Seven Questions For Hiring Managers

Subject: Seven Questions For Hiring Managers
From: Cheryl Towler <cherylt -at- PANDORA -dot- MICRO -dot- UMN -dot- EDU -dot- >
Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 22:06:43 -0500

I am a senior in the Scientific and Technical Communication undergraduate
program at the University of Minnesota.

In my Senior Seminar class, we debated what hiring managers expect in a
portfolio. Most of the students have a leather carrying case with plastic
sheet covers and section dividers. The contents include writing samples,
graphic and page design samples, transcripts, resumes, references, and
other pertinent items. Our professor expected just 5 or 6 writing samples
neatly presented on plain white paper with a staple in the upper left

The professor asked why we prepare five-pound portfolios that do not
allow hiring managers to read our work. The students said that hiring
managers expect all five pounds, but several cited examples of hiring
managers not even looking at their portfolios.

So, I have decided to gather information about portfolios for my senior

I have prepared 7 questions for those of you in a position to hire
technical communicators. Could you please take a few minutes to answer
my questions?

Please send your responses to me, rather than the entire List. I will
gladly post my report at the end of the month. Thank you!

Seven Questions For Hiring Managers

Please choose each response that applies and elaborate whenever you want.

1. How do you review an applicant's writing, editing, and document
design skills?
A. Request samples with resume
B. Request samples after reviewing resume
C. Expect to see the applicant's portfolio at the interview

2. If you request samples, how many do you request?

3. If you request samples, how do you expect to receive them?
A. Mail
B. Fax
C. E-mail
D. Other, please explain

4. If you expect to see the portfolio, what type of document do you expect?
A. Nice paper, plastic binding
B. Plastic sheet covers
C. Leather carrying case
D. Other, please explain

5. If you expect to see the portfolio, do you
A. expect the applicant to present the portfolio?
B. plan to look through it yourself?

6. If you expect to see the portfolio, do you expect to have time to
read the samples during the interview?
A. Yes
B. No

7. If you expect to see the portfolio, what types of samples do you
want to see?
A. Writing:
1. Proposals
2. Feasibility reports
3. Press releases
4. Brochures
5. Newsletters
6. Small manuals
7. Other, please explain
B. Graphic Design:
1. Charts and graphs
2. Maps
3. Disks with multimedia presentations
4. Other, please explain
C. Information About Experience:
1. Resume(s)
2. Transcripts
3. References
4. Letters of recommendation
5. Other, please explain

-Cheryl Towler
Scientific & Technical Communication senior, U of MN Department of Rhetoric
(Web URL:
Multimedia Learning Assistant, U of MN Digital Media Center
(Web URL: in progress)

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