Re: What Might a Writing Test Be?

Subject: Re: What Might a Writing Test Be?
From: "Peter Ring, PRC" <prc -at- ISA -dot- DKNET -dot- DK>
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 13:53:54 +1

Chris Welch-Hutchings wrote:

> >The applicant is placed in a room with some source documents and
> >computer equipment. He or she receives five to six hours to produce up
> >to five pages of a user's guide.
> Excuse me, but a company that expects me to spend 5-6 hours on a writing
> test as part of the interview process loses my vote. If they can't judge my
> writing ability by looking at my samples and asking me about them (plus
> interviewing my references), I'm not sure I want to work for them.

I understand Chris' points from the viewpoint of a proud
professional techwriter - but refusal to participate could indicate
an inflexible person, I wouldn't like to hire anyway.

Just a few questions to think about before deciding to participate
in or use writing tests or not :

- did the person write it him/herself? I have seen false samples, but
fortunately I had an undefined feeling "something" was wrong, and
we found out by checking his references.

- who corrected it how much and in what direction before the sample
was printed?

- what about a talented writer who has not written that kind of
stuff before? (I once hired such a writer very successfully after
a writing test.)

BTW, I used a four hour test.

Greetings from Denmark

Peter Ring
PRC (Peter Ring Consultants)
- specialists in user friendly manuals and audits on manuals.
prc -at- isa -dot- dknet -dot- dk
- the "User Friendly Manuals" website with links, bibliography, list
of prof. associations, and tips for technical writers:
- text cleaning software, e.g. for reading difficult e-mails:

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