Re: Is it a good job?

Subject: Re: Is it a good job?
From: Jennifer Lautz <lautz -at- FORTE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 1997 17:36:40 -0800

>When you interview for a job, what kinds of questions do you ask to
>determine if the job is a good one?
>-David Castro
> techwrtr -at- crl -dot- com

I'm pretty happy where I am, so I thought I'd relate some of the things I
recall as good signs:

My first question in the phone interview for my current job was "Where is
documentation in the food chain?" I was assured that documentation was
considered part of the user interface, which has been absolutely true. Our
manager reports to the manager who OKs all the product UIs, including
naming conventions and spin (how we suggest the users approach the

I'm a techie-nerdy writer (I document system management interfaces and
APIs), so I did some research about the product and asked product questions
in the interview. The programmers, VP, and managers were eager to answer
any questions I had about the product they were developing. I got
absolutely no negative reactions to my questions. They didn't seem
surprised that I was interested in the technology, and they gave me
intelligible answers to my technically naive questions. I have to remember
to try that one again the next time I do job interviews; after all, I spend
at least as much time asking stupid questions as I do writing. :-)

Another good indicator, in hindsight was the type of people who interviewed
me. When I came in for my face-to-face interviews, I was interviewed by a
product manager, 2 lead programmers, a VP, the documentation manager, and
the other 2 writers in the company. (Yes, this was a startup company.) I
got a feeling from the numbers and types of people involved in the
interview process that writers were considered a valuable part of the team,
not just a necessary evil or afterthought. As it turns out, some of the
people in the documentation group have more clout than many of the
programmers when it comes to hammering out how users interact with the
product. (I'm not power hungry, but I like having my opinions respected!).
We still have at least 2 development managers interview job candidates.



Jennifer Lautz
Senior Technical Writer
Forte Software, Inc.
1800 Harrison St.
Oakland, CA 94612

lautz -at- forte -dot- com
(510) 869-2032

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