More on Re: Jobs.... Benefits... Job Testing, and other things

Subject: More on Re: Jobs.... Benefits... Job Testing, and other things
From: "William Sherman" <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 16:34:26 -0400

Today, I got one of those emails that explains some of the issues in American

I'm a technical writer. So I get a job posting for an electrical engineer.


a.. Demonstrate good working design knowledge of grounding, lightning
protection, surge protection, lighting, protective relaying, diesel
generation, low and medium voltage motor control and switchgear breaker
control, and UPS systems.
b.. BSEE and 10+ years of applicable experience in the design and
specification of low and medium voltage power distribution systems for
industrial and/or institutional facilities.
c.. Excellent knowledge and experience with the NEC and applicable IEEE
and NFPA standards.
d.. Experience with modeling electrical systems and running power system
studies using ETAP Powerstation, PTW SKM or EasyPower is strongly preferred.
Position type: Perm

Position location: Minneapolis, MN

Salary up to: $120K / Yr

Notice the salary. This is one thing I have tried to get across to people in
job discussions before. If a person has an engineering degree, WHY would
they want to take such a significant cut in pay to be a tech writer?

So my points are:
1. No one in the recruiting business has a clue as to what you do. You are
simply a result of a keyword search.
2. No one in business responsible for hiring really has a brain. Why would a
potential $120,000 salary engineer take a job as a technical writer and
probably have to fight to make $70,000 per year.
3. Why would anyone insult a potential candidate so greatly if they are a
$120,000 engineer by offering them a tech writing job for the often quoted
$25 per hour rate? Heck, I consider the $25 an insult when they ask for my 20 years of experience. If I were making $120,000, I couldn't repeat my response to such an offer here.
4. Why does no one in business realize one of the reason they have poor
people is that the hiring/recruiting people have no clue about who or what
they are hiring?

Job tests - yes, no, maybe?
I think if the hiring person really knows the job, they can figure out if
the candidate knows the job. But usually, the hiring person is HR or a
recruiter or a manager, and hasn't done/really know the job at all and is
going by a cheat sheet of requirements written by someone like me years ago
when told "put every single detail in of everything you do" when the intent
was to reject almost everyone, screen for the perfect match, allow you to
reject any you just didn't want without facing discrimination, or protect
your own position.

I haven't had a test in a long time. What I have found is that the tests I
have had are usually irrelevant to the work. They are frequently spelling or
grammar tests, and the spellchecker and grammar checker will knock 84.7% of
that out of the way for anyone. We aren't writing text books for school,
poetry for college, or newspaper articles. We are writing instructions,
procedures, maintenance, software, and such manuals to help someone do
something. Our expertise is transferring the knowledge of the designers to
the users.

Yeah, if ah ain't spllin stuff rite, it'll lose sum of the impact.

But if you can't get the information across, it is worthless. Mess up the
procedure, and the rocket blows up. Mess up the software procedure and you open a hole
half of eastern Europe walks through to your checking account.

So if you make a test, see if they can tell you how to do something if they
are a technical writer. If you are hiring an editor, see if they can spell
and correct grammar. You aren't hiring a typist.

Unfortunately, this is something that escapes most recruiters and HR
departments when trying to figure what we do.

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