RE: Editing/Writing Test

Subject: RE: Editing/Writing Test
From: Lynne Wright <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- tiburoninc -dot- com>
To: Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 16:29:43 +0000

But I have found that cvs and samples of published work (which may have been cleaned up and polished by an editor) and interviews tell you very little about whether a candidate can actually do the job.

For example, several candidates who looked highly credible on paper and in their interviews failed an editing test that consisted of assessing a 200-word procedure because they missed a really obvious typo in the section title, and failed to notice that 2 out of the 3 screen shots didn't illustrate the correct things; and proved in the writing portion that they didn't know fundamentals like how to structure information logically and write in a simple, clear style.

Somebody who is applying for a senior-level writing or editing job should have the experience and skills to perform well under a bit of pressure (since that's ALSO a job requirement); and if they are seriously interested in the job they shouldn't mind sticking around for 45 minutes after their interview to complete some simple tests.

Sure, as an applicant, you don't want to be made to jump through hoops for a job that's beneath you. But it's a lot more a waste of everyone's time if somebody who is hired because they present well in an interview turns out to not have the requisite abilities, and has to be replaced.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=tiburoninc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=tiburoninc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Tony Chung
Sent: Monday, March 18, 2013 12:05 PM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: Re: Editing/Writing Test

More important than the test itself, is the timing of the test.

I applied for a specific position where the manager was an arrogant
know-it-all who tested five applicants in a group setting, before even a
phone interview.

The test itself evaluated our academic knowledge, some technical
communication tasks, and an understanding of the subject domain. It was
apparent that I knew more about the subject domain than the manager.

The company had a pay parking lot, and would not reimburse us for wasting
our time on this fruitless exercise. I had half a mind to submit an invoice
for the time wasted during that portion of the application process.

Contrast that to another job where the manager said I was already hired,
but wanted to see how I naturally approached the type of work I'd be
assigned. This company had two main pain points: Developers wrote English
as a foreign language, and often wrote lengthy paragraphs which should
become process steps.

In the first example, the test already weeded out the applicants who didn't
fit, and the phone interview confirmed it. The manager hired none of us. I
saw the ad repeatedly over a year. I wonder if that manager just gave up
looking for a subservient coffee girl.

In the second example, I learned the type of work I'd have to do, and
realized at that point how I needed to restructure my time to get more
done. I didn't complete the second test.

-Tony
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References:
Editing/Writing Test: From: Karen Felker
Re: Editing/Writing Test: From: Kathleen MacDowell
Re: Editing/Writing Test: From: Peter Neilson
Re: Editing/Writing Test: From: Tony Chung

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