Re: What tools to learn...

Subject: Re: What tools to learn...
From: Glen Accardo <glen -at- SOFTINT -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 10:34:07 -0600

E-mail glen -at- softint -dot- com
X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.4 PL23]
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Length: 3237

> When we hire people, we request tools knowledge. We are not stupid, and we
> are not a bad company. We also look at writing samples, give a writing test
> (I hated this idea until I learned how incredibly revealing it can be!!),
> and try to assess the candidate's technical aptitude.

> When a pubs department uses a desktop publishing package, a LARGE percentage
> of the writer's time (as much as 40-50 percent at times) is spent on the
> production of the book.

> Tsk-tsk to some of you. Posting to this list that "writing skills are
> paramount" is the ultimate platitude. A Tech Writer who can't write won't
> even get through the door here.

Everything Bob said is correct. Companies are interested in making a profit
from a product. We are both interested in meeting the same needs, and
probably meeting them with the same types of people. We do, however,
differ in our approach to getting the right person.

* Writing samples tell me if you can write, illustrate, make manuals.
You must be able to explain what you did and how -- equivelant to

* I can make DTP painless -- at first. Typing in Word or FrameMaker
or whatever is the same. The difference comes in designing docs,
solving problems with the packages, and doing large projects from
scratch with them. I don't expect any of that from entry-level
people. But, when I look at people for contract positions, I look
very closely at those skills because they will greatly influence
a person's ability to get a job done right -- and fast.

* I can't hire a perfect, all-knowing candidate (cheaply). I absolutely
must invest in teaching a new hire something. So where do I compromise?
- Teaching a new DTP package is trivial. As Bob said, once you know
one, the second isn't much of a problem, and the third is near
trivial. Like I said, I want you to be knowledgable in making
manuals; FrameMaker is a bonus.
- Teaching DTP is more of a pain, but can be done -- under certain
circumstances. If you've used Word to make large manuals, at least
you understand the issues involved, and you aren't starting from
- Teaching someone to write is painful, time-consuming, and in many
cases, impossible. I won't do it. You must be able to show that
you can write like I want manuals written -- or very close to it.
- If you've never written a manual, I have a lot to teach you --
issues, skills, etc. ad nauseum. Even if your grammar is perfect,
you still have a LONG way to go before you are productive.

* Given the above (and a gazillion other factors) I need to decide if
you are worth hiring. To aid in making this decision, I make sure
that you understand what I need done (while trying not to tell you
what I want you to do and keeping a rather open mind). I ask how
you can fit into that frame work. Things go from there. I mix and
match complimentary skills.

glen accardo glen -at- softint -dot- com
Software Interfaces, Inc. (713) 492-0707 x122
Houston, TX 77084

Did the Corinthians ever write back?

Previous by Author: Re: Cover letters
Next by Author: Style question - pushbuttons
Previous by Thread: FYI: writing/grammar book
Next by Thread: What tools to learn...

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads