Re: Framemaker required

Subject: Re: Framemaker required
From: Janet Valade <jvalade -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996 23:52:38 -0800

You wrote:

>This is not my experience, which goes like this: you place and ad,
>get 300 responses, all but four of which are totally unsuitable.

This is pretty amazing. Is this true? If so, good writers should be
able to get a job instantly, whenever they need one.

>By accepting random amounts of prior experience in
>DTP packages as an important criterion, and by lowering your
expectations
>to the point that you get a 20% hit rate rather than a 1% hit rate,
>things are much simpler.

I don't know why you said the above. I thought my scenario was pretty
clear that the cut to 20% was based on writing skill, as quoted below.

>>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.

Then you screen the 20 you believe may be good writers (this is just a
maybe when all you have to go on are resumes) for those who know the
software you are using. In fact, that is pretty much the way the ad
can be written. Required: writing skills and experience. Preferred:
Framemaker experience. Personally, I always answer these ads whether I
know the "preferred" package or not.

>But screening for DTP experience doesn't screen for DTP proficiency.
Most
>DTP users are hacks, no matter how many years of experience they have,
>because they've never been trained in using DTP packages properly.
>You're better off sending everyone off to training, even if they
>know the package already -- maybe ESPECIALLY if they know the package
>already.

This is an interesting point. I haven't decided if I agree or not.
I'm sure the first sentence is true. However, I have been to training
for software and it seems to me that training is not the most efficient
way for me to learn. It goes slowly and teaches me a lot of things I
already know. And I never feel I really know software until I use it
for a "real" job. On the other hand, some software is definitely
complex and training might be helpful, or even necessary. The TOPIC
document management software comes instantly to mind. I don't believe
I would ever have learned to use it without the start I was given in a
week training class.

>So, in my opinion, you are requiring that candidates have a kind of
>experience that I personally wouldn't give spit for.

Where do you see that I am saying I require the DTP experience? I just
believe that it is likely that several of the applicants WILL have the
experience, unless it's some really rare software, and that I will look
at those people first.

> It's easy to
>train people in DTP; it's hard to train people in technical writing.

I mostly agree with this, although I have definitely tried to train
some software-impaired people. However, I believe it is easiest of all
when you don't have to train in anything.

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


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