“Interviewing is a lot like talking, but you have to guide the conversation. You have to know what you want and go about getting it.” – Anthony DeCurtis
Planning is the key to hiring the virtual assistant (VA) content writer who is the right fit for your business as the content writer is an integral part of your marketing organization. With the never-ending business competition, the content writer has the responsibility to help your business stand out by telling your brand’s story.
It is important to note however that there is no room for complacency. Having a break from posting relevant content on your website or social media platforms would lead customers to seek other mediums that can feed them with valuable information. Continuously providing your audience with what they perceive as worthwhile will make them loyal. That is why having a professional VA content writer is pivotal.
But how would you know if the content writer possesses the qualities to scale your business?
Finding the right independent contractors involves systematic planning towards strategies to be used when interviewing; this paves the way to identifying whether a candidate is the real deal or not.
There are many questions and tips that you can find online when interviewing a candidate, but what are the secret ingredients to ensure a successful interview with the candidate?
To ensure the smooth flow of the interview process, and before we go into the details of the right interview questions, it is important to consider some important factors:
1. List down all the skills and qualities that fit your idea of a potential VA content writer.
Every business has its own job specifications and requirements, depending on what skills each company needs to boost its business. As such, before posting the job opening and prior to an interview, ponder on what specific skill set is essential for the position.
2. Review the VA content writer’s resumé.
A person’s resumé speaks volumes for what and how much they can offer to a company; thus, it is of vital importance to review their resumé as it does not only present their outstanding skills, but it also reveals what needs clarification.
3. Prepare standard questions for all VA content writers.
One question can produce different answers from candidates with various viewpoints. Asking all candidates the same set of standard questions allows comparison, which helps you to decide which one is the suitable person to handle the job.
4. Prepare questions for individual VA content writers.
All candidates applying for the position will have different experiences, qualities, and skills; therefore, personalized questions for each candidate will shed light on their personal background.
5. Strategically prepare for the interview.
An effective question, along with listening intently to responses of a candidate, will generate essential answers. Here are more tips when preparing interview questions:
- Prepare well-structured open-ended questions. The close-ended question “Do you like leading a group of people?” would lead a candidate to answer with a “yes” as they believe it is what you expect to hear. To avoid such a situation, rephrase the question starting with a ‘Wh’ (What, When, Where, Why, Who, or How) word which will open up the closed-ended questions – e.g. “How did you demonstrate your leadership skills when you were at your previous job?”
- Prepare compelling and supporting questions. Learning the scope and responsibilities of a candidate’s previous position will reveal the true nature of their tasks and skills. A question such as “What was the biggest project you worked on, and what was your approach to ensure its success?” is effective in having a clearer overview as to the type of a leader or employee the candidate is.
- Prepare scenario-based interview questions. Ask questions related to what typically happens at your organization. “Provided that you were hired, and on your first week at work, you received criticism from your manager, how would you react, and what steps would you take?” is one good behavioral interview question.
What are the Top 8 Questions to Ask a Virtual Assistant Content Writer
During an Interview?
Now that we have considered the key elements when preparing for an upcoming interview with a potential VA content writer, let us discuss the effective interview questions that would elicit the right answers from the candidate to ease the hiring process.
1. What makes content great?
A professional VA content writer should understand the importance of their role in helping a business become more established in their industry.
If they tell you that great content should contain information or facts that bring impact or is engaging to readers is a good sign. Additionally, if they explain that great content should reach a maximum number of your target audience by adding effective keywords and hyperlinks to articles created, you already have an idea of whether to hire the candidate.
2. How do you deal with feedback?
Your content can either result in your customers having positive or negative perception towards your brand; hence, it is only necessary to check the work of your VA content writer for any changes before publication.
At some point, you would need to give feedback or suggestions based on what is effective at that time. The changes that the VA would make to the content will show how they perceive your feedback. Given this fact, it is necessary to listen intently when a potential VA content writer answers the question to determine who is receptive and open to constructive feedback.
3. What is your proofreading style?
Fewer errors, less time to re-proofread = more time to concentrate on critical tasks.
Find out how a potential VA content writer proofreads their content by asking the question above.
A successful VA content writer proofreads their own work, but it does not end with performing one proofreading tactic alone. There are several processes that proofreading entails, and a good content writer is aware of those tactics, including printing a hard copy before scanning it for mistakes, reading backward, reading aloud, and using proofreading software. In order to successfully proofread content, the writer should have a checklist of what to check such as facts, spelling, format, punctuation, homonyms, company style standards, among many others.
4. How do you decide which tone to use?
Content writing is much more than simply creating lengthy pieces of content to be published on a company’s website. It is a form of art that involves planning how each piece produced can deliver the right message to readers which in turn can make a brand distinctive. Therefore, when interviewing a potential candidate it is important to find out if they are flexible enough to vary their tone depending on your mission, values, goals, or readers’ mood.
It is also worth noting that the tone goes with the style. Does the candidate write in descriptive, narrative, argumentative or persuasive style? Do they use the first, second, or third-person point of view? How do they know which one to use?
5. On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable are you with your writing skills?
Content earns your company trust from people who may be and are already interested in the products or services your business offers; established and strong relationships bring sales. With that said, asking a potential VA content writer the above question is crucial as you will discover if the candidate has confidence in their writing skills.
It is important to know if the candidate has exceptional writing skills since quality content will help your website traffic grow by attracting your business’s target audience.
6. What are the types of articles you love to write about?
Before executing an interview, consider what your business really needs. Does your organization need a VA content writer experienced in technical topics or does it need one who is adept in technical writing, copywriting, and blogging all at the same time?
The reason is that there are different kinds of VA content writers; some can write about multiple topics while others choose to specialize in writing for a few selected topics which they are comfortable with.
During the interview, whether you are in search of a generalist or specialist, request for an applicant’s previous work, and by doing so, you would be able to gauge their mastery of the field they chose. From there, you can choose the right VA for your niche.
7. Where do you find your resources?
Every VA content writer has their own resources where they find valuable information when writing for certain topics.
The Information Age has allowed some writers to utilize widely available tools from the internet while others have books, research papers, or magazines where they base their content; thus, with their answer, you will discover whether they solely handpick credible sources which reveal the kind of writer they are.
8. What ideas or content would you recommend to freshen up our digital marketing performance?
This question would tell you how much a candidate has prepared for the interview to get the job, and how much they can offer to help your business grow beyond your expectations.
Even though your marketing operation is effective, a professional VA content writer who has a keen eye for detail would be able to suggest better ideas to improve your marketing effort. Prior to the interview, a quality VA would complete research about your company by visiting your social media accounts, website, and other platforms that could give them more detailed insight about the way you do business.
Getting the Job Done
Writing content for websites and social media platforms requires a great deal of preparation, attentiveness to new trends, and knowledge about what motivates customers online. The bottom line is that the purpose of web content is all about being able to connect with existing customers as well as the new or potential ones in a compelling way. With that, it is crucial to find the appropriate candidate who has the power to make even the most undesirable product or information become interesting to customers.