15 Most Anticipated Technical Writer Interview Questions
If you have a lined up interview for a technical writing job, chances are you are going frenzy preparing for the interview. What might the HR or the interviewer ask? Want to know that? Here in this article, we will discuss the most anticipated technical writer interview questions and their possible answers. So, grab a cup of coffee and a pen and paper to make notes.
Technical writing requires a balanced mix of qualifications, skill sets, and practical experience. That’s one thing to get you filtered out for an interview slot. The interview demands a little more- confidence, soft skills, presentation, and suitable answers for the technical writer interview questions. We bring you the commonly asked technical writer interview questions to help you prepare for the same, rest you can work out yourself. We are sure you are going to nail it!
Let’s get the ball rolling!
Broadly speaking, technical writing interview questions and answers can be categorized into two parts:
- Common Technical Writer Interview Questions
- Job-related Technical Writer Interview Questions
The interviewer does make a blend of both to qualify you for the job position. Thereupon, we have listed all the relevant questions. At the same time, we also help you understand how to answer these Technical Writer Interview Questions.
If you are new to technical writing or want to acquire a certification in technical writing, you can try our Mastery-level Technical Writing Course. Visit the link for more information.
Common Technical Writer Interview Questions
These commonly asked questions are general questions to get to know you better and your inclinations to join that particular company. These Technical Writer Interview Questions are as follows:
Q1. Briefly introduce yourself.
Undeniably, this is the icebreaker question you will come up with in an interview. Mostly, the interviewer wants to check your confidence and background.
The answer to this question will obviously be personalized as per your historical and academic background. Try to keep it short and sweet. You can talk about what drove you to take technical writing as a career option and your experience level. Avoid mugging up your personal life, you can describe your personality in a sentence or two, if it’s an on-call interview.
Q2. What triggered you to pursue technical writing?
Unlike writing and editorial writing jobs, technical writing isn’t much heard of by most people. It is a relatively evolving field. And there are actually very few people who are genuinely cut out for this field.
Recruiters do ask these questions to get a glimpse at your career goals. They want to know if your ideas really align with what the company is looking for.
How do you answer this question? Simple- there is no rock-solid right or wrong way to answer it! Bring your passions, experiences, and what prompted you to take it as a career option on the table. Be truthful, and weave it in a succinct, engaging manner for you to be heard.
Q3. Do you prefer to work individually or as a team?
Avert picking sides in this case. Find a perfect balance to weigh both options equally. Your answer could be something like you have worked autonomously in the past with minimal supervision. However, you would be a great team player and love to explore opportunities where you get to indulge in teamwork.
It will help you to learn and grow with others and brainstorm ideas to produce better results. Altogether, you are comfortable working individually as well as in a team.
Q4. What brings you to this company? Why do you want to join it?
Recruiters want to know what brings you there and why you have chosen that specific company. The answer to this would be entirely based on your preliminary research on the company background.
Take time to analyze the company, its aims, objectives, and requirements. You can check out their website, social media handles, and surf the web for more information.
While answering, try to assert your personal career goals in alignment with the company’s growth. Show your worth and the ways in which you can be an asset to the company.
Job-related Technical Writer Interview Questions
Q5. What is a white paper? Have you got any experience in white paper writing?
A white paper is a technical guide or report informing the readers about a complex issue in a concise manner. Breaking down the complex into simpler terms, it presents the philosophical stance of the issuing authority on that particular issue.
If you are an experienced candidate, you can say something like “Yes, I have a lot of experience in writing white papers for the former organizations.” Further, elucidate your most prominent works in that regard.
If you are inexperienced in white paper writing, then try to make a positive answer like “I have always wanted an opportunity to show up my skills in white paper writing that I had acquired throughout my certification course learning. I would be extremely glad to work on it under your supervision and produce my best work.”
Recommended Read: Top Technical Writing Courses in Delhi
Q6. State the difference between MS Word and Adobe maker?
MS Word or Microsoft Word is basically a word processing program used for crafting simple and small word documents. It has applications for writing forms of content like blogs, letters, memos, etc. Undoubtedly, it is very easy to use.
Contrastingly Adobe Framemaker is put to use for large and complex business documents. Fittingly, it is appropriate for web applications, print, and CD-ROM. Unlike, MS Word which can be used by laymen, Adobe Framemaker requires a higher level of understanding.
