Like every other small business, HeroX constantly manages a variable project load against fixed available resources and personnel. One way we address this issue is by maintaining pools of known contractors. When we needed to increase the size of our bench of writers to accommodate our project load, we decided to “eat our own dogfood” and run a crowdsourcing challenge to find these new writers for HeroX.
The HeroX Writer’s Draft was a two phase challenge that ran for 3 months. In Phase 1, participants were invited to write a short submission that introduced themselves, discussed why they were a good fit for HeroX, and provided examples of their writing. The submissions were amazing, and it was with difficulty that we selected the four Phase 1 winners. We asked each Phase 1 winner to complete a writing assignment similar to what they would do if they were already on the Writers’ Bench. At the end of Phase 2, we evaluated the different pieces of writing and awarded the winners different shares of the prize purse. Additionally, we invited some of the winners to join the HeroX Writers’ Bench.
We received 48 submissions from 18 countries and selected four participants to advance to Phase 2. As a result of the challenge, and at a fraction of recruitment costs, we were able to attract gifted writers that bring a broad diversity of opinions and writing styles to our Writers’ Bench. Having ourselves as clients meant that HeroX team members who don’t normally interact with the challenge process had an opportunity to experience our services. A side benefit was that we received honest, internal feedback about steps in the process where things were confusing, unclear, or capable of being improved. As a result, future HeroX clients benefited from various improvements to the challenge and user experience.