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.
Subject:Re: Interview from hell From:Stephanie Holland <SLHOLLAND -at- MICRONPC -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 2 Jun 1999 09:23:33 -0600
William J. Wolfe wrote:
"I think many hiring decisions are made based on "gut
feel" and intangible qualities which are hard to
Then Rich Braden wrote:
"A agree, and therein lies the frustration. Candidates are not selected on
measureable, pertinent skills and experience. They are selected on whims -
another element of our highly dysfunctional corporate invironments."
It's true that some companies do a poor job of hiring. However, hiring
people based on a "gut feel" isn't necessarily bad, and it can't always be
equated with hiring "on whims," as Rich Braden said.
I equate the phrase "gut feel" with "best fit." So, in this case, "gut feel"
is a good thing. When I hire people, of course I select them based on
"measurable, pertinent skills and experience" as Rich said.
However, my gut feel also is important because it tells me whether the
person will fit within my writing group. If I don't think the person will
fit, that doesn't mean the person is not qualified for the job. It just
means that the person most likely wouldn't work well within my group.
Examples of qualities that don't fit in my group are inflexibility, the
inability to give and receive constructive criticism, lack of assertiveness,
and thinking you have nothing else to learn about writing.
As William wrote above, it is difficult to explain these things in hiring
decisions because they're based on a gut feel. But that doesn't mean they
don't play an important part in hiring. Someone who is eager to learn HTML
and has a great attitude carries more weight with me than someone who
already knows HTML but thinks he has nothing else to learn.
This is a bit unrelated, but I really want to mention it. The number of
cover letters, resumes, and writing samples I receive with errors outweighs
the number I get that are clean and concise. Someone who tells me he is an
excellent writer and editor and is terrific with details but then leaves
words out of sentences and accidentally writes "on" when he should have
typed "an" doesn't stand much of a chance with me. Unfortunately, the job
candidate probably doesn't realize this is the reason he was rejected.