As working from home became widespread during the pandemic, media recruiters have changed the way they think about building their future teams.
The main challenge is to find the right balance between ensuring staff safety and fostering good communication, creativity and collaboration in the newsroom. Employers now also have to respond to demands for work flexibility while ensuring that newly hired staff receive appropriate training.
While many journalists have found working from home convenient, some have felt the impact of isolation on their productivity and mental health. And with many employees returning to physical newsrooms, these competing needs are impacting the job market.
To get the best of both worlds, most publishers now have a flexible or hybrid work policy that combines days at the office with working from home. The way work is organized often shapes recruiters’ decisions about hiring new people. Likewise, journalists may be tempted to leave their organizations when flexible working is not an option and seek opportunities better suited to their new work-life balance.
But getting the right hybrid working model is difficult. Martin Cloake is responsible for editorial delivery at Capital.com and he said that as a global company with many teams working remotely, his company is still in the process of determining the optimal policy.
“Younger, less experienced staff want to come into the office and soak up the experience, but more experienced staff often want to stay home,” he says. The calculations clearly don’t match and imposing a mandatory number of days in the office could be the way to go, according to Kevin Delaney, co-founder of charter.
Perhaps the biggest impact of remote working is that the talent pool has grown, as people can now live and work in completely different places without having to travel. This has benefited many companies who often struggled to recruit in their region before the pandemic. On the other hand, job seekers can now choose from a much wider range of companies and retention has become more difficult.
Working from home can also reduce presenteeism – when staff show up for work even if they don’t feel up to it and therefore are not productive. Some employees, however, need the structure to enter the office, explains the co-founder and executive chairman of GRV media Vic Daniels.
Despite this new hybrid work landscape and the challenges of remote management, the foundational skills sought after by media employers have not really changed.
Jobs for graduates and beginners
For the best part of 2020, the pandemic has wiped out the internship and internship opportunities that are so important to journalism students. Without this first experience, many are reluctant to apply for graduate jobs or don’t know what to put on their CVs.
Cloake recommends illustrating skills and experience with concrete examples when responding to a job posting. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written a newspaper article, started your own blog, or created a TikTok account. Showing that you did something more during the pandemic proves that you are self-sufficient, can think sideways, and are results-oriented.
GRV media deployed virtual internships to help budding journalists hone their skills while identifying new talent. According to Daniels, several junior employees joined the company after completing a “try before you buy” work experience.
But the main skills media companies are looking for are the same as before: understanding what makes a good story, how to find and present it in different formats, and knowing what makes the content stick.
Daniels added that it’s also important for junior employees to understand the current media landscape and basic practices such as search engine optimization (SEO) and social media content creation.
Like many publishers, Capital.com Seeks to improve its game in areas such as cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other emerging technologies. Don’t be discouraged if you know little about these topics, what matters is that you have a nose for the story and can produce engaging content.
Intermediate and senior roles
With a flurry of layoffs and newsroom closings during the pandemic, many journalists have gaps in their resumes that they may feel uncomfortable with.
“If you lose your job, you won’t be penalized,” Cloake says, adding that he’s looking at how people have handled crises. For example, even if you keep doing something unrelated to journalism, it shows that you are a problem solver.
Daniels is looking for accomplishments and examples of how you added value in your previous job. Perhaps you have contributed to the profit of the company or improved the user experience. Show it and don’t hesitate to draw attention to your accomplishments.
When you get to the job interview, educate yourself on the employer’s management style, do your homework to make sure you understand the company, and don’t be afraid to challenge your recruiter.
“People have to understand that this is not an interview but a business meeting,” says GVR Media Global Head of Recruitment Matt Honey.
“You come to discuss two things: the business and you.
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