Editing Test For Job Interview
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Alternate Tests For Evaluating Technical Writing Job Candidates
by on Mar 13, 2008 categories:
I received an email the other day from a hiring manager who asked me what tests they should give to their technical writing candidates. She writes,
We are hiring two new technical writers and are trying to come up with a practical for the candidates to complete. We had been asking the applicants to write a quick how to followed by a longer writing sample, but our HR rep isn’t sure if this is the best qualifier. Any ideas? What test have you completed in the past when applying for tech writingpositions.
Although I’ve taken various tests before for job interviews, such as documenting how a small company widget works, or finding all the spelling and grammar errors in a document, or actually taking an IQ test, I’m not a fan of tests. Do you ever give doctors a test when you interview them? See now, go into the next room and try to figure out what kind of disease the guy has. You’ll have 30 minutes to write a diagnostic report. Or to a lawyer — we want to see if you’re actually qualified for the position. Please write and deliver and 3 page court presentation arguing a case of insanity for the unabomber…
If I were hiring a technical writer, rather than administering tests, here are 10 things I would do to evaluate the candidate:
What Do You Normally Do If An Author Does Not Like Your Work
This is an operational question that seeks to understand how you handle specific aspects of your work. Your author needs you, and therefore whichever way you run such a scenario, make sure that you do not compromise your standards or work style.
I have been lucky to come across several supportive and understanding authors who accept their mistakes and even allow me to improve them on their behalf. However, the fewer times I have disagreed with authors, I normally stick to my style and let them know that I am editing the work specifically for the readers and not them. Most of them understand afterward.
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How To Pass An Edit Test
The first edit test you take can seem difficult and demanding. As with anything else in life, it can be jarring to do something totally new and foreign. Once youve seen the kinds of writing tasks an edit test demands, youll become more familiar and prepared for them. That said, its best to really study the publication youre interviewing at before you get that edit test. Read back issues. Look at what kinds of stories run in certain sections. This will be one of the best ways you can prepare for an edit test.
Where And How Editors Work
Editors can be found everywhere. They work in publishing, sales and marketing, manufacturing, government, law, education and many other fields. Editors can be specialists who, for example, edit only scientific or medical documents, or they can be generalists who work on all kinds of content.
Technology has changed the nature of editing. Editing used to be done with a red pen. Today it’s done with a keyboard and mouse, if not a digital pen and tablet. Editors receive and share documents with other team members electronically. Jobs can involve working with advanced software and publishing platforms. Many editors now need to be skilled at using multimedia software and interactive technologies that combine the written word with graphics, audio, video and animation. With the constant evolution of the Internet and computer software, editors must be adaptable and flexible.
Editors are team players, often working with others to reach a common goal. The best editors have a broad understanding of the communications and publishing industries and work effectively with writers, publishers, web developers, designers, artists, photographers, project managers, printers and other editors.
Editors do acquisitions, manuscript and project development, research, structural editing, stylistic editing, rewriting, fact checking, copy editing, picture research, proofreading, indexing, layout and production editing. Professional Editorial Standards describes a number of these key roles.
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Testing Copyeditors Part : Skip The Editing Test
Editing tests taken as part of a job interview are a contentious topic among copyeditors. While some editors have no problem taking them, others are quite vocal about not taking them.
In this new series, Ill look at the question from both sides: the test takers and the test givers. Why would editors want or not want to take a test? Are there alternatives to taking a test? And what about the hiring agent: Should you give a test? And if so, how can you best test someones skills, especially if youre not an editor?
Why Wouldnt You Take a Copyediting Test?
The biggest reason that Ive seen to not take an editing test is that the person who will grade the test isnt qualified to do so. Its one thing if the grader will be, say, a senior editor , but a department manager, HR staffer, or newbie writer isnt necessarily qualified to grade a copyediting test. Editing is as much an art as a science, so even having an answer key isnt helpful to non-editors.
Closely related to that is a poorly written test, usually created by someone whos not an editor. Why would you take a test that doesnt adequately test an editors skills?
And those recommendations? As with the tests, a lot depends on whos giving the recommendation.
This article was originally posted on the Copyediting website on September 1, 2015.
