Sunday, February 03, 2008

Learning how to hire

Paul Conley's blog has a depressing but informative observation about newspaper hiring techniques. It's well worth reading in full (yes, we will be hiring again). Here's a taste:

A few months ago I sat on a panel with two recruiters from mid-sized newspaper chains. They were both lovely people. But I think it's safe to say that they didn't share my beliefs about how to recruit or what to look for in a new hire.

One of them was asked "what would make you throw out a resume?" And she replied that she wouldn't hire anyone with a resume that said "multimedia reporter." She went on to say that she was looking for "newspaper people." But then, a few minutes later, she mentioned that the reporters at her chain were now being trained to carry video cameras.

The other woman, when asked about how she looks through applications, said she doesn't look at electronic resumes and won't follow links to Web stories, multimedia packages or other online examples of work. The reason? She said she didn't have the time, and preferred to look at things on paper.

(Thanks to Howard Owens for the pointer).


  1. Anonymous9:20 AM

    I had a similar experience interviewing for a small paper with no real Web site (they have a site which includes no news stories for their coverage area) and a circulation in the double digits. The interviewer made it very clear that they weren't planning on building an online presence and that, instead of really focusing on the news, he wanted his reporters to focus on issues that appealed to his current 60-70 readers. (No high school sports coverage, etc.) It was clear we weren't what the other was looking for.

  2. I'd be curious to know who these knuckleheaded interviewers were. The post says recruiters for a mid-size group. Were they news people? Publishers? HR types?

    Their comments are so inane and short-sighted, I have a hard time believing the report is on the level.

    If it is a true account, God help them.

    Dan in Modesto

  3. You know, this reminds me about the time I applied at Netscape (before they became a joke).

    I replied to a job posting and attached my resume in HTML format. I got a response back, "please attach a Word copy of your resume as we can't read HTML."

    Now that I think about it, that was probably the exact point that they became a joke.

  4. Anonymous7:50 AM

    I actually can believe the story, because it's an example of how people behave all the time. They know what they're comfortable with, and rather than adapt to the world, they try to make the world adapt to their little needs whenever possible. It's a deadly managerial trait. But it works, in a small everyday kinda way, until one day you look up and you're driving a buggy on a highway (no offense to the Amish intended). And that's what's happened to newspapers in the last 15 years.