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As you say, writing samples will not show what you - the hiring manager -
need. The benefit of asking further questions, using short tests, and so
forth helps in the "weeding out" effort.
I doubt that any writer's portfolio could hold everything an interviewer
may want. However, it certainly adds further credibility to the writer's
comments during the interview process if a sample can be shown and
explained how its development is similar to what the interviewer is looking
> From: .iearas. <yara -at- shaman -dot- lycaeum -dot- org>
> To: Jon Leer <jleer -at- LTC -dot- MV -dot- COM>
> Cc: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Re: WRITING SAMPLES
> Date: Tuesday, March 24, 1998 5:06 PM
> On Tue, 24 Mar 1998, Jon Leer wrote:
> > You are absolutely right. Without seeing the writing, how can you
> > know the person's ability. Certainly references are crucial.
> > Let me ask the list, if you needed a photographer or illustrator, would
> > 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
> 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
> 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
> 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.