How to Hire the Right Marketing Writer the First Time

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Hiring anyone for a role at your company is a risk. It can be costly when you hire the wrong person, and you’ll have to start all over again. When you’re seeking a marketing writer, you can lessen that hiring risk. This definitive hiring guide is designed to take you every step of the way. As a result, it’s more likely you’ll hire the right marketing writer for your company the first time around.

Find candidates where they’re looking for you

When you’re considering where to look for that initial pool of candidates, you have choices to make.

 

Job boards

Would you want to use a job board? The problem with this option is: how do you narrow down to just marketers and writers? You need to select the right job board for finding your target candidates.

Put up listings in places where they are looking for jobs, not just anywhere. Save resources to be in the right place at the right time.

 

Staff referrals

Your current staff members are a great asset for finding new employees. You’re looking for a writer, so make sure you’re explaining what you need in candidates when asking staff for referrals.

When current staff know what you’re looking for in a marketing writer, they’ll better understand who to suggest to you. If they aren’t clear, you’ll receive more unqualified or irrelevant options.

Give your staff credit and power to help you with this hiring process. They can give you some of the best candidates.

 

Recruiters

Use recruiters to better focus your search to specifically marketing writers. Tell recruiters exactly what you want to see in candidates, and they’ll give you options that fit with those expectations.

Recruiters are great when your internal human resources department is overwhelmed or limited. They charge a fee, but it can be a worthwhile investment when they find you someone who ultimately becomes your marketing writer.

 

Internal hiring and promotion

Hiring from within your current staff can be a good option when you can see certain staff in the marketing writer role. Do you have any staff that have demonstrated skills relevant to the open role? Talk to them about moving to this new position.

The problem with needing a marketing writer in this case is: you might need to offer a higher salary to the staff member to convince them to make the move. If you use any of the other hiring options, you can offer the salary you want. However, your current staff will want to see reasons or benefits to changing their role.

 

Describe the job with practicality and appeal

Nobody wants to read through a job description that’s strictly formal and highly technical. People want to see the human behind the screen. They want to see personality, which will help them sense the work environment they’re applying to join.

Remember: you’re asking for a marketing writer. Don’t turn them away with a sloppy listing, and proofread!

These are some tips for writing a job description that peaks interest and drives applications:

  • Use buzzwords with caution. People want to see personality, but don’t overdo it. If your listing sounds forced and unnatural, people will be less likely to apply. You also want to be clear and understandable. What do you mean by “ninja”?
  • Make it realistic. If you require so much that the role fits more with five employees instead of one, people will see how unrealistic your expectations are. Pinpoint and narrow down your requirements to specifically a marketing writer, not an entire marketing department.
  • Add the details. Yes, people have a short attention span, but the job description needs to explain the role in detail to attract the right candidates. Include day-to-day responsibilities. List the skills your ideal candidate needs to have to succeed in this role. Don’t forget to include the benefits and salary range you offer. That last point is critical to convincing people to apply, so be clear in what you can offer to your writer.
  • Link to your website. This means your About page or company culture page. Give candidates the opportunity to learn how your company runs. Show them what you value. Make them feel like they can relate or fit in with your company and team.
  • Include any perks you can offer. This part is tricky. You might think adding free lunch or a gaming room is considered perks, but those are irrelevant to the role. Yes, those are cool perks to have, but save them for your company careers page. In the job description, focus on role-specific perks – ones that would appeal to a highly-targeted candidate. For example, do you offer flexible hours or the ability to telecommute?

Ask targeted questions in the application

In a job listing, you make it clear what you’re looking for in a marketing writer. In the application, you get applicants to prove they’re qualified through targeted questions.

Whether you use LinkedIn, Indeed, Workable, or another program, you’ll want to have the option to ask customized questions for the role. It’s not enough to only get a resume and maybe a cover letter. You want to see whether candidates have evidence of their qualifications.

For this writing role, these are some of the areas you might want to cover:

  • Ask for writing samples, offering a place to include links and maybe even an attachment.
  • Ask for an example of how the applicant succeeded with their writing efforts in the past.
  • Ask a question that gauges whether this applicant would fit with your company’s culture.

You might think this is not the time to ask questions about team fit. It’s actually the best time because you’ll cut back your list significantly. You don’t just want a marketing writer. Don’t forget to check whether they can fit with your existing team.

The point here is that you want to include questions that’ll streamline the interview process. You want to narrow down the candidate pool to a manageable number right away.

