Hiring a Content Writer? The hiring process can be a tedious one, especially for brands focusing on quality. No company or person would ever want to pay a person not worth the money. In the case of content writers, the selection process demands proficiency simply because the content is the front of all! However hard you may try to create a brand, without proper content, all the ideas go whoosh…unnoticed!
Why do I need a content writer?
In general terms, we all know what a content writer does and what is the process of writing; but there are innumerable places where one might fail. And so arises the need to identify the perfect content writer. In many instances, the person behind the ideas is actually capable enough to create efficient and impactful content, but if he/she is stuck creating content, who will do the management? Or who will work on the ideas? And many more such tasks… Sometimes, getting the right content takes days and hours on end, and what do we expect the manager to do if he is stuck getting the ‘writers’ block’ all day long? Ideas are the base of any brand but what carries them forward is the content! It thus becomes more critical to ensure impeccable content, conveying the perfect message! A content writer is thus the perfect way to go to ensure clarity and efficiency.
Hiring a Content Writer?
How to identify if the writer is fit for the job?
Chances are, if you have already started looking for a content writer, you know it isn’t easy. Filtering out information, knowing how to get the perfect person to fit in, and selecting just the soul mate of your content can be wearisome. And wrong choices would thus go a long way and have the ability to harm the employer at multiple fronts! And so, here is the solution to your problem! Here are some quick questions, along with answers to help you find ‘the one!
Q1. Past experience.
This is a question which most firms would ask, and believe me it isn’t for sheer fun. Past experience helps a person figure out how well the person knows the field, or probably knows it at all. Content writing has various categories and not every writer is fit for each of them, and so finding the category in which the candidate fits is important.
Here are a few examples:
- (Has to experience in the field) Stating the firms or companies where the person has worked and informing precisely of what responsibilities were handled. The employer, in this case, must check if the person has enough experience in the fields that he/she requires him/her to have. If the person doesn’t have the required experience but still has worked in a variety of fields – he/she is the one!
- (Starting) If this is your first internship, here is the answer: Although I don’t have much experience in the field, I have been writing for my personal interest for a couple of years (mention time as accurately as possible) and decided to give content writing a try. I have been a part of various essays and other writing-related competitions at various levels (mention specifically, if significant), and I am confident that I will give more than my hundred percent to this internship/job.
In case of the above answer, you instantly know that you want to hire the writer. Because:
- He/she is venturing into the field for the first time and must be enthusiastic about starting over.
- Not having previous experience mostly tells us that they have not fit into a particular writing style and can be molded as and when needed.
- A person saying that though he/she has not tried anything before, but is confident is sure someone who knows what he/she is capable of and knows where he/she is going, which helps the employer.
Q2. Where would you rate yourself in overall language proficiency on a scale of 1 to 10 (10being the highest)?
This question is important because it tells us about the person’s confidence level and how well he knows the field functions – moreover, in most cases, if the person is truthful enough, you’ll instantly know what kind of work to give him.
If you think that you are anywhere below 5 on the scale, you should refrain from applying and the employer from hiring. Not only because the skills are poor, and thus the output degrades, but also because you aren’t confident enough to assess your skills. Employers shall keep in mind the point to make sure that the quality of work doesn’t degrade.
In other cases:
- 6-7: This is still a fairly low scale, but the person might be a little under-confident but pretty good at writing. In these cases, a small piece can be given to write about, to check which case this one is – confidence or proficiency
- 7-8: In the following case, the person is quite close to where he/she should be. The areas where the issues can arise are grammar or sentence structuring, which the employer must figure out based on the style of conversing. And again, it might also happen that since the person hasn’t had much experience, he/she isn’t too sure to confirm- the first question will help.
- 8-9: This is the most accurate and perfect scale. This is an instant check on confidence and proficiency. This scale tells us that the person has the required proficiency and that he/she isn’t too proud to give a 10/10 and understands the fact that there is a scope to learn as he/she grows.
- 9-10: In most cases, this scale is not recommendable. The simple point being the person is a little over the top and overconfident, which means he/she can also try to overpower the employer and even, in some cases, be closed to new learning curves. While in other rarer cases, the employer will be able to figure out the person’s attitude with superiority or humility in nature.
Q3. What do you usually write about?
This question is straightforward and will instantly tell the recruiter if he/she has experience in the required fields or if he/she is anywhere required for the position.
E.g., If I need a person to write on social issues, and he/she tells me that he/she mostly writes about love and heartbreak – It is most probable that he/she doesn’t have much experience in researching. This fact and figures might stay aloof from the articles.
Both the interviewer and the interviewee must make sure that the needs of the other person are met and only then answer or judge accordingly.
Q4. How are well do you work with deadlines?
This answer is a little tricky, especially for content writers. A content writer can end up answering when he/she gets the ‘writers’ block,’ but things aren’t always on the block per se. In this case, it is a serious no. It might happen that the block doesn’t come up until weeks. Does this mean a change in deadlines?
