Re: Sample document creation for contract position

Subject: Re: Sample document creation for contract position
From: Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2009 09:05:36 +1100

Melissa Lowery-Smith wrote:
> 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.

I don't think you are overreacting. This seems to
me to go beyond what a reasonable job interview
should require. I've been in interviews where
they asked some sort of writing test ("Please
write up instructions for how to use the telephone
in 20 minutes or so") but nothing this detailed or
time consuming.

Worst interpretation is that they were trying to
get documentation out of you for free; best is
that they're clueless about how to interview for
a technical writing position.

I'd probably say something like "I'm afraid that
I can't commit the time to write up a document of
that length for a job interview. However, I'm happy
to provide you with samples of previous work I've
done or do a shorter writing sample on a subject
that does not require an SME meeting."

Janice Gelb | The only connection Sun has with
janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com | this message is the return address

ComponentOne Doc-To-Help 2009 is your all-in-one authoring and publishing
solution. Author in Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word or
HTML and publish to the Web, Help systems or printed manuals.

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:

Sample document creation for contract position: From: Melissa Lowery-Smith

Previous by Author: Re: Is there a more succinct way to say this?
Next by Author: Re: Wrong? Poor style? OK?
Previous by Thread: RE: Sample document creation for contract position
Next by Thread: RE: Sample document creation for contract position

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads