Re: FrameMaker Required

Subject: Re: FrameMaker Required
From: Janet Valade <jvalade -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 1996 23:05:38 -0800

>(As to the latter point: Take the pool of candidates who are good
>technical writers. Assume that a certain percentage are GREAT
>technical writers. Now discard most of them because of some arbitrary
>criterion, such as prior experience with a previous DTP system. The
>remaining pool is smaller, and the odds that a great technical writer
>remains have also been greatly reduced.)

It's not clear to me why you are assuming that most of the GREAT
technical writers would not have experience with your tool. Perhaps
the GREAT writers are the one with more varied experience and therefore
are MORE likely to have experience with your tool. I don't know this
is so, but couldn't it be?

A more like scenario, it seems to me: You place an ad for a technical
writer. You get 100 resumes. I don't know if this is reasonable; my
hiring experience is with programmers. But assume it is. Suppose you
throw out 80 of them because the senders can't seem to write well or
have no writing experience or can't spell. Or whatever "writing"
reasons. It seems reasonable to me that 20% of the people who apply
for a writing job are actually competent writers. So now, in this 20
resumes of good writers, why not look first at those who have
experience with the tool you are using. It would save your time.

In other words, I don't think it is a question of a choice between a
good writer or a good tool user. Why would you assume that someone who
is good with a particular tool cannot also be a good writer? I think
employers are looking for a good writer who is also a good tool user,
and in this job market, I think they can probably find someone.

Having said all this from the employers' viewpoint, I will also say
that I agree that many employers do not have a good understanding of
writing and consequently can't judge writing skills. Or don't know how
to interview for them. If you can't conceptualize, you can't write.
If you can't interview SME's, you can't write in many situations. Etc.
The writing skills must come first. Some employers seem to have lost
sight of this and have given the tools priorities over the writing
skills. So, I think we just must bite the bullet and learn the
software. The problem is finding the time.

jvalade -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com

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