Friday, October 30, 2009

The Old Boy (and Girl) Network

I blogged a while back on how the old-boy network worked for Jon Snow.

Tom Utley, son of the great T.E, on media recruitment 30 years back :

My surname was no hindrance to me, either, when I embarked on my father's trade as a journalist. If I remember rightly, there were 1,200 applicants in my year for just a dozen places on the Mirror Group Graduate Editorial Training Scheme.

But by dropping a name or two, I wormed my way on to the shortlist of about 30 of us, who were put up in a London hotel and subjected to three days of interviews, American- style personality tests and written exams.

At the end of this elaborate palaver, it turned out that no fewer than seven of the 12 successful candidates, including me, had close relations who worked in Fleet Street and were friendly with one or more of the Mirror journalists and executives who'd interviewed us. Indeed, it has often struck me since that they could have dispensed with the trouble and expense of all those hotel rooms and personality tests and simply asked us one question: 'Do I know your father?'

Not so for David Warren :

I was fully 16 before landing my first "serious" job, from which I now count the anniversary. This was as a copy boy, at the long-defunct Globe and Mail, in their long-since demolished art-deco offices on King Street, Toronto. (There is still a newspaper published under that name, but it appears unrelated to the one I used to work for.)

The job came via Clark Davey, later a publisher of the Ottawa Citizen. In 1969, he was managing editor of the Globe. I walked rather boldly into his office, to announce my willingness to do any job. And by sheer luck, I correctly answered his one skill-testing question, viz., "Are you on drugs?"


Malthebof said...

My first job aged 16 was as a Laboratory Assistant (with one GCE O level Eng Lang) on the recommendation of my older sister who was already working there. As I recall in the 50s & 60s most of my friends got jobs because they knew somebody working at that office/factory.

cornyborny said...

Everybody knows this is how it works. It fucks me off no end, but there it is. The thing that gets me even more, however, is the reluctance by those on the inside to admit that this is how it works.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if you think it's bad now, just wait until the cohort being born this year reaches working age. Only a certain demographic is having the children that are a prerequisite to nepotism.