A technical writer is charged with preparing instruction manuals and writing articles which break down technical information for easier understanding. These writers also develop, gather and relay information among customers and manufacturers.
You must assess key areas when interviewing a person for such a position. If you are looking for a job as a technical writer, the following 20 questions will help you prepare adequately:
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
The interviewer wants to know the reasons behind your application and whether you fully understand what the post is all about.
Tip #1: Mention something specific that the job will help you achieve
Tip #2: Mention what got you interested in the job.
I enjoy technical writing. I started working on related projects during my campus days and has, over time, developed a lot of skills and interest. I believe that this job will help me advance even further.
2. What Are The Roles Of A Technical Writer?
This is perhaps one of the most straightforward questions in an interview. The interviewer wants to know whether you understand what is expected of a technical writer.
Tip #1: Mention the roles of a technical writer
Tip #2: Be clear and speak with conviction
A technical writer breaks down technical information into easy-to-understand bits. He/ she prepares instruction manuals and articles as well as gathering and relaying technical information between different stakeholders in an organization.
3. What Are The Qualities That A Technical Writer Should Have?
The interviewer wants to know whether you are conversant with some of the qualities that a technical writer should have.
Tip #1: Talk about the qualities of a technical writer
Tip #2: Do not beat around the bush
A technical writer should be accurate owing to the nature of work involved. He/ she should break down and pass information clearly to avoid ambiguity. Furthermore, a technical writer should be able to organize and schedule his/ her work properly. It is also crucial that he/ she learns to write plainly.
4. What Major Challenge Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Handle It?
The interviewer is merely trying to discern if you can effectively solve problems that may come along the way.
Tip #1: This question requires something personal. Therefore, talk about personal experience.
Tip #2: Clearly outline how you solved the problem. Be factual.
My last role was heavily demanding, and so at first, I had problems with meeting deadlines. I’d always submit articles late or just in time. However, I learnt to organize myself and teamwork, and was in no time, completing my hours before the deadline.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Technical Writer
The interviewer wants to know if you have an idea of what you will be doing daily in your place of work.
Tip #1: Describe your day
Tip #2: Only focus on the work-related parts
I will be reporting to work in the morning, ready for a task. After getting one, I will play around with a product, then interview Subject matter experts to learn how it works before conducting audience research. I will then write the documentation and conduct additional research. Basically, my work will be all about writing.
6. Describe Briefly About Your Technical Writing Experience
The interviewer wants to know where you have previously worked and the positions you held.
Tip #1: Answer in active statements
Tip #1: Highlight your achievements; sell yourself
This is my fifth year with Smith and Co. as a senior technical writer. I began as a junior technical writer, handling no so complex work. While there, I developed soft skills that have proven essential in my career.
Right now, I am a senior technical writer charged with the development and promotion of the adoption of templates for both system and database information. I have learnt to consult widely and manage my roles efficiently.
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
The interviewer wants to ascertain if you have a clear plan if given the role and whether you understand the type of mentality that you need for success.
Tip #1: Mention a strategy that has always worked for you.
Tip #2: Show the interviewer that you have the right mindset for the job
One strategy that has always worked for me over and over again is teamwork. I believe that technical writers should work closely with other stakeholders and parties to prevent mistakes that may be costly. I also believe that this role requires someone who understands the user and loves to challenge himself/ herself, given that some tasks are usually really demanding. A technical writer should also have a positive mindset.
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?
The interviewer wants to know some of the areas that may challenge you if given the job.
Tip #1: Be specific and truthful.
Tip #2: Be careful not to mention so many areas
I have always mastered submitting and completing my work on time. However, owing to the size of your company, I may have to work twice as hard to do that. I work hard and therefore, that will not be a problem in the long run.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated At Work?
The interviewer wants to know what keeps you going.
Tip #1: Talk about something that pushes you to do better.
Tip #2: Make it personal
I am a go-getter. I ensure that I excellently perform any task I am offered. I also love challenging myself and feel motivated every time I exceed my goals and expectations.
10. Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned
Here it would be best if you told the interviewer some of the lessons you have learned along the way and how they changed or influenced your work.
Tip #1: Talk about a significant occurrence.
Tip #2: The lesson should come at the end
There is a time I could not separate content from information and ended up drafting a meaningless document that almost cost me my job. However, I learnt to always clearly assess what I am getting from the engineers and the stakeholders before starting any due process.
11. Which Tools Do You Use On A Regularly?
The interviewer is trying to test your scope of knowledge away from the standard MS Word, and whether you are suited for different projects.
