Don't Ask Your Freelance Writer to Take an Unpaid Test
Updated: Mar 17
I read an article on LinkedIn this morning, and it got me thinking. The writer offered tips to help companies find the perfect freelance writer. But one specific tidbit would have the opposite effect.
That suggestion involved writing tests.
Companies put their reputations (and a lot of money) on the line when they make hiring decisions. Make the wrong choice, and they could sink money into a person that might never pan out.
But here's the thing. A demand for an unpaid writing test could keep the most qualified writers from ever applying for your open position.
Professional writers only apply for the projects that are right for them. If you ask for a specific writing style and they know that's something they can't do, they'll never jump at your opportunity.
And they can prove it.
Professional writers have years of clips. If you ask to see a sample of writing in a particular voice, or you want to see proof of a writer's versatility, clips do the work.
You could ask a writer to take a writing test, but it's a duplication of effort. And it's not the kindest thing to do.
Ask a writer to take an unpaid writing test, and you're taking money out of that professional's budget. When I see requests like this, I think about the projects I might work on for a paycheck. And money trumps opportunity every time.
If you absolutely must see hard proof of a writer's ability, ask for clips. And if that isn't enough, try a test.
Just make it a paid opportunity.
You'll start off your relationship with respect. You'll show your potential partner that you care about his/her time and financial health. And your writer just might take the opportunity a little more seriously, as there's money on the line.
My two cents.