When I would tire of a station or the raise offered was below that of inflation, I always knew it would take about 3 weeks to move on. That was it. Ten or so resume reels, and three weeks.
But now, when I coach TV journalists on job searches, I have to tell them there will be a lot of hurry up and wait. Managers are going to seem hot and cold. And the process can easily last 4 to 6 weeks, from first interview to contract signing. The question is: Why?
Well, there are actually several reasons. The biggest is that a lot of managers have more day-to-day responsibilities than they used to. Making time to review resumes and call prospective new employees can be really hard. I have had many managers that do not call me until months after making an initial inquiry. The reason is always the same. “I got so bogged down.”
Next come temporary job freezes. The manager can have a short list and be ready to fly candidates in, only to get word they have to wait x amount of time to fill the position. And, yes, this can even include “critical need” producer positions where current staff is double showing, not getting days off etc. The term “critical need” varies a lot from one broadcasting company to the next.
Speaking of flying in candidates, more and more stations are being told by their parent companies that they are not allowed to pay for flights. Or, at most, they only get to fly in one candidate. This is going to mean a lot more phone conversations, Skype interviews and writing tests via email exchanges. So there are extra steps and more time is taken to get this all done.
Desire to get it right the first time is another reason job interviews are taking so long. Managers are less willing to just settle and hope on a hunch. They often have a hard time getting the money to bring people in and then are judged on the performance of their selections. So, they have to be really sure that next hire, is a good hire. This takes time.
Finally, because of staff cuts many are looking for more versatile candidates. Web gurus who can also shoot and edit. Producers who have SEO experience. These sorts of hybrids are in demand. News managers will hold out hoping for candidates like this, because they know the newsroom has to have all of these qualities. Want to speed up the hiring process? Build up your skill sets. The more versatile, the better your options. If you can’t be flexible, neither can many stations. So be prepared to hurry up and wait. And while you wait, take a class on how to create apps, or work on building your social media accounts. It can only make you more marketable.