Weeding out good contract writers from bad ones is quite a bit like hiring employees—it takes time, patience and a good “eye” to see those who show promise versus candidates who will end up being a bit of a headache. However, with freelance writing providers, particularly those providing services online, there is often no face-to-face chance to sound a person out. Instead, a business or person hiring such help has to do research and take some chances to find the right provider.
Spell Out Your Scope Clearly
One of the biggest problems and concerns hiring parties have with writers is that the given candidate didn’t provide the work as expected. This issue first starts with the scope of the work to be done, which is entirely in the hands of the hiring party. However, while most people or businesses know what they want in a product, it’s frequently not communicated clearly.
Taking the time to make sure a job scope has enough detail for a new party to fully understand what is involved in the requirements is critical. The extra time spent on finessing the details cuts down on confusion, questions and delivery of a product that doesn’t quite hit the target.
Require Work Samples
Before hiring a writer, samples should be required from any candidates being considered. The samples should be germane to the topic or job to be performed. They should also be of a sufficient quality that the writing and style match the pending job as closely as possible. If a writer provides a sample out in left field, he should be filtered out. There’s nothing wrong with telling a potential candidate he’s not the right one for the job. Be professional but concise. There’s no need to write War and Peace explaining why a candidate wasn’t picked.
Do the Research
In many systems, writers need to provide their background. These bio files should be referenced regularly. Most of the time there’s enough information to verify the background of a candidate prior to hiring. With a bit of time and a few questions, a hiring party can find out very quickly if a person has had problems with past work or if everything in the bio checks out. This basic background check can solve and prevent more service headaches than most other filtering steps.
Replace When It’s Not Working
In some cases a hiring party may feel obligated to continue a relationship with a writer when it’s clear the work being produced is not working out. There’s no need to extend the pain. If a writer is not producing what’s needed, he should simply be paid for the work performed and the relationship cut. Be clear and to the point and let the writer know it’s time to move on. Don’t make the issue personal in nature.
There’s no reason why businesses should not hire content writers. However, finding good providers requires a bit of proactive work and time. It’s worth the effort, and when a good writer is found, the results will be stellar.
Tom L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.