Re: Agency and interviewing questions

Subject: Re: Agency and interviewing questions
From: Camille Krug <camillek -at- FUTURE -dot- DSC -dot- DALSYS -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 1996 16:05:46 -0600

In response to the question of writing samples:

Anyone who has been employed as a tech writer or has just graduated from a
writing program (such as our University of North Texas Masters Program
in Technical Writing) should be well-equipped with a portfolio of writing
samples. This goes back to my less-than-diplomatic rant of yesterday for
which I take this opportunity to apologize (spelled correctly this time).

The point is that many people applying for tech writing jobs are doing
this for the first time, thinking that "anyone can write". What they do
not realize is that there are some protocols and "givens" if you will,
that any knowledgable tech writer will practice. One is a resume that is
well-written and which highlights writing skills/achievements (not
just proficiencies with word processing packages). The second are
writing samples. This does not include English composition papers
or term papers. Third is some sort of evidence of education, training or
experience in tech writing.

Testing by the agency (which is done more and more by the really good
firms in Dallas) is becoming quite popular. It's conducted online, it's
timed, and it requires not only a proficiency with software packages but
the ability to structure and write information in a manner that any
tech writer would be able to do. From there, the agency can take some of
the responsibility in assessing applicants' skills.

Yet, anyone that writes for a living, is trained to do so, and takes
pride in their work, takes writing samples to an agency and leaves them
with several copies of a resume. It shouldn't be an issue actually. And
most companies can see through the smokescreen of the confidentiality
agreement response. If a writer has *no* samples to show, that is a
definite red flag. It's analogous to someone interviewing for a job as a
webmaster with no homepage (printed or online) to show someone. How do
you tell if they are qualified?

Regards,
Camille
stet -at- connect -dot- net
www.connect.net/stet/


> The agency does what we ask, but it takes them some time to dig up samples.
> Why is this? Am I asking for something non-standard or unreasonable? Are
> writing samples usually brought only to the interview? If so, how the heck
> can you tell in advance if the person is worth interviewing?<<

> Melissa,

> Your question is not unusual; it may, however, be unreasonable. Most people
> who come through agencies have worked in many environments, each one of
> which has had them sign a confidentiality agreement. We contractors could
> go to jail bigtime -- lotsa years -- and/or face massive fines if we
> violate those agreements; we're also looking at a credibility issue as to
> whether we share other people's property (documentation) with a potential
> competitor. Therefore, any documentation done on the job is usually
> unavailable for the interview process?



> Nancy Baum Delain
> Owner,
> Delain Associates
> Training * Technical Documentation




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