How to Take Advantage of Today’s Recruiting Realities

June 7, 2010 at 2:09 am Leave a comment

Just as the rules for job hunters have been turned upside down by the recent recession and downsizing, so too has the recruiting game changed markedly. Many recruiters have only recently been able to fill positions and often they find that when they list an opening, they are overwhelmed with applicants. As a result, many are choosing not to list jobs widely but instead to be more selective — and targeted — about how and where they publicize openings.

While recruiters, of course, want to be careful in filling a job they also feel enormous pressure these days to move decisively and relatively quickly — though it may not always seem that way to applicants! — in finding someone for an open position. Also, the ranks of recruiters for companies — especially media organizations — have been reduced along with other management positions, so those handling the recruiting function are sometimes doing so in addition to other duties. That may mean that applicants are dealing with someone who may be new to recruiting, and also for whom it’s one of many other priorities.

Yet change also can bring opportunity, and savvy job hunters can use some of this “game change” in the recruiting world to their advantage. Based on talks with recruiters and my own recent experience, as well as message traffic in online groups of recruiters and management types, here are some of the new recruiting realities, and how those seeking jobs may be able to benefit from them:

*When a recruiter gets the okay to hire these days, they want to move expeditiously. Often, a position has been open at an organization for a while, so when they can fill a job, time is of the essence. Recruiters — and the hiring managers they are supporting in a search — worry that if it takes them too long to fill a position that it could be frozen, so they don’t waste any time. What this means for job applicants is that once you hear that a position is available or will soon be available, get your materials to that organization right away. Don’t wait until the “deadline” included in a job listing. While it’s arguable whether it’s good to be the first one interviewed (some recruiters say they remember people better who are interviewed later in the process) these days the early bird really does score. That’s because recruiters and hiring managers may be considering only a few applicants, especially if they have chosen not to widely publicize an opening. So don’t delay and be ready to pounce when an organization you’re targeting appears to be in hiring mode.

*The salary for a position is often fixed, without much room for negotiation. I’ve heard from a lot of job applicants lately who are troubled by the amount by which journalism pay has declined in recent years (though it’s hard to imagine that there was a lot of room for it to drop). While lower pay levels are lamentable, there’s usually not a lot that recruiters and hiring managers are able to do about it. Organizations, when they are allowing managers to fill positions, are often providing very clear guidelines on pay for specific positions and many won’t allow hiring managers to budge. (Recruiters note that before this recent recession, they often had much broader salary ranges, and were able to negotiate for top candidates in competitive searches. Not any longer, many of them tell me, except for very specific jobs and in very specific fields — like nursing.) So it’s important for applicants to try to figure out early in the hiring process whether the salary is one that is in your ballpark for a specific position. Also, because pay is often non-negotiable these days, you’ll want to see if there are other benefits to the position — better hours than in your previous or current job, extra vacation time, etc. — that could take the sting out of a pay cut. In the past, job candidates were advised not to seriously talk about money or benefits until later in the process; these days, the “salary requirements” discussion has been moved up for both recruiter and job applicant.

*More positions are opening up so there likely will be more opportunities going forward. For job candidates, this means that if this position isn’t right for you — say the salary is too low or the duties aren’t a good fit, but you remain interested in the organization — it makes sense to start a conversation with the recruiter and hiring managers in the company that could lead to other things. Go through the hiring process, remain open to possibilities and most importantly, stay in touch even if you aren’t made an offer initially. Many times people are hired not for the job that first led them to an organization, but for an opportunity that comes up months or even years down the road.

*Start-ups and recently reorganized companies often have multiple openings and may have more flexibility in terms of jobs and pay. If an organization is doing a lot of hiring, managers there may have the ability to think broadly and strategically about where a candidate could fit in — and that can open up more possibilities for a job hunter in terms of the structure of the job and pay scale. Yet a few warnings here: You’ll need to be flexible, and the process may be somewhat more uncertain (and lengthier) as managers “move the chess pieces around” when they are hiring for multiple positions. Make sure you’re comfortable with that rather than going after a specific job. Further, I always advise job hunters to carefully research why an organization has a string of openings. Obviously, a start-up will have multiple openings when staffing up for the first time. Yet in other cases, try to determine what’s going on. Figure out what was behind a reorganization and why those who left did so. And if a company perpetually seems to be hiring for a number of jobs, ask a lot of questions about why — constant openings could be a red flag that there’s serious problems in the organization, and you don’t want to determine that only after you’ve joined.

