TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
> I agree with Roger, Lisa et al that anyone worth their salt won't be
> offended by having to take a test: it's just good business. It is truly an
> objective means of gauging skills at various levels.
I have read the messages about skills tests for tech writer applicants
with interest because I once got in a lot of trouble for trying this.
I found a writing test in a professional magazine that would have taken
about 30 minutes for a skilled candidate. It covered some grammar
correction, some awkward sentence rewrites, some conceptual issues, etc.
There wasn't anything tested that would have offended anybody--except my
company's HR department, which threw a giant fit.
It seems that there is a large body of law devoted to the issue of bias
and exclusionary skills testing. The HR group demanded absolute control
over any tests administered by the company, even including typing and
transcribing tests used for clerical applicants. Companies that test
applicants and then try to use the results to affect the hiring decision
are asking for lawsuits and evidently are vulnerable to discrimination
The EEOC has strong guidelines for applicant tests.