Re: Putting the Thumbscrew on Another Hand

Subject: Re: Putting the Thumbscrew on Another Hand
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 14:16:05 +0800

Daniel Wise <dewise -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM> said:
> I am beginning to grow weary of the personality tests that have become the
> fad of the HR folks

These tests sound like yet another brand of magic fairy dust for insecure
corporate types. "Maybe if we (use one of those personality tests/sprinkle
some of that magic fairy dust) we'll be guaranteed (high-quality staff/
powerful magic spells)."

I agree with you that a job interview is (or should be) a meeting of
equals in pursuit of the same goal. The goal is to end up with the best
person doing the right job. If the job is not right for you, or you are
not the right person, everyone's wins if this is discovered at the

> For example, I plan to request a copy of the company's vision statement, the
> company/division/department mission statement, the company's view of ISO9000
> (if applicable), and the company's commitment to TQM. I might consider
> requesting workforce statistics such as percentage of the workforce in
> each decade age bracket. I might ask for information on the percentage of
> positions in each tier of management occupied by women, blacks, and other
> minorities. I might also inquire about the possibilities (probabilities) of
> a technical communicator being able to move onto other promotion ladders.
> But I am not sure what else would be good to ask.

I have two reservations: first, make sure these are really the things
that matter to you. Think of it like a performance review. You want your
ability to be measured according to things that really contribute to
your doing a good job, not counterproductive measures like pages per day.
Think clearly about your goals -- pay? career? ethical employer?
challenging work? -- then measure a prospective employer according to
these things.

Second, be aware that you'll probably get official answers, not
necessarily true ones. TQM? Yes, our company has a strong commitment to
quality in everything. Promotion path? Why yes, all doors are open to
technical communicators. That's why your question about minority
advancement is well phrased -- what are they doing, not what are they

Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
Senior Stunt Borg
Functional Software Pty Ltd Fax: +61 9 328 8616

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