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Hiring Writing Talent: Best Job Boards and Skills to Look For

Professional writers can greatly enhance your company’s visibility, outreach and bottom line.

Whether it’s providing content for your corporate blog, promoting your products and services through collateral material created, or drafting procedural manuals to clearly outline staff expectations; they are key players in meeting many of your business objectives.

Writers can save time, money, stress and allow busy executives to focus on other important aspects of day-to day operations.

According to James Carberry, business expert and former Wall Street Journal reporter: “A writer can make the difference in whether a company’s content stands out in a content-saturated market, a start-up’s business plan wins over skeptical investors or a CEO’s speech inspires and motivates employees.”

Which is why it’s crucial to bring the right writers on board.

POOR WRITING CAN IMPACT A COMPANY’S BOTTOM LINE

Additionally, a study from CollegeBoard, a panel established by the National Commission on Writing, indicates that “blue chip businesses are spending as much as $3.1 billion on remedial writing training--annually. Of this budget, $2.9 billion was spent on current employees--not new hires.”

With this in mind, here’s what you need to know to save money, potential headaches and avoid common pitfalls in your recruitment efforts.

THE TYPE OF WRITING WILL DICTATE WHAT TRAITS AND SKILL SETS TO LOOK FOR

Though there are some common traits for writers across the board (that we’ll explore later here), your search should be governed by what type of writing you require.

For example:

If your company needs to hire a writer to create content for your corporate blog, he/she should be able to:

  • Write in a conversational (not stuffy) tone
  • Communicate clearly and succinctly
  • Have knowledge of various CMS (content management systems)
  • Engage readers and inspire conversation through social media

Now, let’s take a look at how qualifications would stack up for an SEO Writer.

SEO Writers for your company should be able to:

  • Understand the mechanics of Search Engine Optimization and Google Ranking
  • Conduct keyword research
  • Demonstrate skill in both external link building and internal link optimization
  • Write in an authoritative style

Though both jobs would obviously require effective writing skills, they also involve “specialized” writing.

If your writing needs, however, are more basic, here are some guidelines to consider.

HOW TO PROPERLY HIRE AND SCREEN GENERAL WRITERS

Whether you’re seeking independent contractors or contributing team members to round out your in-house staff, here’s what to scout for when hiring writing talent.

THE SKILL TO SEARCH  FOR:

Solid writing

HOW TO VERIFY IT:

Good, effective writing can most times be quickly identified through the initial screening process. Does the candidate have typos in their resume or cover letter?  Are their emails confusing and grammatically incorrect? Do they mistake “your” for “you’re”? These are a few important tell-tale signs.

THE SKILL TO SEARCH  FOR:

Industry I.Q.--Background knowledge of your field (for example: essay writers in the academic industry). Keep in mind that this skill can be acquired (through internal training), if the candidate is strong in all other qualifications. 

HOW TO VERIFY IT:

A degree in your field or a professional portfolio that includes published articles or blog posts for topics your business might typically cover or be associated with.

THE SKILL TO SEARCH  FOR:

Editing and proofing

HOW TO VERIFY IT:

As part of the screening process, many companies ask applicants to complete a

skills-based test (like proofreading, research) or provide a writing sample on a given topic. You should too.

HERE ARE SOME OTHER TRAITS TO HELP YOU TO CHOOSE “THE CREAM OF THE CROP,” THAT CAN BE CALLED THE 3R’S :

RESPONSIVENESS

How long does it take for a short-listed candidate to respond to your emails? To provide additional information or references?  To answer questions posed for clarification purposes?  First impressions count. Unreasonable delays can sometimes indicate poor organizational or time management skills. Take note.

RELIABILITY

No matter how qualified or competent a writer might be, if he/she can’t successfully meet deadlines, follow directions, or be counted on to keep his/her word, “Houston, you have a problem.”  Even before they are hired, you can check out their blog, for instance. Are there large gaps (months in between postings)?  Or are they pretty consistent?

RESPECTFULNESS AND PROFESSIONALISM

Social media makes it possible today to learn a lot about individuals without formal interviews. Get a sneak peek.

Through a simple “Google Search” employers can easily find out how potential employees conduct themselves in online forums: whether they “bad mouth” former employers; use profanity; post angry rants; display inappropriate images; engage in “word wars” with others; or participate in illegal activities.   

Do your due diligence here, to make sure that the writer you ultimately choose is not only qualified, but “quality.”

Now that you know what to look for, here are a few places you’ll want to explore to connect with the best writers for your business.

BEST JOB BOARDS

ALL INDIE WRITERS

 http://allindiewriters.com/freelance-writer-directory/

PRO BLOGGER

https://problogger.com/jobs/

BLOGGING PRO

http://www.bloggingpro.com/jobs/

JOURNALISM JOBS

http://www.journalismjobs.com/index.php

THE WRITER’S JOB BOARD

http://www.writersjobboard.com/25_best_places_to_find_freelance_writing_jobs/

Here’s to your success!