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> You are absolutely right. Without seeing the writing, how can you possibly
> know the person's ability. Certainly references are crucial.
> Let me ask the list, if you needed a photographer or illustrator, would you
> hire without looking at samples?
we hire desktop publishers to implement design. many of them bring along
their portfolio. they always want me to look at it so i can see their
designs. i did the same thing when they hired me. i've discovered over
time though that the portfolio represents a finite amount of work, culled
perfection of what they have--not what they are capable of on a day-to-day
basis. it is a representation of their imagination and i need someone
who can do the work the way i want it done.
we present them with several implementation tests. "oh, but i have my
portfol--" "then this should be easy." it determines those who are willing
to try new things and figure out how to solve the problems, those who are
capable but unwilling to go one step further than they have to, and those
who are totally and completely unprepared.
at that point, the samples become nice but fairly unimportant. i can teach
them how i want my projects done, how i want the design implemented, how
the software works. they have to show me they learn quickly, they
think clearly, and they work hard.
from my own perspective, i'd rather take a 30-minute writing test,
being given guidelines, than be required to show samples that may hurt my
chances if the hiring manager can only see the style of them and not
the skill behind them.