RE: Advice for interviewing new tech writers

Subject: RE: Advice for interviewing new tech writers
From: Lynne Wright <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- tiburoninc -dot- com>
To: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, Kelly Smith <KellyMJSmith -at- gmail -dot- com>, techwr-l List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 19:19:12 +0000

Yes of course: but people DO make stuff up!

Most people who've been through a few interviews or have even just googled "the 10 things NOT to say in an interview" are going to know that they've got to spin everything to make themselves look good.

I interviewed one guy who was clueless/arrogant enough to spout a pile of negative things about co-workers in his past jobs, but most aren't daft enough to come in waving big red flags. And since references can't flat-out say "don't hire that person--they were incompetent and difficult to get along with", it can be difficult to tell if the person you are interviewing is telling the truth, or saying what they know you want to hear.

On the upside, in most cases, my instincts about people arising from interviews generally turned out to be spot on; the ones who seemed competent and easy to get along with, were; the ones who seemed to have a bit of an attitude or lacking in people skills (but who were hired anyway, based on the fact that their skills seemed ok and we were desperate for help) became problems pretty fast.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gene Kim-Eng [mailto:techwr -at- genek -dot- com]
Sent: January-22-15 1:19 PM
To: Lynne Wright; Kelly Smith; techwr-l List
Subject: Re: Advice for interviewing new tech writers

If all someone gave me was the standard answers about being an adaptable team player who has no problem with procedures and style guides, that wouldn't give me a warm, fuzzy feeling about how he or she was likely to be on the job. I want to hear about how the person deals with people who are NOT team players, and with project schedules, work procedures and style guides that are utter disasters or just nonexistent.

Interviewing from a non-manager POV, the decent, mature human being who is not going to be a whiny pain in my backside part would be my top priority. Let whoever is going to actually manage the person worry about the skills and potential part; that's what they pay managers the extra money for.

Gene Kim-Eng


On 1/22/2015 10:04 AM, Lynne Wright wrote:
> But those questions are so standard that people know how to give the "right" answers; it doesn't mean that's how they will actually behave once they are in the job.
>
> You know... in interviews, EVERYONE is a team player who adapts well and has no problem following established procedures and conforming to style guides, etc etc. But once they're hired.... not always so much.
>
> In the end, I made decisions based on a combination of what skills/potential they appeared to have as a result of tests, and my gut instinct on whether they were a decent, mature human being based on the interview.
>
> -----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- co
> m] On Behalf Of Gene Kim-Eng
> Sent: January-22-15 12:54 PM
> To: Kelly Smith; techwr-l List
> Subject: Re: Advice for interviewing new tech writers
>
> Talk to them about the issues you encountered when you hired on - the issues, not how you handled them - and ask them what they have done in similar situations.
>
> Talk to them about their normal MO in seeking information and getting reviews.
>
> You should concentrate more on how they will work with you than on their nuts and bolts abilities, since you are just "sitting in" on the interviews and not doing the actual hiring and won't be managing them.
>
> Gene Kim-Eng
>
>
> On 1/21/2015 5:46 PM, Kelly Smith wrote:
>> Do any of you have experience hiring other tech writers and could you
>> give me any advice?
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Advice for interviewing new tech writers: From: Kelly Smith
Re: Advice for interviewing new tech writers: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: Advice for interviewing new tech writers: From: Lynne Wright
Re: Advice for interviewing new tech writers: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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