Re: Interview & testing

Subject: Re: Interview & testing
From: Barb Philbrick <caslonsvcs -at- IBM -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 21:11:39 GMT

On Thu, 11 Mar 1999 09:37:26 -0700, Eric J. Ray wrote:

>Hmmm....sounds like you might want to consider using contractors
>or setting up temp-to-perm arrangements.

Umm . . . She *was* talking about contractors. I've experiences
similar to hers with contractors (I'm one myself, so this isn't a
general slam against contractors). One guy that worked for me as a
contractor could only save files to floppy disks --- he had no clue
about networks and how to save to them. He also got into arguments
with the SMEs, and I wound up mediating. Kind of defeated the purpose
of a contractor.

Because of this and some other experiences, I'm all for a 15 to 30
minute test. I like the idea of giving the writer a few dialog boxes
to document. I would give them templates or style sheets and an
example of our format. I would be looking for:
1. Good questions. Does the writer ask enough, but not too many
questions? Does he or she listen when you answer them?
2. Basic computer skills. Can they turn it on? Start and use the
software? Use some of the tools?
3. Ability to use a template or style sheet.
4. Ability to put together instructions in a format that matched the
style given.

When they completed the task, I would pick out a few things and ask
why. I prefer writers who have reasons for changes, not just "it
sounds better." It also gives me a chance to see how they respond to



Barbara Philbrick, Caslon Services Inc.
Technical Writing. caslonsvcs -at- ibm -dot- net
Cleveland, OH

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