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When hiring a new copywriter, it can be tough to determine if they have the right skills. Interviews, resumes, and writing samples can only tell you so much.
The best way to see their writing skills in action is to administer a copywriting test! Learn the benefits and aspects of using a copywriting test for hiring below.
There’s a proper way to assign a copywriting test for hiring a new writer. It may seem like a super simple process, where you give them the test and see how they do, but it’s a bit more in-depth.
How you assign and evaluate the test plays a huge role in assessing the viability and potential of the candidate.
Just because one writer scores higher on a copywriting test, doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the best candidate for the job. Follow the steps below, so you can properly assign a copywriting test for hiring and understand the results.
Hiring a copywriter for your business is an important aspect of branding and churning out excellent content. While some employers send a copywriting test without context or specific instructions, this is a mistake.
Before you administer the test to the candidate, you should give them an idea of what you’re looking for. Talented copywriters can adjust their writing style and tone to suit a client’s needs, but without any information on what you expect, this can be challenging.
Before you give them the copywriting test, you can present them with samples of content you like and want to see on your website, or you can offer some guidelines.
For example, inform them whether you expect first person, second person, third person, or a combination of two perspectives. Do you want a bubbly and humorous tone? Or do you want your website to use a professional and executive voice?
Before you can administer and evaluate a copywriting test, you must determine what kind of writing you want.
Administering the test is the easy part! You can customize your copywriting test for hiring the ideal candidate, whether you’re focused on grammar accuracy or want someone with a unique voice in their writing.
By customizing your copywriting test, you can get a feel for the candidate’s culture fit, soft skills, and hard skills to determine if they’re the right fit for your company.
It only takes five minutes to build your copywriting assessment, and you can also choose from over 150 pre-made tests designed by copywriting and recruiting experts!
When you administer the test, inform the candidate if there is a time frame and what aspect of the test will strongly influence your decision.
The last step of using a copywriting test for hiring is to evaluate the results of the test.
This step is where knowing what writing you want is useful. If you want someone with a lot of personality, check out any writing samples they completed during the test. If your focus is impeccable grammar and formatting, review the relevant questions on the test.
If you did not select a copywriting test with a time limit, the length it took them to complete the test should also be a factor.
If you expect a certain amount of words and content per day, per week, or per month, someone that took an excessive amount of time to complete the test may not meet your deadlines. Most tests will have a predetermined time they should take. But if they take an extra 20 minutes, this could delay content for your brand.
On the other hand, if they completed the test in half the expected time but their score wasn’t particularly impressive, they may have a habit of rushing through their work, which is also less than ideal.
The next section will dive into how to thoroughly evaluate the results of the copywriting test.
Knowing how to interpret the test results is crucial for hiring the best candidates. Consider the aspects of a copywriting test for hiring below before making your final decision.
A copywriting test for hiring new candidates will feature questions about formatting, usually involving H1, H2, H3, etc. headings and how to break up paragraphs.
Formatting is often important to employers who do not plan to hire an editor to review the copy, so it must be publish-ready when submitted.
A copywriter that needs to post on websites for landing pages or blogs will need to be a master of formatting to keep your website looking neat and polished.
On the other hand, if your copywriting assignments will be simple Facebook posts or Instagram captions, the formatting will be much less important.
The tone is one of the most important aspects of a copywriting test to consider, no matter what content you want. The tone you need will likely depend on your brand’s image and reputation.
For example, an accounting business will probably want a professional and concise tone. But a company that produces handcrafted soap, may want something more casual and friendly.
You’ll need to settle on a tone before you start assessing candidates, otherwise, it will be hard to choose the best copywriter for the job.
Grammar is another aspect of the test that is valuable if you don’t plan to hire an editor in tandem with the copywriter. Copywriting tests for hiring typically deliver a hard score for the grammar section, so even if you’re not grammar-savvy, you’ll know if the candidate is.
