Are ‘Traditional’ Media Companies Scaring Away Good Talent?

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Seven years ago radio industry veteran Lee Abrams, co-founder and CEO of V-Satcast (described as “a hybrid broadcast/broadband OTT multicast streaming platform with original highly differentiated branded programming channel”) penned the following RBR + TVBR Intelligence Brief. In this Classic installment, Abrams discusses how “traditional” media companies may wish to better attract talent.


By Lee Abrams

One reason the best and brightest are drawn to the new generation of media companies is self-inflicted. In looking for talent for upcoming ventures, I can’t help noticing how so many companies recruit with the excitement level of a local government office. OK, if you’re looking for scientists or numbers people that’s fine. But if you’re in the business of winning America’s hearts and minds and dollars through inspired media … uh-oh.

I recently looked at the job postings from a few big league old-media companies.

Here’s one for a “creative” position:

“Under graduate degree in advertising, marketing, communications or a related field is required.”

Why?

I’m not sure schools teach what is needed to compete [today].

“Must be able to function in a intense, high pressure environment and respond to senior management in a timely manner.”

That sounds like a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

“Must comprehend the metrics associated with strong business practices and standards and incorporate fiscal diligence into the work flow.”

No one talks like that in real life.

“Must have a minimum of five years experience in a major market with a demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and deliverables within the duties and scope of the position.”

Well, there goes the chance of bringing in a future star while ensuring that you’ll bring in an average individual that fits the descriptions.

The wording of a job posting often looks like an HR department staffer wrote it, and not the person who would know the nuances of the job.

Often, the HR department is 180 degrees removed from the culture the company thinks it wants to create. So, who is the best person to be overseeing the hiring?

 


The wording of a job posting often looks like an HR department staffer wrote it, and not the person who would know the nuances of the job.


 

Postings are almost always too “old-school corporate.” Words like “Duties & Scope” still appear in some job postings.

Ouch.

Great minds in our business don’t want to work for old-school thinkers.

Another issue I see is that hiring is often a “check the box” situation. At some companies I used to work for, the posted positions were released without really looking at the “culture” of the writing.

And they wonder why the other guys found the star …

Unfortunately, hiring style is often placed on autopilot. It is simply not addressed in an era where every detail is necessary to compete.

To underscore why these cultures and companies attract the new generation of thinkers, old and young, I present to you an ad from Apple:

 

Corporate jobs, without the corporate part.

Work behind the scenes — where we design, engineer, and launch every Mac, iPod, iPhone, and Apple software title. And do all the other stuff that makes that possible.

Don’t expect business as usual.

A lot of big companies are about endless meetings. Massive bureaucracy. And suits. We don’t see what any of that has to do with great work. So we don’t bother. This isn’t your cushy corporate nine-to-fiver. Fortunately.

Prepare to be inspired.

We’ve got an environment where you can make things happen. Fast. There’s plenty of open space — and open minds. Collaboration. And of course, innovation. We also have a shared obsession with getting every last detail right. Leave your neckties, bring your ideas.

 

Notice that the job posting does not include staid wording noting that an “under graduate degree in advertising, marketing, communications or a related field is preferred.”

Where would you rather work?


Lee Abrams is the co-founder and CEO of V-Satcast, a global content company that merges new content with new technology. Abrams is the former Chief Innovation Officer at Tribune Co. and from 1998-2008 served as SVP/Chief Creative Officer for XM Satellite Radio. Abrams is also a legendary radio industry consultant, and from 1973-1988 was–with Kent Burkhart–one of the leading figures in the growth of Album-Oriented Rock radio stations. From 1988 to 1998, he was a managing director at the former ABC Radio Networks.