Re: Sample document creation for contract position

Subject: Re: Sample document creation for contract position
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: "Melissa Lowery-Smith" <artsyreader -at- yahoo -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 10:00:38 -0700

Samples of past work is not an unreasonable request.
I maintain a collection of excerpts, several selected
pages and TOCs from some past projects that I can
select something from that I think would be relevant for
the person making the request. As far as interviewing
an SME and writing something, I would consider that a
better "test" than some canned asking a candidate to
edit or rewrite some canned dummy document, but
I would limit such an exercise to something single-page
that I think a competent writer could produce in under
an hour. 10-15 pages is excessive and may represent
an attempt to get free work out of you, though I shudder
to think what the company's documents are like to use
if they employ this practice to produce them.

Gene Kim-Eng


----- Original Message -----
From: "Melissa Lowery-Smith" <artsyreader -at- yahoo -dot- com>
>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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References:
Sample document creation for contract position: From: Melissa Lowery-Smith

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