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Tips for Interviewing and Hiring Technical Communicators

Image for Tips for Interviewing and Hiring Technical CommunicatorsFinding the right person that fits exactly into an open Technical Communicator position is difficult, especially if the interviewer or the technical communicator doesn’t have much experience or skill in handling the process. Technical communications professions require a unique mix of technical and communications skills, which can be very hard to find.

In her article, Five Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring, Karen O’Keefe offers five tips with examples that will help you get through the interviewing and hiring process successfully.

  1. Writing a Detailed Job Description
  2. Making Sure the Setting/Environment is Conducive
  3. Conducting a Programmed Interview
  4. Using Multiple Interviewers
  5. Considering Testing

Lastly, she explains that there is no method or template that you can apply directly to your department, group, or company, but you can use this process as an example for building and refining your own.

Read Five Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Do you have additional pointers to offer in finding the right technical communicator for the job? 

Why Staffing Through a Recruiter Makes Sense

8th April 2015 Posted in Blog, Hiring, Human Resources (HR), Staffing 0 Comments

image for Why Staffing Through A Recruiter Makes SenseThe economy is gaining steam. Unemployment rates are dropping. Companies are hiring again. In today’s job market, there are lots of companies looking for great people with specialized skills.

The hiring process can be costly and time consuming. Finding the right match for an open position can be a challenge. It makes more sense than ever that businesses should invest in finding the right person to work in their respective company.

In her article, The ROI (Return on Investment) on Using an Outside Recruiter, Meredith Mcghan explains the benefits of using an outside recruiter, including time savings, predictable costs, and finding the A-list candidates companies want most. She makes a strong argument for the potentially high ROI of using an outside recruiter compared to tying up what may be limited in-house resources.

Read The ROI (Return on Investment) and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. What benefits have you enjoyed in using an outside placement firm? Did you feel like you had a strong ROI in doing so? What would you do differently? 

Planning for the Future Workforce

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Engaging in succession planning is an important part of planning for the future workforce. Having a succession plan in place is an advantage for every leader in any organization to ensure a successful workforce in the future with good leadership, strategies, and plans in place to continue the success of the business in meeting the needs of its customers.

In her article,  Planning for Our Future Workforce: Teaching Leaders to Prepare for Succession,  Sue Plaster, M.Ed., discusses how educators can work with today’s leaders to do action-oriented succession planning, through dialogue with one another, while reaching a degree of consensus in their plans. She also provides some tips in terms of what to focus on during succession planning and management activities. You will also learn about development planning and the role of training.

Read Planning for Our Future Workforce: Teaching Leaders to Prepare for Succession and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Have you engaged in—or trained leaders in—succession planning?

Successful Hiring is in the Interview Process

5th September 2014 Posted in Blog, Hiring, Human Resources (HR) 0 Comments

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Any HR professional or manager who has made a poor hiring decision can tell you that the cost of hiring the wrong employee can be substantial, both from a financial standpoint and from wasting a considerable amount of time. But if you are responsible for selecting a candidate, what can you do to increase your chances for a successful hire?

In her article, Five Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring, Karen O’Keefe provides five tips for preparing for and conducting the interview, vital stages in getting it right. While the article was originally intended to provide help in selecting the right technical communicator, O’Keefe’s advice can be put to good use in hiring nearly any type of worker.

Read Five Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring and then leave a comment here. Do you have additional interviewing and hiring tips you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you.

6 Reasons to Outsource Medical Communicatons


It’s no secret that pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life science companies are continuing to experience strong growth. But, as we all know, strong growth can put pressure on limited human resources. It can be especially difficult to maintain the level of in-house staffing to meet the ever growing communications needs of such companies.

Outsourcing can be a smart business strategy and is becoming an increasingly popular way to meet the human resources needs in bio-medical sciences.

In his article, Outsourcing Medical Communications, Clayton Luz, a veteran biomedical writer with over 25 years in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, discusses six primary benefits of outsourcing.

