Senior writers doing exams at interviews?

Subject: Senior writers doing exams at interviews?
From: "Geoff Hart" <geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 13:40:32 -0500

I'm of two minds on this notion of having to take a writing test as
part of a job interview. I certainly understand the employer's need to
see a real-world sample of your writing (rather than some carefully
massaged portfolio with all the editor's footprints well concealed).
But speaking as someone whose hours are a valuable commodity,
I seriously resent the time requirement. After all, I'm already
sacrificing several hours of my time to attend an interview; why
should I spend even more time working on a fictitious exam that
may have little relevance to my abilities? (I've actually taken tests
where they wouldn't even let me sit in front of a computer--I had to
write my instructions out longhand--and had no access to anyone
resembling an SME when I had questions! The latter may reflect
the real working conditions at the company, but if so, I'm not sure I
want to work there.)

My compromise would be to propose doing a short work for hire: I'll
do real work related to the job, and you'll pay me at my current
hourly rate for that time. You get good work in exchange for your
money, plus a chance to evaluate me. I don't waste hours of my
time for no return. Realistically, that's not going to happen very
often, but it _is_ how I got my current job (primarily as a technical
editor); based on the results of editing one of their real manuscripts
for pay, they asked me to come for an interview, and the interview
earned me the job.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca (Pointe-Claire, Quebec)
"If you can't explain it to an 8-year-old, you don't understand it"--Albert Einstein

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