RE: Writing samples, post-interview

Subject: RE: Writing samples, post-interview
From: "Brad" <kiwi -at- best -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, <SLM5V -at- cc -dot- usu -dot- edu>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 00:01:28 -0800

> My question is, what is the
> ethical consideration I should take into account? During the
> summer, much was
> made of leaving portfolios unattended during interviews, with possible
> shenanigans as repercussions. Should I send them some samples?

Absolutely! Review of writing samples is very important.

I don't know how extensive reported "shenanigans" are, but I have never
witnessed anything abusive or unethical among my co-workers while evaluating
an applicant's writing samples. Do people really perceive that shenanigans
are common? I wonder if some people are simply hypersensitive to being

When an applicant comes in for an interview, I always ask for a few of the
applicant's very best, *original* writing samples that I can take back to my
cubicle and evaluate while others are interviewing that applicant. I've
never encountered any resistance or objections except when an applicant
showed up with no writing samples. When I return the writing samples to the
applicant, I always thank the applicant for the opportunity to review their
writing samples. I really appreciate it!

Without the quiet, quality concentration time I have alone with an
applicant's writing samples, I would not be able to gauge how well the
applicant writes. If I have questions about the writing samples, I can then
pose those questions in the face-to-face interview.

If an applicant is squeamish about having their work judged or cannot trust
anyone, then I would question their professionalism, and I know that I would
not want to hire that person.

Among applicants' writing samples I have reviewed over the years, I have
seen just as much drivel as I have seen quality technical writing. Of the
writing samples I have reviewed over the past several years, about 1/3 are
unacceptable; about another 1/3 are mediocre (average); and about 1/3 are
good or better. Quality review time is crucial!

It's judgement, judgement, judgement.

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