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: "Elisa R. Sawyer" <elisawyer -at- gmail -dot- com>, techwr-l List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:58:10 +0000

In an ideal world, all technical writers would follow the standard of using Plain English style, so there wouldn't be much variation in "voice."

Even if docs for different purposes look different in terms of format, layout, use of graphics, etc; the writing style should be consistently simple and clear.

-----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- com] On Behalf Of Elisa R. Sawyer
Sent: January-22-15 5:02 PM
To: techwr-l List
Subject: Re: Advice for interviewing new tech writers

I'm in Gene's camp in that I have voiced my writing differently for different projects. Sometimes I have documented inventions and I have voiced the documentation to reflect something about the inventor.

Also, for some projects, I have been the only person with the title of writer on the project, but there have been numerous contributors. If I run out of time, I might not be able to get the voice consistent throughout.

Over the years, I think that my habits have changed and the writing voice to which I habitually turn has changed.

When I interview writers, I look at their samples first and then discuss their process. People have different needs and will thrive in different environments. I once realized mid-interview that one excellent writer would not be a good fit for the position he thought he wanted, and when I described what was needed, he realized that was true. I have been on the other end of that kind of equation. It's not always about skills and abilities, sometimes it's also about fit.

-Elisa



On Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 1:40 PM, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com> wrote:

> 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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--
Elisa Rood Sawyer
~~~~~^~~~~~
Technical and Creative Writer
"Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today." Mark Twain ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Doc-To-Help: The Quickest Way to Author and Publish Online Help, Policy & Procedure Guides, eBooks, and more using Microsoft Word | http://bit.ly/doctohelp2015

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Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our online magazine at http://techwhirl.com

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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
Re: Advice for interviewing new tech writers: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Advice for interviewing new tech writers: From: Elisa R. Sawyer

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