5 crucial recruitment PR lessons from The Apprentice

BlueSky PR’s Vickie Collinge has been avidly watching The Apprentice and offering up her takeaway tips for recruiters each week over on the BlueSky Recruitment PR & Marketing Blog.

So, what have the key recruitment PR lessons been so far?

1. Why you should never over promise (or outright lie)

Recruitment marketers – It isn’t worth over-promising just to keep your MD off your back. If you know their expectations for PR and marketing are unachievable, tell them. The alternative is having to explain why you’ve not delivered what you promised.

And for recruitment directors and company spokespeople. Don’t exaggerate the truth. Just as Lord Sugar was brutal in pointing out to the men that they made a fundamental error saying they can ‘guarantee’ tourists will see the Big 5 on their safari, it will backfire if you make a statement that isn’t 100 per cent correct. So check all of your facts before saying or writing anything publicly.

2. Why you need to listen to your audience

Be very clear who your audience is, what type of content appeals to them and where to best engage with them. Expert recruiters know their candidates and client markets inside out, BUT, that doesn’t mean that what they know today, won’t change tomorrow, so never assume you or your team knows best.

What are people saying in response to your social media posts? Are there comments that suggest you should be rethinking some of your candidate engagement strategies?

And if there are any negative comments, consider how you should react to these. Yes, there are the odd occasions were someone is simply trying to entice you into a public argument for the sake of it, but in amongst this there may be real concerns or queries that should be listened to and addressed.

Communication is a two-way street and needs to be treated as such. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you know best, but if your audiences are telling you something different, you need to acknowledge it.

Similarly, if an expert is suggesting that your audience doesn’t want to hear about the new colour you’ve painted your office, but will be interested in the hiring trends in your industry, it’s worth taking note.

3. Why you need to have a voice

Staying quiet and reserved won’t help your brand get noticed. I’m not saying all publicity is good publicity. Or that you need to ensure your name is in every national paper, sector magazine, online blog or specialist podcast. Spreading your brand too thin won’t help you secure your position as a thought leader. Instead, the right content targeted at the right places will ensure you set yourself up for the best competitive success.

We often speak with recruitment agencies that want to remain quiet in fear of ‘giving away’ too much information to competitors. But the truth is, if another agency is operating in the same field as you, it’s very likely that they will know much of what you have to share anyway.

Success for us is when a client becomes the go-to business for crucial sector specific information. That doesn’t involve spilling the beans on your investment plans or the business you’re courting at the moment (though name dropping high-profile brands you have a great relationship with always helps raise your profile).

4. Why you should keep it real

Being authentic in the public eye really works and it’s arguably a million times easier to maintain than a false persona. Focusing on your area of expertise, rather than trying to be the expert voice on absolutely everything, will deliver the right results. It doesn’t really matter what your thoughts are on starting your own business if your target audience are employers and contractors in the life sciences field, for example.

For recruitment firms this is a key lesson for any PR activity: don’t stray too far from your comfort zone. Trying to be an expert in everything will dampen your reputation in the field you know best. Just as trying to do too much in one go can confuse your message and potentially limit the impact of your campaigns.

Sometimes simplicity really is best. And by honing your attention on one specific theme or audience at a time, you really can ensure you’re giving this activity the time and investment needed to ensure you note the best possible return on investment (ROI).

5. Why everyone needs to be on the same page

No one can be an expert in everything. So, many recruitment firms will have more than one spokesperson – particularly larger businesses with multiple specialisms. This is a necessity to grow the image of these individuals as experts in their specific fields. BUT this can open you up to inconsistencies. If, for example, you have two outspoken people who have opposite views on the value of technology in recruitment, having two contradictory messages going out to your audience isn’t ideal. So make sure any crucial messages are agreed between all parties to avoid these types of confrontations.

These are just five take away PR lesson’s from The Apprentice that Vickie has discussed in her blogs. Check back in with Vickie soon for the final instalments 🙂

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