Re: resume fondling -- am I being too picky? [AND] Re: Click or Click on vs. Press

Subject: Re: resume fondling -- am I being too picky? [AND] Re: Click or Click on vs. Press
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 30 Apr 2005 22:11:26 -0400


> In addition to the qualifications you listed, I also give a timed online
> writing test (information is provided, applicants are given a task to
> write a brief document using and focusing the information; gives me
> evidence of typing and computer ability as well as writing) and a timed
> paper-and-pen editing test (short document riddled with actual errors;
> gives me evidence of expertise in grammar, punctuation, formatting,
> style, further writing ability for sections with particularly bad
> writing, and even things such as knowing when to use headings, headers,
> footers, bulleted lists, etc.).

Not a bad idea. So long as the test is reasonable for the timeframe
and is not a mundane "PB&J" writing test, I can see benefits in
testing. I test candidates during the interview, and they rarely know
they're being tested. ;-) I think we (you and I) look for very
different qualities in technical writers, which isn't a bad thing.

> We're Word all the way, so I also
> require testing in Word, as well as in typing and Excel. (Staffing
> agencies can help with software and typing tests.) This has been the
> best way to gauge an applicant's overall level of expertise and to gauge
> how much I will have to invest in training.

I have to throw out a word of caution here. I tried going through
Adecco once for a 6 month placement, and they "made" me take a Word
test. Now, I'll admit that I failed, however, it was because the test
ONLY considered point-and-click menu commands to be the way to do
something. Clicking a button or using a keyboard shortcut was not
allowed. The action never registered as correct or incorrect, so I had
no idea. I think I scored about 17% proficiency in Word on that
test... Of course this doesn't reflect all the custom toolbars and
canned processes I've written for Word over the years. ;-)

I don't put a lot of stock in software testing, for the reasons above
and because tool training is the cheapest investment you can make in
an employee.

Now, typing... I can't type, at least not the real way. I never
learned to touch type, and though now I can type with virtually all
fingers and rarely look at the keyboard, my typing is by no means
"secretary perfect". I don't expect a technical writer to be a perfect
typist, any more than I expect them to be a perfect driver, have
perfect posture, or speak with perfect diction. Typing is a very small
part of what we do, and there are multiple ways of cracking their
brain into a computer than touch-typing. :-)

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References:
Re: resume fondling -- am I being too picky? [AND] Re: Click or Click on vs. Press: From: Jeanne.Keuma

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