Recruiting Strategies to Find a Great Hire

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Finding the right person to join your news organization can be a challenge. The recruiting and hiring process can be lengthy but if you take the right steps, it can make all the difference when you have that great staff member join your team.

This week I will be sharing tips on how to find that great hire.

Define What the Position is and What it is Not

First, you have to identify what are the responsibilities of the individual you are seeking to add to your team. Don’t get wrapped up in titles just yet as the actual tasks of what you want that person to do are the most important. What will they do on daily basis? What are their job responsibilities?

Furthermore, what skills should they have? What technical and editorial experience should they have? How much experience should they have in the industry? How much education or training should they have?

In addition, think about the tasks or responsibilities of what you don’t want this person to do. Leon Noone says it’s important to include what you don’t want in the job ad along with what kind of hire you are seeking for the job. It may sound weird to identify the things you don’t want them to do, but in the process of figuring this out you can clearly communicate in the job advertisement what you are clearly looking for and what you are not. You save yourself a lot of grief in the long run.

Often times, we also get wrapped in titles or roles for the job position that may or may not best reflect the actual tasks that the person may be doing. I recommend saving the title of the position for the last step of the job description. Nowadays, new titles are being created daily for positions in news organizations because today’s tasks in newsrooms vary so much and are completely new in some cases.

After you have all this information written down, you can then prepare your job description for distribution.

Distribution Methods for Recruiting

After you have your job description in hand, you can’t expect that everyone will come knocking on your door and applying. It’s a two-way street and you will have to spend time making that job position known through multiple distribution channels.

Start in Your Own Digital Backyard

Post your job position on your website. Put it on your homepage and put it in your weekly or monthly email newsletters. Your news audience can be a great opportunity to find that great hire. You never know who is in your audience that may be a fit for the position or may know a friend or colleague who would be ideal for the position. The Voice of San Diego recently posted their job position for a Engagement Editor and included it in their weekly newsletter and website.

Job Boards

A survey report published by Bullhorn of 1,848 recruiting professionals showed that job boards were ranked the least effective by recruiters in finding candidates for positions. On the other hand, survey respondents said that social media was the most effective for finding candidates for positions outpacing some of the traditional recruiting methods of the past.

This statistic doesn’t mean that you should not use job boards but you may want to consider putting your time and effort towards other channels for recruiting hires.

If you are not sure where to post, here are some job boards to consider:

http://www.ire.org/jobs (IRE job board)

https://members.journalists.org/job-board (You must be an ONA member to view job board)

http://asne.org/content.asp?pl=19&sl=80&contentid=80 (ASNE has compiled a list of many job board resources)

Recruiting Agency

Another option to consider is having a recruiting agency help you find that great hire. Recruiting agencies can be expensive for one-time hires, but they often guarantee getting the position filled within the timeframe agreed upon with the client.

If you are a large organization, having a permanent recruiter on staff can be the best ROI in the long run than having a recruiter hired to help find a person for a position here or there. It’s a decision you have to decide if it’s worth your time and money.

According to a recent article in Entrepreneur magazine by Christopher Hann on recruiting, Hann cites a fact from a talent-acquisition team at ZestFinance that, “a typical recruiting agency charges 20 to 30 percent of each new hire’s salary, or $20,000 to $30,000 apiece. Internal recruiters typically earn $75,000 to $150,000 per year but can hire dozens of people.”

Hann suggests if you are going to hire more than 20 people in the coming year, an internal recruiter may be the better option.

Social Media

According to the Bullhorn study, 98% of recruiters use social media to find candidates. Of the social media channels they use, here is the breakdown: 97% use LinkedIn, 51% use Facebook, 48% use Twitter, 19% use Google Plus and 3.6% use Pinterest to find hires.  Ninety-three percent of recruiters said that LinkedIn produced candidates they were able to place into the desired position.

What does this mean for your recruiting and hiring strategy? It means that you also need to be looking at these social media channels for recruiting.

LinkedIn

If you don’t have a company LinkedIn page, create one as soon as possible. That page should have details on what your news organization is, your mission, values, etc. You should also post your career opportunities on this page.