 

Narrow down the applicant pool even further

Even with the targeted questions in the application, you’re going to see many applicants that have what you’re looking for with this role. You’re going to need more ways to narrow down your list.

It’s time to check whether they have the skills to get the job done. This is often checked in their resume, writing sample, cover letter, and elsewhere.

These are the 15 top skills to expect in a marketing writer (in no particular order):

  1. Optimistic: Do they exhibit a positive attitude and outlook in their writing?
  2. Efficient: Are they quick to produce content? Are they able to focus on each task?
  3. Researcher: Do they know how to find the best information they need to enhance their content?
  4. Storyteller: Are they able to explain concepts through stories to make it interesting and understandable?
  5. Patient: Do they understand that writing content is a lengthy process and that results are not immediate? Are they willing to remain persistent without losing patience?
  6. Organized: Do they demonstrate the ability to remain organized both in environment and thought processing?
  7. Educator: Can they explain a concept clearly so that it is informative enough for anyone to learn from?
  8. Educated: Do they have an educated background? Are they willing to continue their education over time through self-study and programs? What certifications do they have?
  9. Creative: What have they shown you that demonstrates their originality and creativity?
  10. Informed: Do they know the top trends and understand how to remain alert to changing trends?
  11. Empathy: Can they create content that shows they care about their audience’s needs?
  12. Humor: Can they create content that’s fun and relatable so that people enjoy reading it?
  13. Adaptable: Are they able to change their approaches to fit with the evolving needs of their audience?
  14. Analytical thinking: Can they look at the resulting data from their work, interpret it, learn from it, and make any necessary changes from what they learned?
  15. Reliable: Do you see this person as someone you can depend on, primarily based on their prior work history and references?

Those are the top skills you’ll want to use to filter through your applicants until you have a number suitable for the interview stage. You don’t want to expect perfection, but you still need to be sure you’re choosing candidates are most capable to succeed in this open role.

 

Interview candidates with the most potential

It depends on how much time and resources you have available, but this stage will likely include no more than 15 interviewees. Sometimes, you’ll want to restrict this list to only a handful of candidates.

With interviews, you should already know a good amount about each person you’re interviewing. This is the time to speak with them one-to-one with the goal of confirming their capabilities and relatability. It’s time to be especially critical of every moment to help you find that one person you’ll hire.

You might hold in-person interviews at your office. Or, you might be a remote company using Skype to communicate. Regardless, you have specific elements to evaluate in the interview stage.

These are some parts of the interview to be especially aware of to evaluate the interviewee:

  • How do they communicate? Are they clear in how they describe themselves or how they answer your questions? Marketing writers need to be able to communicate especially well. Granted, there’s a difference between verbal and written communication skills. Keep in mind that a candidate’s written communication skills can make up for any verbal confusion.
  • Are they demonstrating the skills from the application? For example, are they maintaining a positive attitude, or are they too negative? Look for evidence that the interviewee has the soft and hard skills they need to succeed as your marketing writer.
  • Did they come prepared? Part of being a writer is having research skills. If they didn’t research your company enough in advance, they might not have what it takes to create content for your company. Check the questions they ask, and ask questions of your own that gauge their knowledge of your company.

You also want to ensure you’re asking interview questions that are specific and effective at filtering your candidates till it’s small enough for an offer.

 

Make the final decision

So, you’ve finished your interviews. It’s time to make a decision on who you’re want to hire.

Interviews take time, so your ideal choice might have been waiting for weeks now. You don’t want to make people wait, especially during the interview process. If you have to make them wait, make sure you’re staying in touch with them. Keep them aware of your timeline. Otherwise, they might lose interest, and you’ll miss the opportunity for a good hire.

Another part of making this final decision is to keep in mind:

Your chosen candidate likely won’t be a perfect fit. Allow enough flexibility for learning any missing skills on the job. For example, if the candidate is unfamiliar with your industry, they can easily get familiar with it as they work, especially if you offer training.

When making a final decision, remember to have at least two backup candidates in case your top choice says no. If you inform all other candidates but one that they didn’t make the cut, you’re taking a huge risk. What if that one person says no to your offer? Always have a couple backups.

That’s the best way to hire a marketing writer. Hiring doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. When you follow these instructions and steps, you’ll expedite and streamline everything until you have the exact candidate who’ll bring the best results for your business.

Are you experienced in hiring? What have you done to make the process easier for you? Leave a comment with your experience!

 

hire the right marketing writer the first time

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