Re: Tips for finding and hiring the right Technical Writer

Subject: Re: Tips for finding and hiring the right Technical Writer
From: Jay Maechtlen <techwriter -at- covad -dot- net>
To: SB <sylvia -dot- braunstein -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2007 22:45:59 -0700

SB wrote:
> Hello,
> This is the first time that I will in the position of hiring a Technical
> Writer.
> In the past, I hired someone that I knew rather well and on whom I knew I
> could rely. He is still working for me.
> However now, I have to hire an additional Technical Writer.
> I would like to get some recommendations regarding:
> 1. The best way to write recruiting adds
> 2. Criteria for interviews. For example, I feel that a resume says a
> lot about the Technical writer, both as far as format and contents contents
> are concerned. If the formatting is not impressive, I always feel that it
> says a lot about the Technical Writer. Am I being too harsh?

are you looking for someone to make it look pretty, or someone to make
highly technical content understandable?

> 3. Interview skills
yes, you should have them.

> 4. Test?
if so, it should have some relevance to your actual needs.

> 5. Recommendations - how do I know that I will be able to rely on that
> person to get the job done?
> 6. Knowing that THIS is the right person

First, figure out what you need, and who the 'right person' might be.
I could be the right person for any number of positions, and totally
unsuitable for others.

> In addition, I would like some advice and recommendations on:
> 1. Management skills - now I will have to actually manage two
> technical writers
> 2. Outsourcing
> 3. We are still using MS Word :-( and do have a template but I am not
> very happy with it. My boss wants to redesign the first page of the
> documents to look more professional.
so, will your new hire get that task?
> 4. I am pushing to move onto a more professional tool (Authoring tool
> or Wiki for documentation. I am leaning towards Wiki). I need to make a
> presentation to convince the management to make the move and to explain what
> are the pros and cons of each tool and why I think one is better than the
> other.
recent discussions on Wikis. Read them, then come back and we can
discuss any further questions.

> 5. We don't have content or knowledge management and our company is
> growing very fast. We are in different parts of the world and there is
> often a lot of redundant work being done, which I think is very unfortunate
> and due to the fact that we are still using a file server instead of an
> intranet.
no, the redundant work is due to poor coordination. The file server
sounds like an excuse to me.

Coordination is normally done by management or project management, isn't
it? Should that be 'you', or someone else?

Jay Maechtlen
techpubs -at- covad -dot- net
626 444-5112 office
626 840-8875 cell


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Tips for finding and hiring the right Technical Writer: From: SB

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