Poor grammar, even if just a Facebook post or tweet, can reflect negatively on your company. It makes the brand look unprofessional and unpolished, which can dissuade people from purchasing your service or product if they think things behind the scenes do not run smoothly.
A copywriter with poor grammar is also just concerning. Part of copywriting is knowing the basics of grammar and spelling, and if they don’t have these hard skills, they may fall short in other aspects of their job.
Some copywriters can have trouble ‘dumbing down’ their writing. If your clientele is average joes, you don’t want your copywriter using excessively flashy or complex language that will make your company seem inaccessible.
But if you want content geared toward executives and experts in the field, you may want the content to go beyond just simple language. To determine the perfect reading level for your content and brand, you must evaluate your clientele and what you think would suit them.
Speed shouldn’t always be the most important aspect of the test. Some writers take their time crafting impeccable content, and some are excellent at churning out loads of blog posts or Instagram captions.
Most employers should only focus on the time aspect if it is ridiculously slow or unbelievably fast. But still, it’s not the best idea to disqualify a decent candidate completely because of an unusual test time.
If the time is unusual for that particular copywriting test, you should check in with the candidate if they check all of your other boxes. Ask them if they rushed through, felt nervous, or were taking their time.
Most copywriters are flexible in the sense that they can write about almost anything. However, it certainly helps if they have a basic understanding of the subject matter.
If a candidate openly tells you they’re not excellent with technology, and you want them to write content about USB cables, this may not be the right fit.
On the other hand, someone that has never traveled outside their hometown may not be the ideal candidate for a hotel booking company.
But these are not hard rules. If you have a candidate that scored excellently on the test and submitted beautiful writing samples, they could be the best candidate for the job even if they aren't familiar with the subject material.
But if you have two phenomenal candidates, and one has experience in a relevant field to your company, it may be best to hire them because their background coincides with your brand’s needs.
When recruiting for a copywriting position, there are some general steps to the process. The copywriting test alone should not be the only tool you use to assess a candidate’s qualifications and potential.
Follow the recruiting format and process below to ensure you hire the best candidate for the job!
When hiring a copywriter, you should ask applicants to submit writing samples. The sample could be content they have previously written, published or unpublished. But it could also be something new they wrote just for the application.
If you want something new, it’s best to give them a brief prompt, so they have an idea of your expectations. But asking them for a writing sample with no context or guidelines can exemplify what kind of writing they expect to do in this position.
If you run an investment firm and someone submits a creative short story, they may not have an understanding of the position.
Reviewing writing samples can give you an idea of their tone and range in their writing. Whether they submit one of five samples, it’s a good idea to at least pursue each to get a feel for their copywriting abilities.
While the writing samples are important, so is their resume. Their resume will tell you if they have any writing experience and in what industries. It will also tell you what education they have, which can be a strong indication of their grammar competency and writing level.
You can also acquire their references from the resume and call previous employers to see if the copywriter promptly met deadlines and showed flexibility and diligence in their writing.
Once you review resumes and narrow down the talent pool, you should conduct the first interview. The first round of interviews should involve general questions. Below are examples of questions to ask in the first interview when speaking with potential copywriters.
You can also ask for references if they were not on the resume.
The second interview should involve more probing questions. Candidates that make it to the second round should be excellent candidates that you feel could fill the position well. To narrow down the talent pool again you can ask the following questions.
If the applicant pool is relatively small, you can combine the first and second interview questions and get all this information in the first interview.
And finally, if you think one or more candidates show real potential, you can administer the copywriting test for hiring using the steps and considerations discussed above.
As a recruiter, you should consider the following aspects of a copywriting test:
If you want someone to write bubbly Facebook posts for your cosmetic company, don’t use a test with too many technical questions that won’t be relevant to the position.
And if you want to hire a copywriter for just a handful of posts every week versus a massive workload, choose a copywriting test with a length that coincides with your work requirements.
Using a copywriting test for hiring is an excellent way to gauge a copywriter’s skills. Using a copywriting test in tandem with the hiring process discussed above ensures you hire only the best candidates that will suit your content needs.