Re: What Might a Writing Test Be?

Subject: Re: What Might a Writing Test Be?
From: Chris Welch-Hutchings <chutchings -at- NORDSON -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 09:21:30 EST

>imagine a company, for instance, considering hiring
>a freshly-out-of-the-university rookie who does not have a technical
>writing degree and who has not worked as a technical writer
>before -- hence, no technical writing samples available.

Good point, but I still think that 5-6 hours for a writing test is pretty
excessive and shows a certain amount of arrogance on the part of the hiring

I've been a tech writer for close to 15 years (and pretty successful too!),
and have been both a "worker bee" and a tech pubs group leader. I've been
burned before by bad hiring choices, but I'm still not convinced of the
need for an extensive writing test. I think I'd rather bring people in on a
provisional (i.e., contract) basis, evaluate their performance for 3-6 mos.,
then either offer them a permanent position or let them go.

To me, that's a win-win. You don't waste an applicant's time with a long
writing test, you give them the opportunity to show their stuff (and maybe
even improve their skills) on the job, and if they work out, great for both
of you. If they don't work out, they at least now have some work experience
and something to put on their resume.

Anyone else feel this way?


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