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How to hire or promote for mobile jobs when you can’t find or afford someone with direct experience

News organizations aren’t the only ones trying to adapt to mobile technology. There are many other industries bidding for the limited pool of people with experience and expertise in mobile jobs.

As a result, mid-size or small newsrooms likely won’t win a bidding war for the obvious mobile talent out on the job market. They have to look elsewhere to develop and identify mobile talent.

How do they know what to look for?

In editorial roles, an excitement for technology is key, as is a knack for experimentation. Anyone who is going to excel at mobile journalism, however, has to be able to excel at journalism in general. Anyone working on mobile should have a thorough understanding of the work other editors at the company do (including newsgathering, story production and staffing). An understanding how to use metrics also is important.

Mid-size or small newsrooms likely won’t win a bidding war for the obvious mobile talent out on the job market. They have to look elsewhere to develop and identify mobile talent.

Even at The New York Times, hiring for mobile jobs is not about hiring for mobile-specific experience, Jonathan Ellis (who just left the Times to become managing editor of Mashable) told us. There just aren’t enough of those people out there. Instead, they are hiring good thinkers — people who understand digital, news and products, and can see around corners to what’s coming next.

For business jobs, similar to editorial the business-side mobile staff should be nimble and adaptable, given the fluid nature of the mobile advertising business. They will need to be spotting trends and entering poorly charted territory on a regular basis.

In technology roles, a person with diverse experience and skills is helpful, as they may be asked to do quite different projects at different times. In many cases you may look look outside the news industry to other sectors that build products for users and consumers.

Hire good thinkers — people who understand digital, news and products, and can see around corners to what’s coming next.

Cory Bergman of Breaking News told us he likes to hire technology people from gaming backgrounds because they are great at understanding user interaction and incentives.

After hiring occurs, managers should also have a plan for measurement and improvement. Breaking News sets performance goals for employees after hiring, for example, everyone on the editorial team is required to conduct three “experiments” per quarter, and one has to be good enough to convert into a new product or feature.

* * *

Mobile news consumption continues to grow and change rapidly. These nine ideas captured at our Thought Leader Summit provide a foothold, a sense of what a mobile-optimized news organization should be doing and thinking at this point.

The best practices will continue to evolve. The search for large streams of revenue is still in progress, but seems certain to come as audiences grow. The American Press Institute will continue to follow mobile trends and new ideas closely. Here are some resources for more information:

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