RE: Advice needed for an upcoming interview

Subject: RE: Advice needed for an upcoming interview
From: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>
To: Anne Robotti <arobotti -at- gmail -dot- com>, Anonymous <anonymous -at- techwhirl -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2013 16:25:34 +0000

What Anne says and, in addition, think about it as a conversation (which is what it actually is). If you are the right person for the job, it is a win-win all around. At the 4 hour interview point in the process, this is what the people hiring are hoping for.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Anne Robotti
Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 7:27 AM
To: Anonymous
Cc: Techwr-l
Subject: Re: Advice needed for an upcoming interview

I've been a tech writer since 1995, and I don't consider it shameful that I don't know any programming languages. :)

In general, in interviews, I highlight my strengths and own my weaknesses.
I seek to establish personal connections with the people interviewing me. I mean, they've seen my resume. They know whether I have programming experience and they know I've documented APIs without it. (And truthfully, it hasn't been a big deal.) They know I don't have project management experience, but they can see that I've managed projects.

I don't lie, I don't even gloss over things. "No, I don't actually program in C++. As you can see I've written APIs for C++ code. That was an example of a project with a steep learning curve - I consider the ability to climb a steep learning curve to be one of my major strengths."

Truthfully, the people I like to work for are the people who like people like me. (Ha! Parse THAT!) If they're looking for somebody that's already steeped in their application and knows everything about the job, I'm not the right fit. I want and need a learning curve to stay interested. A job interview is just as much about you deciding whether you want to work there as it is about them deciding whether they like you. There's no shame in not being the right fit. I'm not going to get the same interviews as Gene Kim-Eng, and we're not going to get hired for the same jobs. People who like him will probably hate me, and possibly vice-versa as far as hiring goes! And we're both still amazing at our jobs.

When I get a hiring manager that's talking more about how I would approach the task of learning their software, that wants to hear about how I work on a team and how I get developers to talk to me or talk about the philosophy of tech writing... *that's* the person that I want to convince to be my boss. And that's almost always the person who'll hire me.

Congratulations on getting the interview. You're halfway there. Now go in there and sell YOU - the real you. If they don't want that, you didn't want to work there and the right job is waiting just around the bend.

Anne



On Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 10:02 AM, Anonymous <anonymous -at- techwhirl -dot- com> wrote:

> *Please post your responses to the list, as replies cannot be
> forwarded to the anonymous poster.*
>
>
> I have a job interview on Thursday. I documented an embedded version
> of the company's product at a previous position, so I have some
> familiarity with it. But self-doubt begins to creep in as the
> interview approaches, especially since it's scheduled to last 4 hours
> and includes a technical VP and I feel that my technical skills are my
> weakest attribute (shamefully, I don't know any programming languages).
>
> Does anyone have advice for how to endure such a long interview? What
> kind of questions should I be prepared for, especially from the VP and
> the SE that will be interviewing me?
>
> The company's product makes heavy use of both regular expressions and APIs.
> There were recently a couple of threads about good API documentation
> that are good resources. But how about regular expressions? Any
> suggestions for reading up on those?
>
> I am just starting out in this field: if I get this job, it would be
> only my third position as a technical writer, so please excuse these
> rather nervous and fundamental questions. Any other advice, of course,
> would also be greatly appreciated.
>
> Thank you.
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References:
Advice needed for an upcoming interview: From: Anonymous
Re: Advice needed for an upcoming interview: From: Anne Robotti

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