RE: Editing/Writing Test

Subject: RE: Editing/Writing Test
From: Lynne Wright <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- tiburoninc -dot- com>
To: "Wroblewski, Victoria" <vwroblewski -at- NECsphere -dot- com>, Karen Felker <akaren -at- earthlink -dot- net>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 12:46:32 +0000

I gave candidates a two-part test.

Part 1 consisted of a paragraph of randomly strung-together information about a piece of hardware (function it performs within the system, installation considerations, specs, etc), and asked them to create a point-form outline of a section for a setup manual. So they had to decide what information to use and what to leave out, and how to organize info; and figure out what questions they would ask SMEs to complete or clarify information. They got bonus points if they intended to include an installation diagram.

For Part 2, I took a section from a software user guide that consisted of a one-paragraph description of a simple feature, with an 8-step procedure that explained how to use it. I built in errors like passive voice and run-on sentences; missing punctuation; typo in the section title; inconsistencies in how fields were named, relative to what was shown in the screen shots; used a shot that didn't show what the text was describing; added inconsistencies in font formatting (ie. some field names in bold, some not); and left one step out, so that the flow of actions clearly didn't make sense.

They could take as long as they wanted to complete the tests; the best candidates were done in less than an hour.

-----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 Wroblewski, Victoria
Sent: Monday, March 18, 2013 5:37 PM
To: Karen Felker; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Editing/Writing Test

-----Original Message-----
From: Karen Felker
Sent: Sunday, March 17, 2013 2:23 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Editing/Writing Test

I suspect this has been discussed in the past, but I can't find it in the archives.
We're about to start looking for a mid-level writer and want to find someone with strong editing skills.
How else can we determine if a candidate has those skills but by giving them a test?
And if you are in agreement on that point, can someone recommend a source for an editing test?

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Most helpful one I was ever a part of (on both sides of the hiring process - had to take it to get the job, and then dealing with it when we were hiring additional writers) had a couple sections of how you may generally get information from SMEs - somewhat muddled and with some incomplete information, information given in the wrong order ("oh, and before you do step 1, you should have checked this and this" halfway thru a paragraph) - and to try and write a procedure based on that. Now, no one (during the time I was on the judging end) got dinged for not getting the information that was incomplete (but it would have scored you big bonus points if you had caught it) but it was interesting to see which applicants actually tried to do something with the information to write a usable procedure, and which just split up the paragraph into single lines and assigned numbers without doing anything but a spellcheck and called it a day.

Even the way applicants approached the test was a very telling sign - it does say something about you when you roll your eyes and act like it's beneath you to do it (yet still expect the job), and we even had one applicant who was given a week and several methods to contact us, and didn't complete the example "because I didn't understand the instructions".

And just to keep it so writers couldn't counter back that we were trying to get "free work" out of them for doing it, it was all old examples for released products.

- V
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
EPUB Webinar: Join STC Vice President Nicky Bleiel as she discusses tips for creating EPUB, the file format used for e-readers, tablets, smartphones, and more.

Learn more: http://bit.ly/12LyN2z

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Editing/Writing Test: From: Karen Felker
RE: Editing/Writing Test: From: Wroblewski, Victoria

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