More on Writing Samples

Subject: More on Writing Samples
From: Jim McAward <jimmc -at- CHYRON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 10:27:46 -0500

I prefer to see a few samples during an interview, which I use as a means
of judging the candidate's problem-solving abilities. Also - if they claim
ownership of documents that are not really theirs to own... a few
well-phrased questions can reveal that.

But - no matter how much experience someone has had, and no matter what
fancy titles/degrees or corporate pedigrees grace their resume - you can't
be sure that the samples were actually written by them. Therefore, I give
everybody a brief writing test. This isn't a sadistic pop-quiz - I tell
every candidate up front, usually before the second interview.

For the test, I select a small, EXTREMELY familiar office product (tape
dispenser, stapler, etc.) - then give them as long as they want to write an
operator's manual for said product - usually it's under 30 minutes.

You'd be amazed at how well this test sorts out the posers from the
professionals... my finding is that people who do well on the so-called
"Stapler Test" do well on the job.

My $0.02. Have a great day, all!



James G. McAward
Manager, Technical Publications
Chyron Corporation

"So many facts, so little time!"

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