As I’m back to work this week, and just coming out of interviewing mode, I’d like to capture some of the questions I so recently encountered, as part of my job-search, at various companies.
As an experienced technical writer, I’ve heard some iteration of most popular interview questions. At one recent company (not my current situation), this question still gave me reason to pause: “If you had to eliminate a state, which one would it be?” For me, that question ranks up there with the occasion, years ago, when I was asked if I were a fruit, what kind would I be. (Any guesses how I responded? Come on…I dare you…) 🙂
Though not a big fan of questions like these, I must say they do force respondants to think on their feet, and possibly reveal more than traditional questions, which may invite canned replies.
Most questions I’m asked are typically much more traditional. Below, I’m listing questions I often hear, to help others better prepare. (I’m also jotting these questions down, as many of them would make good topics for future blog posts.)
- Describe how you get information for your documentation.
- Describe how you get documents reviewed.
- Describe how you work with engineers. Have you worked with engineers in different time zones?
- Have you ever worked in an agile development setting? How does it compare to other development settings?
- How do you feel about wearing multiple hats?
- What management style do you prefer?
- How do you work with difficult people?
- The product isn’t complete yet, but the documentation is due next week. What do you do?
- How do you set priorities for your own work? What if you have conflicting priorities?
- Are you more comfortable with the back or front-end?
- What is software as a service?
- What are web services?
- Have you written API documentation?
- What tools do you suggest, for developing online documentation?
- Describe the process you followed, when you developed your last help file.
- What is an Alias file?
- Describe any translation issues, for your last help file.
- Have you worked with source control?
- Have you done any other kinds of writing? Can you write process documents? marketing documents?
- What was your favorite project?
- What was your most challenging project? (or What was your biggest challenge, on your last job?)
- Have you written documents from scratch?
- How do you take an existing documentation set to the next level?
- How do you repurpose information?
- How do you meet the needs of different audience levels (beginner through advanced), in the same document?
- Why did you become a technical writer? What do you like most about technical writing? the least?
- Why do you want to work for this company? How can you contribute here?
- Do you have any specialized interests or skills?
- What collaborative tools have you used, with other members of the team?
- Provide an example of a way you collaborated with Customer Support.
What do you think of this list of questions? Are there any you might add? Please feel free to add your favorites (or otherwise), in the comments.