Whether you're hiring or job-seeking, PR is critical to success

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One area of public relations (PR) that is often forgotten is internal communications.

It’s regularly the case that when asking a company to outline their target audiences, employees just don’t feature despite the fact their performance is critical to the marketing function.

What I mean by this is that if you’re telling everyone about a superior product or service and the staff aren’t aware of it or if the customer journey doesn’t live up to expectation, then you very quickly score an own goal.

Good PR can also be very powerful in recruiting and retaining the right staff but depending on the industry, finding skilled hires can be challenging. In difficult economic times it can also be hard to get the green light for sourcing the staff you need to achieve your business objectives and expansion plans.

In light of this I spoke to recruitment specialist Bryony Gibson from Bryony Gibson Consulting for her views on achieving the right culture fit.

Bryony said: “With the economic recession times have been tough, resulting in companies scrutinizing their HR spend to a much greater degree than they would have done previously. Understandably every new employee has to be 100% right, without compromise.

“For anyone seeking employment, qualifications are crucial along with the relevant practical experience, which is why those with apprenticeships or sandwich experience from University may be more desirable to employers than those with academics alone. But even the combination of qualifications and experience is not enough in the current climate to secure a job.

“Interestingly enough, this is where PR becomes important as much for the individual as for the business. The ability for potential employees to display their personality from the outset and demonstrate how they can fit into the culture of a business is essential. A lot of this stems from attitude; would you rather sit next to a negative individual or one who is positive and oozes energy? Attitude and personality; neither come at a cost, but they can be harder to find than qualifications and experience.

“As such, while an organization needs to present itself in the best light in order to appeal to the high quality workforce it wishes to attract, so must a person show exactly what attributes they can bring and demonstrate what kind of brand ambassador they could be for the firm.

“My advice to clients is that the recruitment process should not only specify the necessary skills and qualifications required for the job, but also provide an opportunity for candidates to showcase their character. In order to expect applicants to be open and honest businesses will need to do the same - showing just enough of their personality so that jobseekers feel they can connect.

“Understanding a person’s personality is really the key to whether they will fit within the business and stay long-term. Organisations need to ensure that potential employees align with their company’s vision and values, management style, team ethics and workplace environment. Cultural fit is critical to the long-term success of employee engagement, productivity, motivation and retention.

“All that said companies mustn’t lose sight of the technical task in hand. The person they like the most still needs to be able to do the job, which brings me back to the start; recruiting has to be 100% right, and finding those that meet this target and will ultimately be able to help a business grow is often easier said than done.”

Bryony’s words are grounded in experience and hopefully helpful to organisations wondering whether their recruitment process needs updating or enhancing. Individuals in the job market should also pay heed too and look at the options they have for showcasing their personal brand. Social media offers great promotional opportunities when used in the right way – but then that’s a column for another day!