Subject: tests
From: The Cassidy Family <pcassidy -at- LYNX -dot- DAC -dot- NEU -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 9 May 1995 11:09:54 -0500

>From: Vincent Reh <VincentR -at- SC -dot- HARRIS -dot- COM>

>But, since this was a writing test, I figured they wanted to see writing, so
>I wrote up a procedure---including info on how to get an ATM card and a PIN.
> When the proctor came back she said, "This is all wrong! I wanted you to
>list the steps on how to use the machine. We're looking for documentation."

>I was completely put off by the whole experience. Perhaps my inexperience
>with documentation played a role, but I believe the ambiguous instructions
>were a big part of the problem. However, I think that was part of the plan.
> Maybe they were looking for someone with the right kind of intuition and
>found an effective way to screen applicants (I didn't get an offer).

>Would the expectations be clearer for someone with documentation experience?

That sounds terribly unfair. One of the primary roles of the technical
writer is to investigate what the users need in the documentation. I think
you should have been allowed to ask someone a few questions, or at the very
least, you should have been given a few general directions. Maybe by bank
machine the person meant that little gadget tellers use to update passbook
savings accounts. Or maybe by bank machine the person meant that timing
device in the vault that allows the door to be opened only at certain
times. They are both "bank" machines.

With the phone example, I would assume the user has a telephone number.
Maybe that's a bad assumption to make, but I would certainly have to ask if
the user already has a number to call or if the user also has to find the
number (call 411 or use the phonebook...what if it's unlisted? Or simply,
just call the operator and have the operator place the call, person to
person and COLLECT billed to the company asking you to write the
procedure.) Without more information, there are too many "what ifs" to


e-mail: pcassidy -at- lynx -dot- dac -dot- neu -dot- edu

| | | "Lord, grant that we may
==|== ===|=== ==|== always be right, for thou
) | ( ) | ( ) | ( knowest that we will never
==|== ===|=== ==|== change our minds."
) | ( ) | ( ) | (
==|== ===|=== ==|== -Old Irish Prayer
) | ( ) | ( ) | (
\\ ///
\\ //
Boom! The whole nine yards!

Previous by Author: No message from you
Next by Author: Re: Comma, Comma, Comma (Should we or Shouldn't we)
Previous by Thread: Re[2]: Technic writers shall write good,
Next by Thread: Summary of Rates for Online Help

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

Sponsored Ads