TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
> I shudder to think of a manager who can't assess a writer's
> ability using on-the-spot writing tests for evaluation. If
> the manager can't tell what's good or not anyway, what point
> is there in evaluating a writing sample, even if it's fresh?
Of course, I meant asking a candidate to write something and having his/her
text read by someone who knows about technical writing is a better idea than
having a manager who knows nothing about technical writing count the years
of experience a writer has.
> Evaluating writing samples can be tricky business, no doubt,
> but I notice when someone does it well. I feel that a manager
> can gain one heck of a lot more insight about a candidate in
> most cases by asking the right questions about the sample than
> s/he can by actually reading it. Most writers have a lot to
> say about the projects in which they've been involved, and if
> they don't, I want to know why.
> Besides, the pressure of interviewing differs significantly
> from the pressure I expect a writer to feel during a normal
> project. Thus, I wouldn't trust an on-the-spot writing test
> to result in a representative sample of the writer's ability.
I think interview tests are good if you compare the results among testees
(?) and not with your writers' best projects. I think technical writing is
a way of thinking and that it can be demonstrated easily even if the person
writes only 15 lines in 15 minutes under pressure.
Famic Technologies 2000