Re: Advice for interviewing new tech writers

Subject: Re: Advice for interviewing new tech writers
From: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: "Robart, Kay" <Kay -dot- Robart -at- tea -dot- texas -dot- gov>, techwr-l List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:40:55 -0800

I didn't say don't look at the candidate's samples, just to not make them the most important aspect of your interview.

A candidate's samples are less important to me than what that candidate has to say about them. That is, whether he or she can describe the planning, processes, efforts and issues that played a part of creating a given document. The reason for this is that there's a large percentage of people in every occupation - not just in technical writing - who are good "managed performers." That is, people who, with the direct guidance and support of a good manager can perform well. But if you don't have, or are not prepared to provide, that sort of guidance and support, what you need is someone who is a bit harder to find, and you won't find out whether the person you're interviewing is one of those just by looking at samples, no matter how good those samples are.

BTW, my own portfolio contains quite a few documents that most definitely do not look as if the same person wrote them. Because a tear down manual for a turbojet engine really should not look a whole lot like a quick start card for an all-in-one printer/scanner/fax console, or an insert sheet for a pharmaceutical reagent.

Gene Kim-Eng
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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: Robart, Kay

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