An inevitable part of creating an RFP (short for Request for Proposal) is finding a person in charge of the actual writing and creating compelling content. Writing is a skill just like any other, and with enough training and persistence, almost anyone can master it to become a good RFP writer.
To hire the right person for this position, it is not enough to leave it to the HR team or the sales team - a person who understands the requirements of the position and has experience firsthand should also be included.
Once you master all details about requests for proposals and spend some time doing it, you can qualify to be part of the hiring process. For example, you might look for external writers, or if you have a good copywriter in your team, you can rely on internal resources.
There are several skills a good RFP writer needs to have if they want to excel in RFP writing.
To evaluate the candidates, the hiring team needs to be aware of what requirements they should look for in the candidate in the first place. For those already working as RFP writers, this is a good opportunity to see where the room for improvement is.
However, regardless of whether you are looking for someone to hire or you are looking for tips on how you can improve your RFP writing skills, here we bring you the most important things an RFP writer needs to be aware of.
This article will be beneficial for everyone - those who are already working as RFP writers will see the areas to work on and improve, while those looking to hire an RFP writer know what to look for.
Area of Expertise
Being a good writer and putting together an RFP or an actual response to the RFP requires the person to be knowledgeable of the things that are tightly connected to the RFP and have a breadth of experience. This means that you need to know the industry you are working in.
This applies further to the fact that you need to be aware of the big picture in your industry, and understand how the response process is going, what are specifics of the industry are, what needs to be done to perform a task, and so on.
Here you have to be careful because an RFP writer in a software company may know procedures that are different from what an RFP writer in a cosmetics company is usually doing.
However, the person you will hire needs to be familiar with the industry’s specific requirements and needs to know how that applies to the process of writing an RFP. Previous experience in the industry is desirable, but let’s not miss the great opportunities within people who are eager to learn.
If you are involved in the process of writing a high-quality RFP response, then you also need to have some experience in sales, content development, and experience with proofreading to create and successfully implement your sales pitch.
Writing a response is actually talking directly to the potential client with your business proposal. Careful attention to detail will be shown only if you know what you are talking about (and know that you need to have some previous experience in the industry).
Very often, writing a good RFT response can be your competitive advantage, so make sure to use it wisely.
Follow the Structure
Being able to follow the structure or to know how the structure is supposed to look is a big advantage. For example, when there is a lot of material in question, the RFP writer needs to know how they will divide the entire proposal content into different sections to have a logical sequence.
It is crucial to know how to structure an RFP (and to do it properly). Every document you are writing needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. In the beginning, you will make a short introduction of who you are and what you do, and then you will proceed by explaining the subject of the RFP you are writing.
The middle portion of the RFP should be dedicated to explaining what the requirements and deadlines are. These will act as certain grading points because the bid will be awarded based on how well the potential partner is meeting the requirements.
In the end, you will summarize everything mentioned, outline the problem again, and explain what benefits you expect from solving that issue.
Know to Collaborate
Often you will notice that writing an RFP is not something that lies only on one person’s back. Usually, a whole team is included working on the entire process of writing the RFP, from the beginning when you start formulating ideas to the end when you publish the RFP.
A good writer needs to know how to work in a team and how to adapt to different personalities. Working as an RFP writer means working and collaborating with many different stakeholders in the writing and response process.
Every person involved in the process probably has a hectic schedule, so an RFP writer needs to know how to adapt to their schedules in the first place. Many people involved also mean many personalities, so the writer needs to be very adaptive and fast-learning.
Express Your Requirements
Writing an RFP doesn’t mean you will only need pen and paper to complete it - it means that you will have to navigate through many different sectors and seek a lot of information from different people.
As a writer, you are responsible for making a list of things that need to be done and by when. Once you have a to-do list like this, they can assign the person they need to fulfill a task.
It doesn’t matter whether they need information or have to seek approval from that person - in every case, the RFP writer needs to be assertive and ask for the missing information. Good communications skills are a must because it would be tough to handle this process the right way without them.
After all, if they cannot get the information they need, the RFP will not be finished or will be completed with many gaps and holes that will need to be edited later on. Failing to do this is equal to failing at the job itself, so it is important to avoid it.
Have a Bit of Fun
Just like the title says - in the end, the most important thing is to have a little bit of fun in everything you are doing. If you don’t like your job, then it is not very likely you will be the star of the month.
RFPs can sometimes be very boring and time-consuming, so finding a way to keep yourself entertained and engaged in the writing or response process is what will pay off in the end. If you are not happy with what you are doing, you will likely miss deadlines, you will not be organized, and you will lose track of the whole process.
Who Is the Best Candidate?