Read: Outsourcing Medical Communications and then leave a comment below with your thoughts. Are there additional benefits you’ve seen that aren’t discussed? Can you especially relate to one or more of those listed from your own experiences? Please leave a comment here with your thoughts.

What’s In a Job Title for Technical Communications Professonals?

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It’s no secret to any technical communications professional that job descriptions and duties have expanded over the years. The old style “Technical Writer” has evolved into an assortment of job duties in today’s lean employment environment.

In some cases, Technical Writers have morphed into becoming referred to as Information Engineers. After all, isn’t technical communications all about the engineering of information?

Whether your current title is Technical Writer, Documentation Specialist or some other older-style position reference, it may be time for you, your HR Department and senior management to better describe what it is that you do – in a way that conveys your value to the organization and your responsibilities today. Any time you change a position title is a good time to update the job description as well.

In his article, Potential Position Descriptions for Information Engineering Professionals, Steve Capri looks at a variety of position descriptions that just may be a more realistic depiction of what you are doing now.

Read: Potential Position Descriptions for Information Engineering Professionals and then leave a comment below with your thoughts. Has your title and/or job description been updated where you work? if you are an HR professional, are they any talks or initiatives in place to do that?

Building a Training and Development Team

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Building a successful training and development team requires selecting quality talent for specific roles in the project. Whether you have the resources internally or use a specialized placement firm (shameless plug) like Writing Asssitance, Inc., as long as you have talented key players in place, your project will be a success.

In her article, Creating a Successful Training and Development Team, Cheryl Powell, an experienced Instructional Design & eLearning Specialist, explains each of the key roles for training and development project teams, both for classroom/instructor led training and for eLearning projects.

Read: Creating a Successful Training and Development Team and then leave a comment below with your thoughts and expeience on training and development projects and what made them a success.

5 Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring for Managers

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Most managers have had the experience of interviewing and subsequently hiring a candidate who later turns out not to be the right person for the job. The process of poor selection can be a learning opportunity – at best.

What you look for and what someone else looks for in a candidate are likely to be quite different. But by developing a process, defining the position, and nailing down your questions well in advance before interviewing candidates, you vastly increase the likelihood of a successful hiring decision.

In this article, Karen O’Keefe discusses five key activities that make the difference between a successful hiring decision and a not-so-successful one.

Read: Five Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring and then leave a comment here if you have additional tips you’d like to share from your interviewing and hiring experiences.

What Happens if You Hire the Wrong Employee?

12th January 2012 Posted in Blog, Hiring, Human Resources (HR) 0 Comments

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It’s a new year and the prospects for the economy look like their may be better days ahead. Along with the new year comes a new budget, and many companies are looking to beef up their staff by hiring technical writers, instructional designers, copywriters and other professionals to help meet this year’s goals.

But finding just the right employee (or contractor, for that matter) isn’t always so easy. So what are the risks if you don’t get it right?


Making The Case For Experience

1st September 2011 Posted in Blog, Hiring, Human Resources (HR), Industry Articles 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This was the feature article in this month’s TechCom Manager newsletter, reprinted here with permission. Click the previous link to subscribe to the newsletter.

Kerri Barber

Kerri Barber, Author of Making The Case For Experience

Jobs, jobs, jobs! The headlines are everywhere and seem to be the core topic on everyone’s mind. If you are a manger who is lucky enough to add to your staff, you may feel like a pageant winner right about now. Once the celebrating subsides, you are left with a tough decision to make. Exactly what kind of employee are you looking to hire?

There are certain characteristics inherent to every candidate search, but none is more influential than total cost versus overall experience ratio. You may be thinking that now is the time to get a great deal on valuable talent. In many instances, you may be right. But ask yourself this: Has the job market really become a mirror image of the current housing market? Are there some great MBA candidates and stellar employees available at a reduced salary band? Yes and no. All things being relative, you will still have to weigh your options according to your needs and take a leap of faith. However, there are some surprising data points emerging from our current economic conditions as well as a few key ideas to consider before you begin searching for your next team member.


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