September 20, 2006


Since the day I started at NI, I knew I wanted to be involved in recruiting technical writers. We have a dedicated HR department at NI, but the people you see at career fairs are regular full-time employees. I like this method much better than having recruiters represent us, because I know more about technical writing at NI than the HR people do. Therefore, when students come up to me or I give a presentation, I can answer questions more effectively than someone in HR can. (It's not a "better" skillset, it's just a different one.)

So if you're at a career fair and see an NI booth, you'll likely be speaking with people who actually do the job you're talking about. Sometimes it's a strain on us, because we have actual projects to be working on, and it'd free up a lot of our time if we didn't have to be involved in recruiting. But the end result is worth it. I think our candidates and new employees are of a much higher caliber than they'd be if we didn't see them at all during the interview process.

Last year I did a couple class presentations and visits at UT San Antonio. I also wanted to go to Virginia Tech, but haven't been able to yet. So now I'm one of the three school sponsors for UT Austin. I'm in charge of maintaing our post on AccessUT, which is the job portal from Career Services. I also review resumes, interview candidates in our first round of interviews (there are two rounds), schedule and host candidates for "onsite" interviews (the second round), and pretty soon I'll be at UT's various career fairs for Business, Liberal Arts, and Communications schools.

I like the idea of contributing to NI in a sense other than documentation; recruiting is an additional skillset that makes me a valuable employee. I like meeting and interacting with people, especially new college graduates, which is where we focus the majority of our recruiting efforts. It also helps that I genuinely enjoy NI and my job, so I'm not faking it when I pitch the company to people!

Maybe sometime soon I'll post about what we look for in tech writers, resume tips, interviewing tips, and things like that.

Updates and More

It's been a little while since my last post, so here's what's happening:
  • A group of technical writers and I put the finishing touches on A Week in the Life of a Technical Writer. This web site follows 4 technical writers (and 1 manager) through a "typical" week at NI. I say "typical" because there is hardly a typical day here at work :-)
  • I got promoted just ahead of my two-year anniversary here, which is great :-) So now I'm a Staff Technical Writer, which probably doesn't mean much to anyone outside the company, but it means that I have an increased set of expectations/responsibilities for my job.
  • Three of my products released to manufacturing at the same time, which was a bit stressful but otherwise great. It's always a good feeling to get some help files out the door. The stressful part was managing about 10 separate help files as they went through our signoff and verification processes. But that's over now and we're all in the planning phases for the next versions. Work continues on two additional products I'm assigned to.
  • I signed up two new LV tech writers to blog here, but they haven't posted yet, so I won't say anything about them until they do.
  • I started interviewing candidates for the technical writing position at NI. (Yes, we are hiring! Send in those resumes!)
I also just added a subscription feed for those of you with RSS/Atom readers. The link is on your right, just under the Description of the blog. So now you can read my ramblings without even visiting this site!