[texhax] test for LaTeX typist ?

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Wed Apr 26 18:48:54 CEST 2006

On Apr 26, 2006, at 12:21 PM, Torsten Wagner wrote:

> The easiest way of testing LaTeX skills maybe to ask all applicants to
> send there application in both LaTeX-source and dvi-version.
> By the way the solved this task you can decide whether you like to
> invite them for a interview or not.
> By this way you will sort (T)eXperts and non-(T)experts even before  
> the
> interview ;)
> Other indicators; ask for programming skills. If they now perl, C,  
> java,
> and bash-scripts, or whatever, they are at least familiar thinking  
> in code.
> HTML or PHP Skills maybe also indicate that they are capable to learn
> LaTeX fast.
> A Linux-geeking factor might be also an indication for "like-to- 
> learn-TeX".

The problem is the number of people in the above groups applying for  
typical secretarial positions is probably vanishingly small, unless  
you're in an area where a composition house has recently imploded.

Philip Taylor's thought of looking the ability to express ideas  
verbally is a good one, but one would want to be careful of course in  
the interview of being consistent in how this was handled.

Skills I would think would be directly applicable would be:

  - ability to use styles and style sheets in Word
  - rudimentary WordBASIC macro programming
  - (maybe) some experience with html or other coding or tagging

One possible option working from Torsten's idea could be expanded  
upon, say providing the URL for the _Not So Short Guide to LaTeX_ in  
the advertisement and requiring that the résumé be submitted in LaTeX  
format might be workable, or you could have two rounds of interviews,  
at the end of the first, give the applicants you want to re-interview  
a CD-R w/ a copy of MikTeX, TeXLive, and GWTeX and ``lshort.pdf'' and  
tell them to bring back their résumé formatted in LaTeX using tools  
on it.

I wonder though if you couldn't just have the secretary use LyX (or  
Open Office? It's supposed to have a really good LaTeX export option  
now) as being sufficiently like to Word and export LaTeX from that.


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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