No matter what type of writer you’re looking for—technical writer, training developer, proposal writer, marketing writer, or business writer—here are 9 interview questions that I’ve used in the past with good results:

  1. Tell me about the types of documents you’ve written in the past.  How long were the documents?  How much time did you have to complete them?  What company did you write each document for?
  2. Can you show me 3 examples of documents you’ve written?  Where did you write each one?
  3. Our [proposals/reports/articles] are usually [1 p./10 p./50 p.] and must be completed in [2 hrs./1 day/1 week/1 month].  Can you give me an example of a time when you completed a document of that size—in that timeframe?  What did you write, and how did you meet the deadline?
  4. What is your process for doing proofreading and revisions?  Have you ever proofed someone else’s work?
  5. Have you ever interviewed a client or a SME (subject matter expert) for information? How did you do it?  What is your process?
  6. Give me an example of a time when you collaborated with many people in different departments (or locations) to create a document.  How did you handle it?  What did you do when people were late, or deliverables were not met?
  7. Give me an example of a time when you juggled many different documents (or projects), all with different deadlines.  How did you keep track of everything?  Were you able to meet the deadlines?
  8. Sometimes during the year, we have a really high volume of [proposals/reports/articles] that need to be completed very quickly.  What are some tricks or techniques you use for handling “peak periods” at work?
  9. Have you ever created a “style guide” for a company?  How did you approach it?  What did you include?

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