Ask the Recruiter


Soon after I started the JobsPage in 1997, I added a feature called “Ask the Recruiter,” where I answered questions that people had sent me in e-mails.

The process was laborious, as I had to build a new Web page for each question and redo the index page that would direct people there.

In 2003, I was visiting the Poynter Institute when Poynter Online Editor Bill Mitchell showed me a blog. “Grimm,” he said, “you should have a blog.”

I told him I was swamped with e-mail, phone mail, regular mail and I certainly was not going to blog.

On my walk back to the hotel, though, I thought about what he had shown me and figured it could help me post questions and answers much more easily. There was a public computer in the hotel’s lobby, so I pulled out my credit card and signed up. I decided I would try to post every day for a year to see if it worked.

Three years later, after I had a thousand posts and had received 200,000 views, Mitchell asked me if I would let Poynter host my blog.

Who knew? Bill knew.

Ask the Recruiter now appears on the Freedom Forum’s Diversity Institute.

Ask the Recruiter is ingenious, even if the recruiter is not.

  • The questions are always more interesting than my answers
  • The questions are often longer than the answers, which can mean that my readers do most of the work.
  • I seem to get just enough to keep publishing them, which means I almost all the answers I write can be used as content.

I try to have a tone in Ask the Recruiter. A good blog has that. I try to be — not sarcastic or caustic as a lot of bloggers are — but nice.

That’s all. Supportive and nice. One of my recruiting peers watches from the wings and occasionally gives me a poke if I veer over into nasty. He has reminded me that I am supposed to be the nice recruiter. Like it’s my schtick or something.

Answering questions online has had some unintended consequences. Once a co-worked seemed to be stammering about something and finally blurted, “Can I ask you a question about my career, or do I have to send it in as an e-mail?”

“You don’t have to e-mail me. We work together! I recruited you! You can ask me anything you want, anytime.”

“I just didn’t want to take advantage of my position.”

I’d like to answer your questions about journalism careers. Submit it the Diversity Institute.

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