Think your company or in-house agency might need to hire a copywriter? You’re probably right. Content is king today. Crafting polished and compelling web and social media copy, blog posts, case studies, marketing emails, brochures, white papers and e-books is increasingly essential to reaching and piquing the interest of targeted audiences.
Hiring a copywriter—whether full-time or freelance—guarantees that someone can focus solely on your content needs. In turn, this frees up existing resources to tackle other pressing creative responsibilities. Because copywriters specialize in the craft of writing, adding a devoted wordsmith can help ensure your content is error-free, sharp and completed on time.
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Key skills and traits to look for when you hire a copywriter
In addition to being able to craft clear and engaging copy, there are certain baseline skills that any qualified copywriter should have. These include strong editing abilities, good time-management skills and an aptitude for producing copy that reflects a brand’s distinct tone.
A copywriter ideally will be capable of deftly toggling between different writing styles and subject matter. But strive to identify a job candidate whose areas of expertise and interests align as closely as possible with the needs of your unique business or in-house agency.
Additionally, look for the following abilities and characteristics:
- A natural curiosity and desire to research: A professional copywriter is someone who has honed their writing skills but also can apply those skills to a wide variety of topics, whether they’re intimately familiar with the subject matter or not. While it’s ideal to find a candidate who has experience drafting copy in your specific industry, it’s not uncommon for copywriters to research unfamiliar subjects and products. As such, a genuine curiosity and ability to find and quickly absorb new information, terminologies and context unique to your industry is critical.
- A proven ability to collaborate and accept feedback: Copywriters often are expected to brainstorm and collaborate with others. While welcoming constructive criticism is not always easy, it’s a trait that most of the best copywriters share. Approaching feedback as insight into another’s perspective, rather than as criticism, ultimately can contribute to an improved piece of content. Openness to critique also can indicate the writer prioritizes continued development of their skills. Additionally, copywriters may be asked to review colleagues’ writing, which means it’s important they can provide thoughtful advice.
- Versatility and adaptability: While many copywriters have a distinct wheelhouse in terms of both content and subject matter, it’s beneficial if they also can adapt for tone. For example, two companies may have similar content needs regarding similar topics, but a copywriter should still be able to identify the nuances of a brand’s voice and tailor their tone accordingly.
- Being detail-oriented and committed to hitting deadlines: The copywriter you hire should be attentive and efficient. Producing polished copy within tight timeframes requires both a keen eye for detail and outstanding time-management skills.
How to hire the right copywriter for your business
Once your business has identified the need for a copywriter, the next question is how to approach filling the role. There are two key components to completing this task: Ensuring your hiring process is efficient and that it allows you to truly discern which applicant is best suited to your organization or department. Below are actionable tips on running a streamlined and productive hiring process.
Be crystal clear about the role. Don’t just dust off the job ad from the last time your company needed to hire a copywriter. Having a clear idea of what the copywriting role entails today— and how to best communicate and advertise those needs—will be critical to attracting candidates with the proper skillset. While copywriting jobs do require some near-universal qualifications, detailing specific and unique requirements beyond the obvious will be important in wooing not only qualified candidates—but the right candidates for your business.
Leverage internal support. Partnering with your HR team can provide the opportunity to tap into their knowledge and guidance in the recruiting and selection process. They hopefully can provide tools for the interview process and share recruiting resources. Your HR partners also will be critical in determining compensation, benefits and the positioning of the role within the company’s hierarchy. To make sure your copywriter salary offers are competitive with firms in your area, check out Cella’s 2022 Creative, Marketing and Digital Salary Guide.
Asking smart copywriter interview questions
In addition to covering the basic interview questions you’d ask any interviewee about their experience, strengths, weaknesses and workstyle, certain additional queries will help you identify which copywriter is most suited for your particular business. Here are a few copywriter interview question examples:
“How do you effectively balance competing projects and prioritize deadlines?”
Regardless of whether the person will be full-time or freelance, it’s rare that a copywriter will not have multiple ongoing projects. It’s wise to inquire about their approach to pivoting between assignments and their ability to meet quick turnaround times.
“How do you rate your research abilities?”
As mentioned above, inquisitiveness and strong research skills are part of how a copywriter creates well-informed, accurate and engaging content. Asking about a copywriter’s level of interest in the research process—and their approach—is important. This is true for almost any business, but especially if your company creates content that addresses highly complex or niche subjects.
“How do you define high-quality writing?”
A great copywriter should have a thoughtful perspective on the mechanics and best outcomes of well-written content.
How staffing firms can help you find the right copywriter
While it’s good to partner with your internal HR team on the recruitment and hiring of new talent, there can be some limitations; primarily a potential lack of experience in recruiting for the creative disciplines. If you have the opportunity to work with a specialized staffing firm, take advantage of it. A firm such as Cella can not only aid you in helping to define your current and future needs, we can help you swiftly attract the most well-suited candidates. We truly understand the nuances of the industry and have pools of pre-vetted, highly qualified copywriters available for permanent, consulting and freelance needs.