Tip #1: Talk about all the tools you use: the more the tools, the better.
Tip #2: Show the interviewer your knowledge outside MS Word
I use several tools for my day to day operations. These include Word Press, Adobe RoboHelp, Microsoft Visio, Adobe Frame maker and Notepad ++
12. How Do You Always Ensure That You Produce Quality Work?
The interviewer expects you to outline your working process.
Tip #1: Explain your working process one by one
Tip #2: Explain why these processes are necessary
I first run keyword analysis researches on the topic to ensure that I stay relevant. I research the content topic afterwards and consult with the Subject Matter Experts to ascertain that there are no mistakes. I also run further researches and gather all the necessary information before writing the document. It doesn’t stop here. I always ensure that my grammar is flawless and my content optimized for easier visibility on search engines.
13. How Do You Handle Criticism?
This is a tricky question that should be handled well.
Tip #1: Highlight an appreciation for criticism
Tip #2: explain why it is important
I always appreciate criticism because it helps me become better at my work. I always take the points seriously and strive to improve.
14. What Are Some Of The Skills That You Need As A Technical Writer?
This is a straightforward question. The interviewer wants to know whether you are aware of the unique skills expected from you.
Tip #1: Outline as many skills as possible.
Tip# 2: Make sure that you start with the heavy ones
A technical writer should have excellent research, planning and execution skills. He/ she should be able to collaborate with other writers and be an excellent communicator. He should also possess great organization and editing skills.
15. What Are Some Of The Difficulties That You Have Faced Working With A Subject Matter Expert, And How Did You Overcome Them?
The interviewer is assessing your experience working with a subject matter expert and how well you can overcome the challenges that come with collaborations.
Tip #1: Outline your experience with a subject matter expert in the past
Tip #2: Show that you were able to think out of the box
I once had an issue with an SME regarding scheduling. However, after careful thinking, I decided to changer my contact hours in favour of completing the task.
16. Tell Us About A Recent Technical Project That You Worked On And How You Completed It.
The interviewer is testing your efficiency. Therefore, ensure that you answer wisely.
Tip #1: Show the interviewer your experience with d3adlines
Tip #2: Show that you are a dedicated researcher
Tip #3: Show the interviewer that you are experienced in your given field
The last project I did was on roofing. I completed a bulky catalogue order for roofing supplies on time after carefully researching and gathering all the necessary information. I also had to seek the help of an SME.
17. Do You Have A Favourite Style Of Citation? What Are Some Of The Citations That You Use Regularly?
The interviewer wants to know whether you can correctly reference your work after extensive research.
Tip #1: Make sure that you know the citation style that most companies like
Tip #2: Mention your experience with APA and MLA citations
Tip #3; Mention a preference
I have vast experience in both MLA and APA citations. However, I mostly prefer the Chicago style since it offers me the level of uniqueness I want in my projects. Nonetheless, I can use all of them effectively.
18. Do You Prefer Working Alone Or As Part Of A Team?
The interviewer wants to know whether you can teamwork. Therefore, you should go about this question wisely.
Tip #1: Mention that you prefer working as part of a team
Tip #2: Think through your answer
I have worked alone in the past on several projects. However, I prefer working as part of a team since I appreciate collaborating with others. Teamwork also allows me to explore my interpersonal and communication skills further, which has greatly helped me in my line of work.
19. What Are Some Of The Problems That You Have Faced During Information Gathering?
The interviewer wants to ascertain whether you understand how complicated information gathering can be for a technical writer.
Sample #1: Be factual and mention a personal experience
Sample #2: make sure that you limit your challenges to information gathering
Information gathering can prove to be challenging at timers. At times I had challenges coordinating with the subject matter expert. I also didn’t know what to expect and had to multitask, which was quite challenging owing to the volume of work that I had at hand.
20. What Are Some Of The Publication Tools That You Have Worked On?
The interviewer is testing your experience further, to know whether you are conversant with some of the necessary technologies surrounding technical writing.
Tip #1: Mention the publication tools that you have worked on.
Tip #2: Make sure that your answer is honest lest you are asked a question about a specific one, and you have no idea.
I have been using several documentation and publication tools over time. Some of the recent ones are MediaWiki, WordPress, Calameo, Prexi, MadCap Flare and Atavist.
Technical writers play an integral role in companies. In case you are preparing for an interview, these top 20 technical writers interview questions and answers will help you discover some of the commonly asked areas