Re: Interviewing technical writers

Subject: Re: Interviewing technical writers
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 11:49:21 -0400

On Wed, 11 Apr 2012 11:32:34 -0400, Kim Bieler <kimbieler -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

I'm evaluating resumes for a technical writing & content strategy
position at our company. I'm pretty clear on what I would ask
candidates in an interview, but I'm not sure how to decide based on
their resume who I should follow up with.

Is it appropriate to ask for writing samples before an interview? Are
there particular assets or red flags I should be looking for in a
resume? Any background research I should conduct?

Will the resumes you get be the raw response to advertising for the position, or are they pre-filtered by an agency (or a "resume-grinder" computer computer program) trying to select the closest matches? When I was involved in the hiring game, long ago, I observed that the best writers seemed to come from the resumes that were off-target. Indeed, our very worst writer we hired had the absolutely best TW resume. Another bad writer had a fat bunch of writing samples. She had written none of them, we found out later.

If you are already selecting for "six years with MS Word 2010" but aren't aware that's what is happening, you are already in trouble. But if you see "Drama Major looking for suitable job in a creative business" with no computer experience to speak of, you might have hit gold.

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