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The importance of PR in your recruitment process


by Michael Macfarlane | 24 April 2017

Public relations (PR) can be used to assist you in your recruitment process in a variety of ways, from attracting more people to view a role you have advertised, to increasing your company’s employer brand and strengthening your presence your marketplace. In today’s competitive market it is not enough to simply post an advert on your website or a job board and expect talent to inundate your inbox with their CVs. You may passionately believe your company is an exceptional place to work, but you cannot assume that the general public knows about the business or feels the same way. You need to consider what the company looks like to the outside world. How do prospective hires know you? Do they even know you at all?  Help potential employees see what you know by building your brand and company image. One of the most effective ways to do this is to introduce some public relations principles to your traditional recruitment and marketing efforts.

PR is ultimately about communicating with your key audiences. When you think about incorporating PR into your recruitment strategies, think about the message you want to convey, who you want to read it and what media you want to push it through. 

Develop and fine tune your message
When developing a PR strategy I would advise you to speak with current employees first. Ask your people: 

  • What is important to you? 
  • Why is this a great place to work? 
  • What drew you to this company when you were looking for a new job?

Feedback from internal stakeholders can help you refine your message to potential candidates. If you address what is important to your employees, you can use similar messaging to describe your company to the outside world.
Once you have determined your differentiator, brand it so that it can be easily discussed and it is accessible to you key audience or audiences. PR, after all, is communicating with your public. This can encompass many audiences— for us at Sellick Partnership it includes potential candidates, current employees, client, prospects, vendors and the community in general. Make sure that when you are communicating with these audiences you are delivering your key messages, and your message remains tuned throughout communications.

It is also important to back up your claims. You cannot say you are a green company if you do not recycle, or say you are a specialist recruiter if you recruit into all sectors. Make sure that the messages you are communicating makes you stand out, and that they highlight what makes you different. By doing this PR can add a great amount of value to your operation, and can increase your market presence and your profitability long-term. 

Identify your target media
Research the groups you most want to target. How can you reach them? What publications and websites do they read? Where do they currently work and spend their time? You need to reach out to your target audiences through these avenues. You also need to think outside the box if you want to gain maximum exposure, think about setting up speaking opportunities at these group meetings, sponsor an event and work to get stories about your company featured in the trade journals and business publications your target audiences read. This can be through small commentaries, or by pitching in full articles, but make sure what you are offering will set you aside from your competitors and make your target audience want to know more.

You also need to partner with your internal marketing and PR department, or your organisation’s external marketing agency, to see how your efforts overlap and might complement each other. Your company’s PR professionals can pitch stories that incorporate your key messaging to the publications your target audiences read. They can also work to have members of your company included in broader business stories about issues that affect your area and industry.

Consider each medium you want to pursue
Of course, the business and trade publications you identify will be considered as target media to relay your organisation’s messages. But you must also consider other media sources. Traditional regional and national media are a great way to get your message across the communities where you work, and guest blogging on well-known sites can be a great way of offering up though leadership pieces at a fraction of the cost. You should also incorporate your message into all your internal and external communications – from your website to your email signatures. Your messaging should be reflected in all aspects of written, web-based and verbal communications including newsletters, marketing pieces, public relations stories and speaking opportunities to ensure you are maximising the opportunities PR can do for you.

Monitoring and leveraging PR
Finally, when you have obtained coverage it is essential that you store, monitor and use it effectively. It is advisable to build a coverage tracker, where you can store and monitor the value of the coverage you are receiving. This will not only give you a list of coverage, but will also give you an indication of how much your coverage is worth. You also need to ensure you are promoting the coverage you have received. Share it on your social platforms, add it to your company website and make sure you shout about it internally and externally to ensure you get the most out of it.

Public relations can play an invaluable role in helping to recruit and retain top talent. Organisations that consider and refine their messages, audiences and strategies for reaching those targets will be have more success recruiting and retaining top talent in a competitive market. For example, use the coverage you have received to win new pitches by taking key examples to client meets or including relevant PR in tender document. PR is an excellent way to showcase your expertise in the market and prove to potential customers, employees and stakeholders that you know what you are talking about.

To find out more about how you can use PR to help your recruitment needs you can contact me on michael.macfarlane@sellickpartnership.co.uk, alternatively you can read blogs from my colleagues by visiting the insights section of our website.