Q7. Have you worked on any content development tools? If yes, which tools are your most comfortable working on?
With technology taking a central place in every field, it surely does take the centre stage in the technical writer job. One has to rely on an army of tools for content management, development, and authoring purposes.
There are no second thoughts that having functional knowledge of software tools like Adobe, MS Word, and RoboHelp is a big plus to your candidature.
Talk about all the relevant tools and software knowledge like MS Word, MS Visio, Adobe, MAdCapFlare, etc. Certainly, only mention the tools that you are experienced and comfortable with.
Additionally, you can enquire about the software training that they provide to the in-house technical writers. Just in case, they mention some software that is entirely new to you, be upfront about it. At the same time, reassure them that you are a quick learner and will efficiently get a hold of the same.
Q8. What is topic-based authoring?
Topic-based authoring follows a modular approach for content creation. As per this technique, content is weaved and structured around a particular topic that can be later jumbled and rearranged in different contexts.
Since a lot of concepts overlap in the technical field, topic-based authoring saves time and energy on repeated work. This type of approach is highly popular in technical documentation and communication.
Q9. What is DDLC? Explain its concept.
DDLC stands for Document Development Life Cycle. In its most fundamental sense, it is a systematic process of creating documents in a cyclic order.
Talking about the DDLC concept in detail, there are a few phases to produce understandable content while maintaining its quality and precision. These phases include analyzing and planning, design, content development and reviewing, publishing, and maintenance.
Also read, Technical Writing Courses in Mumbai
Q10. What is your strategy to approach SMEs?
Your strategic technique to approach SMEs can be as unique as you. If you have some exceptional approaching methodology, you can speak about that. Otherwise, you can take help from the below-mentioned answers.
In my current company, we have separate sessions where technical writers and SMEs get conducive space to communicate, interact and engage. We have our questions prepared in detail beforehand and shoot them at SMEs for clarification. Further doubt clearance is done via email. The whole procedure is smooth and helps us effectively in the documentation process.
Q11. What are the steps followed by you when you start working on a new technical writing project?
The interviewer wants to get a glimpse at your working procedure with the help of this question. Take help from the possible answer below and add your personal procedural spice to make a notable answer.
At most, there are five stages followed by me for any new project.
The first is the preparation stage, where I go through the instructions, target audience, and questionnaire preparation for SMEs. Second, comes the research stage. It includes both interactions with the SMEs, and thorough web research to accumulate all the necessary information.
The third stage is the organization stage. Here I organize the data in a flow chart and map out the details. Next thing, I prepare the draft and send it for review to my editor. As per the editor’s suggestions, I make the changes and submit the document for publishing.
Q12. Describe an incident where you overcame a challenge?
This is one of the most important technical writer interview questions that a recruiter asks to test your problem-solving and critical thinking skills. They want to know if you have ever faced stressful situations and how you managed to come out of them.
As it is obvious, this question doesn’t show up for an entry-level technical writer job such as that of an intern or trainee. But, it does come up for experienced candidates.
To answer this particular question, look back on your experience and jot down the challenges that you faced. It could be anything from a lack of SME support or the unavailability of requisite tools.
Pick out the greatest of all challenges in your career curve and how it was a big challenge for you. State the problem or challenge and share your experience of overcoming it without losing your calm. Be sure to display your grit and determination to overcome any challenges that you face in the future.
Q13. What skills do you bring to this table?
The new-age employment highly hinges on skill acquisition and the interviewers are totally interested in both hard skills as well as soft skills. They want to know how your skills can become an asset to the organization so weave your answer accordingly.
For a technical writer job, communication skills, especially written skills are prerequisites. Don’t put much focus on it. Instead, bring forward your specialized skills like working knowledge of HTML, API Documentation, and graphic designing, to name a few.
You can further season it up with examples and experiences from your past where your skillset led to success.
Q14. Do you have a certification in this domain?
While a degree sets the bedrock for your career, yet it is not enough to get you a job in the modern-day world. Recruiters expect you to have certification in that particular course, here it is technical writing certification.
You can possibly have two answers for this.
If you have a certification, you can simply state it. Talk about how you have got the training under the industry experts and got initial placement after the course. At the same time, buzz on how you believe in constant learning and upgradation of skills and thus advance your career.
