Hiring the right talent isn’t always as easy as some people think. Some positions have unique and very specific requirements that need to be met for the recruitment process to be considered a success.
This is precisely the case when you are hiring copywriters.
As these professionals come with distinctive skill sets, you need to be very thorough in analyzing whether a candidate is a good fit for your business. And sometimes, that means going through dozens of applicants to find the best-suited candidate.
Whether you’re a certified human resource professional or a do-it-yourself startup business owner, here are four tips you can follow to make copywriter recruitment more efficient:
1. Define what you need.
The first rule in recruitment is to know exactly what you’re looking for in a talent.
You’ll need to determine what the job entails. For copywriting, this can be the type of content you want to get. Below are a few examples of the types of content that freelance writers can do:
● Blog posts – These are SEO-friendly articles that can provide users with helpful and relevant information.
● Website pages – These are made to provide information on a company’s services and are optimized according to current SEO trends to be ranked by Google.
● Sales pages – These are pages specifically made to convert customers after clicking social media posts, PPC ads, or email marketing messages.
● E-commerce content – These encompass product descriptions, product pages, and category pages in online shopping sites.
● PPC ads – These are snappy pieces of content that show up on Facebook and Google for customers to click when they’re ready to make a purchase.
● Case studies – These are a type of long-form content that highlights success stories from customers to showcase the value of a product or service.
Besides the type of output, you also need to factor in the type of skills you want in a copywriter. Yes, you need someone with excellent writing skills, but an exemplary copywriter can offer more than that.
You’ll need someone who:
● Is naturally curious and has a sense of adventure
● Has outstanding research skills
● Can create something new even from something old
2. Know your budget.
Now that you know the things you need from a copywriter, the next thing you should think about is how much you can pay for their expertise.
Since you’ll most likely have a fixed budget for the job, there’s no point in hunting down someone with expensive professional fees or a high asking salary.
In this aspect, you have three options:
● Hire full-time in-house copywriters
● Hire part-time but non-exclusive copywriters
● Get some freelancers onboard
If you’re planning to hire full-time or part-time writers, you’ll need to set a weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly salary range. For freelancers, it would be on a per-piece basis.
The copywriting cost varies depending on the applicant’s professional background and skill set, but you can also do research on the current salary range trends from general recruitment websites or agency platforms.
Once you’ve done your homework, consult your finance department and come up with an amount that will help attract a professional with the caliber that suits your needs and budget.
3. Test their skills.
After spreading the word about the job opening, you’re bound to have numerous applications ready for review. If you’re lucky, you might even have hundreds of candidates for a handful of positions.
Now, it’s time to test their skills. This is one of the most crucial stages in copywriter recruitment as it will significantly affect how the entire client-copywriter interaction will turn out.
Instead of going through every single one of their samples and resumes, you can use paid tools and services to filter through numerous applicants.
Alternatively, you can come up with a copywriter test to see first-hand how well they can deliver what you’re looking for. Below are some test examples that can help you assess specific skills a copywriter must have:
● Writing prompt – This is the most straightforward way of checking whether an applicant can deliver the type of content you expect to get. You’ll need to create a writing task similar to the kind of copy you’re looking for and ask them to write a 300- or 500-word response. If you’re looking to use quotes in your copy, for instance, you can use a few passages in your sample prompt and have the candidates use that in their response.
● Google scavenger hunt – This is a great way to determine the level of the candidates’ research skills. Start by offering a five- or 10-question list to the applicants that they will answer through general research. You can also ask them to include their sources for each question to help you determine what they consider a credible source.
4. Ask the right questions.
After narrowing down the pool to a handful of finalists, it’s time to begin the interview process.
At this stage, you’ll want to get in-depth knowledge on how a copywriter applicant performs the job. Here are two key questions you can include:
● What tactics do you use to prepare for a copywriting task? The candidates should be able to offer you a peek at their initial process. But more importantly, this will allow you to determine if they have a well-thought-out approach to the task, if they are ready to research the topic and audience, and if they can correctly understand the company’s voice.
● What do you think can affect the efficacy of a copywriting campaign? Their answers to this question will tell you whether they (a) recognize that no campaign is perfect, and (b) know the factors that influence its success. It also gives you a glimpse of their keenness to take responsibility for the campaign.
Hire the Best Copywriter for You
When recruiting to fill a copywriter position, you don’t necessarily need the best of the best. What you’re looking for is someone who is best suited for your company.
Hisham Wyne is an award-winning copywriter, brand consultant and content creator based in Dubai. He has over a decade's experience in helping brands get their messages right. From crisp web copy and zippy brochures to in-depth company profiles and analytical annual reports, Hisham makes words work for you - so you can sell better, gain visibility, and give your brand a unique voice.