Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: If You Want a Top Job, Shout It out That You Don't

Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: If You Want a Top Job, Shout It out That You Don't

Article excerpt

After years of half-hearted attempts we at last have the perfect template for securing top jobs in the media. Mark Thompson has delivered a master class of the greatest relevance to those aspiring to be chief executive of Channel 4 or even editor of the Daily Mirror.

Just in case there are some poor souls out there who still haven't got it, never, ever actually apply for the job in question. Placing advertisements with bogus application deadlines is designed to identify and winnow out no-hopers and runners-up.

The real trick, effortlessly understood by the new director-general of the BBC, is that merely deciding privately not to apply does not really work either. You have to be seen publicly to be a non-applicant.

In this context it helps enormously to state you have absolutely no intention of applying. The real masters of the art, with a nod in the direction of history and Michael Heseltine, add that they can conceive of no circumstances in which they would apply. This merely gets you to stage one of an elaborate, and very deliberate, dance involving many complex manoeuvres.

The next stage is to insist that you absolutely intend - note the word intend rather than promise or undertake - to stay and complete the job you have only just begun or clearly haven't completed. Meanwhile the schmucks, lulled into a false sense of security, fill in their forms, write out their manifestos and make a virtue of the fact that they are being open and above board.

Journalists may appear to be a significant hazard, but an accomplished artiste can, with careful choice of words, get round their questions and even emerge with a stronger hand. Naturally contracts are a personal matter and you have no intention of divulging personal information - thereby side-stepping the fact that it is the information contained in the contract that is confidential and not the fact that one has been signed - or not.

Direct questions such as: 'If offered the director-generalship of the BBC will you turn it down?' appear a little tricky at first sight, but offer great potential. Deploy the dangerous but rewarding 25deg deflection whereby you appear to take the question head-on while bending it slightly out of harm's way by answering a question that is subtly different. …

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