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Offering to audition for a job

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Traveling, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. Traveling

    Traveling Member

    Two jobs at one paper, not in sports, but am qualified for nonetheless. And I really want to move to this area. I have asked for an interview, and have been invited to give one of the hiring contacts a call while I'm in town, although the hiring process for these positions are in a "holding pattern" and could be for several weeks.

    If I'm going out there on my own dime (and I will be interviewing for other jobs while I'm out there), do I offer my services for a couple of days as an audition of sorts for when the newspaper actually fills the positions? Or is it pushing things to make such an offer?
  2. Harry Doyle

    Harry Doyle Member

    As in work for free for a couple of days? While I would appreciate your ambition if I were hiring for this position, the move seems a bit desperate. I'd go with what the managers said, call when you're in town and offer to swing by and just say hello. Good things come out of just saying hello.
  3. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    If you are qualified and have proven experience, an audition isn't necessary. If this is your first job, I could see how a tryout would work, but I don't think they're legal.
  4. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Many large newspapers try out copy editors, or at least they used to -- not sure if this has disappeared due to budget cuts. We don't try out here (just an editing test). In my experience, they were always paid tryouts, usually ranging from one night to five nights, although I watched one poor guy try out for three weeks. He didn't get the job, but at least he got paid. Oddly, The New York Times was the cheapest, paying you for shifts if you had no job but just a small per diem if you were receiving vacation pay from another employer (although in fairness, unlike most papers, your edits would not appear in the newspaper, so it wasn't as if the NYT were receiving free labor). Sometimes it was a windfall. The first tryout I had at a major metro, the union scale was 50 percent more than what I was earning at a non-union mid-major. And they gave me the job.

    I don't think it would seem desperate to suggest a "tryout" (don't call it an audition). Leave it unsaid about pay -- just assume if they do tryouts that they will pay you. I imagine if they don't, they would let you know or say "what's a tryout?"

    I haven't encountered many instances of seeing tryouts for writers. One that I recall was in the early 1980s when a competing daily in my market ran a pretty good piece with no one's byline on it. I later learned it was written by a guy I knew who didn't want his existing employer to see the byline while he was trying out elsewhere. They paid him, so he did not care about getting credit for it, although he oddly did not get the job and wound up becoming a lawyer.
  5. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    One place I worked did this all the time for copy editors. They'd give them an editing test and then they'd work two stories, one on deadline, one not on deadline.

    It was a pretty good way to do things.
  6. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Internships seem to have replaced the need for tryouts, especially when some reporters have several under their belt.

    Of course, those internships won't do you any good if you can't get a job.
  7. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    I wrote stories while on a couple interview trips right out of college, but I was always compensated as a freelancer. If you want to offer freelance services while you're out there, I don't see the problem with it, but I don't agree with doing unpaid work that a company could benefit from.
  8. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Some places like to use tryouts, but the ones I have heard of are paid.

    To answer the question in the original post, as the interviewee I wouldn't be the one to bring up the subject. But if they mention it you're free to say yes.
  9. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    i had a couple of people come in for tryouts and had them do a couple of real stories that we used. i paid them per story ($75 each if i recall correctly) and they got a couple of needed clips (they were fresh grads) out of the deal.
  10. dkphxf

    dkphxf Member

    Anything else you'd like to add, John Madden?
  11. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    I would simply offer to stop by the paper and meet the editor (or hiring contact), just to help them put a name with a face. If they're interested in some sort of tryout, they'll let you know.

    A few years ago I did "drop on by" under similar circumstances ... the hiring process was "on hold," but they had spoken with me on the phone and liked my work.

    I was swinging through town anyway, on the way to visit some friends, so I ended up visiting the paper and having a laid back lunch with the ME and copy desk chief. We hit it off great and it wasn't as formal as an interview.

    Of course ... they ended up not filling the position. But hey, a free lunch is a free lunch!
  12. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Whoever said there was no such thing as a free lunch?
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