The profession of a technical writer is an exciting one. It has some similarities with content writing in some ways, but their jobs are quite different. While a content writer writes for a website, blog, or other creative spaces and in a general way, a technical writer writes in-depth analytical articles. A technical writer needs to have deep technical knowledge about the subject of his writing.
In this article, we have discussed some of the most popular technical writer interview questions to help you crack the interview. These questions include both knowledge-based and general questions. Keep reading to learn more.
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In this guide you will find:
- Most Popular Technical Writer Interview Questions and Answers (Knowledge-Based)
- General and HR-Related Technical Writer Interview Questions
Technical Writer Interview Questions and Answers (Knowledge-Based)
Q1. What do you know about the job of a technical writer?
The job of a technical writer is not as simple as it sounds- the job involves planning about the writing, conducting market research, analyze data related to a product (that you are going to write on), collecting additional information by talking with SME (Subject Matter Expert), and then creating a document based on the findings. Technical Writers also need to revise the draft multiple times to generate a final document free from misinformation, errors, and mistakes.
Q2. Which tools do you use on a regular basis?
You can not expect to become a good technical writer based on only your knowledge of MS Word. There are a few newer and smarter tools nowadays that are used in technical writing and content writing. These tools help in SEO optimization too. So, if you don’t know how to use them, learn them before your next interview.
I am comfortable using a number of writing tools for my daily work including:
- Word Press
- Adobe RoboHelp
- Notepad ++
- Adobe Frame maker
- MS Word
- Microsoft Visio, etc.
Q3. What is the difference between Adobe Frame maker and MS Word?
Both are word processing tools. But MS Word is used for a small amount of data, and adobe frame maker is used for processing large and complex data. Web applications and other complex usages of word processing are done with Adobe frame maker, while MS Word is used for creating and processing small and simple word documents.
Q4. What measures will you take in order to produce a top-notch work as a technical writer?
Here you will have to discuss about your working process step by step and explain why they are important. A good quality technical writer cannot just start writing whenever inspiration hits him, or as and when he feels like it. They follow some rules and orders in order to produce an useful and factually correct document.
Before I start writing, I run keyword analysis researches on the given keywords to make sure my writing will be relevant. Then I research the content topic really well before starting to write on it. To ensure there are no factual mistakes, I talk to the Subject Matter Experts and also run my own researches with the help of available books or online researches. After gathering all the necessary information, I start writing the document. While writing, I ensure the language and grammar is flawless. I also make it a point to optimize my content for SEO. Thus, I ensure that my work is top-notch.
Q5. What kind of challenges do you face in the work of Technical Writing?
At times, every technical writer faces various kinds of problems while generating a content. If you are aware of the potential problems, you will be better able to solve them. That’s why recruiters ask you these kinds of technical writer interview questions to test your practical working knowledge.
As a technical writers, I have had to face many challenges in the past in order to get my work done. There were times when the SMEs could not explain the topics as thoroughly as I would like them to, because of time constraints. Then in some cases, I had a problem in judging the choices of my potential audience because of lack of information. Sometimes there were limited resources available about the given topic and I had to manage with very little information.
Q6. What is the difference between a white paper and a blog?
White Paper is a piece of technical writing that discusses the technical things in a simple way that is easy to understand for everyone. It is a compact report full of technical facts. A blog on the other hand, might be technical or non-technical, and the tone of the writing is opinionated. The writer often expresses his/ her own thoughts, judgments or opinions in a blog.
Q7. What is the use of Microsoft Visio and Powtoon in technical Writing?
Not only these two, but the technical writing interview questions can also include questions about any of the common technical writing tools. Knowing their usages beforehand will be helpful for you, both for cracking the interview and for becoming a good technical writer.
Microsoft Visio: Microsoft Visio is a diagram creating too. It is useful for technical writers because words alone make a document dull, boring, and sometimes tougher to understand. If a technical writer creates and uses some diagram based on the topic of the writing, then the writing gets both easy to understand and enjoyable. It also increases the visual appeal of a document. With the help of Microsoft Visio, creating simple or complex diagrams become very easy. The output is colorful and attractive.
Powtoon: Powtoon is another software that is very helpful for technical writers. Powtoon creates animated videos that add special attraction values in a content.
Q8. What advice will you give to a junior technical writer to become a great writer?
This is one of the tricky technical writer interview questions that interviewers ask. But answering this is easy. Just describe the things that you do yourself, or have learnt over the years, and you will be able to come up with a great answer.
I will advise a junior technical writer to work hard and plan their work really well before starting the actual work. Communicating with Subject Matter Expert and maintaining a good professional relationship with them will be very helpful in the long run. I will also tell them to create visually appealing contents by using charts, diagrams, pictures, animation, and videos in their content. Also, the most important factor is making sure all the information are factually correct, and to explain complex terms and theories, using real-life example will be very helpful. Finally, I will advise them to learn from their mistakes, and take criticisms professionally. Whenever he/ she receives a negative feedback, he should go further to try and understand the root cause of the problem, and eliminate them as effectively as possible.
Q9. What is the tone of your writing?/ What is your writing style?
I maintain a professional, yet easy to understand tone in my writing. My writing style is informal. I explain complex matters in a simple way. I use colloquial language and short, precise sentences. I divide my writeup into smaller sub sections to improve readability, and I use a lot of visuals like animations, diagrams or pictures to make the piece appealing.
Q10. What skills are necessary for a technical writer?
A technical writer needs a lot of special skills. Some of the most important skills for a technical writer are:
- Excellent Verbal and Non-Verbal communication
- Research Skills
- Planning and executing
- Strong knowledge of SEO
- Editing Skills
- Organizational Skills
- Ability to collaborate with other writers
- Teamwork, etc.
General and HR-Related Technical Writer Interview Questions
Below is a list of commonly asked Technical Writer Interview Questions that are asked in the HR round of an interview, or in case of a walk-in interview. However, these questions can be asked by the hiring managers too sometimes. Preparing them beforehand will be helpful for you.
List of more technical writer interview questions:
- Why do you want to be a technical writer?
- Tell me about yourself.
- How do you handle criticism?
- What do you know about our company?
- How do you keep yourself updated with the current trends of technical writing?
- How do you maintain a good professional relationship with the Subject Matter Experts, or other team members?
- Which topics do you like to write about the most?
- How do you work under pressure and meet deadlines?
- Why should we hire you?
- Do you have any questions for us?