Todd Johnson was named publisher of Workforce Management in December 2002, shortly after it was acquired by Crain Communications Inc., which also publishes Media Business. In May 2004, he was promoted to VP. He joined Crain in 1995 as corporate facilities director, establishing and relocating offices in major U.S. cities, Germany and the U.K.
Media Business: How did you get from corporate operations to publisher?
Johnson: I really liked the company, but once all the offices were set up, I wanted to do something else. I had learned a lot about publishing at Crain, and Workforce Management attracted me because it covers human resources, my major in college.
MB: How does HR knowledge help?
Johnson: Recruitment is an area where getting the fundamentals right is critical. Don't be blinded by the success someone has had in another organization. Find out what made that person a great producer—and compare that to characteristics of successful sellers in your organization, which you must identify beforehand.
MB: How do you hire for the future when the Internet is changing the sales job in unpredictable ways?
Johnson: First of all, it's not about age. My oldest salesperson is my best Web salesperson. The core sales principles never change, but you have to find skilled salespeople who are also enthusiastic, lifelong learners. We always have new things to sell—more of them and more often than ever before—so you must find people who can adapt to constant change regardless of background.