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Technical Writer Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Technical Writer interview, here are 30 interview questions and answer examples.

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Question 1 of 30

Can you describe the job of a technical writer?

How to Answer

An interviewer will ask this question to begin the conversation, learn more about you, and collect information they can use throughout the interview. You should always be prepared for this question during an interview for a technical writer's position. A good way to respond to this question is to review the job posting and use elements of it in your answer. You can also lean on your experience in this role to describe some of the tasks you complete each day.

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30 Technical Writer Interview Questions & Answers

  • General

    1. Can you describe the job of a technical writer?

      How to Answer

      An interviewer will ask this question to begin the conversation, learn more about you, and collect information they can use throughout the interview. You should always be prepared for this question during an interview for a technical writer's position. A good way to respond to this question is to review the job posting and use elements of it in your answer. You can also lean on your experience in this role to describe some of the tasks you complete each day.

      1st Answer Example

      "The job of a technical writer is much more than just creating documents about technical topics. It involves a great deal of research, planning, collaborating with other organization members to understand their needs, and speaking with subject matter experts on the topic you will be writing about. While the majority of time is spent composing the document, it also requires editing, revisions, and reviewing the document with the project stakeholders to get their approval."

  • General

    2. Can you walk me through a typical day in the job of a technical writer?

      How to Answer

      This is one way an interviewer can discover your perception of this job and your duties as a technical writer. The fact that you're sitting in the interview indicates that they believe you're qualified for this role. When asking this question, they want to see if your work is similar to the jobs their current technical writing team performs. This helps them answer the question of whether you'll be a good fit for the organization. You can respond to the question by listing some of the typical tasks you perform each day, focusing on the more strategic ones.

      1st Answer Example

      "While no two days as a technical writer are the same, there are some commonalities that run throughout the work I perform. I normally start the day by reviewing my current projects to understand the tasks I need to complete. I then create content for documents, research topics, meet with project stakeholders to understand their needs or review a project and collaborate with other technical writers and my management team on a specific project. I try to carve out some time during the day to learn more about developments in the field of technical writing and any best practices I can incorporate into my work."

  • General

    3. Do you have any practical experience creating technical documents and whitepapers for cloud technologies?

      How to Answer

      Even though you provided the interviewer with a copy of your resume detailing your experience, they still may ask you specific questions about the work you've done. They do this to confirm the information in your resume and make sure you're qualified for the type of projects they want you to work on. By asking this question, they hope you will provide examples of projects you've already completed similar to the ones they will assign you. Your research about the job and the organization should help you create stories about your previous work before the interview.

      1st Answer Example

      "As you may know from my resume, I've done quite a bit of work writing about the topic of cloud technologies. Some of the projects in my portfolio include a guide describing methodologies for migrating data centers to the cloud, a white paper about cloud best practices, and an article comparing some of the leading cloud providers and the services they offer. While I don't have a technical background, I've done a lot of research in this area and feel very comfortable writing about it."

  • General

    4. In your opinion, what are the most important roles and responsibilities a technical writer fulfills?

      How to Answer

      Asking about a technical writer's key roles and responsibilities helps the interviewer understand your approach to this job and some of the activities you emphasize. This will enable them to determine if you are a good fit for the job and their organization. If you spent time researching the company and reviewing the job posting before the interview, you should have no problem answering this question. Your answer should contain elements of the job posting, address any challenges the organization may be facing, and be based on your experience in this role and the skills you bring to the position.

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  • General

    5. What are some of the reasons you chose technical writing as a career?

      How to Answer

      In virtually every interview, you'll be asked why you chose to work in this field regardless of your profession. Interviewers want to know your motivations and whether you have a passion for the job or just doing it for the money. You can use this question to demonstrate your passion for technical writing and some of the influences in your life that led you down this career path.

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  • General

    6. What are some technical writing certifications you hold?

      How to Answer

      Even though your technical writing certifications may be listed in your resume, the interviewer will still ask you about this. In addition to confirming that you possess these, they may be interested in why you pursued the certifications and how they have benefited you. Rather than just list the certifications you have, include your reason for obtaining them and the benefits they provide in your answer. You should include all of your certifications, not only those related to your job as a technical writer but also those related to the topics you write about.

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  • General

    7. Can you talk about a recent challenge that you overcame?

      How to Answer

      Interviewers will be interested in some of the recent challenges you overcame to confirm that you will be able to address some of the issues their organization is encountering. This behavioral question presents you with the situation and asks you to describe how you addressed it. Behavioral questions are best responded to using the STAR framework for your answer. You begin by describing the Situation, then talk about the Tasks you needed to complete, followed by a summary of the Actions you took, and ending with a discussion of the Results you attained. You should have several stories like these prepared for the interview.

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  • General

    8. What are some of the key skills a technical writer should possess?

      How to Answer

      Asking you about the key skills a technical writer should possess provides the interviewer with both a summary of the position from your perspective as well as a list of skills you possess. When preparing for the interview, you should all carefully review the job posting, which lists the requirements for this job and the tasks you will be engaged in. This will provide you with the basis for many of your answers throughout the interview. Reviewing your resume, so you are familiar with the skills and experience the interviewer has used to qualify you for this role will also be helpful.

