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

Subject: SUMMARY: On-the-spot writing test during a job interview?
From: Keith Cronin <kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L (to post)'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 16:26:28 -0500

My thanks to everybody who offered me input regarding this question. I was
surprised by how many responses it generated - in addition to the numerous
postings sent to the TECHWR-L list, I received more than 20 personal e-mail

I was not going to add any posts to this now-exhausted thread, but many of
you who wrote me expressed a great deal of interest in finding out what sort
of responses I'd receive.

In a nutshell:

A majority of the responses FAVORED giving some sort of writing test. Some
felt such a test was essential. MAJOR CAVEAT - many writers felt it only
fair to warn the job applicant that a writing test would be part of the
interview process - I'm inclined now to agree. Many helpful suggestions were
offered concerning the content of the test and the judging criteria to be

Of those who opposed writing tests, a handful flat-out REFUSED to take them.
This strikes me as further reason to give warning to a job applicant, in
case the existence of a writing test is a potential deal-breaker.

Several writers (including some who "don't test well") wrote in with
excellent suggestions of alternative ways to test a writer's ability. My
favorite was the idea of a mock brainstorming session, to define ideas for a
hypothetical writing project.

What did _I_ do? Our interview process was too far along for me to be able
to warn this applicant; I'm also not in a position here to pose a
deal-breaking issue, so I did NOT give a test.

However, I do think that if I ever interview somebody who would be reporting
directly to me, I'd be inclined to give a writing test formulated from some
of the suggestions I received from the members of this list. Thanks again
for your input!


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