Editor’s note: We originally posted this in March, and now that the Strategist is hiring another writer, we’re publishing it again.
The Strategist is hiring! We are looking for a writer to join our ranks — to test new things, grill experts for their recommendations, and write enthusiastically about the things they love. You can read the broad strokes of the job requirements here, but for the real lowdown of what we’re looking for, Strategist editor Alexis Swerdloff and deputy editor Jason Chen had a chat about what makes a great Strategist staff writer.
JC: What are we looking for in a Strat writer!? There are so many qualities that it’d be easy to just start rattling off adjectives (smart, funny, nimble, obsessive), but I think firstly the person we’re looking for is a hard-nosed journalist. If we’re trying to suss out the deal with the smart-luggage “ban,” do they know who to call? Or if we need to talk to a dozen interior designers about the best sheets, can they figure out who (and fast)? The site also covers so many different things that we’re really in search of someone with a generalist’s curiosity about shopping. Someone who can be testing a vacuum today and investigating hangover cures tomorrow, you know?
AS: Yes, I agree. Curiosity is so important: You have to really care about getting to the bottom of a question, like, ‘What is the next Status Soap?’ And the person should be “with it” enough to know that there is even such a thing right now as a Status Soap (and that it’s Aesop). Remember when you wrote about your Japanese nail clippers that you found at that Narita Airport? That, one of our first posts on the site, helped us figure out what was possible with the Strategist, and how easy it is for a good writer to convince people that they want something they never knew they needed.
JC: Definitely, and as the site has grown, we also need people who know how to make a very knowledgeable guide to, say, French presses, or create well-edited lists of things like Korean office supplies or less-expensive-than-it-looks home décor. I like to think of those as the impulse purchases at the Strat checkout line — you might have come looking for bed sheets, but you’re going to want to toss a pretty wastebasket into your cart, too. Getting that just-right mix of stuff is difficult.
AS: Creative is also an adjective that springs to mind. During gift season, for instance, we have to come up with dozens upon dozens of gift-guide ideas that have never been done before — so we want people who can rattle off ideas left and right, like the best gifts according to Santas, or what Eckhaus Latta models want for the holidays. And then just being a really nice writer! We want the Strategist to be fun and entertaining to read, even if you have no interest in buying what we’re recommending.
JC: Which means tone is a biggie, too. In the text and headlines and even photos, we’re trying to signal our taste. I always feel like you get a real sense of Strat’s guiding principles when you read our editors’ hauls; we’re picky (and a little bit insane).
AS: Also important, I think, is respecting our readers: assuming a level of sophistication on their end, and not telling them about things they presumably already know about. That means being super explicit about our process for how we pick things, but also trying to surprise readers a lot. Like, you should use these nursing pads as makeup removers, or a plastic fishbowl to store your pens, and that these are the best dupes for Swedish Hasbeens. Those are some of my favorite Strat posts: They’re weird and ultimately very useful.
JC: And I’d wanna stress (in bold and underlined) that we’re looking for ambition, too. Beyond the day-to-day, there’s room to really go deep on topics related to re-commerce or an everything guide to buying a mattress online.
AS: Hear, hear!
If this obsessive shopping journalist sounds like you, apply here.
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