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How to Hire a Copywriter in 2021

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Work tends to pile up, especially in an agency environment. If you feel you can no longer keep up with your many customer copywriting projects, it’s time to bring on some writing help. Although hiring a new copywriter can feel overwhelming, you’ll find the tools you need right here in this guide.

How to Find the Right Copywriter Candidates

The first step in hiring is to find quality copywriter candidates. Remember, there’s more to a copywriter than their portfolio. Candidates should have other skills such as flexibility (to handle all types of projects) and empathy (to connect with and produce copy for your customers).

To find the perfect candidates to fill your content void, start with these steps:

1. Decide What You Want in a Copywriter

Your agency is different than the rest, so your copywriting needs will be unique. You may want your writer to focus solely on writing or you may need them to conduct customer interviews or create content strategies.

You’ll want to pursue candidates that add to your agency and address what your agency needs. Create a career profile that outlines what you will expect your copywriter to do. Once complete, you’ll have the perfect overview to start creating your job posting.

2. Write an Inspiring Job Posting

Job postings shouldn’t simply be a listing of responsibilities. While important, the right candidates will need more to inspire them to apply.

To draw in candidates, include information about your agency and why a writer would enjoy working for you. It’s also a great practice to include information about the benefits you provide such as a competitive salary.

We talk a lot about approaching copy with authenticity and connection. Job postings are no exception. Sprinkle in some personality. Add a dash of wit. Write your job posting like you’re talking to a friend. For some inspiration, check out this excerpt from one of our previous postings:

3. Choose a Job Posting Platform

With a job posting in hand, you’re ready to publish. There are many posting platforms to choose from such as Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter. You also have the option of posting to content-specific boards such as ProBlogger.

You’ll want to consider cost as well, as some of these options require a listing fee. We recommend selecting one or two platforms to start with and see what happens. You don’t want to receive more applications than you can handle.

The Application Process

Before you hit publish on your job post, it’s time to consider your application process. Here at CCS, we use an easy, three-part application process. And it’s been highly successful thus far!

1. The Initial Survey Questionnaire

We allow candidates to fill out a pre-created Google Forms questionnaire instead of asking for a cover letter. This survey allows us to get to know a candidate better and helps weed out folks who aren’t interested in the position. Some of the questions include:

  • How do you prioritize multiple projects to ensure quality output and timely delivery?
  • What are your favorite ways to unwind? How do you feed your soul?
  • What is your Myers-Briggs personality type?

2 & 3. The Resume & Writing Samples

We also ask candidates to upload their resume and a couple of writing samples right into the survey. This helps us get a quick understanding of their writing capabilities and experience. It’s important to have both as a writer’s experience doesn’t necessarily relate to their writing ability.

Your application process may look a bit different and that’s okay. The point is to remind you of your ability to step out from the traditional process to find the right candidates for your needs.

The Interview Process

Initial Interview

After the application process, you may have a list of candidates you wish to pursue further via interview. This is another process that’s ripe for customization to fit your goals. At CCS, we conduct an initial interview to assess a candidate’s soft skills and personality.

Writing Test

After the initial interview, we ask candidates to complete a writing test that includes a writing task and an editing task. A writing test helps you evaluate a candidate’s skills and what it might be like to work with them.

We pay a freelancer fee for the candidates who commit to the writing test. We then use their deliverables to assess their strengths and weaknesses concerning the hard skills required for the position.

Final Interview

Hopefully, after the writing test,  you’re able to winnow down your candidate list to your top 2 or 3 individuals who stand out from the rest. These individuals should move on to a final interview that includes members of your team (if applicable). A peer interview is a great way to determine if a candidate would work well with your team.

Tips for Onboarding Your New Copywriter

Congratulations! At this point, you should have a new copywriter who’s just as excited to join your team as you are to have them. Now, it’s time to onboard your new writer and set them up for success. While we’ve written a complete onboarding guide, here are some quick tips as you dive in:

  • Commit to feedback: If there’s anything you need to ensure you do for your new hire, it’s giving feedback. This includes positive and constructive feedback that will help your writer grow. You should also ensure your writer understands that this is a two-way street; feedback is critical for you too!
  • Define and communicate your expectations: Your writer must understand your expectations as they jump into work. This prevents communication failure and helps the writer feel secure in their duties and responsibilities.
  • Get comfortable with a learning curve: Even the most seasoned writer will need time to learn your agency’s processes. Expect a learning curve and remember to be patient.
  • Schedule weekly check-ins: For the first few weeks, it’s a great idea to schedule weekly or even daily check-ins. This is a great opportunity for your copywriter to ask questions and share concerns.

Don’t Have the Ability to Hire? Outsource!

Short on funds? Don’t have the bandwidth to go through the hiring process right now? You have options! Outsourcing is a great way to get help with your content projects. To learn more, send us a message.

Cari O'Brien

Founder & Chief Word Nerd
Cari has been providing content marketing services to businesses for over 15 years. She writes and speaks frequently about brand messaging, SEO copywriting and audience-focused copy. She’s the creator of the Connection Copywriting Method and the online writing course, Write that Site®.

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