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Personality matters more than platforms

March 24th, 2011 · 3 Comments · All Posts, MollyFlatt

When I say the phrase ’social recruiting’, what do you think of?

Agencies putting job roles on Twitter? HR building relationships through LinkedIn and trawling blogs? Or even unscrupulous recruiters creating Foursquare ‘places’ near competitors advertising new jobs? All this and more was discussed a few weeks ago at the #trulondon Social Recruiting Unconference, and very interesting it was too.

But this just blows all that out of the water.

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We want to add some talent to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune investigative team. Every serious candidate should have a proven track record of conceiving, reporting and writing stellar investigative pieces that provoke change. However, our ideal candidate has also cursed out an editor, had spokespeople hang up on them in anger and threatened to resign at least once because some fool wanted to screw around with their perfect lede.

We do a mix of quick hit investigative work when events call for it and mini-projects that might run for a few days. But every year we like to put together a project way too ambitious for a paper our size because we dream that one day Walt Bogdanich will have to say: “I can’t believe the Sarasota Whatever-Tribune cost me my 20th Pulitzer.” As many of you already know, those kinds of projects can be hellish, soul-sucking, doubt-inducing affairs. But if you’re the type of sicko who likes holing up in a tiny, closed office with reporters of questionable hygiene to build databases from scratch by hand-entering thousands of pages of documents to take on powerful people and institutions that wish you were dead, all for the glorious reward of having readers pick up the paper and glance at your potential prize-winning epic as they flip their way to the Jumble… well, if that sounds like journalism Heaven, then you’re our kind of sicko.

For those unaware of Florida’s reputation, it’s arguably the best news state in the country and not just because of the great public records laws. We have all kinds of corruption, violence and scumbaggery. The 9/11 terrorists trained here. Bush read My Pet Goat here. Our elections are colossal clusterfucks. Our new governor once ran a health care company that got hit with a record fine because of rampant Medicare fraud. We have hurricanes, wildfires, tar balls, bedbugs, diseased citrus trees and an entire town overrun by giant roaches (only one of those things is made up). And we have Disney World and beaches, so bring the whole family.

Send questions, or a resume/cover letter/links to clips to my email address below. If you already have your dream job, please pass this along to someone whose skills you covet. Thanks.

Matthew Doig
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

This (which I found via the awesome FleetStreetBlues) has unsurprisingly spread like herpes through a newsroom, being retweeted and posted to Facebook pages and blogs by journalists worldwide. But what’s great is that that happened not because of some convoluted social strategy but because the copy itself is simply so ballsy, personal, disruptive and refreshing.

As Matthew Doig’s own surprise at the reaction attests, this was so successful because it is so obviously authentic to his team’s style and attitude. That’s being social – being interesting, individual and honest.

If you achieve that, the platforms will largely take care of themselves.

Have you seen any other job ads that *really* made you talk?

Molly Flatt

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Delphine Remy-Boutang

    Thank you. What a fantastic article, refreshing and disruptive….

  • Glen Cathey Confused? A Double Take

    [...] And to think, I came from missing TruLondon to living in paradise…mind the gap! Personality matters more than platforms [...]

  • Mila Araujo

    I agree totally: “That’s being social – being interesting, individual and honest.”

    This was great!
    One hell of a positioning statement. :) When people express their true beliefs with conviction, it can not help but be engaging. I can’t say that position appeals to me, but I have to admit, I like the guy for putting it out there no holds barred! Great stuff.

    ~Mila