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.
RE: On-the-spot writing test during a job interview?
Subject:RE: On-the-spot writing test during a job interview? From:Ed Gregory <edgregory -at- home -dot- com> To:salatas <salatas -at- micron -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Sun, 14 Nov 1999 14:44:12 -0600
Take the test. Give the test. Work the person as a contractor. These and
similar methods will tell you if the candidate can write under your
conditions. Clips will not.
Writing samples show only what the candidate's previous editor allowed to
be published (assuming the clip is genuine.)
When you look at clips, you have no idea:
--how much time it took the candidate to create the material.
--who determined the approach.
--who edited the material.
--how many times it was revised, and how heavily.
--how much time you or someone on your staff will have to spend getting
this person's raw material in the same pristine shape as the clips you are
Clips should get you an interview, but no more than that.
Others of you may have stories just like this:
I watched in disgust one day years ago while a young lady who was leaving
our newspaper proudly lugged her professionally bound set of clips around
the office. She was with us just a few months. The clips, however, showed
tremendous polish. She was on intimate terms with one of the city editors,
and had been given choice general assignment stories that were certain to
get good play.
It took a team of other reporters to turn her slop into English, let alone
newsworthy journalism. The clips she carried did, indeed, look very
impressive. Nobody would suspect that she could not write, could not
conduct a productive interview, and was utterly incapable of the caliber of
writing exhibited in her clips.
She left our newspaper because management soon learned her worth. Her
patron - an respected writer and editor - lost points with his subordinates
and peers. He helped her use her bound collection of clips to foist her off
on another publication. She didn't last long there, either.
The last I heard, she was selling real estate.