Apr 04 2023

How to Attract and Retain Top Technical Writing Talent

Steven Roger

Career advice

Technical writing is often lumped with regular writing in the scope of business operations. Over the years, it has started to carve a niche as it greatly differs from other forms of writing. 


The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 5.5% growth in employment for technical writers between 2021 to 2031. More and more businesses are realizing the importance of technical writing and looking for top-notch talent for those roles.


If you’re looking to attract and retain top technical writing, we’ve come up with a handy guide to help you accomplish your goals with ease. Keep reading to know how.


How to attract and retain top Technical Writing Talent

Technical writing differs from other forms of writing in a number of ways. It’s heavy on the technicality of things, the goal is to educate and it’s written without emotion. That doesn’t mean it has to be bland or one-note.


It simply means that the tone of a technical piece is formal and straightforward rather than casual. This is why you need writers that can convey convoluted technical information in simplistic language with accuracy. 


When hiring, you need to assess technical writers differently than other writers, say, marketing writers as the focus of their writing is not to catch the attention of potential customers with intentionally quirky quotes but explain a concept efficiently.


We’ve come up with a handy guide to help you attract and retain top technical writing talent by creating a formidable framework for it in your organization. Take a look.

1. Know what you’re looking for



The first step in attracting the right technical writing talent is to know what you’re looking for. It may seem obvious but many businesses make the mistake of simply starting hiring without taking into account their unique needs for a particular role.


Here is a detailed guide on how to hire a technical writer that elaborates on understanding your company’s needs for technical writing as the base for hiring. There are many reasons you could need technical writers for.


It could be to support your customers by providing them with relevant information about products and services. It could be to support your marketing efforts with subject matter expertise. Or you may need them to support your production team by providing them with clear business requirements.


They can serve both external (interactions with customers) and internal (dealing with the inside workings of an organization) purposes. Once you have your needs down, here are the two important aspects you’ll need to decide on:


2. Freelancing vs Full-time


As with any other job role, especially in writing, technical writing can be performed via freelancing or as an in-house job. 


Freelancing is a more suitable option if you’re a smaller company and have fluctuating volumes of projects. This helps you scale your operations easily and have a writer handy whenever you need them. A major benefit of freelancing is that you get far more variety than you’d get with in-house. 


If you’re a big corporation with a wide range of operations, you’d be more benefitted from having an in-house technical writer who can easily collaborate with the different teams while growing their own knowledge as well. You’ll always have a go-to person whenever a writing task is required.


A third option takes the middle road where you hire a few in-house writers and freelance as and when the need arises. It’s a more flexible option that is best suited to middle and big-sized businesses and allows them to have more variety and stability at once.


Popular job portal Indeed conducted internal research on technical writing hiring on its platform. It opined that even if you wish to hire an in-house technical writer, the better option would be to start with freelancers to find the best talent.


3. Skills to look for


A tech writer needs to possess the right balance of technical and soft skills to be able to create the perfect educational pieces for all kinds of audiences. Here are some key skills you should look for in your technical writers:


3.1. Language proficiency — Tech writers need native-like proficiency in a language to accurately exposit information while keeping it simple.

3.2. Communication skills — They should be able to absorb new information, process it, and implement it into their writing with ease.

3.3. Logic and problem solving — A writer should possess good critical thinking and reasoning. They should be able to work with data quickly and solve problems on the go.

3.4. Subject matter — It goes without saying but a writer should have extensive knowledge of the subject matter they’re the tech writer of. They can always learn about additional fields, but they should absolutely have in-depth knowledge of the field they’re being selected for.


4. Create stellar job descriptions



A key aspect of attracting the right talent is crafting inviting job descriptions. It becomes even more important for writing roles. The tone and quality of your job post will directly inform the candidates about the kind of company you are in and if they’d want to work with you or not.


Now, a job post should ideally be around 300 words long. You need to keep your post short and precise yet thorough and accurate. Your job post should include a summary of the job role, required technical skills as well as duties and responsibilities.


According to Indeed’s internal research, using the following terms in your job descriptions gets the most clicks from candidates looking for tech writer roles. Try to put as many as you can in the job post:


  • Technical writer

  • Communications

  • Remote technical writer

  • Technical writing

  • Technical editor

  • Freelance writer


5. Test candidates beforehand

It’s crucial to test technical candidates before they’re hired. This is because a resume doesn’t accurately tell how well a candidate will perform under your company’s unique circumstances. There is also the issue of many candidates exaggerating their experience.


Pre-employment tests are an excellent option to test candidates for the specific needs of your organization and examine them for specific skills and roles. Writing samples and aptitude tests will let you know if a candidate possesses the skill you need.


Testing candidates beforehand is an efficient way to screen them before they get to the interview stage. It also gives you pointers to discuss in the interview and makes it more focused and fruitful.

6. Help them improve regularly

Once you’ve attracted and hired top tech talent, you need to keep them with you. One such way to do it is by helping your writers further their craft on a regular basis. You can enroll them in training programs that will help them improve.


Moreover, you should provide them with a constant appraisal of their performance so that they can overcome their shortcomings. Provide them with learning material and grant them access to resources that will prove beneficial for them.


Ask them directly how they need help to get better at writing and provide them with whatever they need at the earliest. Many organizations also make use of learning and development software that creates custom learning material for employees.

7. Incentivize them



Another great way to retain top writing talent is to incentivize them to motivate them. Put simply, a good technical writer will want to stay with you if they enjoy their work, are appreciated, and get the opportunity to grow.


Recognizing their good work and rewarding them for it incentivizes them to keep performing well. It also lets them know that they’re seen and motivates them to do better.

There are many employee wellbeing initiatives you can take. You may award them with a bonus, give them gifts, send them on vacations, or take them out for fun events such as watching movies or picnics. These activities also freshen them up and fill them with a new vigor for work.

8. Build a talent pool

Building a talent pool takes time but is an extremely handy option to help you regulate employees and find the right kind of writer at short notice. To build a talent pool of technical writers, keep the relevant information about the candidates you screen in a database.


Even if a candidate ends up getting rejected and may not feel like a potential fit, keep their information. Keep in touch with the talent that most closely matches your company’s needs via follow-ups on social media.

Hire small and build on your talent pool to attract and retain top technical writing talent

Technical writing is quite different from other writing roles as it combines the articulateness of a writer with the knowledge of a subject-matter specialist. To attract great technical writers, you first need to know what roles and responsibilities you need on that front in your company.


Create inviting job descriptions based on your specific needs and test candidates thoroughly to testify their experience and talent in the field. Help them further their craft and incentivize them regularly to make them feel seen and stay with you.


Let us know in the comments what you think are the best practices to attract and retain top writing talent. 


Author bio

Atreyee Chowdhury is a freelance content writer with more than 10+ years of professional experience. She’s passionate about helping SMBs and enterprises achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted and compelling content. She loves to read, travel, and experiment with different cuisines in her free time. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

Tags: how to hire a technical writer ,importance of technical writing