Testy Copy Editors

Found on Craigslist
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Author:  lfelaco [ Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Found on Craigslist

Temporary Onsite Placement for Contract Copyeditor:
• Long-term position, 5 days a week onsite in Herndon, VA
• Two openings immediately available; positions will probably last for several months

• ALL candidates must successfully complete a 3-hour-long battery of tests of English-language, copyediting, and proofreading skills.
• If tests scores are acceptable, candidate will then be interviewed by our client.


If you heard a noise, it was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor... a 3-hour test just to get an *interview* for a temporary contract job???

Author:  Bumfketeer [ Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:28 pm ]
Post subject: 

"Long-term position" "will last for several months." WTF is up with that?

Author:  Rio [ Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

I can't for the life of me understand why the hiring company would want to waste so much time reviewing a myriad of three-hour tests from job prospects, some of whom no doubt wouldn't last five minutes in an interview.

Oh, yeah, and then there's the inconvenience imposed on the test-takers as well.

Author:  lfelaco [ Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

I've certainly had my share of people who come off great in an interview only to bomb the test, so I can *almost* see their point in requiring the testing prior to interview (though 3 hours is overkill, you can get a decent sense of someone's skills in far less time, or at any rate I always have). Though my solution to the great interview/lousy test problem is to give the test first and skim it over before we sit down to talk about the job; then I can cut the discussion short if the person's test isn't up to snuff.

Author:  Editer [ Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

If the client wants the applicants thoroughly tested, then you can bet it's paying the recruiter to do it. It's not wasted time from the recruiter's perspective if it's billable.

And I suspect that the recruiter may have computerized tests where they can just sit each applicant down and check in on them every hour or so. It's probably not labor-intensive.

The job itself, I'd bet, is with a private information company that caters to businesses with far-flung operations that need detailed, accurate info; a similar one is based in my town, and it pays its copy editors better than most newspapers.

Author:  lfelaco [ Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:13 pm ]
Post subject: 

Actually, according to the ad, the job is editing textbooks--and not even college textbooks at that, just elementary, middle school, and high school.

Author:  cobra_kai [ Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:45 pm ]
Post subject: 

I went to what I thought was an interview a few years back with a financial advice Web site operation. They gave me a test that had 52 errors in it, and if I didn't catch at least 47 of them, I was summarily dismissed. I caught 45 of the errors, and was told I didn't make the cut for an interview. This, of course, was for a full-time job, but still.

Author:  lfelaco [ Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

But an editing test isn't a math test, and not all infelicities in writing are flat-out errors. Seems to me you're going to end up with people with tunnel vision using that approach.

Author:  longwords [ Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

If the job involves editing textbooks for "English" classes, maybe they want people with tunnel vision.

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