Biggest Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Content writer

Estimated Reading Time 3 Mins.

Questions to ask before hiring a content writer (A Quick Glance)

  • We have a strict quality control policy. How do handle criticisms of your writing?
  • What aspects of this content writing role do you think you will like? And what you won’t?  
  • Tell us the one thing you like and dislike most about your current manager. 
  • Did you check our website? As a writer, what do you think we can improve on our website?
  • If we select you, how long will you stay here? 
  • Are you able to accept your own limitations and share them openly?
  • How do you feel most confident? Working solo writer or with a team writer, SEO, designers?
  • How would you rate your content writing skills in on a scale from one to ten?
  • What would you say are your strengths as a content writer?
  • What is your ideal content strategy
  • Which type of content works?
  • How do you analyse the performance of content?
  • How do you come up with fresh ideas?
  • What is your SEO content promotion strategy
  • What you think the content writing industry is going?

Audio version –

Explainer

I understand the positive returns an organization gets by investing in a good content creator. I also understand the issues an organization faces by onboarding a mis-hire. 

As an interviewer, it is a tough task to compare and choose from so many people. Just when you think s/he is a good fit for the advertised role, someone comes and performs far better – leaving you in a string of thoughts, making you rethink your decision. 

The first step of taking an informed hiring decision depends on the quality of questions you ask. Here I cover a partial list of some fitting interview questions that could help you hire the perfect content resource. 

Before we start, please note – 

This article is for – 

This article is best consumed by recruiters and hiring managers, who will soon onboard fresh writing resource/s into their organization. 

If you are a writer looking for questions at the interview, this article is a good place for some insights. But it doesn’t end here. 

Preparing for the interview, planning your portfolio, getting ready with the right answers and the art of giving answers confidently to leave a good first impression…there’re a lot of things you should know as well. I will cover a separate article on this for you soon. 

Also, please note that the quality of questions should differ based on a number of factors, including the skill level of the interviewee, his experience, maturity level of the post he has applied etc. 

For eg., you would not ask a fresher “What did you learn from your work experience?” and to an experienced resource “Do you like challenges?” 

Also, the mode of employment makes some questions obsolete. If you are hiring a freelance writer, your priority is to know whether he will deliver quality work on time. Whether he will adapt to your company’s internal work policy is not actually needed here. 

So, while a variety of factors influence the type of interview questions for content writers; as an interviewer, it is in your best interest that before conducting the interview, you know what is your priority and you are defined about your objectives. 

Let’s Get Started – Questions You Must Ask to Content Writers Before Hiring Them

Recruiters should have a very defined understanding of the activities the new resource is expected to perform, and all the questions should support this goal. 

The objectives of these content writer interview questions are to evaluate the interviewer’s readiness to work for your company, his capacity to take up the role, and his confidence to navigate the challenges that the job brings.  

Metrics Meaning
Readiness I am looking positively to work for you
Confidence I can do it
Capacity I have the skills and data to prove it

These questions for content writers evaluate the writer’s readiness to perform well at the job 

We have a strict quality control policy. How do handle criticisms of your writing? 

Nobody is a perfect writer. But the yearning to reach the state of perfection should not die. Writing is a vulnerable job – constantly making writers face the judgements of editor, reader, and boss. 

The plethora of feedback comes from different parts – and not all of these are going to be positive. A good writer should take criticisms positively, acknowledge the error and appreciate the feedback and most importantly apply the learning. While at the same time, a good writer should not have to accept every criticism.

What aspects of this content writing role do you think you will like? And what you won’t?

This should help you know whether the content writer has read about the requirements. The answer should justify the expectations of this role. The honest answer to this should focus on the diversity of the role and the (learning) takeaway.

For example, if the role requires the writer to spend a lot of time on social media, s/he should focus on the benefits of being actively attentive to social media, experiencing how businesses are thriving socially and how social is changing the digital landscape. 

Tell us the one thing you like and dislike most about your current manager. 

As a writer, it rarely becomes a pleasant experience to work with a cynical manager, who is ready to arrest you with every word, raise a complaint at the slightest of errors, leaves you in a messy situation, and always acts as a roadblock to your next pay hike. 

But not all managers are bad. There are people who are not raging egoist. They value relationship, appreciate work and often provide actionable, useful insights to help the writer grow as a co-employee and as a person. They treat everyone equally!

A good writing resource should be frank about his experience with the existing manager. He should not be judgemental yet provide a clear view of the professional relationship he shares with the manager.  

Did you check our website? As a writer, what do you think we can improve on our website?

A good writing resource, who really wants to make a positive difference, would never appear at the interview unprepared. A good candidate would almost always check your website – and for a writer – it is must. If the writer is able to identify loopholes on your website you never previously believed exist, there’s a high chance he would be good-fit for your company. The content of ANY website can be improved, and you can definitely expect good suggestions from a good writer. 

If we select you, how long will you stay here? 

Pardon me for telling this, but this is perhaps the silliest question at an interview. Yet. It is very popular. Silliest because do you think the writer will give you an honest answer?  He is looking for a better opportunity and that’s why he is here. So, he is likely to stay if he grows here.

