Be yourself and know their readers
by Olivia Walters
Lemme spill the beans on this one. The interview is just as important as the application.
So flaunt your stuff and get hired, dude!
Freelance writers pitch articles with giddy anticipation of hearing back from editors. And after loads of rejection emails, from time to time, a “yes” comes in.
Cue the music, I’m hired!
Hold up, not just yet.
Editors hiring long-term writers for digital publications will probably request an interview.
They want to know that you know your stuff and aren’t some voiceless poser.
Be so great they’re drooling for you
Friends, I’m soaring on a magic carpet because today I nailed an interview.
It’s not rocket science.
If you’ve already passed an editorial test of some sort, then it’s safe to assume you did some research about the publication’s writing style.
I’m here to drop some tips for writers prepping for the next step: a Skype call, a Google Hangouts Meet, or an old-fashioned “call me on my cellphone.”
Editors want to know why you’re the best writer for the job and if you’ve done your research.
Here are seven surefire questions to expect from an editor:
What experiences do you bring to the table that would help our readers?
Pro tip: Digital web content solves problems and you need to be the one with answers.
How comfortable are you with rejection?
Translation: They want to know how you’ll react to them spitting on your ideas/future pitches.
Pro tip: Say you’re a freelance writer. You could offer a spin-off article idea. But rejection is like a speck of dust on your ego. Whatever, on to the next thing.
What is your turn around rate for finished articles per day?
Translation: How fast can you write for us and how much can you get done?
Pro tip: Say 3-4 article/day, if you’re writing short pieces with some research.
Where do you get your (travel/event) news from?
Pro tip: Mention Twitter and Instagram. If you’re writing articles to stay on trend, it’s okay to rattle off a couple of reputable online sources like Vice. Just make sure they know that you know how to use social media for research.
What is an article on our site that stood out to you and why?
Translation: Again, editors test you to see if you understand their audience.
Pro tip: Keep a tab open to their site while you’re interviewing. If all else fails, pick a colorful headline and say the vibe resonated because you attend hippy festival events too. Improv if you have to. Flatter their content again and again.
What is your availability?
Pro tip: It’s not a hard one, but if you’re disorganized you might sound out of touch with successful time management skills. Freelance writing is all about scheduling in advance, heck, even scheduling before you schedule!
Do you have any questions for our team?
Pro tip: Always say yes. Show them you’re really invested. Ask them how you can best reach section editors or if a contract needs your signature. Editors love to see writers go the extra mile.
Hang up the phone with confidence. You’ll usually know after the first 15 minutes whether or not you’ve grabbed their attention.
If you’re unsure, then they’re probably unsure about you too.
Wait, there’s more guys
Want more sassy, cut to the chase writer tips? My Twitter & Instagram are full of ‘em. Follow me for more.