Questions About Your Writing And Editing Style
When you are applying for a job as a writer or editor, it’s very common to be given an editing test. This allows interviewers and hiring managers to get a first-hand look at your abilities. You can also expect some questions about how you work, and your editing and writing philosophy and style, such as:
- How do you approach writing an article? Tell me about your writing process.
- Let’s say you were asked to write about . How would you begin your research?
- What’s your editing style?
- How do you judge a piece of writing?
- How do you respond when you receive negative feedback on an early draft?
- Tell me about a time you had a story that went through multiple rounds of edits.
- What’s your favorite story you’ve ever written?
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Copy Editing Test For Interview Jobs
…I’ in Japan. Our SaaS analyzes online communication video data using multimodal artificial intelligence. Now, we aim to get new clients in mental care markets in the US. We have a hypothesis that IBY services can help therapists care for their customers better because our system can analyze users emotions through communication during online therapy. We want to know from therapists in the US what problems therapists have in the process of online therapy and whether real-time emotional analysis is helpful for therapists, in our about-60-minutes interview.Required ExperienceAre you a professional counselor in the United States?Rich experience of using online therapy services as a professional counselor in the United StatesExperiences of using a ma…
Why Are You Interested In This Position
Why do you want this job, or why did you choose to work as an editor? Whichever way you answer the question, make sure you sell yourself and show enthusiasm for this job. You can give a personal experience to show just how passionate you are at editing.
I have always been passionate about writing and proofreading from a tender age. I would go through my fellow students compositions and essay writing and try to identify mistakes that the teachers may have missed. Therefore, I chose this line of work because it makes me happy and allows me to pursue my interests. I would therefore love to portray this passion and use all the experiences and expertise that I have gathered over time in your publishing company as an editor. I also read most of your works, and therefore, a chance here would be an honor.
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An Editor’s Interests And Abilities
Most people become professional editors because they’re intrigued by language.
They enjoy finding just the right word to convey a point, making sense of a complicated piece of information and working with text until it flows smoothly. They have a passion for detail and accuracy. They find themselves drawn to editing because they can’t ignore the mistakes they see in publications. They notice illogical arguments, inaccurate statistics and poorly constructed sentences.
A career in editing goes beyond a love of language. Successful editors turn that interest and skill into a way to earn a living and have an impact on the world around them.
Questions About Interpersonal Skills And Conflict
Conflict is part of any job, so expect your interviewer to ask you how you handle tension and stressful situations. Here are some specific types of questions that might come up:
- How would you handle sensitive writers who question every edit you make?
- How would you deal with a freelance writer who regularly hands in subpar work?
- How do you feel about deadlines? Give an example of a time when you had to edit or write a piece under a strict deadline.
- How do you prioritize assignments?
- Imagine you have two projects with the same deadline. One client is easygoing while the other constantly calls to ask when it will be done. Which project do you make your top priority and why?
In your responses, be honest but don’t disqualify yourself. Now’s not the time to share that you procrastinate until the morning of an assignment’s due date. Keep in mind that deadlines are essential, so be prepared to share specifics about how you ensure you meet them and give details on your organizational skills.
When possible, share examples of times you’ve encountered stressful situations or dealt with conflict in the past.
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Make Your Tests Manageable
In reading about different peoples experiences with edit tests, I have concerns.
The tests have ranged from pitching between five to 35 story ideas, actually writing stories, writing SEO and display headlines, and editing 1,000 to 2,000 words of raw copy. Some places ask for some form of all of them some may even ask for more.
And Im just talking about digital copy edits. Video or audio edit tests can be even more exhaustive.
To the newsrooms requiring this, I ask: Do you actually read/watch/listen to all the edits turned in? What are you really looking for by assigning these?
I understand that edit tests can be helpful in revealing the editors skills when it comes to AP Style, story structure, and an understanding of your organizations audience. An edit test can make the difference between two strong candidates.
So Im not saying toss the tests Im saying theres a way to make the process less stressful, more meaningful and less exploitative.
And remember that editing is an acquired skill that can be improved over time. You dont need someone to be perfect.
Here are just some ideas for digital edit tests:
You dont have to ask for all of these assign the ones that are most important to the job.
Remember that not everyone applying has the same set of skills, so what may only take you 30 minutes could take someone two hours.
Also remember that a diligent applicant will spend a lot more time with this than you might expect.
