5+ Best Technical Writer Interview Questions & Answers

Becoming a technical writer is one of those jobs in the market today that is fairly obtainable for the recent graduate of those with a journalism degree. As jobs in journalism become harder and harder to get due to the nature of the business and market atmosphere shifting (primarily in 2019 this is taking strong effect), those who are professional writers are looking for something to put their skills to use for. Technical writing is one of those new jobs. Below are the best technical writer interview questions and answers I could research based on the experience of those hiring for this position.

What is the role of a technical writer

Technical writers are in demand due to the fact that content marketing and content of all kinds are becoming the main source for consumers and customers to interact with a business. And because of that, businesses are looking for ways to inform and educate their customers in clear, technical ways. That would be from programming to manufacturing. There are all sorts of ways technical writers can help take a business's value proposition and help the customer be more empowered to feel well equipped with whatever the business offering may be. Think of it almost as the installation manual that you would receive when you bought a TV. Without that manual, the TV loses some value. If you can’t install it, then you truly don’t have any application for the TV at all.

Technical Writer Interview Questions & Answers

1. How do you gain domain expertise of an area you don’t have any knowledge of and then begin to write about it?

Research is incredibly important. For the most part, every single area of interest I am writing about, I have to become an expert in. This takes some time but knowing where to find these resources and how to comprehend them quickly has given me an incredible advantage towards saving you time.

2. How do you think about technical writing in general?

For the most part, I want to cover every single topic within the main subject matter we are discussing and then some halo subject matters which surround the core subject. This means I am writing something incredibly informative and helpful to the reader and even help them answer questions that they may not have immediately have. I’d rather over deliver than not.

3. How long do you think technical writing should be?

Ideally, the writing should be as long as possible but also pack a synopsis into the writing itself so a reader who decides they don’t want to go through the detailed level of writing can still be informed. This helps to ensure that if there’s various skill levels reading the piece that they are choosing which style of informative writing is best suited for them without getting annoyed.

4. How does technical writing help a business?

It's a point where a customer feels the value of the business. Use the analogy of an installation guide. You may have purchased a $500 TV for your home but without the installation guide, you’ll never be able to feel the true value of that TV, simply because you won’t be able to turn it on. The writing, the guides, and the information helps the customer.

5. Is there a category of business that technical writing can’t help?

I’d say there are absolutely some advanced industries where the writing alone won’t be enough. Take for example the installation of a complex commercial printing machine, like a Heidelberg. That won’t be something that the writing alone will allow the customer to execute on. They will still need a specialist. Knowing where those boundaries are is really important.

6. What is AP style writing?

It is a journalistic style of grammar and writing which is most common for consumers. Technical writing can absolutely follow this standard if it so chooses.

7. How do you work with multiple writers?

Very simply. It begins with outlines and then we decide which topics within those outlines we’d like to cover. And then those topics are divided amongst the team. Ideally, the end result is that every writer has a section they are responsible for so that the entire production can come together quite smoothly.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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