This one is pretty easy. Because I always felt writing is in my bones J I am an Engineering graduate and understandably this was a standard question in all interviews. I gave the same reply in all interviews and it worked just fine.
Salespeople today should be asking questions more than making pitches. Open-ended questions that help a rep thoroughly understand a prospect's needs are as good as gold.
Because you already have a specific idea about the style and message of your content, it's important that your copywriters are able to convey that message without any problems. If your candidates have experience taking direction, you know you can rely on them to create content that aligns with your campaign's goals without having to make several rounds of revisions.
Though this might seem like a standard interview question, it's especially important for copywriters. Not only will it help you gauge their interest in the position, but it will also give you clues on what type of writer they are. You'll want an inquisitive writer who conducts backgrounding and research before submitting any work, and this is a great way to see how thorough they are. You can also take this time to measure their copywriting proficiency. Ask them how they would describe your brand's tone/voice, and also ask them who they think your target audience is. This should help you wean out the clueless writers from the ones who really know their stuff.
Again, it's not necessarily a deal breaker if the salesperson doesn't actively share and engage with content on their social media accounts, but they should at least want to start doing so.
SMO is an upcoming and very exciting avenue for enhancing website popularity and traffic by harnessing the power of various social media like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, YouTube etc. Be prepared to suggest some ways to promote a product, service or website on Facebook and Twitter. So go sign into your Twitter and Facebook accounts and try out a few things to develop enough confidence in the field. Nowadays SMO is an expected skill for most content writers and SMO has blurred the distinction between SEO and content writing as both, Search Engine Optimizers and Content Writers dabble in the field. Check out my post on SMO tricks to get a better grasp of the subject.
When it comes to maintaining a consistent content creation schedule, there will certainly be instances where your writers will be forced to meet a tight deadline. When that time comes, you need to know if your candidate will rise to the challenge or crumble under pressure. Ask them if they've worked in high-pressure writing situations before, and ask about their approach to any writing tasks when faced with a deadline.
Keep in handy a pen drive containing your best write ups. Yes, you need to be selective; we all know the nonsense we write in the early days of our content writing career and even when we just don't feel like proof reading some write up, so skip such stuff. It's always advisable to show a wide variety of write-ups like blogs, articles, home page and on different topics. Also if the write-up is under your name it's even better for sake of authenticity. But as we know copywriting signifies that the identity of the actual writer is not disclosed so I'll suggest another way to prove your credentials. Post some articles on varied topics like technology, travel, tourism etc on article submission sites like Hubpages, Ezine, Buksia and so on. I did that and it paid off in a big way. Writers looking for a career in web journalism should have posted related articles on some online magazines or current affairs sites.
While this technically isn't a question, it's important to assess whether the candidate has a helpful demeanor.
The answer to this question doesn't have to blow you away. However, the candidate should have some sort of action plan to get up and running. No matter how much training you provide, it's still smart to hire a self-starter when you can.