On the other hand, if you do not have a certification, try to display the circumstances through rose-colored glasses. You can say something like when you stepped into this field, there were not many options for this particular course. However, over the course of time, you did attend seminars and workshops to gather knowledge and experience.
Q15. How can you contribute to this organization?
Apparently, this is one of the discretionary technical writer interview questions that depict how you are an asset to the company or organization. Make sure you get it right and reach the heart of the interviewer.
Blend your skills with your ability to process and present complex information in a clear, concise, and understandable manner. Spruce it up more with how you can be an excellent fit for the organization that deals with complex software for common people with limited tech knowledge.
Put more focus on your simple and comprehensible writing prowess to simplify complex jargon for non-tech customers.
The above-stated possible answers are reference answers. You can add or deduct as per your personal level of understanding. Avoid memorizing answers, instead, get a deep understanding of the same. Draft answers as per your experiences and learning and try to create lasting impressions.
Additional Tips for Technical Writer Interview Questions
Apart from the technical writer interview questions, there are some other tips and tactics to help you crack the interview. Follow these tips to create lasting impressions on the interviewers and get past that interview:
- Groom Yourself Professionally: A technical writer job sets high expectations. As it is a serious profession, a casual dress-up for the interview would dwindle your first impression. So, groom yourself formally and walk confidently to substantiate your seriousness.
- Polish your Grammar Basics: Many organizations and companies do take written tests before beginning the hiring trail. Brushing up your basics of grammar is surely a good idea to get past that written test round.
- Spruce up the Latest Trends: Trends keep changing in the technological field that is ever-evolving. Latest trends come up now and again and it is very much necessary to keep abreast of these changes to get a competitive edge. Do read up about the advanced technologies and trends.
- Portfolio: Keep your portfolio containing your former work samples handy. You have both options. Either carry the printouts of your published work or integrate all your links to published work on a pen drive.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Technical Writer Interview Questions
Q1. How do you prepare for a technical writer interview?
Begin your interview preparation a week before the interview. Proactively research the company and common technical writer interview questions. Consider the job description as your Bible and fit your responses in alignment with the job demands.
Jot down the pertinent answers to commonly asked technical writer interview questions. Most significantly, back up with the anecdotes that best illustrate your skills, knowledge, and experiences.
Q2. What are the technical writing skills?
Technical Writing skills are as follows:
- Exceptional written and communication skills
- Ability to convey complex knowledge into easily understandable language
- Competence to grasp tech subjects easily and quickly
- Tech-savvy or broad knowledge spectrum of technology
- Proficiency to interact and engaging with the Subject matter experts
Q3. What kind of visuals are required in technical writing?
A lot of visual and graphic aids are put to use by technical writers to enhance their technical documentation. Some of the most common ones are tables, grid graphs, pie charts, bar charts, flow charts, sketches, and drawings.
Q4. What are the three top qualities of a good technical writer?
The top qualities of a good technical writer are as follows:
- To the point writing: A good technical writer must be proficient to write in a clear, concise manner. He/she must be competent to break down complex jargon information into easy-to-read and comprehend text.
- Communication capabilities with SMEs: One must have sufficient knowledge of what they are writing about, they must have close knowledge connections with SMEs. They should be good at communication with SMEs to understand the field and products they are writing about.
- Tools Expertise: One must have a stronghold over the tools and software used in the technical documentation process. Simultaneously, one must keep abreast of the latest advancements and tools.
Q5. What are the challenges faced by a technical writer?
Some of the common challenges faced by technical writers are:
- Last moment changes to the products and services.
- Interactions with the Subject matter experts
- Outdated tools
- Lack of information about the end-users
- Structural inconsistency in the documentation
- To obtain reviews on your work.
These are the commonly asked technical writing interview questions and their possible answers that can help you with the preparation stuff. Remember, the trick to nailing the interview lies in the whole process of anticipating the interview. Create a list of possible questions that may be asked and weave their plausible answers.
Simultaneously, polish your skills and technical expertise in subject knowledge. And that’s pretty much enough to help you score. Lastly, do remember, that the interview is two-way communication.
Once, the interviewer sums up their questions, feel free to pose questions related to the expansion of your knowledge about the company, your job responsibilities, and more. So, don’t miss out on creating a list of questions for the interviewer in your preparation stage.