Testing of Technical Editors

Subject: Testing of Technical Editors
From: ssierack -at- ARINC -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 17:50:27 -0400

To those of you working for companies that are government
contractors: Have you found a legal way to test prospective
hires? I'm specifically interested in testing technical
editors (as opposed to writers) because I'll soon be looking
for an editor. As we all know, it's difficult (impossible?)
to judge someone's ability without seeing an actual
markup--and as online editing is replacing the red pencil,
samples of hardcopy markups are harder to come by.

I need to have a good feel for both an applicant's ability
to do a substantive edit--including reorganizing a document
as needed, reworking conclusions if they don't support the
body, and improving tables (or creating them to replace text
where appropriate)--and mastery of the basics (grammar,
punctuation, spelling, consistency, word usage, etc.).
People can often talk a good talk in the interview and show
samples of published work, but that doesn't give you a true
understanding of their capability--and you don't know for
certain what their contribution really was.

For the record: As an applicant, I'm not a fan of tests.
There's a lot to be said for the point of view that they
lessen our status as professionals. (My company doesn't test
the engineers, after all.) But as a hiring manager, I find
them one of, if not *the*, most useful evaluation tools. It's
not my intention to start a debate on testing versus not
testing--or on certification, for that matter. I'd just like
to find out who tests and how. Or if anyone knows of a
government-accepted editing test, please point me to it.

Thanks,

Sheryl Sieracki
ssierack -at- arinc -dot- com
ARINC
Annapolis, MD

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