Friday, February 26, 2010

News Director's playbook: Why you sometimes don't hire the best person

You have a great resume tape and apply for a job. You get a call from the News Director who is impressed with your work. He'll get back to you.

Then the ND hires someone else. Your curiosity gets the better of you and you visit the station's website to see who got the job you wanted. You watch a few of the new person's packages, and it's clear this person doesn't have half your talent.

So what happened?

Well, despite what you hear from every manager in America (the ones who don't want to get sued, anyway) the best person often does not get the job.

Television is such a subjective business that the definition of "qualified" differs from station to station and manager to manager. You might be the best person in one case and not even in the running in another.

News Directors do more than hire on ability. There are all sorts of intangibles that go into the process; appearance, demographics, salary history, age, experience, you name it.

Years ago you routinely saw ads that read, "Anchor needed to complement our female anchor" and you'd know they were looking for a guy. Now you might apply for a job and be out of the running before you even stick the tape in the mail, since you don't fit what the station needs. You might be a spunky, in-your-face reporter and the station needs a friendly, perky morning show type. You might be a stunning, green-eyed redhead but you look exactly like the stunning, green-eyed redhead the station already has on staff. You might be a very talented co-anchor, but there's too much of an age difference with the anchor already on staff.

Don't get frustrated if you're talented but not getting any offers. You just have to find the right fit. When your talents match the station's needs, you'll get the offer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another reason why TV news continues its not-so-gradual slide down the crapper. Are we competing for the best-looking anchor team in the market, or trying to communicate the news, folks?

And when did news directors become the arbiters of what people like to see anyway? The last news director I had was a homely, anti-social neurotic who had hair from 1983.