How Do You Normally Handle Criticism
You should expect your work to be criticized as an editor. You may be tempted to grow an ego given your essential role in publication, but that is not healthy for your career. Your answer should convince the interviewer that you appreciate criticism and improve your craft based on constructive feedback.
My time in this field has taught me that criticism is important. I appreciate feedback from critics as they make me better at what I do. I normally ask for opinions on most of my pieces before giving the publication the green light. Therefore, I do not mind constructive feedback and receive them with an open heart.
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Computer Software Programs And Content Management Systems
Nowadays, working as a writer or editor isn’t just about putting words on a piece of paper. Employers want to know your experience with computer software programs and content management systems as well.
Here are some of the more technical questions you may face:
- How well do you know InDesign ?
- Tell me about your technical skills and which programs you routinely use.
- What page layout software are you familiar with?
- Have you worked with any web publishing software?
Freelance: Publication Support Services Interview
I intially applied for a Freelance position in language editing with Cactus, but upon completing the initial multiple choice english test and editing test , my application was passed along to the Publication Support team. To be on this team you have to have a PhD, and the services are a bit different. I did a third test for them that focused on journal selection and manuscript peer-review. Then they sent the offer. The offer is non-negotiable, and you are paid a pre-determined amount for either the Journal Selection service or the Pre-submission Peer Review service regardless of the size of the manuscript.
1: English quiz – actually quite difficult and I know people who have failed! 2: Editing test – < 2pgs of poorly written science and you re-write the sentences for english clarity and flow. 3: Publication Support Test – identify suitable journals, consider limitations of the study, and such questions, regarding a manuscript they send.
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Set A Deadline But Take Your Time
Clients always want the job done yesterday, andparticularly so when theyre behind schedule.With editing tests, theres a strong temptationto return the test immediately to demonstrate howfast you are, and that can lead to sloppy work. Evenwith a tight deadline, experienced editors learn toask when the client wants the job doneand whenthey need the job done, which is often considerablylater. In general, aim for the want it doneby date, but use the need it done by dateas the latest possible date to return the work ifyou feel you need more time.
Returning a job quickly should never mean that yourush through the work, unless the deadlinesso tight you really have no choice. Unlike the tests we all endured in school,editing tests are relatively open-ended, and providedthat you respond within a few days, you usually haveample time to do the job right. Dont let thepressure of taking a test tempt youto make only a single pass through any manuscript time permitting, even the best editors generally maketwo or more passes through a manuscript, dependingon the complexity of the job. For many high-volumepublishers working on tight deadlines, correctingproblems at the proof stage becomes very expensive, so catchingall mechanical problems such as missing punctuationduring editing rather than leaving them to be fixedduring proofreading can save large amounts of money.
More Job Interview Questions
In addition to job-specific interview questions for writing and editing, you will also be asked more general questions about your employment history and education as well as your strengths, weaknesses, achievements, goals, and plans. Consult a list of the most common interview questions and examples of answers to prep for these sorts of questions.
The best way to prepare for an interview is to answer the potential questions out loud or have a friend or colleague read the questions to you so you can practice in front of a live person.
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Testgorilla: Editor For Hiring Tests
Website HR tech startupThe job in a nutshell
- Work with subject-matter experts from various fields to create pre-employment screening tests.
- Guide SMEs through creating a structure for their test, establish a process with them, provide feedback, and edit their work.
- Analyze feedback and data to further improve tests.
- Contribute test topic ideas and co-create other relevant content, such as interview questions, and hiring assignments .
- Join the fast-growing HR tech startup TestGorilla as an early employee
- 35,000 46,000 compensation , stock options.
- Remote position with a smart, motivated, and friendly team.
The role in context
As a test development editor, you will work closely with subject-matter experts to create screening tests and build long-term relationships with them for continuous collaboration and support.
- Guide the work of SMEs and give them editing feedback for expression, objectivity, and clarity, following best practices in test development.
- Collaborate with SMEs to address feedback from our users and our algorithms to improve tests.
- Recruit highly qualified SMEs to create tests for our platform.
- Build strong relationships with your SMEs for continuous collaboration and support.
- Manage an area of our test library, making sure its tests are published correctly and are up to date.
- Contribute new test ideas and other hiring material to help improve our offerings to customers.
- Contribute to improving our test development tools and processes.