*Some good news — but with a few important  caveats — about recent hiring for journalism-related positions, from Joe Grimm, who pens the terrific “Ask the Recruiter” column on

Media Job Postings Are Up

*And to prove the point that hiring is heating up, here’s a batch of fresh leads for journalism, communications and public affairs positions:

*The American Psychological Association in D.C. has an opening for a project manager:

Program Manager
American Psychological Association – Washington, DC
the infrastructure, communication functions, and… Program. •Develop and implement a coordinated communications and marketing plan to increase awareness and…
From Public Health Employment Connection

*Though this next position would appeal to a select few, I decided to include it as I know several people — including a few journalists — with deep knowledge of the Senate who would be qualified, so here it goes…The U.S. Senate is looking for an assistant parliamentarian:

Assistant Parliamentarian
United States Senate – Washington, DC
and all measures received from the House of Representatives, as well as communications from the President and other Executive Branch offices to the appropriate… $78,663 – $147,253 a year

*United BioSource in Bethesda is looking for a director of corporate/employee communications:
Director, Corporate/Employee Communications
United BioSource – Bethesda, MD
as the editor-and-chief for internal communications… to enhance UBC internal communications. o Providing executive communications support to UBC leadership…
From StartUpHire

*Owing to a reorganization of its newsroom and the loss of some talented and experienced  journalists to buyouts, Atlantic Media’s National Journal, a  national news publisher in D.C., is searching for more than two dozen — you read that correctly! — reporters to join its ranks:

*The Alliance for Climate Protection in D.C. has an opening for a press assistant — this could be a good position for someone starting out in public affairs who has an interest in environmental issues:

Department: Communications

Reports to:  ACP Communications Director
Location:   Washington, D.C.

Basic Function:
The Press Assistant is responsible for supporting the day-to-day functions of the communications department. Duties start with daily clips and reporting, and also include general management of all communications accounts with outside vendors, incoming press calls, press lists, the monthly ACP newsletter and a wide variety of writing/research projects. The Press Assistant must be able to take direction from several different members of the team, coordinate feedback, and work well under pressure; must be highly organized; and must be able to work easily with staff at many levels.


·     Draft materials: op-eds, ltes, advisories, releases, fact sheets, statements, etc.
·     Pitch stories
·     Manage incoming press calls
·     Maintain/build press lists
·     Manage/set-up accounts with multiple outside vendors
·     Distribute press releases
·     Develop daily clips from state, national, and climate-related news outlets
·     Coordinate communications efforts with other departments (policy/field/legal/COS)
·     Manage reporting from the state staff
·     Develop daily and weekly reports for all levels of staff
·     Write and manage the monthly ACP newsletter
·     Prepare inter-departmental communications materials
·     Research and writing tasks as needed

Required Skills/Capabilities:
·     Ability to juggle multiple tasks
·     Strong writing skills
·     Ability to manage deadlines
·     Exceptional organizational skills
·     Ability to get along well in a team, work well with others and work well under pressure
·     Willingness to work irregular hours to finish projects


A college degree and strong writing experience required.  Campaign experience preferred.

To Apply:

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to  The deadline for applications is Friday, June 18, 2010.

*EMILY’s List in D.C. has an opening for a press secretary:

EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women candidates, is in search of a Press Secretary to work with the organization’s Communications team. The Press Secretary will help promote the mission of EMILY’s List and advocate for strong, pro-choice Democratic women candidates and elected officials throughout the country.
The Press Secretary will report to the Communications Director. This position is based in Washington, D.C .
Principal Responsibilities
The Press Secretary will serve as the organization’s primary contact between media in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country.
In addition, the Press Secretary will:
· Provide effective and aggressive stewardship of EMILY’s List mission and endorsed candidates in the media as an on-the-record spokesperson;
· Author and create materials for the communications department including, but not limited to, briefing materials, press releases, talking points, op-eds, etc.;
· Secure positive coverage of and media placements for EMILY’s List principals and surrogates;
· Create opportunities and events showcasing EMILY’s List staff, accomplishments, endorsed candidates, and mission that generate positive press coverage in varied outlets.
· Be a proactive and quick thinking originator of stories to pitch on behalf of EMILY’s List and our endorsed candidates
· Work with campaigns and endorsed candidates to create effective media and messaging strategies.
Skills and Experience
· Ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences and write quickly and in a compelling manner about multiple topics;
· Energetic ability to multi-task and manage projects in a fast-paced and changeable environment; willingness to invest multiple teams and stakeholders in communications efforts;
· Talented at pitching stories to new and known reporters and placing op-eds and editorials; demonstrated ability to be quick-on-the-feet and effective in on the record engagement with media;
· Ability to use multiple mediums and approaches including new media to create multi-faced and effective campaigns;
· 5-7 years of political and/or advocacy communications work, preferably some at the federal level with demonstrated experience working with or for campaigns, particularly those of challengers;
· Commitment to electing pro-choice Democratic women;
· Strong, determined team-player with ready sense of humor, thick skin, and a demonstrated willingness to work hard and take risks; experienced manager of people and processes;
· Willingness to travel.
EMILY’s List offers a competitive salary and a strong benefits package.
To apply, email resume and cover letter to – subject line “Press Secretary.” NO CALLS PLEASE.
EMILY’s List is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Applicants of diverse backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to apply.

*The following is a free-lance opportunity –the Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) is looking for contributors, including from the D.C. area:

IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Network) is interested in hearing from experienced journalists with excellent writing skills and creative ideas who are interested in contributing to IRIN.

In order to be considered, please send us your CV with a covering note, which must include some story ideas suitable for IRIN’s specialist humanitarian subject area. Mail us at

Expressions of interest from Francophone countries may be sent in French. We’ll get back in touch only if we feel there’s a good fit.

Currently, we are particularly looking for stringers in the current locations:
Angola, Bangladesh, Botswana, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New York, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan (Khartoum and South Sudan), The Gambia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Thailand, UK, Vietnam, Washington DC, Western Sahara, Yemen and Zanzibar.

*And to wrap up the leads for this new work week, the Loretto Volunteer program is looking for an assistant producer for a one-year internship (with a stipend, housing and health insurance) in D.C. from September 2010-August 2011:

The Loretto Volunteer Program is seeking an assistant producer for a one-year stipend volunteer position at Interfaith Voices, an award-winning religion news magazine heard on 67 public radio stations nationwide, including Washington, DC’s WAMU. Through honest interviews and reporting each week, host Maureen Fiedler probes the many ways that religion informs our politics and culture.

Production responsibilities: writing and editing interviews, generating and researching story ideas, booking guests, editing audio.
Additional responsibilities in nonprofit administration: creating and editing web content, planning events, writing and proofing mailings and e-newsletters, assisting with fundraising.

The Loretto Volunteer Program is a Catholic program that offers full-time, stipend volunteers an opportunity to work in social justice organizations while living simply and sustainably with others. Our mission is to strengthen organizations with committed volunteers while building a new generation of leaders who “work for justice and act for peace” – in the spirit of the Sisters and Co-Members of Loretto. As a Loretto Volunteer, the Interfaith Voices assistant producer will live in intentional community with other volunteers in Washington, DC.

BENEFITS/REQUIREMENTS:  Loretto Volunteers receive a small living stipend, housing and health insurance. Loan deferment is available for education loans. Volunteers participate in 3 retreats throughout the year.  The Interfaith Voices assistant producer must be a college graduate with excellent writing skills. Degree or experience in journalism or communications preferred. Religion background helpful. Readiness to participate in intentional community is a must. People of all faiths, sexual orientations and gender identities are welcome as Loretto Volunteers.

The position runs Sept. 1, 2010 – Aug. 15, 2011, dates flexible.  Deadline: open until filled.  Application materials available at  Send application materials to: Katie Jones, Loretto Volunteer Coordinator:

Happy hunting!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Five Questions to Ask in a Job Interview When to Tap That Connection

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

DC Works has moved!

I'm now blogging at I hope you'll join me there!

%d bloggers like this: