The first skill when it comes to hiring a link builder is:

Communication

The task of a link builder involves writing email outreach copies, which would of course require having the skill to communicate effectively with your prospects. 

Initially, you want to see if a potential hire is able to write an email copy based on certain customization, like promoting a single content piece to a target group of an audience – let’s say, journalists.

In Digital PR, it’s extremely important to have the initial email pitch concise as much as possible, and get straight to the point as to what you really want to offer to a publisher — whether you want to offer the content exclusively published to them or just want the website to be one of the distribution networks.

A good test when hiring a link builder is to let them write their own email template, assigning an audience they’d reach out to with a specific need of your client/brand — promoting a single content asset, collaborating for a partnership, or sending discount coupons to bloggers. 

A link builder with good communication skills can easily describe a content piece to be promoted, and can effectively engage with link prospects to get the desired action — links, shares, or other brand exposure. 

Organization Skills

The ability to organize one’s thoughts plus being able to arrange details of a link prospect necessary when you do email outreach. 

A link builder with organization skills is to arrange inputs about a specific website either in a spreadsheet or outreach platform like Buzzstream. 

This is important, as you don’t want your team to waste so much time going back and forth looking for a detail (let’s say contact info) of a link prospect, just because someone wasn’t able to input it well on an outreach platform.

Organization skills can also translate to how a link builder organizes content topics either to be used internally or externally (for other websites’ blogs). 

If you’re working in an agency, this means that a link builder knows how to collect all files and put them in one place, i.e. Google Drive, so when anyone in the team wants to access it, they are easily available and ready to edit and distribute. 

This may sound pretty basic, but it’s one of the main reasons why link building teams spend hours on minor tasks than on major tasks like creating content and pursuing publishers for links. 

So look for someone who has organizational skills. 

Creativity 

Creativity is a skill that a link builder must possess to perform at the highest level in link building.

If you’re taking content creation into the highest consideration, your potential hire must think outside the box, of what makes content enticing to publishers, and not just data-driven.

Content marketers from content marketing agencies like Fractl, Siegemedia, and Neomam have proven to have creativity in the way they produce infographics, interactive content, and other types of content that garner links for their clients.

When a link builder is creative, he or she can also think of ways on how to promote a content piece beyond just posting on targeted online communities and forums. With creative email pitches, a creative link builder can secure links from top-tier publishers and bloggers their competitors can’t easily get. 

Problem-solving

Like any other campaign, link building entails challenges. 

So a potential hire must have problem-solving skills to be able to spot problems and issues quickly, and get them solved either by themselves alone or with the help of people they’re working within the team.

In prospecting, you’re likely to experience that what you have just targeted as a team to look for websites won’t respond to your email outreach later, given its relevance and signs that websites are not easy to just get links from.

Look for a potential link builder with good problem-solving skills to be able to come up with solutions, which may not be quick, but just at the right time, to address issues and concerns either directly about the campaign itself or about issues with the team.

And one of the most important critical skills you should be looking for when hiring a link builder: 

Leadership (self and team player) 

You may not hire urgently for a managerial role, but one you should be looking for must present leadership skills in how he/she deals with himself or herself, and you think he/she can collaborate with your team effectively. 

Culture is important before you begin hiring. When you have a strong culture in your team, either in your in-house SEO team or agency, you’ll guarantee people would come to you that either joins or matches your team culture or would simply just leave because they possess different values.