How to Win the Public Relations Talent Battle

Written by Miranda Ward for Mumbrella.
Read the full article here.

Attracting talent



Lynnette Edmonds, recently appointed talent manager at Edelman, said graduates looking for their first public relations job will firstly be driven by preference, the category they want to work in, with the search narrowing after that based on the agency’s profile.

“Their choice of agency might be driven by consumer, corporate, tech, healthcare. There is that at first, you like to think they are focusing on the agencies that are relevant to their sector of choice,” Edmonds said.

“They are a bit led by the ones that have a bit of a higher profile, they’re aware of who’s in the press, who’s winning awards, who’s working on the sexier campaigns. Agencies that have a bit of a profile, they’re going to pop up in searches and grab attention.”

Red Agency’s Wright knows this and said the agency invests “quite a lot of time” on “what makes us attractive in market”.

“We do a fair amount of work around our external brand, we’re fairly active in the marketplace in celebrating the client work we do, entering awards and we’ve been fairly successful in the awards scene, we’ve won over 50 awards in the last three years,” he said.

“The type of work we’re doing we’re celebrating in market so people can see it and want to come work for us because they’re attracted to the type of work we do.”

On what the recruit wants to get from the agency Edmonds said they’re looking for a good wage, potential for growth and advancement,.

“It’s really competitive and it can come down to all sorts of things – salary, position are obviously important,” she said.

“If it’s neck and neck it’s about finding out what pushes a person’s buttons – finding out what engages them. It might be having a degree of flexibility due to where they live or they have a child. It’s trying to drill down to what is really important to that person.

“A car spot can make the world of difference,” she added.

But for more mid to senior PR practitioners looking for a change it can be harder for prospective employers to get them across the line Edmonds said.

“A lot of people are quite jaded because they hear from all the agencies ‘we’re going to give you training, great benefits, we have amazing benefits’ but they do get a little jaded and say to you I’ve heard all that before, I know it doesn’t always happen. Agencies can’t always deliver because of the way they work, the way they are structured, the will of clients, the will of budgets, sometimes these things don’t pan out,” she said.

“You need to really be able to gain their trust in a way that is genuine and say what is it that is going to meet your needs, what is it that you want to hear from me? And be really honest with them.”

Michelle Hampton, managing director of content specialists Magnum PR, said not everyone is “that interested in all your accolades as an agency.”

“They want to know they’ll matter to you, that you care about your people and you invest in them,” she said.

“People want to feel like they’re genuinely part of something bigger.  Let potential candidates in on what your vision is for the agency and how they could contribute to this – people want to feel inspired and excited about the prospect of making a genuine difference.  Give people the opportunity to learn about the business not just what their specific role would be.”

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