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  • General

    9. How would you describe your writing style?

      How to Answer

      You can anticipate being asked this question in any interview you attend for a technical writer's job. The interviewer will ask a general question early in the interview to better understand your qualifications for this position. They also want to ensure that your style matches their requirements. Being honest about your writing style and describing it in a manner that makes it clear to the interviewer will either help you to be selected for the role or disqualify you for a job that you probably would not have been successful at due to conflicts between your style and the employer's requirements.

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  • General

    10. If asked, what advice would you give to a new technical writer who is just starting in this profession?

      How to Answer

      This is an interesting question that asks you to be introspective and communicate the lessons you have learned in this profession. The interviewer uses this question as another way to learn what you feel is important in this job. They hope to understand the general guidelines you use when approaching a project and any shortcuts or tips which allow you to complete the work more efficiently and effectively. Your answer should be positive and focus on ways a new writer can accelerate their learning curve and advance within this profession.

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  • General

    11. What are some of the contributions you would make to our company during your first 90 days in this role?

      How to Answer

      Employers prefer to hire candidates who can make an immediate impact on their organization. When preparing for an interview, you should strive to understand the company's business objectives and think about how you can help them achieve these. Having these stories prepared before the interview will help you answer this question and integrate these ideas into your answers to some of the interviewer's other questions. This strategy will make you stand out from the other candidates and could lead to a job offer.

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  • General

    12. What are some of the typical challenges you encounter while working on a technical writing project?

      How to Answer

      Interviewers will ask you about the challenges you encounter for several reasons. The first is to determine if the challenges you encounter are similar to the ones their technical writing team runs into. They are also interested in hearing how you overcome these challenges. The final reason is to ensure that the challenges you discuss are major rather than minor annoyances, which are typical but manageable in any technical writing project.

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  • Operational

    13. Walk me through how do you organize, plan, and prioritize your work as a technical writer?

      How to Answer

      Interviewers prefer to know as much about how you go about doing this job as possible before making a hiring decision. They want to ensure that you have proven methodologies to accomplish your daily tasks and that these align with the way their current staff organizes their work. Since you probably already do this, the key to responding to this question appropriately is to keep your answer simple and to the point, using easy-to-understand language. You should also be prepared for follow-up questions the interviewer will use to explore this topic in more detail.

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  • Operational

    14. How do you engage with subject matter experts when you need information for a project you are working on?

      How to Answer

      Technical writers consistently use subject matter experts to obtain information about a topic related to the document they are creating. The subject matter experts, or SMEs, may be product developers, software developers, product managers, or other experts knowledgeable about the document's topic. These same people are typically project stakeholders and should be willing to cooperate with you. The interviewer wants to ensure that your engagement strategy respects the SMEs' time and is not confrontational or aggressive.

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  • Operational

    15. What steps do you take to ensure your company is compliant with all the regulations and requirements related to the work you do?

      How to Answer

      While maintaining compliance and keeping the company out of legal trouble is usually the responsibility of the corporate compliance officer, each employee needs to take ownership of this related to the work they do. Interviewers want to make sure that you agree with this philosophy and learn about the specific steps you take to achieve this. If this is not part of your current portfolio skills, you should research the topic and incorporate these practices into your work as a technical writer.

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  • Operational

    16. How has your attention to detail helped you in some of the previous projects you've worked on?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer will ask you this question because attention to detail is a key requirement of this job. You should come to the interview with several stories about how meeting the requirements for this job has helped you be successful as a technical writer. Specific examples which align with the company's operations will help the interviewer visualize how you can do this same thing for their organization.

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  • Operational

    17. What are some of the methodologies you have used to exchange information within an organization?

      How to Answer

      Modern organizations use a wide variety of methodologies and tools to exchange information. The interviewer will ask you about this to see if you are familiar with any of the information exchange applications they currently employ within the organization. Since most of these are easy to learn, this is not too critical. However, if you have experience with these, it will give you an edge over other candidates who have not used them.

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  • Operational

    18. What are some of the publication tools you have worked with in your previous positions?

      How to Answer

      Interviewers will ask you about the publication tools you used in your previous positions to confirm your qualifications and determine if you are competent with their organization's tools, such as MS Word, WordPress, and others. You should be prepared to answer this question using information from your resume and your research about the organization. A good way of finding out what tools they employ is to meet with some of the company's former and current technical writers. You can also use these conversations to learn more about the job and even about some of the questions the interviewer may ask you.

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  • Operational

    19. What are some of the typical obstacles a technical writer encounters during the research stage of a document development life cycle?

      How to Answer

      This question may be asked as a follow-up to an earlier question. The interviewer will use follow-up questions to collect more information about the topic or explore it in more detail. They can also use follow-up questions to correlate your answers to ensure you are truthful and consistent. The best way to ensure consistency throughout the interview is to keep your answers brief and to the point and never fabricate an answer. If you don't know about the interviewer's topic, admit this and describe how you would locate the information. Your answer should focus on significant obstacles you can easily overcome, not trivial issues common to this profession.

