How to Hire a Video Editor

By Robert Half on January 16, 2020 at 8:00am

From pulsating billboards in Times Square to viral clips on YouTube, video surrounds us every day. It helps that anyone with a smartphone can shoot a video — then trim, rotate and overdub it using apps that cost less than a cheeseburger.

So if anyone can edit a video, why hire a video editor? Truth is, there’s a world of difference between manipulating a clip for fun and delivering a professionally created video project on time and to spec.

Many people may know that FLV, MOV and AVI are video formats, but only a pro knows which one is best for what project. They also understand that milliseconds matter in time-based media, and are prepared to watch, rewatch, arrange and rearrange scenes until the execution perfectly matches the vision.

Your company’s video projects need to attract attention in a crowded field of media, and a great video editor can make them do exactly that. Here’s a guide to recruiting a professional who can help take your creative team to the next level.

1. Craft a solid job posting

The point of any job description is twofold: You need to clearly lay out the details of the position while making top talent eager to join your company.

Before waxing lyrical about the exciting projects you’ve got lined up and all the perks your company offers, let candidates know the basics.

  • Job duties and responsibilities — Will your hire be editing short clips for social media, long-form content for marketing purposes, feature-length films or all of the above? Will they also be tasked with shooting video or creating content such as motion graphics and still images? Digital design and production is made up of increasingly specialized fields, so if you want your video editor to do more than edit video, make that clear in the job posting.
  • Education and experience required — If you want someone with a college education, spell that out. While many video editor candidates have a bachelor’s degree in film production or related disciplines, not all do. Practical experience is also crucial in this role, so your job description should clearly state how many years of video editing you expect candidates to have under their belt. 
  • Tech background expected — Familiarity with video editing software such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere and Media Composer is a given, but you should specify the required level of experience and proficiency. And if the job goes beyond simply editing video clips, highlight additional software requirements in the job description. Common examples include:
    • Photo retouching/editing — Adobe Photoshop, GIMP 
    • Creating motion graphics — Adobe After Effects, NUKE, Motion, Fusion 9 
    • Composing sound/music — Pro Tools, Adobe Audition, Sound Forge, Audacity 
    • 3D modeling — Cinema 4D, Maya, Blender 
  • Perks and benefits — The competition for creative talent is fierce in the current market, so tell candidates what makes your company a cut above the rest. Highlight benefits packages and unique aspects of your organizational culture. And don't forget to mention popular perks like flexible work schedules, on-site childcare and telecommuting options.

2. Interview for technical prowess and soft skills

To explore a candidate’s hard skills beyond their resume during the interview, it’s best to avoid closed-ended questions that have only one response, such as “Are you highly proficient at Final Cut Pro?” Instead, choose one or two samples from their portfolio and ask them to walk you through the execution of those projects. What software did they use and why? How did they decide on the compression format for the final output? If they were starting the project all over again, what would they do differently?

And while technical skills are essential, the interview is also an excellent chance to evaluate the soft skills that matter to you and your team. Do candidates know when to compromise and when to stand their ground? Can they work effectively in a collaborative environment? How do they respond to criticism? 

It’s hard to grade soft skills in an hour-long meeting, but a carefully crafted set of interview questions can shine a light on them. The following examples can give you a peek into candidates’ working styles and problem-solving abilities and whether they’re team players: 

  • What kind of working environment brings out the best in you?
  • If you suddenly realized you couldn’t meet a deadline without compromising on quality, what would you do?
  • What do you love about your job? What leaves you frustrated?
  • Do you feel like you always get the credit you deserve on projects you’re involved in?
  • Give us an example of a project you weren’t happy with. What did you learn from it?

3. Get hiring help from the experts

A drawn-out hiring process can hurt your company in more ways than one. For starters, the more time it takes you to staff open video editor positions, the longer you hinder your team’s ability to meet project deadlines and even win new contracts. In addition, Robert Half research shows job seekers lose interest in positions if recruitment takes too long, so stalled hiring can make you miss out on top talent.

A specialized talent solutions firm like Robert Half can save you time and energy by helping identify the best candidates for your company. Recruiters have the inside track on available creative talent in your area and can review resumes to zero in on the right applicants. They can also keep you looped in with industry trends and salaries, meaning you stand a better chance of making talented video editors an offer they can’t refuse.

4. Close the deal with the right offer 

Creative professionals know their worth and won’t hesitate to leave the negotiating table if they feel undervalued. The Robert Half Salary Guide has up-to-date starting salary projections for video editors. Keep in mind that this national figure can vary depending on factors like skills and experience, your company size and where you’re located. Access the guide to find out what video editors expect to earn in your city and state.

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