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RECRUITER IMPRINT Practical, real-world insights that enable Recruiters and Employers to make a mark on their sector, as the providers and employers of choice.

DEFINING YOUR RECRUITMENT 'BRAND' Figuring out how to define who you are, what you do and why your prospects, clients and candidates should work with you

Also in this issue: WINNERS AND WINNERS: New figures reveal shape of the UK recruitment sector...and it's good PRO-REC: How professional qualifications are driving standards and raising recruiter profiles LESSONS FROM THE LEADERS: Six interviews with six senior leaders and six lessons all recruitment leaders can learn

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RECRUITER IMPRINT WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? Recruiter imPRint is a magazine and website dedicated to sharing best recruitment marketing practice. Each issue features content written by our team of awardwinning writers and by recruiters who want to share their experiences of building their agency brand with PR. Published by Clearly PR, the specialist PR firm for the UK recruitment industry, Recruiter imPRint's sole purpose is to provide recruiters with real-world practical insights to help them raise the profile of their agencies and positively impact their bottom line. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy putting it all together.

CONTACT US Published by ClearlyPR Limited CONTACT London: 49 Greek Street, London W1D 4EG Cardiff: 2The Old Bank 46-48 Cardiff Road, Llandaff, Cardiff CF5 2DT Main tel: 0333 207 9477 Web: 2017 ClearlyPR

EDITOR'S NOTE By Paul MacKenzie-Cummins,

Welcome to the fifth edition of Recruiter imPRint. The last few months have been a great for those working in recruitment. With the Office for Budget Reponsibility revising their economic forecasts upwards for the year ahead coupled with the lastest figures from the REC highlighting the strength of the recruitment industry in terms of its contribution to UK GDP, there really has never been a better time to work in recruitment than right now. But the sector is becoming increasingly competitive, too. Last month, we obtained figures from Companies House that revealed just how fast the industry is growing. You can read all about that in our first article of this edition. Earlier this month I addressed the Recruitment Agency Expo on the subject of PR and branding in recruitment. What amazed me was the incredibly small number of recruiters who are doing no PR or marketing at all for their agencies, despite the fact that 380 new recruitment agencies open their doors each month. The industry is growing apace but so too is the number of competitors you have to battle with. If you don't work at keeping your agency front of mind, you will lose ground to your competitors...and fast. We hope the tips and insights inside this edition will help you.














RECORD NUMBER OF NEW RECRUITMENT BUSINESSES ENTERED MARKET IN 2016 Last year saw the highest number of new recruitment agencies on record opening their doors for the first time, according to a leading PR & Marketing Communications firm for the recruitment industry. Figures obtained by Clearly PR & Marketing Communications under a Freedom of Information request from Companies House, show that 4,529 new recruitment businesses were registered between January and December 2016 – an increase of 13.7% (up from 3,984) over the same period in 2015. In 2014, 3,037 new agencies were registered while 4,193 and 1,528 were registered in 2013 and 2012 respectively. Since 2012, a total of 17,271 new agencies have registered with the total number of recruitment businesses registered

as currently trading in the UK now standing at 26,901 – an increase of 56% over the last five years. Commenting on these latest findings, Paul MacKenzieCummins, Managing Director of Clearly PR & Marketing Communications, said: “To say that the recruitment industry is performing well, is a gross understatement. “Employer hiring and the UK economy both remain strong and this is reflected in the number of recruitment entrepreneurs wanting to capitalise on positive trading conditions and go it alone. This is clearly having an impact on the sector itself too. “Figures published by the REC in December showed that the recruitment industry is now worth £35.1 billion a year



– up from £26.5 billion in the year 2012/13.” The figures obtained by Clearly PR & Marketing Communications show an interesting trend over the course of the last 12 months. During the first half of the year, the number of newly registered recruitment businesses was low – perhaps in anticipation of the Brexit vote.

“Confidence is high in the sector right now and we expect it to remain so as we move further into 2017,” said Paul MacKenzie-Cummins. “But to stay ahead in the ever-increasingly competitive recruitment landscape, recruitment business owners need to consider how they are perceived and positioned in their market.

But within the two months immediately after the UK voted to leave the EU in June, 1,051 new recruitment agencies were registered – representing almost 1 in 4 (23%) of all new agencies registered throughout the whole of 2016.

“Gone are the days when agencies could rely on their ‘name’ or track record of success to help win new clients and candidates. Today, savvy recruiters are those who understand the need to be seen and heard by the right people, in the right way and at the right time.

That momentum gathered pace and as we edged closer towards the end of the year, when 1,315 (29%) new agencies were registered in November and December alone - a growth trend that looks set to continue as we move further into 2017.

“In practice, that means having an appealing brand that is communicated through a strong social media presence, enhanced client and candidate engagement (not just selling), and having an active presence in the media where their target audience hangs out. RI


UK recruitment businesses are depending on the ability


10 respondents (4% or 1 in 25) stated that PR and

of their consultants to win new business and drive growth in the short term rather than building their brand for long-term gain, according to a recent poll conducted by recruitment industry specialists Clearly PR & Marketing Communications. In a straw poll of 220 delegates who attended the ‘5 Killer Ways to Build Your Recruitment Agency Brand Using PR’ seminar that I presented at the Recruitment Agency Expo at Olympia in London on 1st February, just marketing currently forms part of their agency’s promotional strategy. Since 2012, over 17,000 new recruitment businesses have registered with Companies and over the last 12 months alone, the number of new players entering the market averaged at 380 every month.

