This is a guest post from Antony Hayes. I asked him to share some of his tips with respect to hiring English writers. He clearly prefers native English speakers based in the US, but his tips are very useful,and apply equally to hiring offshore writes. Thanks Antony! You’ll find a link to his content writing website at the end of his article

Thoughts into the Selection Process When Hiring Writers

By Antony Hayes

I have been asked by Chris Thompson to write a guest blog on the selection process when looking to hire writers for short or long term projects. This is something that I am quite experienced in since I run my own content production company and always strive to provide clients with the best articles on the internet. For this to happen, I need to know how to spot the best writers and this is something that I have managed to refine down to a few simple points.

My Opinion on Native English Writers

First of all, I would like to just point out that when I first started, I used to concentrate on hiring writers from India and the Philippines but eventually decided to only use native English writers from the U.S. The main reason for this is because the majority of my articles need to be written for an American audience. As a result, it works out better to hire individuals already familiar with the education and government system, as well as the political state, various mannerisms and sayings within the country.

Additionally, it is so much easier to be able to find great writers from English speaking countries due to the fact that it is their natural language after all. This isn’t to say that there are no good writers from non-native countries and many people do choose to use this option due to the favorable exchange rates which invariably leads to cheaper services. In either case, knowing how to spot the best writers is a skill that needs to be learned. Below is a closer look at my recruitment process in a step by step format

Setting up the Advert

Whether you use Freelancer.com, oDesk, Elance or any other freelancing market place; the first step in finding the top writers revolves primarily around the advert. Always remember to offer a rate as high as you can afford as writing is a skill and should be treated as such, especially if you want the better writers applying. When it comes to the advert, be clear on your specifications as well as your requirements. However, keep the advert short and simple as writers won´t want to read an essay.

The First Message Says it All

The first message or introductory message from a writer usually says it all. If the writer’s message is pre written and has been pasted over, I won´t even read it. Secondly, if the message itself is poorly written, that is a direct reflection on the writer´s integrity as a writer. A writer who is truly particular will take care of grammar and spelling at all times, and not just when writing articles. I frequent Freelancer.com which is a bidding site; so I will always request applicant’s to bid a set amount as this also ensures that they at least took the time to read my advert.

Requesting a Sample

I will always request that applicants send through a few samples of their best writing with an introductory message. This should give employers a brief idea on the applicant’s writing skill but it doesn’t say it all. 9 times out of 10, I will also request a sample to be written according to my own specifications which I will pay for (and accept their bid) if it is written correctly. I only do this to those few out of the tens of applicants that make it onto my shortlist. Keep in mind that many writers refuse to do this as there have been some scams, so it helps to build a reputation first as a trustworthy employer.

Understanding the Sample

When analyzing the sample, it is important to consider the flow of the article as well as any subtle habits that the writer may have. For example, many inexperienced writers can only write in first or second person which is problematic for clients who want authoritative articles. However, it is more than possible to write in a conversational, easy to read tone without using words such as “you”, “I” or “we”. When it comes to the flow of the article, it is vital that the article follows a logical progression otherwise the end reader will lose interest after the first paragraph.

Other points to look out for include the structure of the article (even paragraphs / sub headers – both of which I am a stickler for), readability, as well as whether the article is actually helpful. Many writers have a habit of writing a neat article that looks good and may be grammatically correct, but won´t have any substantial information. I usually provide new writers with one chance to adjust their style to see if they will be compatible for future work. Lastly, any hint of plagiarism or a spun article will result in a terminated application.

Don’t Forget Important Details

During the recruitment process, remember to make sure that all aspects of current and future work have been discussed with the shortlisted and/or successful applicants. This will include information such as the writer’s daily writing capabilities, past topic experience, as well as whether the writer can work with short deadlines. Additional details can include formats and writing styles that the applicant is used to; as well the employer’s payment schedule. Making sure that nothing is left out will prevent any unnecessary bumps in the road later on.

Final Thoughts

When a writer has been found, make sure to have patience with the first couple of articles as they will need to get used to your particular preferred writing style. However, if you performed the recruitment process properly – the articles should be exactly what you are looking for. Just remember that writing is not a commodity and writers who do take pride in their art should be respected for it. I hope these points have been helpful, and please feel free to check out my website and get in contact if you have any enquiries.

Antony Hayes runs this online content production company, and kindly contributed this post as a guest blogger.

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!