How to Hire Freelance Writers in 5 Steps

How to Hire Freelance Writers in 5 Steps

How to Hire Freelance Writers in 5 Steps

If you’ve ever attempted to hire freelance writers, you likely ended up with lots of applications.
This typically ends in you asking yourself questions:

How do I pick out the first-rate ones?
How will I actually have time to filter through that many applications?
In this post, you’ll learn how we installation a procedure to reply these questions.

Step 1. Create an software form
Most job listings tell applicants to e mail the hiring manager their cowl letter and resume. That works properly while seeking out full-time hires however not for freelance positions because they regularly entice loads or thousands of candidates.

There’s just no manner you could assessment that many resumes without dropping it. As a end result, appropriate candidates frequently slip through the net and also you omit out on super writers.

One manner to solve this hassle is to have all applicants follow via a Google Form.

Here are reasons why this makes sense:

It allows you vet candidates rapid and correctly – Google Forms funnels candidates right into a Google Sheet, so you can evaluation all applicants there in place of sifting via emails.
It lets in you to check writers’ skills and know-how at scale – You can easily ask questions designed to choose applicants’ understanding, competencies, and experience with the subject at hand.
In terms of what you must ask candidates, I propose a mixture of multiple-choice questions and ones with quick answers. Multiple-preference questions assist gauge expertise and revel in, whereas “brief solution” questions can help you decide writing capacity.

Here’s one in every of our a couple of-preference questions:

Example of a a couple of-preference query in our application technique
The solution to this query is some thing that we expect maximum skilled SEOs to realize. But it may ride up people with much less enjoy.

SIDENOTE. There’s still a bit of “it depends” with this question. But normally speakme, there’s a clean and accurate solution that I think maximum informed SEOs will pick.
Here’s an example of a “brief answer” question:

Example of a “quick solution” query in our application manner
We designed this question to assist us decide the applicant’s potential to explain matters succinctly and correctly.

If you’re curious approximately our utility shape, right here it is.

Only a handful of those questions are for vetting functions; the relaxation are to get basic info like their names, e mail addresses, Twitter handles, and so forth. It’s important to ask for these details, as it’s the simplest manner to get them while applicants aren’t making use of by electronic mail.

Step 2. Post your activity
You now want to draw applicants in your software form, which you can do by developing a process list and posting everywhere you could.

Here are the four belongings you want to explain:

What you’re searching out – Keep it quick. Tell applicants what the placement entails.
What talents you require – List the entirety you count on in applicants.
Who you are – Give a few information about your organisation. (Keep it short; don’t bore human beings.)
How to apply – Send humans in your application shape.
There are plenty of job boards in which you could publish your list. We published to ProBlogger, Swipe Files Job Board (prev. Hey Marketers), our careers page, and some others.

One of the job boards we published on
We additionally published in some Slack and Facebook companies.

Given that each applicant goes thru the equal technique, the more locations you may put up your process listing, the better.

Step three. Vet applicants
Every aspect of the vetting method takes place in the Google Sheet. This makes life wonderful clean, as the whole lot is in one area. I advise splitting the system into automatic and manual vetting to make things as quick and green as viable.

Automated vetting
Here, the concept is to disqualify candidates who don’t match the invoice, deliver a preliminary rating to the remaining ones, and easy up the sheet to make manual vetting as short as viable. Here’s how to do it in three steps.

A. Disqualify
There’s no point wasting time reviewing packages from folks who can’t comply with fundamental regulations or don’t meet basic standards. So it pays to disqualify them robotically. The beauty of Google Sheets is that you may do this without difficulty with filters and formulation.

You’ll don’t forget that we requested all candidates to define two phrases in below 50 words. As we desired to disqualify folks that passed the allowed word count number, we delivered additional columns with formulation to depend the quantity of words in each definition.

Columns calculating the word count of “quick answer” responses
Then we filtered to exclude rows in which the definitions have been above 50 words.

Filtering out short answers that exceed the specified phrase count number
We then filtered for some more criteria:

Rate in line with 1,000 words – We excluded all of us who didn’t positioned 10–1,000. (This turned into commonly to exclude applicants who couldn’t observe commands and gave a rate consistent with word.)
Years of revel in in search engine optimization – We excluded all people with “<1” yr of experience.
Have you ever used Ahrefs earlier than? – We excluded individuals who answered “no.”
B. Score
Next, you need to provide every applicant a initial rating to get a better sense in their understanding and revel in at a glance.

To try this, we created a components that checked their answers to our more than one-choice questions, their Ahrefs enjoy, and whether or not they still had an active Ahrefs subscription. The end result become a score between zero and 5.

