Re: Agency and interviewing questions

Subject: Re: Agency and interviewing questions
From: "Nancy B. Delain" <nbdelain -at- ALBANY -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 1996 07:53:05 -0500

Peggy,

>>Even though I like to look at writing samples, I have been suspicious
of them ever since I saw a woman take all the leftover unclaimed
displays at an STC Publications Competition award banquet several years ago.<<

LOL!! That's a good one! The issue of whether or not a writing sample is
actually authentically that applicant's writing sample never crossed my
mind, but I suppose if someone actually did this it's a viable one.

BTW, I like your response to the writing-sample issue. I'm glad to read
that other people take confidentiality agreements seriously.

Nancy Baum Delain
Delain Associates



>Melissa Hunter-Kilmer wrote:

>> 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?
>>
>This is a wonderful question. I have a huge, widely-varied portfolio,
>and I have trouble providing writing samples for these reasons:

>* I frequently work under nondisclosure agreements that prevent me
>from sharing or even discussing the projects. I have had a client for
>10 years that is so sensitive about confidentiality that I cannot
>even include them on my resume. Some clients, understanding that we
>contractors need to show our past work, will stipulate that we can
>show the publication in an interview but not leave it unattended.

>* I negotiate for a portfolio copy when I start a writing project.
>This means that I have only one copy of what you want to look at.
>Such a sample might not be valuable, but it's irreplaceable. I'm
>not going to leave this treasure anywhere because people don't
>return writing samples no matter what they promise. I actually
>have holes in my portfolio because I supplied writing samples that
>weren't returned.

>* A potential client often is not clear about the type of project
>to be done. Is it a reference manual? A set of job aids? I'm surprised
>at how many people are uncomfortable discussing the project over the
>phone and "would prefer to discuss this with you in detail when you
>come for the interview." Such reluctance means that I might not
>bring an appropriate writing sample with me.

>* I like to discuss my samples as the potential client looks at them.
>I relate the pleasures and aggravations of the project, to what extent
>the project was a collaboration, any special problems I solved, how
>awful
>the deadline was, etc.

>* Even though I like to look at writing samples, I have been suspicious
>of them ever since I saw a woman take all the leftover unclaimed
>displays
>at an STC Publications Competition award banquet several years ago.

>* Sometimes I can't tell exactly what you (the generic "you"--the
>potential
>client) want to find when you look at a sample. Do you want to see the
>most
>recent job? The biggest book? The most challenging PageMaker job I have
>ever
>done? The book with the statistical equations? Are you going to look at
>a
>book I wrote 18-months ago and say "Do you have something more recent?"
>Does the job have to be 100% mine or can I show you a team effort? If a
>book has a lot of artistic graphics and spot color, are you going to
>like
>it better because it's prettier?

>> Does anybody have some hot tips on how to tell if an
>> applicant has such high-level [PageMaker} skills?
>>
>Why don't you just ask the applicant? If you explain how tough the
>project
>is going to be and that training is not provided, the applicants can
>judge
>for themselves.


>Best regards....Peggy Schillinger



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