Re: Sample Requests

Subject: Re: Sample Requests
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- SIMPLYWRITTEN -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 16:42:39 -0500

>Give the employer everything they ask for, or may ask for, or ought to ask
>for, up front with the cover letter and resume, including references (as
>opposed to "References provided upon request"). The philosophy is simply
>this: If an employeer has to go begging, the employer is less likely to
>consider you as a candidate.


Even in today's Web-happy market, I don't know if it's practical to expect
writers to be able to download their work from the Web. In my experience
it's more cache' than reality. Most doc is still done on slices of dead
trees, and it's usually considered proprietary, even though it's probably
out there next to dozens or thousands of workstations.

The question isn't whether to provide samples immediately and happily, but
if you can at all. After all, you don't *own* the work in most cases and
it's a nice legal point whether you can show them without permission. Even
with permission, it's probably not a good idea to just pack them into
envelopes and ship them. Technically you don't own the samples on the Web
either, but it seems moot to me.

Granted, it may seem as if you're hiding something when you can't or won't
produce samples through the mail. But in my view, an employee or contractor
wanting to create a good reputation that lasts for decades can't afford to
get a rep for merrily revealing things. After all, next time you may work
for a competitor. Many thoughtful HR people worry about security issues, and
rightly so. I agree with Mary Deaton that there are ways to determine skills
aside from samples. In fact, I see samples as largely useless without a lot
of probing. I'd much prefer to take the time to walk through projects and
get a feel for the applicant's responses than take ready-to-hand samples
from her. And I'd respect a reluctance to plaster somebody else's materials
onto my desk. I like honest people.

Tim Altom
Simply Written, Inc.
Featuring FrameMaker and the Clustar Method(TM)
"Better communication is a service to mankind."

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