Re: QUERY: Predict successful writers?

Subject: Re: QUERY: Predict successful writers?
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 14:54:42 -0600

Forwarded anonymously on request (reason should be obvious).
Don't reply to me, please. Eric


Maybe I'm misunderstanding your question, but it sounds like you're
asking how to tell if an interview candidate would be a good writer for
your company. I would have to pick E, with some slight modifications:
Samples of previous work on ANY technical subject, AND writing tests! My
personal opinion is that if you can grasp one technical subject, you can
grasp another. But you MUST know whether or not that person can write
well, and write coherently, before you hire them.

My company recently got burned when they hired someone who
misrepresented themselves during an interview. They claimed they had a
certain level of technical knowledge, writing skills, and desktop
publishing skills. Unfortunately, once this individual began working, we
discovered that their skill level was nowhere near what they stated in
the interview. (I had voiced my concerns about this person during the
interview process, but was ignored.) As a result, this person requires
extensive training, and the rest of our team has to pick up the slack.

We could have weeded this person out if we had conducted a written test
to see if they could, indeed, do what they claimed. Unfortunately,
that's not my company's policy.

While I'm on the subject, I would like to ask this: How many of your
companys DO conduct written tests during interviews? Are they written
tests only, or do you also test their aptitude with software packages?
How extensive is the testing?

>From: Wittel, Teresa J.[SMTP:WITTTJ -at- NCSLINK -dot- COM]
>Sent: Thursday, October 23, 1997 6:11 PM
>Subject: QUERY: Predict successful writers?
>Hey - I've got a question that demands opinions from the experts!
>What kind of training will best predict a writer's future successful
>performance? Only rule is you can't have more than one option.
>A. Extensive background knowledge of the technical subject, e.g., jet
>engine mechanics
>B. Extensive educational background, e.g., B.S. and above in technical
>writing or related subject e.g., engineering
>C. Extensive experience as a technical writer on said technical subject
>D. Number of years as a technical writer in any subject
>E. Samples of previous work on said technical subject and/or writing
>F. Other
>I don't want to deteriorate into a discussion (flamewar) of
>certification, etc. I'm basically interested from an interviewer's
>perspective. Case studies would be nice, if available, but I'm also
>interested in people's opinions.

Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
TECHWR-L Listowner

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