal if it is
definitively asked (and it is difficult to prove it unless it is definitive,
although the EEOC will investigate just how definitive it was or was not).
If you choose to answer it and not take umbrage, that's fine. If you are
refused that job and you meet all the other measurable criteria, the hiring
authority who asked the question has just left the organization vulnerable
The point is well taken that the candidate can ask any question without
sanction other than "talking themselves out of a job." Discourse that
furthers the objective of the hiring authority (finding a well qualified
candidate) is the goal. So your plan for the meeting is how to meet that
The hiring authority who isn't planning the same way will throw you a curve,
and one for which you should be professionally prepared; they'll also be
throwing a curve for their organization.
Michaels & Associates, LLC
11639 E. Wethersfield Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85259
877-614-8440 Toll free
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