Newsroom experts

Don’t just fill the void when a reporter leaves your newsroom

Great ideas live forever! We found this post from the GateHouse Newsroom vaults that still rings true today for newsrooms looking to hire top talent.

One of the toughest challenges cited by editors and publishers is finding the right people to lead their newsrooms and cover their crucial beats.

Recruiting top talent is a talent in and of itself, and we often settle for a candidate who’s available and local as opposed to engaging and enterprising.

After the giddy rush of knowing you can fill an open position (!!!) has passed, it’s time to throw the old job post up on and start wading through the avalanche of unimpressive to find the gems. Pick a few resumes with promise, get a few faces in the door, and make the hire — quick.

It’s tough to have a long-term hiring strategy when your primary motivation is to get the positions filled as soon as possible. But take it from Matt Charney, managing editor of Recruiting Daily, and an industry guru. In a blog post, Charney argues in favor of establishing a pipeline of candidates, rather than filling a single void.

When vetting candidates, place them in a larger context for your organization — don’t simply view them through the lens of your current open position. And consider the potential candidates might have to put you in touch with others.

“Every interaction you have with a candidate, irrespective of where you sourced them, is the door to an entire network of second and third degree connections – which is why even if a candidate isn’t right for right now, they not only might be for another role someday soon, but know somebody who’s a better fit for your open opportunities,” Charney writes.

It might be worth interviewing a candidate who doesn’t seem the perfect fit for your open position if the candidate has potential in other areas.

“You never know what might happen, which is why it never hurt to at least have a conversation – particularly if you’ve established the candidate has the sufficient skills or experience to actually be placeable someday, even if that’s not today,” Charney writes. “The best candidates don’t have a defined shelf life, which is why recruiters need to remember that opening doors is just as important to recruiters as closing reqs, and building relationships always beats qualifying candidates for a single position. Period.” 

In the heat of the moment, interviewing someone you know full well isn’t fit for the job seems like a colossal waste of time, but building a network (even if it’s tiny) of qualified people is going to benefit your newsroom in the long-run.

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