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Recruiting great TypeWell transcribers

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2015 04:45PM MST

One of the most important parts of maintaining a successful transcription service is having the right transcriber. To attract good candidates it is important to include in your recruitment materials a good description of the many positive aspects of the work. You may also need to think creatively about how to reach the many good potential candidates in your community. See the Sources section below for ideas about how to advertise the position. Recruitment efforts can take time, so you should plan to start recruiting 4 to 6 weeks before you want the person(s) to start the TypeWell transcribing course. 

Whom to Seek; Whom to Avoid

Choose candidates who meet our qualifications for typing speed and accuracy, English understanding and expression, and good memory. Good transcribing requires not only fast, accurate typing and excellent English skills, but also the proven abilities to learn quickly, to work independently, and to problem-solve well.  Sharp, high-energy people make good choices for this kind of work. 

While it may be tempting just to choose someone who is already working at your site, or a person recommended by a colleague, it is better to do a formal search for candidates. That will give you the best chance of finding a person with all the attributes needed to do well in the TypeWell course, and go on to provide excellent communication access services. 

Avoid choosing people who currently do any kind of verbatim transcribing, such as court reporting (machine or voice), medical or legal transcription, video captioning, etc. Experience has shown again and again that verbatim processing habits are extremely difficult to overcome, and they prevent students from developing the meaning-for-meaning processing skills required for TypeWell transcribing. There is a high failure rate in the Course for people who currently do any kind of verbatim transcribing, even just a few hours a week.

Also avoid choosing people who would be providing traditional notetaking services while taking the course. This applies to notetaking either by hand or with a computer. Doing the kind of processing required to produce traditional notes seriously hinders the mastery of the processing required for rich meaning-for-meaning transcribing.

Sources

One of the best ways to recruit good candidates is to advertise the job opening on local Jobs Boards, such as many colleges and school districts maintain. Many cities and counties also maintain Jobs Boards that are useful for reaching people in the broader community. Local newspapers and their Internet sites are also good ways to reach a wide, local audience. Another excellent way to advertise transcribing openings is on internet job sites, such as the TypeWell Jobs Board and your area Craigslist.  

Recruiting students from your campus? Tips from a university coordinator:
"I would definitely do some promotion within the honors program or honors college if your institution has one. Freshmen from the honors college tend to have advanced skill sets, high persistence rates, and more often than not stay at the institution rather than transferring.

"What this means is that these students generally have typing skill sets and the ability to manage their time well and are more likely to stay at their university (because most honors programs offer tuition remittance or other major incentive). All of these factors tend to mean that the students hired are going to stick around for at least three years, are already on campus, and tend to have a higher level of focus on transcription since they are already in the academic environment."

No matter where you advertise the job opening, place the ad in the Professional section, or in the Education section.  This method is more likely to attract the kind of candidates who will do well in the job than if you advertise in the Clerical section.  Although transcribing involves typing, it is much more than a clerical job.  It is closer to the position of an educational interpreter.  As noted above, you want to attract the kind of person who is a quick thinker, energetic, and self-motivated.

Wording your Job Announcement

Some people erroneously think that a transcriber is just a typist. While it is true that a transcriber does type, the job of transcribing involves much more. It is an interesting, challenging and rewarding career, that garners a good level of pay.

Your transcriber job announcement should express all the positive aspects of a transcriber position, as well as the level of skill, intelligence and professionalism required to do the job well. The job announcement should also include the basic candidate qualifications (typing speed, English listening and writing skills, etc.). Here is a sample college job announcement. You will want to adjust it to fit the needs of your site, as well as the particular media you use to distribute it (e.g., paper flyer, newspaper, online job site, listserv, etc.). 

Screening Potential Candidates

Instead of taking your time to interview everyone who expresses interest in the position, direct candidates to the TypeWell web page. That will tell the candidate about the course, the work of a transcriber, and the qualification requirements for entry into the course. 

Candidates who feel they would make good candidates for the course should go on to set up a free application account. The application process goes into detail about the transcribing course design, the equipment needed, and the schdule and time commitment required for the transcribing course  If the candidate's application is strong enough to make the candidate eligible to enroll in the transcribing course, the candidate will be given the opportunity to name you as their possible sponsor for the course, and give your email address. At that point, the candidate's test scores will be emailed to you, along with a link to pay for his or her transcribing course. You should then interview the candidate(s) before deciding to sponsor him or her for the course. 

Interviewing

Once you have candidates who pass the screening above, you should be sure to interview them before sponsoring them for the course. Face to face interviews are usually best, but phone interviews can be used as a last resort. 

Ask the candidates questions that will show if they meet the candidate requirements (see the Qualifications link at the top of the page), and have the qualities desired in a transcriber. Questions about their educational background will tell you if they have the experience to transcribe the level of classes you anticipate covering.  For example, we have found it is best to have someone with some post-secondary class experience to transcribe college-level classes. 

You will also want to determine if the candidate has good "people" skills. Questions related to past experience working as a team member can help here. Also, the candidates' experience with people with special needs, and experience with modern-day classroom styles will be important. It is a good idea to arrange for final candidates to observe a typical class in session and assess their comfort level with the atmosphere. 

Verify that the candidate will not be providing notetaking or verbatim transcription services such as court steno or medical transcribing during the course. Such tasks during the course interfere with a candidate's ability to properly learn the meaning-for-meaning skills of a TypeWell transcriber. 

Verify that the candidate understands the requirements of the transcribing course, including the schedule of assignment due dates, and the target date for completing the course. Discuss whether the candidate would be paid during the course, and who would supply the laptop and other equipment needed during the course. 

Checking References

Experience has shown that it is very useful to check former employer references on any potential hiree.  It is one of the best ways to find out a person's usual work habits (e.g., arrive on time, cooperative, good attendance, etc.) and long-term attitudes. Everyone puts their best foot forward at an interview. One or two reference check calls can tell you if a person's interview behavior is typical. 

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