Saturday, October 8, 2011

In which I was duped

I've been battling with whether I should talk about this one or not but I think I'll have too. It's just too damned intriguing to leave alone.

Just over a month ago I hired a new technical writer. The ad had said one to three years experience but this lady really had none. She did however have 5 years plus as an editor. She had a tech blog that had some good stuff on it - it wasn't perfect but it was something you could definitely develop a decent technical writer from.

The only potential problem the recruiter flagged was what he had perceived as an inability to connect with him in the interview. It worried him because he was afraid that this lady would crumble when confronted with some of our stronger engineering personalities (i.e. the arseholes).

We tested the "man connection issue" by getting her together for a coffee with me and my senior technical writer and my illustrator. It all went fabulously. We all agreed she was a really nice lady and we felt that she was as keen as mustard and that this was going to be easy.

When she first arrived I put her to work on converting documents from one software to another. The idea was the she would get an idea of what we wrote about, formatting and so on which would then enable her to go on to bigger and better things.

Unfortunately this was not the case.

A month later I realize that I was more than likely treated to a hell of a display in the interview. This woman saw herself as a technical writer in the interview and it projected really well. Her resume said all the right things, she said all the right things, but she has zero to back it up with.

To make up for that she has proceeded to flirt with all men who venture into our little corner of the office landscape and more specifically with my senior and my illustrator. I'm amazed that a women almost 40 years old would behave like that.

I'm baffled. I'm usually a really good judge of character but in this case I didn't see it coming at all.

Last week we had a young graduate do a two day stint with us and I gave him the same work to do as I gave her. What took her a week to produce he did in two hours. His I could use. Hers I have to rewrite.

It's all very well to go into an interview and do everything to get a job but for god's sake make sure you can do the job before you accept an offer. It's bleeding painful to have to tell someone that they're not up to par and you have to let them go.

It turns out, and only an extreme amount of googling dug this up, that the 5 years plus editing she claims to have is for some fan fic forum she created herself. The stories she's posted on it are awful. I can't explain the tech blog because I have seen none of the writing capabilities I saw there in the work she's done for me. She's expecting me to tell her exactly what to write! I mean what the what?

While I lick my wounds and try to find out what the hell happened in my head, and try not to suspect that I'm still off my game after the breakdown, I will try to figure out how to repair the damage she's caused. I'm not talking about the wasted time, I'm talking about 20 odd people being laid off in our building alone last week while she kept her job. These were people with good experience, years of it, and emotional investment in their jobs. I'm also talking about the fact that I will not be able to rehire because now there's a hiring freeze.

This makes me angry. And baffled.

I'm just saying.


  1. Worked with one woman who claimed extensive tech writing experience. Turned out that she had managed tech writers and was convinced that that meant she was capable of doing the job. And when you had to correct her, she would get emotional, claiming you just didn't understand the issue. She wanted to re-invent the website rather than go back and fix something she'd done.

    That said, I'm kinda feeling like her at the moment. One week on the job and I still don't feel like I have a clue. These people have an insanely convoluted workflow. I'm sure it'll make sense in a week or so.

    They also have a hiring freeze, so they're hiring long-term contractors (a year or so at a time). Would that work for you?

  2. are you describing The Hostile One?
    I was duped into hiring her, thinking she would be a hard worker and intelligent, she turned out to be a pouting princess who thought the work beneath her and who conspired with the manager to lose me my team leader role. She played a huge part in my burnout and breakdown with her rudeness, her laziness and her back-stabbing.
    I viewed her LinedIn profile recently, she's working again for a large company where I have contacts. And her profile is dishonest.
    Which is probably how she duped me

    I so empathise with you but if she's a hindrance sack her, she can only do damage in the long run


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