Re: Test assignment for a tech.writer candidate?

Subject: Re: Test assignment for a tech.writer candidate?
From: Connie Giordano <connie -at- therightwords -dot- com>
To: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 13:30:27 -0500

These days it's nearly impossible to get former employers to be forthcoming
about anything other than the dates the candidate worked for them. These
days it's just as likely to have someone fake their portfolio items or
blatantly steal them from a website somewhere as to show you original work
they were responsible for.

I once worked with a writer who had been in this business for 30 years, and
couldn't write a coherent, useful document to save his life. I once made
the mistake of hiring a writer who interviewed well and showed a nice
portfolio, but was a dangerously unbalanced individual who subsequently
threatened my life. Not experiences I care to relive in any way shape or
form.

To make a good hire, you need good instincts and good interviewing skills;
some objective measures on a writer's abilitity to research, interview,
plan, write and edit; and an HR department that has a clue. Since you're as
likely to get all of these as the "Fast, Good, or Cheap" objective for a
project you go with what you can. I'll do an interview, a portfolio review,
whatever referencee check I'm able to get, and a writing/editing test
before I make a final call. Any one of those by themselves is completely
insufficient. Put them together and you've got a chance at finding and
keeping a gem.

Connie Giordano

On Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 12:32 PM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
wrote:

> Giving me a test is a good way for a prospective employer to flunk the
> interview. Typically when they do that it's just one of several red
> flags.
>
> A test challenging enough to mean anything isn't something I'd do for free.
>
> On Sun, Dec 7, 2014 at 10:38 PM, Alec Chakenov <alec -dot- chakenov -at- gmail -dot- com>
> wrote:
> > Hi everyone,
> > If you had experience with hiring technical writers, what kind of test
> > assignment would you recommend to assess technical writing skills?
> > At one software company I was tasked with writing a help article about
> how
> > to use an elevator. I thought that was so irrelevant and did not want to
> > proceed with them.
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Read about how Georgia System Operation Corporation improved teamwork,
> communication, and efficiency using Doc-To-Help | http://bit.ly/1pJ4zPa
>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
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--
Connie P. Giordano
Principal Consultant
The Right Words of NC, LLC

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible" - Walt Disney
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Read about how Georgia System Operation Corporation improved teamwork, communication, and efficiency using Doc-To-Help | http://bit.ly/1pJ4zPa

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Test assignment for a tech.writer candidate?: From: Alec Chakenov
Re: Test assignment for a tech.writer candidate?: From: Robert Lauriston

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