Preliminary applicant rating in Google Sheets
C. Simplify
Even with the filters and rankings in vicinity, your sheet might be overwhelming because it contains a lot statistics. So it’s really worth hiding columns you don’t want for the vetting system, which include applicants’ names and e mail addresses. This also allows to get rid of capability biases.

For us, we introduced conditional formatting to our initial rating to make eyeballing the best of each applicant less difficult.

Here’s what we ended up with:

Final applicant sheet
Manual vetting
We skimmed candidates’ initial rankings and definitions to determine whether they need to progress to the next level of the system. Each applicant took no a variety of seconds, allowing us to vet over 100 applicants in step with hour.

For instance, it best took a 2nd to decide not to retain with this applicant because they defined SEM instead of search engine marketing.

Example of a no longer-so-appropriate definition from an applicant
For the applicant beneath, then again, we ought to tell pretty quickly that it’d be well worth giving them a shot. Both in their definitions were correct and nicely written, and they scored nicely on our multiple-choice questions:

Example of a very good applicant
To song our choice for each applicant, we added one very last column:

Decision column for the candidates
Step 4. Test candidates
Most humans test writers with the aid of having them write a test article from a content short. We do the same but don’t send specific briefs to every applicant. We ship them all of the same short.

Here are three reasons why we recommend this:

It’s simpler to grade their paintings – You can create a checklist to score writers at the same criteria.
It’s faster – You don’t should create a brand new content brief for every creator.
It can be automated – You can installation systems to send the quick to writers when they hit this stage.
Let’s observe a way to ensure exams run smoothly and successfully.

A. Explain the deal and get their details
For applicants who pass our preliminary vetting system, we want to provide an explanation for the deal for the test article and get their information. We created a template in Gmail for this.

It explains that we:

Want to provide them a paid check article.
Pay a flat fee in step with take a look at article (and what kind of).
Send the same quick to each applicant and that their article received’t be posted.
Own all of the work they produce for us.
Pay invoices on the quit of the month.
Email we sent to accepted candidates
That may seem like data overload, however it’s first-class to make certain every body’s on the same page from the beginning.

Our e-mail ends with a hyperlink to a Google Form inquiring for their invoice electronic mail cope with (that is frequently exceptional from the only they use every day) and the way they want to be paid.

Link to the following a part of the system inside the e mail we despatched to candidates
B. Send the content brief for the check
We display a affirmation message while an applicant submits the Google Form inside the preceding step. It links them to a Google Doc with the content short for the test article.

Link to the test process at the stop of our Google Form
Here’s what that looks as if:

Our content short for writers
The file additionally consists of commands that tell the applicant to:

Make a copy of the record.
Write as a lot or as little as they like (no word matter quotas).
Email us the check article and invoice us once they’re executed.
Read our content material recommendations earlier than they start writing.
I suggest all of us create content material suggestions while working with freelance writers. We link to ours inside the doc. It explains what we count on regarding style and content.

Here are more than one excerpts:

Excerpt from our style recommendations
Excerpt from our style suggestions
C. Review their content material
Given which you’ll be checking out some writers, you want a honest and consistent manner to decide their relative nice. For this, we created a checklist to review and score their efforts fast.

Here’s an excerpt from our checklist:

Our content checklist for vetting submissions
You can see that we take a look at the item as an entire for a few basics, then evaluation each segment in greater intensity.

For example, right here are a few of our standards for the definition:

Is it written in the perfect format (consistent with our pointers)?
Is it accurate?
Is it properly written?
In total, there are 30 things on our tick list. Each one equals one factor, so we rating every applicant out of 30.

Step five. Hire candidates
Hiring is the easy component. If an applicant rankings properly on their check article, we assign them an real one to jot down. If that is going well, we deliver them greater.

Here are some things to look out for while operating with freelancers:

Quality deterioration – Freelancers can sometimes get lazy or maybe start subcontracting work. Both of these things result in a reduction in exceptional.
Reliability troubles – Life every now and then gets within the way for all people however watch out for steady unreliability.
Communication troubles – For whatever cause, disappearing off the face of the earth is especially common.
Don’t hesitate to drop writers in case you face these problems. Continuing to work with them will suck your time and electricity.

By that identical token, when you encounter dependable freelancers who continually produce exquisite work, treat them properly. Great writers are really worth their weight in gold, so preserve giving them work and review their quotes periodically.

Final thoughts
Hiring freelance writers is simple if you have a gadget in place. You may even automate most of the steps with equipment like Zapier.

For example, we’ve zaps for outline requests, logging details, and sending price requests to our office manager.

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