Moreover, the other part of the answer, which is yes, certainly requires a follow-up question which is – how flexibly can they work with deadlines, or how long does it take for them to come up with a 1000word article (Or relating to the employer’s needs) in both situations – when they are and aren’t well researched.
Q5. How do you work in a team? Which is more comfortable – team or individual?
Many writers might prefer working alone because it avoids interactions, and sometimes it actually does increase productivity. Others might think working in teams serves better because it brings in more ideas and helps easier division of tasks than one person being piled up with it.
Although this completely depends on the organization’s need – working within or without a team – the employer most certainly already has a setup in mind before the interview – what we need to look for is why the person likes or does not like working in a team.
This question checks if the person is suitable with the work environment that he/she will be getting and checks adaptability to change. When he/she says he/she is suitable to only a typical environment (that will be clear with the why we talked about above), that would mean he/she may have problems adjusting to different conditions and making a few changes here and there.
Q6. What is your proof reading process?
Proofreading process is important, because the first draft is never it! It always requires editing and re-editing and re-re-editing and so on.
There can be various points that he/she might say, but the sure to include are as below:
- Checking for grammatical and spelling errors
- Vocabulary check as a reader (i.e., according to the mental comprehension of the target audience)
- Sentence structures – active voice/passive voice, pronouns, etc.
- Filtering important and unimportant information
- Factual corrections
- The flow of the content – pyramid flow(most common)
- Relevancy to the topic
The above points are not in any particular order, but the writer needs to make sure he/she covers them all.
Q7. How do you structure your articles?
The article structure usually decides readability. It is preferable that the body of the content be (For commercial purposes):
- Introduction to the topic
- Why the topic is essential
- Essentials – i.e., what the article exactly talks about (This is the longest part of the article)
- Conclusions – This part is for the audience’s understanding of the topic and to remove any ambiguity that might have arisen amidst the article reading process.
Mostly, all writers get this part perfectly correct what is important is knowing the spread of the information and the tone of the article – the information flow should be properly mixed, it should never happen that all the key points are accumulated at a single place in the article, it should always be evenly spread so that the reader always keeps finding needful material while reading. The article’s tone is dependent on the purpose – while writing articles for blogs or general informative purposes- can be on a lighter note. Still, per se the article is for an official purpose. It has to be made sure that language is fancy, written in passive voice, and is precise.
Q8. How do you decide what your target audience is?
Researching about the target audience, although it is a relatively easy task, what matters is that the writer knows it is important. This question can have various answers – like going on the net and looking for statistics. For example, I could go and look up people who look for content creation or interview guidance. It can be ‘I think of who I am if I am reading this?’ This is where their imagination comes into play. Asking for examples will help the employer know how well the person understands the importance; vague answers tell that the writer doesn’t focus much on the target audience. Knowing the importance of the target audience is crucial because, at the end of the day, the audience, and thus the readability, makes the article a success.
Q9. Why did you choose to work in the field of content writing?
This question is just for the need to know their inclination and passion towards content writing. It can have various answers like:
- Writing helped me vent out my heart when I couldn’t talk to anyone else, and now it is just part and parcel. So, I decided to turn my passion into a profession and thus started working in this field.
- I think my excessive reading prompted me to take up writing. Why not share my knowledge with other people and help them, just the way some books have helped me.
- Just to let my thoughts reach the masses, I started writing about things I knew, and before you know, I am giving out information to numerous people around me.
There can be countless answers to this question, which will vary from person to person. The answer will undoubtedly tell the employer of what other hobbies the person has, how dedicated he/she is towards his/her job, and also what is the sense of motivation.
Q10. Do you think feedback and criticism are vital? How do you use them?
This is amongst the key questions; to ask every employee/intern. A too high-management employee is not someone the company looks for. Tolerating criticism is as vital as the art of writing itself. At various points during the work period, there will be disagreements between the two sides, and that is when the person should understand the importance of feedback/criticism is and how to use it healthily.
Some answers to this question can be:
- I think I work pretty well with criticism because I think it is vital that the person who needs the job done is actually happy with it and knows that it is worth the money and effort. At the same time, I make it a point not to take it personally and make the necessary changes in my further projects.
- Healthy feedback helps a person stay motivated, and criticism helps him/her stay on the right track. I think making sure to incorporate suggestions is important, and it is also understandable that the tasks might come with criticism. Thus, it becomes my responsibility to ensure efficiency, henceforth healthily accepting and implementing criticism.
The above article puts into perspective various points that one should keep in mind while hiring a content writer; it also helps both the job seekers and hirers to help understand the importance of each point they make or judge through during an interview. The above must ask questions for the reader, but the employer must also mindfully interrogate based on both company’s and the job’s demands from the employee.
Also read Top Software Quality Assurance (QA) Interview Questions