RE: Sample document creation for contract position

Subject: RE: Sample document creation for contract position
From: "Connie Giordano" <connie -at- therightwordz -dot- com>
To: <tom -dot- kohn -at- kodak -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 17:02:11 -0400

>From the hiring manager perspective: If an applicant tells me that they
cannot provide ANY samples because of confidentiality agreements, it sends
up a really ginormous red flag. They're either extremely inexperienced, or
lacking in skills and trying to cover it up. If they manage to interview
well despite that, I would most certainly administer a writing/editing test.
The one I have used successfully is equal parts writing/rewriting, grammar,
and basic formatting, and it almost always eliminates candidates who will
not be able to perform. In fact as a hiring manager, I would administer a
relatively simple test like this to ALL candidates, to eliminate any chances
that someone would sue because I didn't apply the same standards to all
applicants. I would never ask anyone to write 15 pages, it's ridiculous
for all the reasons other folks have listed.

>From the writer perspective: I have a number of samples that are covered by
such agreements and I only have them available during face-to-face
interviews, but I have plenty that I can and do provide. However, I will not
provide them via email unless I've actually had at least an initial
interview and a corresponding positive gut reaction. If you've never had
work stolen, you might not understand that reluctance, but there are plenty
on the list who have experienced it, and it may help explain why so many
have written in support of the OP's reluctance.

One thing has definitely changed over the last 10 years regarding this topic
... I haven't seen anyone post the "I'm a senior writer and completing a
test is beneath me" response. I used to get flamed all the time on the
merits of testing applicants.

Regards,


Connie P. Giordano
The Right Words, LLC
Communications & Information Design

http://www.therightwords.com
http://www.cowbellchallenge.org
http://www.uscup.net
connie -at- therightwords -dot- com
 
(704) 540-9985 (office)
(704) 957-8450 (mobile)
 
"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walt Disney





-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+connie=therightwordz -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+connie=therightwordz -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of tom -dot- kohn -at- kodak -dot- com
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 4:11 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Sample document creation for contract position

Looking at it from a supervisor's chair, I don't understand why you "felt
very uncomfortable about being asked to send ahead my writing samples by
e-mail (as in I don't do this ever)".

During a round of interviews, several candidates claimed an inability to
provide samples of writing (at the day of interview, BTW) due to their
previous confidentiality agreements. Two of these candidates passed
through our resume screening and interviewed pretty well, and they were
hired. Unfortunately for us. Both lack a strong command of English
mechanics, exhibit little regard for presentation standards, and show low
ability to interview SMEs sufficiently to gauge content minimums. Even a
small example would have revealed some of these inabilities.

I encourage you to change your mind about providing samples by e-mail in
electronic formats, ahead of time or shortly before the interviews are
scheduled to start. As an interviewer, I would like the opportunity to
develop questions based on the samples.

But the major issue you raise is the sample of 10 to 15 pages. That was
out of line, and might well have been a brazen attempt to get some minor
work (to them) done on the cheap. I like Diane's suggestions. But I ask,
"How would you get access to the company to find your document in use? How
would you get system access to check the character styles and other
template tweaks?"

Tom

Thomas G (Tom) Kohn | Technical Editor | GCG WW Versamark Engineering
Services |
Eastman Kodak Company | 3000 Research Blvd | Dayton, OH 45420-4003 |
tom -dot- kohn -at- kodak -dot- com | +01 937-259-3210 Office | +01 937-271-1484 Mobile |
+01 937-259-3784 Fax |
www.graphics.kodak.com


From: Melissa Lowery-Smith <artsyreader -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Subject: Sample document creation for contract position

... 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. ...


------------------------------

From: "Evans, Diane L (Rosetta)" <diane_evans -at- merck -dot- com>
Subject: RE: Sample document creation for contract position

This is the advice that I gave the other woman on how to "copyright"
documents:

Most people who are dumb enough to steal an electronic file also don't
know a lot about Microsoft Word. Here are some ways to "prove" that the
template once belonged to you:

1. Make a character style called "MyName" and have it identical to Normal.
Use it for random words in the document. Chances are, any copy-and-paste
will preserve the style. Even if a new style is created later on that
replaces it, the style should still hang around in the template.

2. Make a picture that is maybe 2 pixels by 2 pixels. It should be totally
white, and named "MyNameSpace" or something similar. Use this picture
liberally through your template.

3. Before handing off a template to someone, be sure that you have put a
watermark in the background, "This template is copyrighted by MyName."
Don't have it so large that it overwhelms the template, but have it large
enough to be noticed.

If you do all three of these things, the person receiving the template
would probably figure out how to remove the watermark, but not notice #1
and #2.

...

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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.
http://www.doctohelp.com

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! http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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RE: Sample document creation for contract position: From: tom . kohn

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