So you have decided to take the leap and appoint a writer or two to write about your brand, your product, or even about you.
Despite your eagerness to post an advert and arrange the first writer interview, have you paused to consider what to ask? Do you feel you might just ‘wing it’ and ask them whatever writer interview question that comes to mind?
Rather not take the risk. This writer, or team of writers, will represent your value proposition, and for that reason, a good match is critical.
In this article, I will share 5 revealing writer interview questions I usually ask prospective writers, and the meaning behind each.
5 Revealing Content Writer Interview Questions
Q1: What are you currently busy with?
While this question may seem vague, it is intentionally so. It combines ‘what do you do for a living (i.e. income)’ with ‘what do you do every day’ with ‘how available are you?’ without being overly specific, rather giving the writer a chance to let you into their world.
What you want to gather out of the response is a sense of their priorities, availability, and dedication:
Spin-offs from the question can be ‘tell me more about X’ or ‘when will X be complete’ in the case of studies, just to get to know your candidate better and again get a feeling of their availability and capabilities.
Q2: What do you know about topic X?
Ideally, your writer needs to be passionate, or at least knowledgeable about your topic. A mismatch between your writer and the topic will seep through in the writing, whether it is disinterest, disdain, or merely being uninformed.
That said, there are a great deal of topics where a writer cannot be expected to be passionate about. If you have a home security app, for example, can you really expect to find a writer passionate about home security?
In this is your case, look for a writer that closely matches your intended client.
If you have a brand-new product nobody knows anything about, the writer’s keenness and interest should still be positive. Personally, I enjoy tech, and if someone tells me about a new piece of tech, I’ll be all ears and want to know more about it – that keenness is what you want.
Change your question slightly to match either your industry, the business area, or the persona of your client. If you cannot find any correlation on any of those areas with your writer, then this mismatch is going to become evident over time.
Q3: How long will it take you to write an article?
This might seem like a silly question, rather like asking how long is a piece of string, but what you want to see here is how the writer answers this interview question. Overconfident? Vague?
Stay clear of any writer that promises a quick turnaround, that will be at the cost of quality. There is no right or wrong answer here, but an opportunity to gain insight into the writer’s approach to research, planning, writing, and time management.
Just a side note – a long-form article that is well researched and written by a topic expert, part time, can easily take a month. Match your expectations to the writer’s abilities, not the other way around.
Q4: Name your favorite book.
Avid writers are also avid readers.
Well, all the good ones I know at least! Just like asking someone about their favorite movie on a first date, asking for a favorite book is just as revealing.
Again, there’s no right answer here but rather hearing the response. Someone gushing with a list of top ten, rather than one, is a good sign. The sound of silence might as well be a bleep of warning.
Q5: What writing experience do you have?
A typical writer interview question, and for that reason I include it in the top 5 revealing interview questions to ask a writer. But…
An answer such as ‘I’ve been writing since Grade 1‘ is not the response you are looking for.
In my humble opinion, and based on experience, the type of writing is just as critical as the years of writing. I have had the honor of working with highly qualified and experienced authors and researchers who have compiled their thesis and a book or two, but failed miserably at blog writing.
Take the time to look at your candidate’s writing experience, whether on or offline. Just accepting the fact that they have written something, but not taking the time to read these for yourself, is going to come back and bite you.
Conclusion: 5 Revealing Writer Interview Questions
A final word of advice:
Get to know your writer. They are humans, just like you and me. They have a life; they have interests; they have ups and downs. You want to make them responsible for creating content that is going to attract your ideal client.
It is a big responsibility, and will need a fair investment of your time in picking the right candidates. Understanding the heart and passion of your chosen writer will help you pick the right ambassadors for your brand.
Use these five revealing writer interview questions to find your true brand representatives.
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Do you really have time to interview lots of writers….?
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