The Washington Post

Editor’s note: The challenges of hiring in a fast-evolving field

Lately I’ve been talking to job candidates. A lot of them.

It wasn’t so long ago that the process of hiring in my industry was pretty straightforward.

You could get a rough fix on a person’s qualifications based on a quick scan of the résumé and a careful read of his or her body of work. The vast majority of applicants fell neatly on a journalistic continuum, one whose progression was well established.

The biggest challenge was figuring out whether to draft the best athlete or try to fill an obvious weakness.

Not anymore.

Hiring is a lot more complicated. Journalism is a lot more complicated.

Careers these days follow no standard trajectory. The digital revolution and the Great Recession have jumbled our orderly universe.

Journalists don’t just write for print. They must publish — fast — for the Web, take photos, star in their own videos and Tweet before their first cup of coffee in the morning.

They must be familiar with search engine optimization.

And curation.

Be ready to ideate.

Can you tell a story in one chart? Build a listicle?

Few can do it all, and comparing candidates is no easy task.

He wrote a prize-winning narrative. She files 14 stories a day for a blog.

Who’s more valuable?

I don’t think journalism is unique in such trade-offs. The demands for skills can rise and fall as fast as technology trends. These days, it’s easy to make a lot of bad hiring decisions if you become too focused on short-term needs. Then again, if you don’t pay attention to what’s happening now, there may be no future.

I’m not complaining. The process of sorting through what is important might not be easy, but it is essential if a business is to stay fresh and relevant. The job of talent assessment is essentially the job of figuring out where you want to go.

Dan Beyers is the founding editor of Capital Business, The Washington Post’s go-to source for news about the region’s business community.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Perks of private flying
Drawing as an act of defiance
Play Videos
Husband finds love, loss in baseball
Bao: The signature dish of San Francisco
From foster homes to the working world
Play Videos
How soccer is helping Philadelphia men kick the streets
Here's why you hate the sound of your own voice
The woman behind the Nats’ presidents ‘Star Wars’ makeover
Play Videos
How hackers can control your car from miles away
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
How much can one woman eat?

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.