Sample Technical Writer Interview Questions and Answers

Read Monster’s in-depth guide on how to prepare for a technical writer interview.

Sample Technical Writer Interview Questions and Answers

Just about every industry relies on skilled technical writers to make complex information accessible to the average reader. Technical writers translate research studies, clinical trials, project plans, and technical instructions into clear, concise prose. Technical writers excel at written communication, but some may be anxious about expressing themselves with the same clarity during a job interview. Knowing how to provide thorough, thoughtful answers to technical writer interview questions will be key to landing a job in this growing field.

During the course of your interview conversation, you’ll cover a variety of topics. The interview may start with simple introductory questions such as, “Tell me about yourself” or “Why should we hire you?” before proceeding to industry-specific technical writer interview questions. Not sure what questions to expect? Monster can help. Read on to learn how to prepare for a technical writer interview.

How to Prepare for a Technical Writer Interview

If you’re used to expressing yourself on paper, here are a few tips that will help you ace your job interview:

  • Start preparing a few days to a week before the interview.
  • Research what questions you might be asked during your interview, using the job posting as a guide.
  • Write down your answers to common technical writer interview questions, and include anecdotes that best illustrate your skills and experience.
  • Recite your answers out loud to yourself.
  • Practice the conversation with a friend in a mock interview.

Start preparing now by reading through the following sample technical writing questions and answers.

Common Technical Writer Interview Questions

  1. What Made You Choose a Career as a Technical Writer?
  2. What Attributes Do You Think Make for Good Technical Writing?
  3. Describe Topic-Based Authoring.
  4. With Which Technical, Scientific, or Medical Fields Are You Most Familiar?
  5. What Steps Do You Take to Develop Technical Documents?
  6. Discuss Prior Technical Writing Projects.

Question #1: What Made You Choose a Career as a Technical Writer?

Technical writing is a niche profession, so interviewers will be interested to know what led you down this career path. Perhaps you already had an interest in a technical, scientific, or medical field prior to becoming a technical writer. Or maybe you transitioned from copywriting or journalism.

Whatever your motivations, be sure to discuss the following in your answer:

  • What you like about technical writing.
  • How you feel technical writing serves your clients and audience.

How You Could Answer

“I originally got into technical writing while working in the medical device industry. Through technical writing, I found that I like deconstructing complex concepts, breaking them down into their simplest components to make them accessible to a general audience. It’s almost like solving a puzzle. And it’s gratifying to help people through instruction manuals, how-to content, and white papers.”

Question #2: What Attributes Do You Think Make for Good Technical Writing?

In theory, technical writer interview questions that ask about your subjective (but expert) opnions don’t have a right or wrong answer. But in asking this question, interviewers want to find out how efficient, reliable, and accurate your process is.

Here are a few things to consider when providing an answer:

  • Content clarity.
  • Consistency and accuracy.
  • Visual elements.

How You Could Answer

“You must always keep your audience in mind when creating technical content. The goal is to break down the content into the simplest possible components without losing any meaning. Industry-specific terms that are not easily understood by the average reader should be defined or replaced. Complex data can be represented using graphs, charts, infographics, or other visuals. And there can be absolutely no errors. A good technical writer doesn’t just double-check—they triple-check that the content they create is accurate and consistent.”

Question #3: Describe Topic-Based Authoring.

When applying to a job as a technical writer, interview questions about topic-based authoring are to be expected. Show employers that you know how to write content on narrow topics.

Include the following in your answer:

  • A brief definition of topic-based authoring.
  • Examples of topic-based authoring.
  • Projects that you’ve worked on in the past.

How You Could Answer

“Topic-based authoring is a technical writing method that breaks narrow topics down into smaller sections or pieces of content. Each topic can be integrated into a much larger document or content set. For example, when I worked for a tech company, I wrote an in-depth document on circuit boards that contained sections on specific types of circuit boards, as well as their characteristics, features, and best uses.”

Question #4: With Which Technical, Scientific, or Medical Fields Are You Most Familiar?

Having a background in a specific technical, scientific, or medical field is critical to writing accurate technical content.

Prove your expertise to a potential employer by considering the following:

  • In which fields or subjects do you have prior training and education?
  • For which areas have you previously created technical content?

How You Could Answer

“I have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, so I already have in-depth knowledge of electrical components and emerging devices. I also worked for a company that manufactures medical devices—my role was to help design printed circuit boards fitted to each device. I also wrote instruction manuals for manufacturing employees and white papers and articles for the company’s website.”

Question #5: What Steps Do You Take to Develop Technical Documents?

Developing technical content takes planning, research, outlining, drafting, and revising. Employers are interested in knowing how you approach and complete a writing project.

Include the following steps in your answer:

  • Planning and researching.
  • Structuring and outlining.
  • Writing.
  • Editing, proofreading, and expert review.
  • Making revisions.

How You Could Answer

“The technical writing approach I take starts with planning. I first seek to understand the purpose of the content and the target audience. I then read the original data and conduct research and make notes, fitting each piece of information into an outline. Then I start writing, paying special attention to breaking up the content into manageable sections, bullet points, and numbered lists. Once I’ve finished my first draft, the content must be proofread by an experienced editor and reviewed by an industry expert for accuracy. Content will then come back to me for revision before getting approved and published.”

Question #6: Discuss Prior Technical Writing Projects.

If you’re an experienced technical writer, you’ve likely working on several projects. Technical writer interview questions about your most notable work give you the opportunity to discuss how your writing approach leads to success.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when answering:

  • What was the purpose of the project?
  • What was the outcome?

How You Could Answer

“The first notable technical document I wrote was a guide to printed circuit boards. The purpose of the document was to describe the features, purposes, pros and cons, and components of each type of circuit board. The document also made comparisons between rigid and flexible circuit board and how they’re used to fit into complex device designs. By offering an in-depth guide to circuit boards, the company I worked for become a trusted source of circuit board manufacturing for several electronics companies.”

Monster Can Help You Simplify Your Job Search

Are you prepared to answer technical writer interview questions? Even though you’re sure to ace your first interview, it never hurts to have a back-up plan. To apply for more technical writing jobs, you can sign up with Monster. Once you upload your resume, recruiters and employers will be able to reach out to you with new opportunities, and we’ll send you free job notifications whenever a new technical writing position is posted.