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January 22, 2019 / Systems of Success

Systems of Success – The Recruiting Process

Written by Jim Jordan

Whether it’s your first year as adviser or your 30th, one ongoing task that you will always be working on is recruiting.

Each and every year, you must find willing, talented, hard-working students and convince them that they want to sign up to be a member of staff and help create the book with you.

We are all a little like Tom Sawyer. We need help painting the fence, and we need as many people as we can get to help get the job done.

As I have always defined them, yearbook staffers need to be “bright, talented, creative students willing to work together as a team to create something beautiful that will last a lifetime.” To create a great book, you MUST have as many of these kinds of students as possible.

Along with being the yearbook adviser, I also taught English, and I always saw every one of my English students as a potential staff member. Do they write well? Do they seem to have any artistic skills? Are they hard workers? Are they natural leaders?

Not everyone will be interested or be able to fit the class in their schedule, but I always tried to recruit as many as I could. Even though recruiting can seem to be a daunting challenge at times, somehow I always had just enough great students willing to take on this marvelous process of putting together a yearbook.

If you have a journalism program that offers prerequisite classes such as Beginning Photography or Journalism 1, you can begin to see who rises to the top and would be successful staffers and editors, putting you way ahead of the game.

There are many recruiting strategies available to try. Find the ones that best suit you and your style. The main issue is to get started.

  • Know the dates when students will begin selecting classes for next year. You need to ramp up your recruiting push weeks before they make their actual selections. Even if these dates are right in the middle of the most intense days of the production of this year’s book, you must focus on connecting with potential staffers well before registration happens.
  • Tap into your former staff member and have them comment on what they got out of being on staff. Turn these comments into a recruiting handout or better yet, record their comments and make a video and play it on your school’s broadcast.
  • Solicit recommendations from colleagues who know the individual skill sets and work ethic of their students.
  • Send personal letters to students that highlight the benefits of being a part of the yearbook team.
  • Hold a yearbook program open house for students and parents.
  • See everyone on your campus as a potential staff member.
  • Study the many recruiting resources available. There are hundreds of great ideas out there about how to get great kids in your program. Find the ones that work best for you.
  • Get started!

Online Resources – Recruiting

Jim Jordan
Jim Jordan

Jim Jordan is a Special Consultant for Walsworth Yearbooks and the host of the Yearbook Chat with Jim podcast. He is former yearbook adviser at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, California. Jim was the 1996 JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year, and shares his expertise with students and advisers at workshops and conventions across the country. Jim is the lead mentor for Walsworth's Adviser Mentor Program.