4 Technical Writing Tests to Screen Candidates
About the tests
These tests are specifically for tech comm candidates applying to mid-level of senior-level software tech writing roles that involve creating or working with API documentation.
There are four screening tests covering the following categories:
- Industry awareness (25 questions)
- Language (20 questions)
- API documentation (25 questions)
- Processes and strategies (20 questions)
Note: As this is the first iteration of my tests, this version is entirely experimental and not based on any evidence or industry-endorsed knowledge. I invite you to take the tests to gauge your level, provide feedback on the questions, and let me know if these tests seem worthwhile for screening candidates.
Test procedure and requirements
The tests have the following requirements and procedures:
- • You have to provide a name and email to take each test. You can use a bogus name and email if you want. I won’t do anything with your name or email. Nothing is public.
You have only 10 minutes to complete the test. The time remaining is shown as a blue bar in the upper-right area of the test. Move your mouse over the bar to see the specific time that remains.
- You can take each test only once. However, you can use a different name and email address and take it again if desired.
- Only one answer is correct (or best) per question.
- All questions (except the first one) are worth the same number of points. The first question asks for your job title and level of experience so I can correlate the results. This first question is not worth any points.
- You can search online for answers to any of the questions, but note that since you only have 10 minutes to complete each test, you won’t have much time. You can easily burn through time researching a question and then not have time to finish other questions.
- You can go back to previous questions. For example, if you don’t know an answer, you could skip it and go to the next question. Then if you have time at the end, you could search online for info related to that question. At the end, click Submit Answers to submit all your answers.
- After you complete the test, you’ll see your score and the list of questions and individual results. 70% correct or higher is considered passing. Your score won’t be public, but I’ll be able to see it as an Easy LMS admin in the internal reports.
Please don’t be offended if the questions don’t align with your level of expertise or provide a measure of your professional depth. These questions aren’t an objective measure of professional knowledge. They are somewhat random questions from Tom’s brain and world of experience. However, I will evaluate the general success of the responses based on the number of correct answers to judge whether the questions have some validity. This will help me evaluate the questions with some data and hopefully work towards another iteration.
If any question seems misleading, irrelevant, or wrong, please let me know by reaching out to me.
Technical Writing Tests
Here are the four tests:
In addition to the Disqus comment thread below, you can also view comments on Linkedin.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.