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Subject:RE: Advice for interviewing new tech writers From:"Robart, Kay" <Kay -dot- Robart -at- tea -dot- texas -dot- gov> To:Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, techwr-l List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Thu, 22 Jan 2015 21:45:17 +0000
No, I know. I was referring to your comment about not paying attention to the writer's abilities. The samples comments were because of other people's remarks. Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.
However, I still think the samples are important because I have interviewed a lot of very poor writers.
I am actually not referring to what the samples look like but the writing style, which is usually recognizable.
From: Gene Kim-Eng [mailto:techwr -at- genek -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2015 3:41 PM
To: Robart, Kay; techwr-l List
Subject: Re: Advice for interviewing new tech writers
I didn't say don't look at the candidate's samples, just to not make them the most important aspect of your interview.
A candidate's samples are less important to me than what that candidate has to say about them. That is, whether he or she can describe the planning, processes, efforts and issues that played a part of creating a given document. The reason for this is that there's a large percentage of people in every occupation - not just in technical writing - who are good "managed performers." That is, people who, with the direct guidance and support of a good manager can perform well. But if you don't have, or are not prepared to provide, that sort of guidance and support, what you need is someone who is a bit harder to find, and you won't find out whether the person you're interviewing is one of those just by looking at samples, no matter how good those samples are.
BTW, my own portfolio contains quite a few documents that most definitely do not look as if the same person wrote them. Because a tear down manual for a turbojet engine really should not look a whole lot like a quick start card for an all-in-one printer/scanner/fax console, or an insert sheet for a pharmaceutical reagent.
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