As the school year comes to a close and students take home their new yearbooks, you might think the next few months will be a vacation from your yearbook adviser duties. But think again! This time is crucial for building a strong yearbook staff for the upcoming year, and with a little planning, next year could be your yearbook’s best year yet. Here are nine tips for recruiting a winning team.
1. Have a plan.
If the application and interview process are organized and efficient, students who apply will get the idea that working for the yearbook will be a similar experience. Whether you prefer a small, selective group or a larger group where everyone feels included, know in advance how you want to structure your staff, so all of your applicants will know what sort of work and time commitment they’re signing up for.
2. Ask around.
Ask for recommendations from English, Art, and Computer Science teachers. They’ll know which students are interested in writing, photography and design, and which students are hard workers. Also ask counselors for recommendations; they’ll know if any college bound students are looking for leadership positions for college applications.
3. Utilize your counselors.
If a counselor knows you’re on the lookout for new students with exceptional writing, design and photography skills, he or she will keep an eye out for students who meet your minimum requirements.
4. Make it personal.
Send a personal note to the students who were recommended, letting them know their teacher thought they would be a great addition to the yearbook staff. Students who are hand-picked or recommended for an activity are much more likely to show interest in being involved.
5. Start early.
High school yearbook advisers should start recruiting students as early as freshmen or sophomore years – or even middle schoolers – to ensure that some of your staffers will be on yearbook for a few years. Send a team of juniors and seniors to speak to the younger students, creating a culture that yearbook is the cool thing to do.
6. Interview over lunch.
Set up an interview with yearbook applicants during their lunch or free period to weed out any students who aren’t willing to give up their free time. If a student isn’t willing to sacrifice thirty minutes of their social time, they probably aren’t ready for the time commitment of being on the yearbook staff.
7. Get diverse.
A great yearbook reflects all the different types of students in a school, so it’s staff should reflect that too. Don’t just speak to honors and AP classes – there are hard-working and dedicated students in all classes, and some who aren’t in honors may be better for yearbook than those who make straight A’s.
8. Take it online.
Have your staff create a video talking about why they love working on the yearbook, with behind-the-scenes shots of them at work and play, or footage from trips and workshops. Post it to social media and encourage your staffers to share it with their friends and followers. We love this one from Lennard High School’s morning show, The Round Up Report.
9. Promote, promote, promote!
Create posters and fliers for the different types of jobs available. If students know that there’s a specific job that matches their skills or hobbies, they are more likely to apply. Plaster the hallways and English, art and computer classes with your posters.
10. Listen to your students.
At the end of the day, your quickest connection to students is other students. Ask your current or outgoing staff members to recommend friends or peers that they think would be a good fit for the yearbook, and encourage them to do some of their own recruiting.