In the past couple of years, we’ve interviewed over 50 writers and reviewed writing samples from hundreds. During this time, we’ve narrowed in on the top copywriter interview questions you need to ask if you’re serious about finding your next writing partner.
Whether you’re looking for an in-house writer, an agency or a freelancer, you need to know how to interview a copywriter effectively. The biggest factor in conducting a successful interview is knowing precisely what questions to ask a copywriter.
In this post, we’re going to outline exactly what copywriter interview questions you need to ask writers during the interview process. We’re also going to explain the robust interview process we use here at Uplift Content. [Hint: it includes a writing exercise.]
This is the fourth post in a 7-part series on how to find your next B2B SaaS writer and work with them successfully.
The top copywriter interview questions you need to ask
The most effective questions to ask a copywriter can be divided into 4 categories:
1. Introductions and icebreakers
Before asking any copywriter interview questions, we take time at Uplift to introduce ourselves and the company. Then we start with a few icebreakers:
- In a minute or two, tell me a little bit about yourself.
- How did you hear about this opportunity?
- What’s your motivation to work with us?
2. Writing experience
Your copywriter interview questions can get more targeted after the icebreakers. Focus on the copywriter’s professional experience. At Uplift, we refer to their resume and writing samples to ask follow-up questions as well. Consider starting with these:
- Can you tell me about the type of writing you most frequently do?
- What do you like the customer to provide you with before you start a writing project?
- Was there ever a time when you were asked to write about a topic you had no prior knowledge of? If so, what did you enjoy? What did you struggle with?
Pick out one of the samples provided by the candidate and ask:
- Tell me about the process you used when writing this piece.
- Did you know anything about this topic beforehand? If not, how did you tackle it?
For people with a journalism background, be sure to inquire:
- What’s the difference between marketing content and journalism and how does that affect how you approach writing a piece of content?
Your copywriter will be interacting with your team, and possibly with your customers, so it’s really important that they are professional in how they conduct themselves. To gauge their professionalism, consider asking a few of these copywriter interview questions:
- Tell me about your communication style. What’s your typical response time for emails?
- Tell me about a time you missed a deadline. What happened?
- Tell me about a time recently that you received (constructive) feedback from an editor or customer, and felt a knee-jerk reaction against it. How did you handle it? What did you end up doing? How might you handle it differently in the future?
- How do you like to receive feedback?
Our interview questions for copywriters can also give us insights into what it might be like to actually work alongside a candidate. Creating B2B SaaS content often involves collaboration, so we try to learn more about a candidate’s personality with copywriter interview questions like these:
- How would your friends describe your personality? And your colleagues?
- Tell me about a situation that has stressed you out recently. What were you feeling? How do you handle it? How might you handle it differently in the future?
- What do you like to do in your free time?
5. Commitment and longevity
Wrap up with some forward-looking copywriter interview questions to get a read on how keen they are, and whether they think they’ll want to stick around for a while:
- Ideally, what would you like our relationship to look like? (In your past experience, who has been your best boss or role model and why?)
- Where do you see yourself a year or two from now?
- Is there anything you would like to know about our company or the position?
Asking the right copywriter interview questions is just one step in the overall interview process. As we mentioned at the top of the post, we’ve interviewed over 50 copywriters in the past few years. And we know, for certain, that you can’t only rely on an interview to determine if a writer has what you need to be successful at your company.
In this video, we cover what an expanded copywriter interview process should look like for your SaaS company.
Need a hand writing your B2B SaaS marketing content? Check out our content writing services.
How to Interview a Copywriter for Your B2B SaaS (Transcript)
Hi SaaS marketers! Emily Amos here from Uplift Content.
In the past couple of years, we’ve interviewed over 50 writers and reviewed writing samples from hundreds. There are two key things we’ve learned.
- Excellent writers are hard to find. Plenty of good writers mean well and put effort into their work, but good writing simply isn’t enough when you need to drive leads and sales for a high-growth SaaS company.
- A few writing samples just won’t cut it. You need to see more than a couple of writing samples to determine whether a writer has the chops to create high performing content.
Learn how to interview a copywriter effectively
Here’s a breakdown of the interview process we’ve developed to help ensure we get the best possible writers on our team:
1. Application stage
The writer completes a simple application (using Google Forms) with questions about their process for researching, writing and editing. We also ask them to provide links to 5 writing samples that demonstrate their ability with specific topics, styles and content types. We ask that at least 1 of the 5 samples be an unedited version so we can see their work before someone else gets their hands on it. If we like what we see, we move forward.
2. Zoom call
When thinking about how to interview a copywriter, we always recommend video calls rather than phone calls because they’re so much more personal. During these calls, we try to get to know the writer better. We ask about the samples they sent and we dig into their process. We always like to ask how they handle feedback, as their answers tend to be quite insightful. If they seem like someone we could work with, we’re on to step 3.
3. Writing exercise
At Uplift, we create a lot of SaaS case studies, ebooks and white papers, so we designed an exercise to test the writer’s ability to create a powerful case study. For the exercise, we wrote the entire case study but removed the challenge section for the writer to complete (using an interview transcript that we provide).
This exercise shows us whether a writer has the skills we require, including writing style, attention to deadlines and more.
4. References (don’t skip this step!)
For our last step on how to interview a copywriter, we call 2 references for a short conversation. This provides a useful perspective on what it’s really like to work with the writer. If the writer has moved through each phase of the interview process with flying colors, we’re ready to welcome the writer to the team.
Start off on the right foot
Working with a new writer is always going to be a bit of a leap of faith, but by learning how to interview a copywriter effectively, you give yourself the best possible chance to find your next hero.
To set up your new B2B SaaS writer for success, you need to give them all the information they need to hit the ground running. Download our customizable onboarding tool to get started.
Originally published May 12, 2020. Updated Dec 21, 2021.