How To Survive A Blogging Trial Interview

We all know how the cycle goes. You open up your favorite job searching sites and start shopping for your favorite job titles. Since the economic downturn, I have altered my selection process to also include ‘jobs I can kinda see myself doing,’ ‘jobs I am over-qualified for but include health benefits,’ and ‘part-time jobs that I definitely see myself doing.’ Creating variety for myself has seemed to help a bit.

I recently got written back for a part-time writing position at Babble.com. I got super excited once I found out that the modern parenting site averages about 1 million viewers a month. They skipped the face-to-face interview as a first step and got me started right away on a 2-day trial blogging interview. That required creating 5 blogs a day, 25% original content and 75% re-purposed or previously reported content. I have also experienced similar interview processes at Sirius XM, Clear Channel, and MTV Networks, which consisted of four rounds of face-to-face interviews and a week of trial blogging.

Trial blogging or sample writing is the main step to obtaining an online editorial position nowadays. I have succeeded in many trials, but also received no call backs from many others. Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what the hiring manager or editorial director is looking for, but I have a few survival tips that always help me out.

1. Study the site you are interviewing for – Sure that includes getting a feel for the voice and style of writing, but it’s also super important to look at all of their sections, figure out their top content, and how they optimize their content. This also helps you realize what elements they can improve on.

2. Find your own voice – Blogging isn’t NY Times journalism. You want your voice to shine, but also balance it out with the writing style already in place. The percentage may vary depending on what kind of site you are interviewing for. When crafting your voice always keep in mind your audience!

3. Be traffic friendly – As an editor, it is very important to make sure your writers know how to tag, categorize, and link content. It’s a huge traffic booster and shows that you know how to increase their demographic. High numbers can mean more money for you in the long run.

The scariest part of the interview process is waiting to hear back. Sometimes you will and sometimes you won’t. I have had to learn to deal with the no call backs, but I like to see it as a blind date. Sometimes you match and sometimes you don’t. The important thing is to take each step as a learning lesson. What could you have done better or differently? With this in mind the perfect gig is sure to arrive soon!

Read some of my Babble.com sample blogs here and here.


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