HR Strange But True!
December 14, 2006

Talk about your detailed job postings. Bob Woodward is looking for an "exceptional research and reporting assistant" and, as might be expected, the advertisement is quite thorough in describing the types of people who should -- or probably should not -- apply.

Written by Woodward's current personal assistant, the posting on makes it very clear that those averse to long hours or unpredictability will probably want to look elsewhere.

"For example, my name is Bill Murphy Jr., and I was hired to work on the book that became the number one bestseller, "State of Denial." However, about a month after I started working for Bob in 2005, Mark Felt came out as Deep Throat. That meant we pushed everything to the side, and worked 16-hour days getting Bob's manuscript -- "The Secret Man" -- ready for print.

"This is not a job to expect to have for your entire career. The normal model is '2 years or one book,' whichever comes first. It is a great and perhaps unique opportunity to learn from an accomplished journalist and to contribute to in-depth reporting on the most timely topics."

Woodward has authored or co-authored 11 #1 best-sellers, including "All the President's Men," for which he and Carl Bernstein were awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The qualifications and traits he seeks in his next assistant include:

  • Reporting ability and experience
  • Writing ability and experience
  • Editing ability and experience
  • Maturity
  • Initiative
  • Trustworthiness
  • Ability to get along with people
"These are meant as guidelines, and we offer them in part to encourage you to self-select a bit. To be blunt, we are probably NOT looking for someone 24-25 years old, 2 or 3 years out of college, looking to move on from his or her first job. Ideally, candidates should have 5 to 8 years experience in journalism, books, or in-depth research and writing."

Murphy said the posting on was a bit of an experiment. "Our goal is to open up the process and democratize it. We want to cast a wide net, and spread the word about this opportunity."


TGIF - It's HR
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