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

Subject: RE: More on Re: Jobs.... Benefits... Job Testing, and other things
From: Dana Worley <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 15:06:43 +0000

I'm confused. It looks like you might have inadvertently received a job announcement for an Engineer rather than a Technical Writer. So... OK, your first point is valid. Either their email system went haywire, or the key words in your resume triggered this engineering position, and the "real person" on the other end was too clueless or too busy to catch it.

But, I don't understand the cause for the rest of the rant. If the announcement were sent in error, for whatever reason, what is the basis for the rest of your comments? (Where did the $25/hour come from, out of that job posting?) My questions are mostly rhetorical. I'm just not seeing any reason to get all worked up over a misdirected job announcement.

BTW, in my neck of the woods, $120K would be AMAZING for a technical writer, and not so shabby for an engineer.

Dana W.

Dana Worley
Product Manager, Software Products
Campbell Scientific, Inc.

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-----Original Message-----
From: William Sherman [mailto:bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 2:34 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: More on Re: Jobs.... Benefits... Job Testing, and other things

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

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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Jobs.... Benefits...: From: Robert Courtney
More on Re: Jobs.... Benefits... Job Testing, and other things: From: William Sherman

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