For more information on using job memos, see the Hiring writers and editors guide.
A well-run interview and hiring process has many moving parts. It involves spending time upfront on ensuring that there a clear job proposal for the role, that it’s part of the overall goal and mission of the organization, and also preparing an interview process that gleans as much information as possible from a candidate. But for writers and editors, testing the ability to think critically and articulate ideas in written form is a must.
Freelance work is a great way to test the capabilities of a candidate, but it’s not always feasible, and has limitations for gauging a candidate’s interests, aspirations and likelihood of cultural fit.
A job memo provides a valuable exercise for enabling candidates to express how they imagine their role within an organization and can offer an important insight into the value they can provide a company or team beyond just satisfying day-to-day job responsibilities.
- Brief overview: Writers should be able to succinctly organize their beat or coverage area of your operation and what it is they focus on or write about.
- Big themes: Topics and areas a candidate would wish to cover in their first year, including any specific story ideas, companies, and examples where possible.
- Process sketch: An outline of personal work style and process. This can be extremely important for roles that require management of other team members in order to ascertain if a candidate will be a good cultural fit for the team.
- New products and projects: Even if this won’t be a large part of the role, candidates can be given an opportunity to express what gets them excited and what ideas or aspirations they may bring to the table beyond basic job duties.
- Priorities: Giving candidates an opportunity to express their own priorities and short-term goals is a good way to gauge how they’re imagining their presence in your organization and how, specifically, they can help further its goals.