Strategies for Attracting Exceptional Talent For Your PR Agency

Eric Mochnacz
November 28, 2023

The world of Public Relations is fast-paced and ever-evolving.  Small PR firms are expected to remain ahead of trends while earning prime media placements for their clients.  All this while growing a business and building a team to support that growth.  Let’s talk about successful and proven strategies to attract exceptional talent for your growing PR firm.  

Four Strategies For Attracting Exceptional PR Talent 

There are a number of HR strategies you can employ to attract PR talent in a complicated, evolving job market.   Although these may seem like common HR practices, your recruitment process is also a great way to demonstrate your value, and your values, to PR professionals looking for the next step in their career.  Here are some key strategies you can use to build your team of skilled PR talent!

1. Have a Strong Employer Brand 

In public relations, reputation is everything.  PR firms literally help their clients build a positive reputation in the industry and stand out among their competitors in the market.  Why wouldn’t you want to do the same for your own business?  Employer brand refers to your company’s perception or reputation in the market.  It also is how current and former employees talk about your company, as well as how job seekers talk about your company as they engage with you in the interview process.  As professionals who build their careers on creating positive brand reputations, flex those PR skills as you cultivate a positive industry reputation for your company.  Being well-known and having a positive perception of your company translates to more of the top, skilled PR professionals wanting to work for you.  

There are a number of ways to influence your employer brand so you are viewed positively compared to your industry peers.  Clearly communicating your core values helps job seekers understand how your company operates and what it believes, thus attracting like-minded professionals.  Core values directly feed into your company culture, or how your employees feel about going to work every morning.  If you build a strong culture where employees thrive, they are more likely to talk positively about the work environment, and, like in PR,  word of mouth is critical in developing brand awareness and establishing a company presence in the market. 

Simply put, people want to work for a company whose employees like working there!

2. Streamline the Hiring Process 

If there’s anything PR professionals are good at, it’s moving quickly.  If you want to demonstrate to job seekers you are a fast-moving firm who stays ahead of the curve in meeting client needs, you’ve got to demonstrate that same speed in your hiring process!  Public relations professionals know how to communicate their value proposition quickly, so they should be able to do the same in enticing PR talent to come to work for them.  We generally recommend a three-step process; a phone screen or one-way video interview after resume review, an interview with the hiring manager, and then a final interview with leadership if absolutely necessary.  If you have a streamlined recruitment experience, candidates will believe you when you say your goal is to streamline communication for your clients.  

3. Conduct Effective Interviews and Assessments

An effective PR professional has a unique mix of skills that will make them an excellent addition to your team.  You’re looking for someone who communicates effectively with different stakeholders.  A strong PR hire also has direct, practical experience in relationship building, media relations, and earning high-visibility media placements.  They need to be creative storytellers who also have a mind for strategic thinking and problem-solving.  And even more important these days, the skilled HR professional can keep pace with an evolving digital media landscape.  They need to be able to manage all these aspects of the job while being a cultural fit and a team player with your workforce.  It may seem like you are searching for a unicorn!

There are a number of tools and methodologies HR professionals use to effectively assess these skills in the candidates who apply for a role with your PR firm.  A note on assessments, you always want to make sure you are evaluating skills that are essential functions of the job and don’t have an adverse, discriminatory impact on a subset of the population.  Behavioral Interviewing (BI) is an effective approach to interviews, ensuring you are asking specific, job-related questions related to core competencies assigned to the roles.  Interviewing is often perceived as subjective, but using core competency-based questions with BI is an objective approach to candidate screening.  You will get the most out of the candidate in the interview by asking questions that allow them to tell engaging stories about their past experience, especially since past behavior is the best predictor of future performance.

If you want your PR team to be effective communicators, wouldn’t you want to understand how they communicate?  Conducting DISC and Driving Forces behavioral assessments as part of your recruiting process is an effective way to understand how someone prefers to communicate and how their communication style will influence the work they will do if hired.  As PR professionals, you have unique insight into how different people communicate.  Going into an interview understanding how your candidate prefers to communicate better equips you to ask the right questions and put their responses during the interview into greater context.  

4. Invest in Recruitment Process Outsourcing 

PR firms help companies establish themselves as subject matter experts in their respective industries.  Why not partner with HR professionals at the top of their game with expertise in Recruitment Process Outsourcing?  RPO is working with an HR consulting firm to streamline the entirety of your recruitment process to align with your company values and proven successful HR practices.  

When you invest in RPO, your vetted HR partner works with you to drive business change through innovative recruitment solutions.  They evaluate your job descriptions to articulate your company’s employer brand and accurately communicate the requirements for the position.  They assign core competencies to the role to make sure you’re asking the right, objective questions of candidates.  RPO professionals train your managers in effective behavioral interviewing techniques.  They own driving effective change throughout the entirety of the recruitment lifecycle.  

Build a Successful Team of PR Professionals 

The PR talent market is incredibly competitive.  It can be difficult for PR firms to stand out in the industry to attract exceptional talent.  Having an eager pool of job candidates is a good problem to have for the PR industry as a whole, but for individual businesses, it’s a huge challenge.  Skilled PR candidates have a lot of options, so you need to pull out all the stops to make sure you’re at the front of PR professionals’ minds.  Working closely with an outsourced HR firm is one solution to building your successful team.  Red Clover has direct experience working with PR and other professional services firms and we have proven success in all aspects of recruitment, including RPO. Let’s talk if you’re ready to stand out in the market and build your future team of PR rock stars!

Photo Credit – Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

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