working with an inexpereinced writer

Subject: working with an inexpereinced writer
From: "Carrie Baker" <carriebak -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2007 09:13:44 +0200

I would like to hear your opinions on this please.

Our company have worked with a subcontractor who provided us with a
writer for the past year,
Now they want to change the writer they are sending us, OK, that is
their prerogative, although it means that we will have to teach the
new person our products, our style guide etc.

BUT, the person they want to bring is a person with only a few months
experience of technical writing. Although they speak very highly of
My problem is that we have a lot of pressure and deadlines in our
work, we have not had the extra writer for a few weeks already and I
simply do not have time to train a person. I also work part time and
am not in the office generally on the day that the other person works
there (I wish my company would budget for an additional full time
writer but they will not).
I know that the situation has often been discussed on this list,
whether tools are important, or skills, but in my current situation, I
need a person who knows the tools, knows how to work, and be up and
going fast.

I know this person will know FrameMaker, but I also know that they
will not know the tools that we use to make out online help.
Apart from that we also use Word, and of course Adobe Acrobat.
The outsourcing company will very kindly let me meet the person for
about an hour.
I asked for their CV, but it says nothing on it (i.e. person's name,
nothing about tech writing training, nothing about tools etc., only
descriptions of projects they worked on).

Questions are:
Do you think I should insist on having someone with more experience,
and someone who knows the other tools we work with?
How in a short meeting can I best find out whether this person will be
the right person for the job?
I can ask, whether they enjoy learning new tools?
How they cope when they do not get comments from the SMEs
How they work with deadlines,
If they like technical writing and why.

My boss insists on working with this company, I know there are many
other outsourcing companies out there. As a lone technical writer, i
would really prefer to work with someone who is more my equal and with
whom I can consult.
I would be happy to hear your advice on this situation.

Carrie Baker
carriebak -at- gmail -dot- com

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