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

Subject: RE: On-the-spot writing test during a job interview?
From: Christi Carew <christi -at- sageinst -dot- COM>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 08:54:23 -0800

A few short thoughts to add to the stew...

Suzanne wrote:
>Consider a collaborative workout on a topic. I've been through a couple of
>these in interviews and found them quite interesting. Pick a room with a big
>whiteboard and brainstorm a draft of a document together. It will give both
>parties an opportunity to see how they might work together and how each
>other's processes work.

I've never heard this idea before, but I think it is great! It sounds like
an excellent way to learn more about how well a candidate can organize and
sift through a new or revised doc. It also provide a good opportunity to
learn a candidate's work style and how that might work (or not) with you
and your group.


I was given a test once, but it was take home. The candidates were given
two things to choose between--describing how a telelphone works or
describing how a VCR works. I think having as a take home test that was
sent back in was great. It reflects "the real world" more closely that just
taking a writing test alone in a room. When you take it home, you have a
chance to research the topice, to edit yourself (several times if need be),
to revise, reorganize... basically, to do the things you would normally do.
And it gives you the time that you would normally have. Even if that time
is only a day to write it, set it down, and read again a day later.
Never in an on-the-job situation have I been asked to write something by
myself in a room, without having access to other resources, and without the
time to revise.

Also, for me personally, I almost always hate my first drafts. It's what I
do to get started, but I don't think they are great. Once I've got the
information out of my head and onto paper, though, then I can "see" it
better and really get going.

So, I'd opt for the "work on something together" approach of Suzanne or the
take home writing test. But I'm not sure I see the inherent value of an
on-the-spot isolated writing test.

Christi

Christi Carew
Technical Writer

christi -at- sageinst -dot- com
p. 831-761-6565
f. 831-761-2452

Sage Instruments
240 Airport Blvd.
Freedom, CA 95019
www.sageinst.com





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