This Guide will enable you to:
Hiring high-quality writers, content creators and editorial staffers can be a challenge for manycompanies. They’re hard to find and identify, and they often possess a largely nebulous set of skills that can be difficult to communicate and demonstrate effectively in application and interview processes. Hiring for any role requires a leap of faith, but hiring editorially minded talent comes with a unique set of considerations. And as more brand publishers take cues from journalism, not marketing, they must also adapt hiring and recruiting processes accordingly.
Previous work is an indication of what any writer or content creator is capable of, but it only tells part of the story. Their strongest work may have been assigned to them, an editor or manager may have helped them with ideas and sourcing, and copy may have gone through a multitude of revisions and rewrites. A writer’s previous work might not demonstrate the extent of their capabilities and potential: they may have been denied leeway to attempt more ambitious work, required to operate within certain parameters or simply miscast in their previous roles.
For senior writers, and those in editing or supervisory roles, a different set of considerations comes into play. Businesses must be clear on the specific expertise they require: is it deep knowledge of a specific sector, or a generalist whose capabilities can extend across various categories and coverage areas? How will a candidate’s skills sit alongside and complement those of existing talent? Cultural skill-set and experience fit are important prerequisites for the success of any mid- or senior-level editorial hire.
As a result, a robust and carefully considered hiring process can greatly increase the chances of finding and selecting highly qualified candidates, while helping to avoid costly hiring mistakes.
For brand publishers, an effective process for hiring writers, editors and content creators can be broken down into four steps:
- Establishing and precisely articulating the role(s) that need filling. Internal alignment around the necessary qualifications and needs, as well as job proposals that get buy-in from around the organization can help avoid costly mistakes.
- Conducting an effective and efficient interview process. Spending time upfront on creating an interview framework and setting specific goals can help make interviews more efficient
- Testing candidates’ abilities and mindset with practical exercises. For content roles, writing and editing exercises can go a long way in distinguishing great candidates from good ones and help create a level playing field across experience levels.
- Evaluating candidates for cultural skill-set and experience fit: Hiring is ultimately as much art as it is science, but having clearly defined ways to examine how a writer, editor or manager will fit into an existing organization can help streamline the process.
This guide will walk you through the four-step process above, provide a practical framework that can be implemented immediately to jumpstart hiring efforts and help ensure decisions are being made based on the best information that can be gathered.
The first, and often-overlooked, step in a successful hiring process is careful preparation. Spending time upfront carefully considering and articulating what roles need filling and why will save time later in the process and, more importantly, decrease chances of making an unsuccessful hire.