Re: On-the-spot writing test during a job interview?

Subject: Re: On-the-spot writing test during a job interview?
From: Chris Hamilton <caxdj -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: Mpschiesl -at- ra -dot- rockwell -dot- com, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 11:26:10 -0500

Michael raises a good point. I know it sounds anal, but when you put someone in a
room and ask them to document from memory how to make a sandwich, your test isn't an
accurate measurement of reality. When you're working from memory, you're going to
miss something. And if you're an interviewer, you may very well interpret the test
according to your impressions.

This type of test doesn't test how you're going to work. Most people don't create
documentation based on what they can remember about something they've done. The read
specs, ask questions, and fiddle with something (in my case, anyway). The PB&J test
doesn't account for those steps.

We set up a test that involves reading a document that includes information about
how to write a specific type of documentation, reading a very brief spec, asking
information from the SMEs (I made sure the spec has holes), then writing a document
from it. The document mirrors the type of documentation we produce and contains the
type of information we consider to be important. It also involves looking at some
code according to the directions I previously mentioned.

It sounds like a bear, but in reality, everyone's gotten it, more or less, and
usually in 15-20 minutes or less. And the stellar candidates have dead-on nailed it.


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