The Other Face of Recruitment in PR

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Last June I wrote an article “Do you have what it takes? Best PR Pros answer”, aimed to help those of you thinking of entering in PR (but also the PR pros already in), with industry insights by the hand of some of the best specialists on the market.

Intended to outline the challenges, the “to dos” and the “don´ts” PR pros meet when looking for a position in the communications world, I asked several internationally established PR Pros about the qualities they look for when recruiting. The answers were quite diverse and, if you´re thinking of a career in PR, you´ll find them useful.

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Though a lot has been said about it, with the changing times we live in, there is still a lot to add on this topic. So, I thought of making a second part, which, actually, turned into several parts :).

Now that you know what recruiters want from us, let´s skip to what they face when looking for the right fit for a communications department or a PR agency role.

Several PR and Communication leaders on the Spanish market have been very kind and shared their opinion with us. I am very proud to present you (in alphabetical order):

Silvia1-199x300Silvia Albert – Founder and CEO of Silvia Albert in Company, a Spanish PR Agency founded in 1999, specialized in providing communication advisory services for domestic and international companies, associations and institutions.

- What challenges do you face when trying to fill in a position in your agency? 

“1. – English is still a big challenge for many candidates. Unfortunately, training in this area is still very poor and candidates keep downplaying its importance. With a First Certificate, many consider themselves bilingual, but they are unable to make a conference call.

2. – The excitement, to really believe that there is much to do and bring despite the lack of experience (in the case of a recent graduate). It´s very striking to me the apathy and reluctance with which candidates face the challenge of finding a job.

3. – The willingness to learn, the curiosity, innovation, suggestions … initiative after all.”

- You worked in multinationals and, for the last 14 years, you run your own PR agency. Do you see any particularities on the Spanish market?

“With every day there is less difference. In our case, for example, we have the trust of both our international and national clients. It is true that, in the past, having an international client in the portfolio gave you more room to maneuvering. Now, after the fall of Lehman Brothers and with the crisis, multinationals have to control more and keep a lower profile.”

- Is Spain different from other countries in terms of Communications and PR?

“Without a doubt!

Unfortunately, in Spain, we still consider communications and PR as an “extra”. Outside our borders no one doubts that there must be a communication strategist in every business, commercial or political activity. Here, on the contrary.

With over 30 different names to identify the same position within companies, yet to see that communication directors of large companies are more than four or five on boards of directors.

It is unbelievable that companies listed on the Spanish stock market do not have a communications department or not working with a PR agency. That sets us apart, no doubt about it!

Outside of our borders, communication management is on the daily agenda of social and business dynamics. In Spain, the last to call, if called at all, is the communications expert and, generally, to “put out fires” that could have been avoided.”

Jordi-Ballera_ok

Jordi Ballera – Director Edelman Madrid Office. Edelman is the world’s largest independent public relations firm, with 67 offices and more than 4,800 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities.

What challenges do you face when trying to fill in a position in your company?

“Most candidates have the same skills and knowledge. I believe that talent is randomly distributed among all candidates. I’d say that the difference lies both in the cultural background of the candidates and in their ability to adapt to a new environment. Most resumes are fairly similar; what we try to identify are the values and the cultural mind-set of the candidate. These variables need to fit into our culture and contribute to strengthen this culture. Our culture is our competitive advantage and we need to foster it and promote it.”

- Working in a multinational, do you see any particularities on the Spanish market?

“No. Our office is aligned with the rest of Edelman offices worldwide. We share the same culture, methodology, quality standards, mental schemes, some clients… In this sense there is nothing that prevents us from collaborating with colleagues from another office, from the States to Japan, South Africa, China or Brazil. This is a big advantage for our clients. They get a fully range of consistent services no matter in which country they are operating. In this sense we are a real global firm.”

- Is Spain different from other countries in terms of Communications and PR?

“Our market is very demanding. You need to have talented people on board to navigate this environment. I’d say Spain is a mature market when it comes to develop and implement a communication plan and the rest of the world observes what we do in terms of communication to learn from us. In fact several campaigns we have developed in Spain have been implemented in other markets. No doubt we are an edgy market.”

Speak English very well, be enthusiastic, passionate and don´t be afraid to show the real you, these experts advice us. On the other hand, though the Spanish businesses are still working on involving the communication expert, on making him/her partner at the decision table, it is clear this is the way to go. The talent exists, Spaniards are a model outside Spain, they just have to adopt it inside Spanish borders.

More experts to come next week. Stay tuned!

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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: The Other Face of Recruitment in PR, Part II | Nuts about PR

  2. Pingback: Keep It Simple Stupid! | Nuts about PR

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