RE: Hiring Question

Subject: RE: Hiring Question
From: "Pamela Sarantos" <Pamela -dot- Sarantos -at- bigbandnet -dot- com>
To: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, "David Loveless" <daveloveless -at- gmail -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 16:59:27 -0500

Hi,

Yes, it is true that a writer needs to be familiar with the product and
customer-base to write quality documentation.

However, in the case of a job interview test, it may be a good idea to
provide a couple of pages of current documentation, not formatted and
possibly reorganize some of the paragraphs to purposely break the flow
of the content. You would have to provide text that is possible to
determine if it needs reorganization, rather than text extremely
technical to the product.

The goal of this type of test would be to determine if the candidate has
the ability to design a decent format, rather than always copying
current styles, and to determine if they have the ability to realize
that the flow is not correct.

Before you design a test you should be sure of what you want to expect
from the results, since the candidate may not be familiar with the
customer base or the product. I say "may not be" because, some
candidates may work for the competition, so will be familiar with your
customers and product.

Overall, it may not be a bad idea to test; after all, we are writers and
our expertise is communicating via writing not verbal, so in some cases
the candidate may welcome this option as part of the interview.

Thanks,
Pam


-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+pamela -dot- sarantos=bigbandnet -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+pamela -dot- sarantos=bigbandnet -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- c
om] On Behalf Of Gene Kim-Eng
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2005 4:21 PM
To: David Loveless; TECHWR-L
Subject: Re: Hiring Question

I have yet to see or take a test that measures a candidate's ability
to drag information or review comments out of a recalcitrant SME
or any of the other nonwriting skills required to get documentation
done to plan and schedule. Most of the tests I've seen and taken
consisted of 30 minutes or so of correcting deliberately introduced
spelling or grammar errors into a few pages of document, and while
I suppose that in this day and age of illiterate people holding college
degrees they have some limited use, unless a tested candidate proved
to be incapable of stringing words together into a readable paragraph,
I don't think I would give the results much more weight than the answers

to one or two typical interview questions. Since we have established
formats and style guides, I am less concerned about a writer's ability
to design documents or analyze alpha product builds than some might
be.

Gene Kim-Eng


----- Original Message -----
From: "David Loveless" <daveloveless -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2005 1:28 PM
Subject: Hiring Question


Over the last three years, I have hired multiple technical writers and
interviewed at multiple locations for myself. I have always used
writing/editing tests in my hiring decisions, and have more often than
not been subjected to the same.

So I began to wonder, in your opinion, do tests have value and what
value? Are there problems?


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