Re: Agency and interviewing questions

Subject: Re: Agency and interviewing questions
From: "Nancy B. Delain" <nbdelain -at- ALBANY -dot- NET>
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 1996 11:27:16 -0500

>>I've asked the agency for writing samples as well as resumes. When I see a
resume, it tells me something about the candidate, but the writing sample
really brings things into focus. Once I have seen both resumes and writing
samples, then I can decide whom to interview.

The agency does what we ask, but it takes them some time to dig up samples.
Why is this? Am I asking for something non-standard or unreasonable? Are
writing samples usually brought only to the interview? If so, how the heck
can you tell in advance if the person is worth interviewing?<<


Your question is not unusual; it may, however, be unreasonable. Most people
who come through agencies have worked in many environments, each one of
which has had them sign a confidentiality agreement. We contractors could
go to jail bigtime -- lotsa years -- and/or face massive fines if we
violate those agreements; we're also looking at a credibility issue as to
whether we share other people's property (documentation) with a potential
competitor. Therefore, any documentation done on the job is usually
unavailable for the interview process?

One way to tell if someone is worth interviewing without a writing sample
is to ask for the writing sample and wait for the response. If the
contractor says something like, "I'm sorry, but I have signed a
confidentiality agreement," you can bet that contractor will have just as
much respect for your stuff as for any former clients'. If, however, they
produce writing samples, you may want to think twice about hiring them.

Ask for references instead, then check them out.

Nancy Baum Delain
Delain Associates
Training * Technical Documentation

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