Sample document creation for contract position

Subject: Sample document creation for contract position
From: Melissa Lowery-Smith <artsyreader -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 08:35:35 -0700 (PDT)

I have been out of the job market for over 2 years, so perhaps things have changed since I last interviewed for technical writing jobs. I hope that TECHWR-Lers will be able to help me determine whether my recent situation is normal or whether it was a strange as it seemd to me. I was recently asked to create a 10-15 page document (they referred to it as a technical test) based on a brief interview with an SME as part of the interview process for a 3-6 month technical writer contract. There was no discussion about reimbursement for the time that this document creation process would require. They wanted to interview me on Monday, during which I would spend time with the SME discussing the type of information to be included in the document, then they wanted the completed document returned by Friday for review. They also wanted me to forward some existing writing samples to them before the interview. I felt very uncomfortable about being asked to send ahead
my writing samples by e-mail (as in I don't do this ever) and then additionally being asked to produce such a significant new writing sample in order to get a short-term job. Did I over-react to something that is a reasonable request for a contract position? I might have been less apprehensive if this had been for a permanent position or if it had been proposed as a paid trial. This is a very small company that has not had a technical writer previously, so maybe they didn't realize how their request was going to be perceived. I pulled my name out of consideration for the role, but I am wondering how other writers would have responded to this situation.


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