It is hard to make a template and make every candidate fit in it. The same job title may mean different requirements depending on the industry the company is doing business in.
To sum everything up, to be a good fit for this position, a person must have excellent communication and organization skills. Besides this, the person must show interest and knowledge about the industry they intend to work in.
Being a team player is a must in every job nowadays, and that also applies to the position of an RFP writer. Also, the person needs to be very responsible, know the deadlines that have been set, and be assertive and proactive to do everything they can to meet them.
These aforementioned things need to be included in the job description the company will write because only like that will attract the right person. Always make sure to leave enough time for the candidates to apply to the position.
Don’t rush, and don’t hire someone just because you need the person to start working ASAP. You should not make any compromises here - it is okay if the process takes more time than initially planned. In the end, it will pay off.
Where to Look?
Being proactive in HR is the newest trend that is present amongst many companies. This means that HR tends to find the candidates long before any job posting is published. This is a good way of creating a database of candidates you can also use in the future.
The proactive approach means that you need to contact the candidates before they come to you. This can be done only via social media because there is no better and more cost-effective way to do that.
Imagine that HR are taking the roles of scouts for a moment - where would they go to look for their ideal candidate?
Linkedin has stood out as the number one professional network. It is a place where professionals from many different areas, companies, and industries connect to share experiences.
Linkedin is a great place to build a strong company presence on social media and connect with possible candidates. Therefore, approaching people on this platform with a potential job offer is considered normal and even desirable.
HR should create a profile of their ideal candidate for the position of the RFP writer and use those criteria to look for the person on this network. Only after the initial contact the HR may invite the person to an interview and continue from there.
Meetup is another great platform to organize informal meetups where people can get to know each other, all at a professional level. Being a member of this app means that you will be getting updates on when the specific meetup will happen. In addition, you can filter meetups based on their topic.
It is good to find (or even create) meetups where topics close to the whole RFP writing or response process will be discussed. This way, you will create a circle of people interested in the topic, and you might even meet the potential candidate for this position.
Although you will not exactly approach someone and be like, “Hey, I got a job for you,” you can still use conferences and other industry events to create connections, and then, later on, to filter interesting candidates and invite them for an interview.
Networking is valuable nowadays, so if you can create a good and strong relationship with others, you may also use your network to search for potential candidates.
Job Searching Websites
Sometimes the job searching websites also have an option for the candidates to present themselves so that the companies can contact them if their profile sounds interesting. Make sure that you have checked this, and make the first move.
Before even checking all the aforementioned, ensure that you have checked your own internal database where you are storing information about all potential candidates who applied to some of your previous job postings.
Maybe their qualifications didn’t match your needs before, but now they are perfect for this position. It would be a great way to utilize this base if you could find a potential candidate.
Create a Job Posting
In the end, if none of the above resulted in you finding the perfect candidate for this job, then the last resort is to create and post a job posting. In the job posting, you need to list all your requirements and what qualifications the candidate needs to have.
It is already explained in the article the guidelines about the traits a perfect RFP writer needs to have, here we bring them summarized:
Bachelor degree in business, administration, finance, project management, or other relevant subjects
Excellent communication skills
Exceptional organizational skills
Being able to work under pressure
Ability to meet the deadlines according to the project plan
Can take responsibility
Previous experience is desirable (proposal managers, SMEs - subject matter experts, actual RFP writer, etc.)
These are some basic things you need to look for when looking for a new RFP writer to hire. If you have some other requirements closely connected to the industry, you are in, feel free to add them.
After you write your requirements, always mention what the candidate will get in return, should he choose to apply and get the job. It is important to state what are the employee’s benefits because that relationship is a two-way street - they don’t work only for their salary, but other benefits, including:
Paid extended leave
Option of remote working
Flexible working hours
Health insurance benefits
Free pass to gym/libraries, for example
Other specific benefits your company is offering
Once you list all of these, the candidate can get a closer picture of who you are, what you do, and how desirable are you as a potential employer.
Also, make sure that you have clearly stated what the candidate's role is and what their responsibilities will be. Make sure to mention what are the tasks they will perform daily.
Once you add all of these aforementioned things, everything is very transparent. You will ensure that only the candidates who are really interested in working with you as the RFP writer will apply.
This will save you a lot of time because if you are vague in your job posting, many candidates will apply - even those who don’t meet the requirements. However, this will be a waste of time for you because, nevertheless, every job application needs to be checked and scanned.
One more thing to ask from the candidates is to write you a cover letter. This will show you what motivated them to apply for the position, and you get to know them a little better.
If you don't have time to invest in this hiring process, you can rely on our wide network of expert writers. Contact us for a free consultation today.