Re: Samples from *employers* (was: should I say something)

Subject: Re: Samples from *employers* (was: should I say something)
From: Jim Grey <mobilene -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 07:12:07 -0700

Chris Hamilton posed a good question:
>>How many people ask to see a sample of the employer's work to see if they
fit in? And if you do, how do you react when you see substandard work? (After
all, if it were good, they might not be looking for someone.)<<

I asked to see an employer's samples for the first time when I interviewed at
this company. I'd never asked before. At one past employer, I'd been very
disappointed with the quality of output when I came aboard. Moreover, the
company thought their docs were acceptable. It took a great deal of time and
effort to prove that improvements were sorely needed. Meanwhile, I had to
perpetuate the existing quality standards for quite some time, which was
disappointing and frustrating. I can't say the situation was horrible --
overall, I liked it there. But I'd rather not repeat that portion of my
experience again.

During my interview here, I saw many challenges in the company's
documentation. The interviewer asked for my thoughts, so I shared them
tactfully but briefly. He scowled and said, "Yes, we've known these manuals
have needed work for a long time. We just can't seem to get them to where
they need to be." I respectfully explained, at a high level, the kinds of
things that would help improve those manuals. (It may help to know that this
interviewer was the VP of Development; this company had no dedicated
Documentation Manager at the time.)

Your mileage will vary, but in this situation my boldness paid off. I was
interviewing for a worker-bee position, but was hired as the department's
first-ever dedicated manager, charged with fixing the problems I found. We
ended up rewriting from the ground up, but that's another story.

jim grey / mobilene -at- yahoo -dot- com
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