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April 07, 2016

How to Interview Candidates for a Copywriting Job

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Finding the perfect, or close to perfect, copywriter can be hard. According to Raven Tools, there are a few main reasons why companies have difficulty finding the right copywriter:

  1. They don't focus enough on the non-writing skills the writer needs to be a successful contributor. For example, the ability to understand an audience.
  2. They don't ask the right questions.
  3. They don’t have a good methodology for screening writers, which can result in an incoherent, unfair screening process.

Whether you’re hiring a freelance copywriter or an in-house copywriter, knowing what you need and want in a candidate and accurately assessing skills will bring you closer to finding the perfect fit. 


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Skills and Requirements to Consider

The job description you write for the position is the first tool you can use that will attract the right candidates. Including the exact skills and requirements necessary for the job is important. In your job description, consider including skills based on:

  • SEO – Is it important to you to have a writer who is knowledgeable in SEO?
  • Subject matter  What subject matter(s) will the writer be working on? Does he or she need to have specific experience with this subject, or are you willing to trust that his or her research skills will help produce a valuable piece?
  • Content medium –  Will the writer be working on press releases, emails, blogs, product descriptions, website content, or advertising? Is it imperative that the writer has experience in the particular medium(s) or in-depth knowledge of the product category?


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The Interview

When evaluating the candidates’ answers, you’ll want to look for these abilities:

  • Understanding audience
  • Understanding the story
  • Ability to identify and follow company voice and style
  • Sensitivity to deadlines
  • Following instructions
  • Effectively act upon feedback


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Questions to Ask

In addition to asking questions to determine cultural fit, inquring about skill is equally important, especially if you’re hiring a freelancer:

  • Why do you enjoy copywriting?
  • What types of content have you worked on in the past?
  • What is the difference between “a while” and “awhile”? How about “farther” and “further”? (Find more commonly confused business words and phrases here.)
  • Why is SEO important?
  • What types of SEO work have you done?
  • What do you do to make sure you reach your deadlines?
  • Give me an example of when you received feedback you didn’t quite agree with. What was your response?


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Give a Writing Assignment

Once you’ve narrowed your candidate pool down to a few, consider a test writing assignment. Set parameters for a project they could potentially work on for you as an employee. For example, the body of an email, a couple advertisements, a press release, or a short blog post. Each candidate should receive the same assignment so you can fairly and accurately compare writing samples.

Offering feedback and asking for a rewrite will give you an idea of how the writer will respond to critiques in real-life situations.


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By first starting with a precise job description and then assessing candidates through interview questions and writing samples, you’ll be on your way to finding your next copywriter.

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WunderLand is a team of Talent Acquisition Experts who connect companies with in-demand digital, marketing and creative talent. The experience, insight and market knowledge we provide have earned us loyalty and a reputation for quality.

 

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