It’s a good idea to do searches on LinkedIn with keywords related to the job position you are seeking to fill. You may be surprised to see the potential candidates that come up in your searches and you can contact them directly to inquire them to apply for the position.  Don’t be afraid to contact those that may already be employed versus those who are not – your great hire may be working at another place.

By doing these keyword searches you can also identify what keywords you should include in your job posting on LinkedIn. Keywords are a crucial component to LinkedIn and how people find your page and your job openings.

There are some other nifty tips on recruiting strategies on the LinkedIn Talent Blog page: http://talent.linkedin.com/blog/

Facebook

You may not consider Facebook as a potential recruiting destination, but don’t ignore it. According to the Bullhorn survey, recruiters stated that they were finding more success in placing candidates from using Facebook than Twitter.

Make sure to have a Facebook page for your news organization. If you don’t already, do so as soon as possible. It should feature the main information about your news organization, latest news stories, and career opportunities.

Another option to consider is purchasing Facebook ads that allow you to promote your page and you can incorporate text about the job position you are seeking to fill. There are more details on this page on how Facebook ads work: https://www.facebook.com/business/connect

For more details on tips on how to build an effective Facebook page for your news organization see this page:  https://www.facebook.com/business/build

Twitter

You may already have a news organization Twitter page and your staff members may already have Twitter accounts. Make sure to maximize on this by posting tweets about your job position through these accounts.

Before you post your job tweet, first do a search on Twitter for jobs that are similar to the position you are seeking to fill. Identify the kind of keywords and hashtags that are being used for these other jobs. This can be a great start to help you in crafting your own job tweet.

Create a schedule and strategy for your job tweeting. Don’t bombard your followers with job tweets throughout the day but have a schedule of when and how often you will announce the position and use several Twitter accounts (your main news account and your staff members) to help post the position. Don’t retweet or Tweet the exact same job description each time. Make sure you change the wording and change the hashtags accordingly.

Another option to consider is a popular Twitter destination for job seekers and employers called TweetMyJobs: http://www.tweetmyjobs.com/

Get Out in the Community

Don’t rely only on the online platform to help you find that great hire. If you have any community events you are hosting such as workshops or forums, tell people at those events you have this position available. You may want to make a few 3x5 cards announcing the position and leave them at the event for people to take with them.

Building Relationships in the Community

Another recruiting strategy that cannot be overlooked is the importance of relationship building and networking. Social media, job boards and recruiters cannot match up to this. As a nonprofit news organization, you have developed your presence in the community and that presence is built off the relationships you have spent time curating. Your community can be one of the best places to recruit that great hire.

In your community, there are probably several different kinds of meetups, industry or professional groups as well as civic groups that meet often. Your local university or college is also another crucial place to find talent. Don’t forget these crucial networks. Attend their meetings, get to know the leaders of these groups, let them know you are hiring, and what kind of job you are looking to fill. You may be surprised that the person you want for the position is right there in your community in one of these groups.

Recruiting is not a practice that should only be done when you have that specific job to fill. It should be an ongoing process where you should be actively looking for that next great hire no matter if you have a position open or not.

By establishing connections and building relationships with the amazing people in your community, you naturally set up the opportunity for recruiting that amazing person to join your team when the need comes up.

Photo credit: aquopshilton via photopin | cc 

About Amy Schmitz Weiss

Amy Schmitz Weiss is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University. Schmitz Weiss is a 2011 Dart Academic Fellow and has a PhD in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches journalism courses in basic writing and editing, multimedia, web design, data journalism, and mobile journalism. She is also the 2011-2012 Recipient of the AEJMC Bridge Grant with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that led to the creation of a mobile news app, AzteCast for the San Diego State University campus population in spring 2012. She also is a former journalist who has been involved in new media for more than a decade. She has worked in business development, marketing analysis and account management for several Chicago Internet media firms. Her research interests include online journalism, media sociology, news production, multimedia journalism, and international communication. She is also a regular blog contributor to the Investigative News Network, a resource center for community-based and nonprofit journalism.

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