This Guide will enable you to:
- Establish and precisely articulate writing and editing role(s) that need filling.
- Conduct highly effective and efficient interview processes.
- Test prospective candidates’ abilities with practical exercises.
- Evaluate and hire high-quality editorial talent quickly and efficiently.
Hiring high-quality writers, content creators, and editorial staffers isn’t easy. 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.
Previous work is an important 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 could have gone through a multitude of revisions and rewrites.
Conversely, 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. Hiring managers 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 is an important prerequisite for the success of any mid or senior-level editorial hire.
As a result, a robust and carefully considered hiring process can help greatly increase the chances of finding and selecting highly qualified candidates, while helping to avoid potentially costly hiring mistakes.
For brand publishers, an effective process for hiring writers, editors and content creators can be broken down into 4 steps:
- Establishing and precisely articulating role(s): The first and often-overlooked step in a successful hiring process is careful preparation. Spending time up-front 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.
- Conducting effective and efficient interview processes: A carefully structured process coupled with clear interview frameworks will help ensure interviews are as valuable and efficient as possible for all parties.
- Testing candidates’ abilities and mindset with practical exercises: Many organizations forego this step, but words on a page are an important part of evaluating every editorial candidate.
- Evaluating candidates: This process involves collecting and collating as much information as possible from those involved in conducting interviews, evaluating candidates’ interview performance, and ultimately deciding on which candidates — if any — should receive offers.
This guide will walk you through the 4-step process above, and 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 up-front 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.
Before hunting for candidates or conducting interviews, hiring managers should first create a “job proposal,” which can be used to inform a carefully constructed job-vacancy to be shared with prospective candidates or in job postings and ads.