Soon after I started the JobsPage in 1997, I added a feature called "Ask the Recruiter," where I answered questions that people had sent me in e-mails.
The process was laborious as I had to build a new Web page for each question and redo the index page that would direct people there.
In 2003, I was visiting the Poynter Institute when Poynter Online Editor Bill Mitchell showed me a blog. "Grimm," he said, "you should have a blog."
I told him I was swamped with e-mail, phone mail, regular mail and I certainly was not going to blog.
On my walk back to the hotel, though, I thought about what he had shown me and figured it could help me post questions and answers much more easily. There was a public computer in the hotel's lobby, so I pulled out my credit card and signed up. I decided I would try to post every day for a year to see if it worked.
Three years later, after I had a thousand posts and had received 200,000 views, Mitchell asked me if I would let Poynter host my blog.
Who knew? Bill knew.
Ask the Recruiter is ingenious, even if the recruiter is not.
* The questions are always more interesting than my answers
* The questions are often longer than the answers, which can mean that my readers do most of the work.
* I seem to get just enough to keep publishing them, which means I almost all the answers I write can be used as content.
I try to have a tone in Ask the Recruiter. A good blog has that. I try to be -- not sarcastic or caustic as a lot of bloggers are -- nice.
That's all. Supportive and nice. One of my recruiting peers watches from the wings and occasionally gives me a poke if I veer over into nasty. He has reminded me that I am supposed to be the nice recruiter. Like it's my schtick or something.
Answering questions online has had some unintended consequences. Once a co-worked seemed to be stammering about something and finally blurted, "Can I ask you a question about my career, or do I have to send it in as an e-mail?"
"You don't have to e-mail me. We work together! I recruited you! You can sk me anything you want, anytime."
"I just didn't want to take advantage of my position."
There's a new question and answer every weekday and there is a huge archive of them, as we moved everything I had done on my own over to Poynter Online.