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  • Operational

    20. What are some of the content creation tools you work with as a technical writer?

      How to Answer

      This question may be similar to the one you've already been asked earlier in the interview. Interviewers will often ask several questions about the same topic to collect additional information about the topic. This also helps them to correlate your answers and confirm that you are being consistent throughout the interview. When asked about the tools you use, processes and procedures you follow, and other operational aspects of the job, the interviewer is also trying to see if your methodologies match theirs. After you answer this question, you may want to ask the interviewer to confirm this.

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  • Operational

    21. What are some of the steps you take to create exceptional technical documents?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer will ask you this question to learn more about how you perform the job of a technical writer. They're not looking for the day-to-day routine tasks you perform in this role, but rather the things you do that are unique to your writing style, resulting in technical documents that meet the highest standards in the industry. You can answer this question by quickly walking them through your normal writing process, highlighting the steps which make you unique in this profession.

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  • Operational

    22. What are some of the tools do you use while constructing technical documents up?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer will ask about the tools you use to understand how you do this job and some of the resources you may need if hired. They also want to determine if the resources and tools you use are similar to those other technical writers in their organization employ. Your responses to the question will demonstrate both your experience and qualifications for this job. They may also give the employer some new ideas about the tools and resources they need to provide to their current @technical writing team.

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  • Technical

    23. How do you use Unified Modeling Language, also known as UML?

      How to Answer

      Like many other professions, technical writers use specific terminology, processes, and procedures in their work. Interviewers will ask you about these to confirm your qualifications for this job and your experience and the profession. Asking about UML allows you to demonstrate how you effectively communicate with other project stakeholders. Reviewing topics like this before the interview will help you be ready for these questions. The best way to respond is directly and to the point. The interviewer will ask you follow-up questions if they need additional information.

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  • Technical

    24. Can you discuss the difference between XML and HTML and how they are used to create effective websites?

      How to Answer

      It is highly likely that during an interview for a technical writer's position, you will be asked about the specific technologies the company uses and which you are likely to be writing about. While it is typical for technical writers to sometimes move between industries, they need to know the specific items, topics, or technologies the company they are interviewing uses. Being able to discuss the differences in tools used to create web pages is critical to securing a technical writer's role. This is why you should thoroughly research the company before the interview to understand its products and services, industry, clients, competition, and other aspects of its operations. The more you know about the employer, the more you will convince them that you're the right fit for their organization.

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  • Technical

    25. Can you describe what a white paper is and what its purpose is?

      How to Answer

      While it is very likely that the interviewer knows what a white paper is, they are asking you this question to understand how you define it and see if your definition is the same as theirs. This allows you to demonstrate your expertise with white papers and describe what the company can expect if they hire you. You may even want to offer to provide them with samples of your work. Of course, this assumes that you've written white papers in your previous positions. If not, describe what a white paper is and confirm your ability to create one.

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  • Technical

    26. In what circumstances would you add a call-out to a document you created?

      How to Answer

      By asking the question in this manner, the interviewer assumes that you are familiar with a call-out and how they are used. Your answer to the question will verify that you use call-outs and provide them information as to when you do this. Since this is a technical question, you should keep your answer brief and to the point and anticipate follow-up questions.

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  • Technical

    27. Can you discuss a typical document development lifecycle?

      How to Answer

      Most projects or processes have life cycles that describe how they move from concept to completion. When an interviewer asks you about the document development lifecycle, they are attempting to confirm that you've done this work and understand the individual steps required to create quality documentation. While not everyone uses the same definition of the document development lifecycle, your answer should be somewhat similar to how the organization defines this.

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  • Technical

    28. What is meant by the term 'topic-based authoring'?

      How to Answer

      During an interview for a technical writing job, you may be asked about some of the terminology, processes, and procedures used in this profession. The interviewer uses your answers to confirm your qualifications and determine if you're the best candidate for this position. Even though you are a seasoned professional, you may still want to review some of the terminology, process, and procedures you may not have used recently. Hence, you are familiar with them and can answer these questions. Fortunately, the term topic-based is self-explanatory, and you should be able to easily answer this question.

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  • Technical

    29. Can you discuss some of the differences between a product manual and a white paper?

      How to Answer

      This question may seem odd because most professionals understand the difference between a product manual and a white paper. The interviewer is really trying to determine how you define each of these documents and your experience creating them. The best way to respond to this question is to briefly describe each document and discuss their differences. Rather than focusing on the content, you can describe the purpose of each document and how you construct them to achieve the desired outcome.

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  • Technical

    30. Can you describe the differences between Google Docs and Microsoft Word?

      How to Answer

      This question can be asked either as a standalone or a follow-up question to one the interviewer has already asked you. Interviewers will ask follow-up questions to collect more information or explore a topic in more detail. They also use follow-up questions throughout the interview to confirm that you respond to their questions accurately and consistently. Comparing two tools used by technical writers is a good way for the interviewer to explore your knowledge of these. You can discuss the features and benefits of each tool, including editing options, ability to collaborate, and general acceptance or usage.

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