Re: Should I Say Something?

Subject: Re: Should I Say Something?
From: "Brown, Geoffrey" <GBROWN -at- FILETEK -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 13:01:47 -0400

This has been an excellent thread, and I hope you all won't mind my adding a
little more to it.

> Ivan Gelicall asked:

> I had an interview last week and during the course of that interview, > I
asked for some samples, so that I could see what they did.

> When I sat down to read what they had written I found quite a few
> mistakes. It occurred to me that I could correct them of say nothing.
> I want the job and I'm not sure that saying anything would help.

> Any comments?

I would say Ivan is a pretty good editor spotting mistakes in the company's docs
while under the pressure of an interview. Either that, or they were GLARING.
Either way, obviously Ivan could help this company. The real question is, are
they worthy of Ivan?

I have a few other questions (call them rhetorical -- unless you want to answer,

- Why does Ivan want the job? Why would Ivan want to work at a place where the
standards are not up to his own?
- Does the company have a pubs/docs department? If so, why are they sloppy?

I would never offer criticism or advice in such a situation unless asked for it,
but I don't think there's anything wrong with another approach, if that's your
personal style. On the other hand, I would want to know why the documents were
sloppy. I always ask how many tech writers are on staff, what's the ratio of
writers to developers, what's the editing process, and a little about the
backgrounds of the other writers. The answers may explain the sloppiness. If
there really isn't a professional technical writing department, per se, then I'd
want to know exactly what's expected of me.

Either way, I think it's far more important for Ivan to know why the documents
were sloppy than for him to point their mistakes out to them.

Finally, there are lots of jobs out there, and an interview is just as much for
the interviewee as for the interviewer. I totally disagree with the statement
made on this list that the sole reason for an interview is to get the job. Not
in this market! Ivan can probably afford to turn down job offers if the fit
isn't right.

-- Geoff Brown
gbrown -at- filetek -dot- com

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