Re: What employers want (WAS grammar... etc.)

Subject: Re: What employers want (WAS grammar... etc.)
From: Sarah Stegall <stegall -at- TERAYON -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 12:08:02 -0800

In my present job I don't supervise writers, but I
have in former positions, so I'll respond to this.

Comeau, Lisa wrote:

> For those of you responsible for hiring in the past (or present), what
> skills/personality traits/experience are you willing to place lowest on your
> list when hiring a TW? (i.e.: if the ad calls for

> -university education

Important. I need someone trained/skilled in
researching and organizing material, who will not
need constant direction and/or hand-holding. While
it is certainly possible to acquire these skills
outside of college, most colleges specifically
teach these skills to their graduates. I don't
have time to. I am better off assuming a person
with an English/Tech Comm/Journalism degree has
spent four years writing and organizing material,
than hoping someone without formal training has
acquired these abilities.

> -6 years experience

Depends. I'd be more impressed with someone who
wrote three different manuals in one year than
someone who wrote and then rewrote the same manual
in six.

> -TW degree

Not more important than any other degree which
includes a high degree of research and writing.
One caveat: a *technical* degree in the field
(engineering, computer science, environmental
science, etc.) which forms the core of our
company's work would be valuable, provided this
person could demonstrate a good grasp of essential
writing skills (see above).

> -American citizenship

Frankly, yes. We have enough liberal arts
graduates going begging for jobs here, that we
don't need to import any. That is only my humble
opinion, however, and *my* boss would doubtless
feel differently.

> -eager to please

Always. :) High on my list.

> -works well under pressure

LOL! *Top* of my list.

> -skilled with PageMaker/FrameMaker/MS Word/COBOL Programming

Not high on my list. These are mere skill sets
which can be learned. Well, maybe not COBOL, not
overnight. But I learned Word in a week and Frame
in two weeks. I can cut an otherwise-qualified
new hire the same slack.

> -sunny disposition

Nice, but not a deal-maker or deal-breaker.

> which of those types of things are you going to "need" vs. "want"?)

Need: good writer with a degree, high level of
tolerance for ambiguity and stress, and ability to
work without supervision while meeting deadlines.

Want: guy with good pecs. (Kidding! I'm
kidding. Put down the hammer.) Seriously, I'd want
someone well organized, personable, and
technically sophisticated in our product area
(network engineering, code crunching, whatever).
I can put up with a sloppy, grouchy and ignorant
writer, but I would have to spend a lot of my time
managing/guiding this person, and would eventually
grow to resent it.

> you make a good TW out of a really nice guy who took grade 3 English, or
> not?

With much respect to non-college graduates, no. I
wouldn't even try. I don't have the time.

Sarah Stegall || Senior Technical
Terayon Communication Systems ||
stegall -at- terayon -dot- com
2952 Bunker Hill Lane || voice
Santa Clara, CA 95054 || fax 408-727-6204

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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