Re: What Might a Writing Test Be?

Subject: Re: What Might a Writing Test Be?
From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 10:32:35 -0600

> Peter Ring in reply to Chris Welch-Hutchings reply to Peter:
> >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.
> The market for Technical Writers must be very different in Denmark, Peter.
> Here in the U.S. at the current time it is such a sellers market in most
> of
> the major U.S. job centers that the only way that I would agree to
> spending
> an entire day taking someone's writing test is if they agreed to pay me
> for
> my time. And pay me well. Otherwise, it simply isn't worth my time.
That's ridiculous! But, heh, go ahead and ask them. Just hope that they
are not the only company in the area hiring during the next recession ;^).

> In fact, I would wonder about applicants who _would_ agree to take such
> a test here. Why is it that they are so desperate for a job that they
> would subject themselves to such a thing free of charge?
> _______________ _____
> / ___ __/__\ \ / / _\ Steve Fouts stefou -at- eskimo -dot- com
How soon we forget the times when jobs were tight. It was only a few years
ago when there was something in the neighborhood of 200 applicants for every
tech writing job in the Northeast (according to the Boston Globe). I
remember because I was one of those 200.

I can think of some other reasons why someone would take the test. They are
as follows:

A) The job is a step or two higher than the position they now hold and the
company for which they work does not have room for advancement.

B) The person lives in an area that does not have a lot of high-tech or
other industries that provide technical writing opportunities, and, thus, a
good opening is worth the effort. For example, how about Omaha (just
guessing at a city where a lot of Technical Writing jobs may not exist)?

C) A person could own property in the town and have children in a decent
school district. They may want the job to cut down on their commute or the
new position offers flex time.

D) The person may want to move to a particular area for personal reasons (be
nearer to children living with an ex-spouse, getting married and moving to
their spouse's city, to take care of elderly parents, and so forth). This
job may be the one that best meets their needs in that area. Compared with
such as life-changing choice, I think that even a person of very inflated
self worth would not think twice about taking a lengthy unpaid test.

E) The person may have been unemployed for a lengthy time earlier and
realizes that the job market is not always good. They may be working for a
company that is struggling during the good times and may want to switch to a
company that has a better chance of weathering the not-so-good times.
Unless, of course, you believe that good times are here to stay ;^)...


Michael Wing (mailto:mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com)
Principal Technical Writer
Intergraph Corporation; Huntsville, Alabama

"Humpty was pushed!"

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