But it is very unlikely that he can speculate his tenure at your office at this premature stage of engagement. And frankly, no one is going to stay forever. Unless you founded this company, would you like to spend the rest of your life here? 

These questions for content writers evaluate the writer’s confidence to perform well at the job 

Are you able to accept your own limitations and share them openly?

Confidence comes from experience. Experience is gathered when you have skills. A good resource should be confident about his expertise, but he should always be open to improvement. A writer must have his own limitations and at the time of giving content writer interview, he would not be in a position to speculate the upcoming challenges. If he thinks he is perfect, and there’s hardly any criticisms he is likely to face, this is a red flag he is not the resource you are looking to hire. 

Pls note – If a resource openly accepts he has a lot of limitations (which I don’t think most people do), this is also not an optimistic reply. The art of acknowledging your limitations is to accept and work on them, but don’t let them get over you. If you had limitations which you no longer have, there’s no point making it linger in your memory. Forget and move on. 

How do you feel most confident? Working solo writer or with a team writer, SEO, designers?

This is a very important interview question to ask content writers. Many people gladly work solo without the intervention of office red tape and being bogged down by a superior other. And there are others, who don’t feel confident enough working independently. They thrive in a team and grow with a shared vision. If you are hiring a full time content writer, I think people who love teamwork are the best people, because of obvious reasons. But the resource should be able to take decision independently in toughest situations. 

How would you rate your content writing skills in on a scale from one to ten?

A good content writer would rate himself positively, while at the same time not over-promoting himself. 

What would you say are your strengths as a content writer?

A content writer’s biggest strengths are – Good research quality, playing with word, constructing sentences effortlessly, delivering original work, knowledge of user-oriented content, and Google algorithms, basic understanding of CMS and graphics and analytics tools, knowledge of using keywords etc, to name but a few.

These questions for content writers evaluate the writer’s capacity to perform well at the job 

These questions directly evaluate his in-job skills. The more fluently a content writer answers the questions covering the core points, more likely it is that he is good. Not knowing any/most is a red flag, Knowing all/most is a positive sign  

What is your ideal content strategy

A content writer – who knows his job – knows the value of a good content strategy.  While strategy differs based on many factors, any project’s content strategy should include all/most of these – 

  • Understanding the target market 
  • Researching competitors 
  • Identifying the best content challenges 
  • Create a dependable content schedule and calendar 
  • Produce content 
  • Distribute the written matters across relevant platforms
  • Marketing and measuring the results and improve

Which type of content works?

Web content can be of many types, and there’s no straight forward list about the most useful content types. Any content is that’s written well, targeting user intent – works. Whether it is blog, PR, blog, video, infographics, social media etc. 

How do you analyse the performance of content?

Top metrics to measure content performance include 

  • Traffic 
  • Engagement 
  • Business activity 

How do you come up with fresh ideas?

Content writers or web writers are just writers. They play with words, sit on the train of thought wishing to reach a destination where people are waiting to hear the message. But the process of writing is very hard. It requires patience and gathering fresh ideas is not very easy. For this, a writer needs to an avid reader. The web is a sea of information but provides ample scope for writers to find new ideas.

In this sense, I would say today’s writers are fortunate because they have such huge access to so many readily available resources. While I understand this, it is equally true that the best writing work was the ones done previously. Perhaps accessibility, overload of information is a roadblock for creativity 

Very few activities are as unpredictable, hard yet so fun and satisfying as writing. Only writers can understand.

What is your SEO content promotion strategy

This is very important. Many people have this wrong notion that SEO writing is an overused term and it does not actually exist. If you write well, Google has to like it. But no. Google is here to curate the best info, but if you are expecting your work to be curated by the search engine, you should know what Google wants. This is where SEO content writing comes.

What you think the content writing industry is going?

Good, agile writers who want to grow and thrive in this field are those who constantly keep abreast with every latest development of the industry. Expect a positive answer from a writer. 

  • Video content
  • User cited content 
  • Mobile content 
  • AI in content 
  • Smart device-oriented content 
  • Data-driven content 
  • Mosy importantly, writing content that solves the problem  

Other questions 

  • How do you ensure the credibility of the information?
  • What content management systems are you familiar with?
  • Do you have any questions for us?
  • Which content writing blogs do you read?
  • What content writing tools do you use 

These are perhaps a bunch of very important content writing interview questions. This should follow with a writing test to evaluate the most important thing: Writing skills.

I once was asked to write about invisible ink, and write something about nothing. Such questions provide details about the thinking quality of the writer. I thought I wrote well, but I was not selected.

Thanks for reading!

Although I tried to make it comprehensive, it is still not an exhaustive list and surely not the best guide at all. But can we make it one so that together we can help recruiters find the most-fitting talent? What have been your experiences interviewing a content writer? Or as a content writer, which questions you found very interesting while facing an interview

If you want to outsource your next content writing project and searching for a content writer in India brings you here, please talk now! 

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