Publishing Management

Editorial Hiring: Best Practices for Awesome Staff!

Eight years ago, when I first started Prime Publishing LLC , I hired one editor. Today we have almost 50 editors working for us full-time. Their goal is to create great content every day that our readers enjoy.

So many people always ask me – how do you hire the best editors? There is no one perfect method. Hiring is not an exact science.

Yet, there are best practices that can minimize challenges.

Here is what we do:

Hire the best. It seems obvious. But so many hiring managers short change this and settle. We start by soliciting resumes. Jobs are posted on our website. We post on Indeed.com which is an excellent quality source for us. We also reach out to colleges and universities. Trade associations often have job boards.

We tend to be very selective. For recent college graduates by and large we only hire from the best schools and only those with the best grades. We do not look at recent college graduate resumes with a GPA less than 3.5, unless they worked a lot during school or are heavily involved with sports or clubs. For candidates out of school for a few years or more, grades and school mean less and less as the years go by and we focus more and more on the quality of the work history and skill set.

We have three primary methods of editorial hiring

  1. Editorial Intern – this is a paid 12 week summer internship. We train them like a regular editor and only hire candidates who will be seniors the next year. Interns are a great source of future candidates. We know them and they know us when they graduate in a year.
  2. Editorial Apprentice – this is also a paid internship with a much higher salary. It is for recent graduates or those switching careers. At the end of the 13 week program we both know if we have a good fit. Over 90% of our apprentices are hired on full-time as an editor.
  3. Editor – these candidates have prior experience. We evaluate the work history and see if the background and skill set would fit our needs.

Screening candidates:

When someone applies on-line we go through their materials. We request a resume, cover letter, salary history and some written writing samples and materials. If we like the package of materials we then e-mail them back asking for more information. We then request additional writing samples and ask questions on their background and skill set. Only when they return the additional materials will they be considered for an in-person interview.

The interview process:

When the candidate shows up for their first interview we give them a brief math, grammar, and writing skills test. Two pages, takes about 10 – 20 minutes. They were also e-mailed an employment application to fill out and bring to the interview.

  • If we like the candidate we invite them back to learn more about the company, meet two different editors including a manager, and ask more questions. Hiring is expensive! Better you take your time and hire the best.
  • At the second interview editorial candidates take a 1-hour writing test. We look at writing ability and style, grammar, ability to follow directions, word counts, creativity and overall quantity and quality.
  • The teams of 4 who have interviewed the candidate then meet and compare notes. We then extend an offer letter in writing which is sent via e-mail. Once we have a signed offer letter back we then do a background check, which we emphasize throughout the process.

Our process is thorough. It is transparent. It is designed to weed out the less serious and the less skilled. At the end of this hiring process, we typically have hired the best.

 

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  More about Stuart: Stuart Hochwert is President & Founder of Prime Publishing, his 4th media start-up. Their group of 27 cooking and crafting properties creates, aggregates and reviews original cooking and crafting content. The brands span digital websites, e-mail newsletters, social media, licensing, e-commerce, business information, and marketing services.

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