Re: Writing samples, post-interview

Subject: Re: Writing samples, post-interview
From: Frederique Courard-Hauri <fch -at- fchcomm -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 13:02:22 -0500

Kathi Jan Knill wrote:

> If I were asking for a writing sample, I would expect that the person
who is
> confident of their work would provide it. In addition, if I were the
> interviewer and the interviewee refused to send a writing sample, I
would
> automatically assume that the interviewee was not a good writer.
> As far as leaving portfolios unattended, I think that paranoia should
be
> left out of it. It is common practice for interviewers to ask writers
for
> samples. And, in my experience (limited it may be) I have never had
nor
> heard of someone stealing technology based on a writing sample they
> received. And, note that I assume it is the technology, not your
words, that
> you are worried about. Because after all, don't we all borrow phrases
from
> other writers?

Sorry if my responses are off -- I didn't see the original post; but in
reading
this response, I had some knee-jerk reactions. First, I agree with
Kathi, I
have never heard of technology theft via writing sample, but what about
the
non-disclosure agreements many of us have to sign before starting to
work
(either permanent or contract)? Wouldn't breaking that be showing your
prospective employer that you may not be a very trustworthy person?

As to another poster who asked, If you don't trust them with your
writing
samples, how can you trust them with your career? I would respond: If I
don't
yet have an account with a bank, should I trust them to hold my money
while I
go check out another bank's rates? Just because a group of people are
incorporated, doesn't mean they are the most trustworthy people in
society.

> If you are currently working and have something in your portfoloio
that is
> from your current place of employment, I would not send that. I think
that
> is just a courtesy, although I could be wrong on that one.

But if, as writers, we are constantly improving our style and writing
ability,
wouldn't our most recent work be more indicative of our current state of

professionalism? Sending older material would be like trying to get a
senior
writing position based on your first-job quality work.

> Anyway, I have often sent writing samples and asked that they be sent
back
> to me when the interviewer has finished with them. 100% of the time,
if I
> did not get the job, the samples were sent back. (If I did get the
job, the
> samples were given back on my first day of employment.)
> So, my opinion, go ahead and send the samples.

I bring my writing samples along with me TO THE INTERVIEW. Most of them
are
bound, anyway, and I think it's often important for the interviewer to
see the
whole package. I pass these samples to the interviewer(s) during the
interview, and invite them to take a look at them there & then. I
always take
them back when they are finished with them. This way, they can get an
idea for
the style and quality of the pieces, but since I'm not letting them pore
over
them in detail, I feel I am not breaking any NDAs. Sure, this may be
fudging a
bit, but it's not like I've worked for cutting edge spy-satellite
technology,
either. I just think that not letting someone hold onto materials
longer than
the interview time keeps me safe, and makes the interviewer happy
because
they've seen my work.

Of course, if any of your work is on the web somewhere (a downloadable
PDF, an
actual web page, etc), you can just direct the potential employer there.

Again, sorry if my slant was off, I didn't see the original.
--
Frederique Courard-Hauri FCH Communications
fch -at- fchcomm -dot- com http://www.fchcomm.com





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