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How to attract PR talent in a candidate-driven market

Annie Hayes

With PR candidates once again in the driving seat, what does this mean for recruiters trying to net the best people?

The bounce-back for businesses is occurring and PR employers are looking for talent to join them. As reported on PRWeek recently, Alexandra Lewington, head of PR & communications at recruitment firm Reuben Sinclair says that she was briefed on the same number of jobs per consultant for Q1 2021 as Q1 2019. With PR candidates once again in the driving seat, what does this mean for recruiters trying to net the best people?

Here are some tips on how to ensure you can compete with other PR firms vying for talent:

Have savvy conversations: Connecting with your existing staff is key. Not only can you tap into how they are feeling, their ambitions and general wellbeing, but you can also start to build a picture of how deep-seated the current culture is and the values that they associate with the business. The reasons why they want to work for the firm will be the reasons your new candidates will jump ship to you too. This dialogue is invaluable for understanding what works well and what needs adjusting.

Recognise what the new workplace is: Whatever our individual experiences of the pandemic has been, it is important to acknowledge that for many returning to the workplace, expectations of our workplaces have potentially been altered permanently. With many now used to working remotely, many businesses are offering flexible packages that include home working as the ‘new normal’. Employees at Apple recently sent an open letter to their CEO to say they don’t want to return to the office. Offering flexible options, where possible, can be the key to attracting the right staff.

Offer a great candidate experience: When candidates can pick and choose who to work for, it’s essential that the hiring systems are transparent, open, consistent and fair. No-one trusts an employer who fails to communicate effectively about the process or is seen to screen candidates in varying ways. The experience should also allow potential recruits the opportunity to ask questions, understand the business and appreciate the culture that is on offer. Ensure your recruitment process is inclusive for all and ask each candidate about their accessibility needs to ensure the interview space is suitable for them. Remember, even if a candidate doesn’t get the role, the positive experience you will have given all the candidates, including the one you hire, is like gold dust.

Reach out to a diverse talent pool: Remote working opens up the possibility of selecting candidates from a more widely spread geographic area. This gives employers the chance to not only net great staff but also to tap into candidates that may not ordinarily apply. Having a diverse workforce is also essential for ensuring that the business is representative of its client and customer base and is not working within a narrow stereotype.

Do what it says on the tin: Your aim is to attract PR talent so ensure that your recruitment adverts utilise your existing PR channels appropriately and are not a turn off. Social media campaigns can also help to extend the reach and with clever advertising you can ensure that your business stands out from the crowd and highlights its USP, whether that be the opportunities on offer, the flat structure, the flexible working policies or the brand position – ensure that your advert appeals, in the same way that it does to your clients.

When competition is fierce for the best PR staff, employers must ensure their recruitment process is robust, indicative of new times and reaches out to a wider pool. Following the tips above can ensure that your firm has the best candidate choices.

Read more about how to rethink your employer brand in this downloadable ebook from PRWeek Jobs’ employer branding agency, Wonderful Workplaces: Employer Branding Reboot: A guide for employers throughout the pandemic and beyond

Talk to us about how PRWeek Jobs can help you build and communicate your employer brand or recruitment marketing. Email to discuss your needs and bespoke special packages.