Yet, despite recruiters facing unprecedented competition from both new and existing agencies, only an estimated 1 in 25 are taking their agency branding seriously. With 26,901 recruitment businesses registered with Companies House this equates to just 1,076 or 4% of the entire market. In January, Clearly PR & Marketing Communications obtained figures from Companies House under a Freedom of Information request to determine the size of the recruitment agency market in the UK. The figures also showed that the number of newly registered recruitment businesses rose by 13.7% in 2016 year-on-year, making last year the fastest growing for over a decade. Unless recruitment businesses are doing PR, they will be overtaken and left behind by their competition. That’s not us trying to promote what we do, it’s basic business sense and it will happen. No organisation in any sector can possibly withstand 380 new players entering the market without it impacting on their bottom line - its like waiting for a train that you know will come...eventually. While it would be foolhardy to suggest that all-380 of these new entrants will be direct competitors, we can guarantee that at least one - probably more - will be. So for every month that goes by without an agency implanting a PR strategy of some sort, a new competitor will have entered their space. Over a year that becomes a minimum of 12 new entities that are slowly gaining more market share and chipping away at the profits and margins of those agencies who remain inactive from a PR perspective. Employer hiring decisions are increasing being influenced by the people they see, hear and read about. Being a ‘name’ or an established agency are no longer key factors when deciding what recruitment agency to partner with. Rather, employers are looking for recruiters who understand the recruitment challenges they face and can position themselves as the best people to provide the solutions to these problems. During the presentation at the Recruitment Agency Expo, I highlighted the case of a search firm who despite having been established and a well-known name in their sector for over 30 years

was losing ground to a number of new competitors entering their space. The relative low cost of starting a new recruitment business combined with positive hiring intentions and a strong economy are seeing many would-be recruitment entrepreneurs starting their own agency. What makes them a potent threat is that they know they don’t have a ‘name’ to back them up, so they pull out all the stops to build and promote their new ‘brand’ through social media, blogging, local networking events and featuring in key publications. In other words, they position themselves as front-of-mind for the businesses they want to work with most. The age of self-aggrandising has well and truly been consigned to the history books. Recruiters need to switch the focus away from what they perceive themselves as being great at doing and turn towards their prospects – always seeking to address the what’s-in-it-for-me factor if that employer opts to partner with their agency. RI

Issue 27 | 234



WHY YOUR BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED PRESS RELEASE IS DESTINED TO FAIL The media are a ruthless bunch, and quite right too. In today’s content-obsessed 24-hour news cycle, many journalists and editors can find themselves inundated with literally hundreds of emails every day. Indeed, it is not unusual for editorial teams to receive upwards of 20-30 emails from various PR agencies and businesses – that’s 20-30 every hour for every journalist. Against this backdrop, you would be right in assuming that getting your message seen and heard through all this noise is a tad on the challenging side. But to steal a phrase from a certain high street bank, there is another way. The most powerful people in the media are journalists and editors. They are the proverbial gatekeepers with the power to decide if your message is worthy of being unleashed onto their audience (readers, listeners or viewers). It is they who you have to ‘sell’ your story to and convince them in as short a time as possible that what you have to say is actually really rather interesting.

So if you want to increase the chances of your press release getting the attention of the people who matter most, take note of the following reasons why your previous efforts may have failed to get the media coverage you hoped for: You’re trying to sell: Journalists detest sales people…fact. So pitches (and that’s essentially what a press release is) that are blatantly self-promotional will only be afforded the attention needed to move them from Inbox to Trash folder. If the aim of your press release is to drive sales, run an advert instead and don’t piss off those journalists who could be your biggest influencers when you do have something good to tell and share. You believe your own hype: We all like to think that our opinion is worth hearing, but how much sway does it have outside the four walls of your business? Will anyone really care what your boss has to say, or are you planning a press release in a bid to massage his or her ego?

These types of press release read along the lines of,

explaining how the role of a journalist has evolved over the last five years.

“Hi there, you recently ran a feature on the top 10 most influential people in the legal profession, which was soooo good. Our client is widely recognised as the UK’s leading barrister and he has a great opinion on how lawyers can raise their profile within their areas of expertise.”

Gone are the days when a hack would work on one or two main stories each day; today, journalists are typically required to work on five or more stories. That’s a heck of a workload, but it also means that they need media friendly press releases sent to them.

To which the journalist will, quite rightly, respond with,

In other words, they will grant no more than 15 seconds (if you’re lucky) to each press release they receive, and if they don’t ‘get’ what you’re talking about within that time then your chance of being published has gone.

“Err no. Not a chance. We’ve never heard of your client and don’t you think that’s rather ironic given the title of the feature you refer to?” You’re not getting to the point fast enough: I met with two newspaper editors over the last few weeks and they were

So avoid waffle and industry jargon and get to the point of what your story is all about:

- The headline needs to tell them everything (but it also needs to be short) - The opening paragraph needs to address the Who, What, When, Why and How in 40 words or less That opening paragraph encapsulates the entire story into two sentences – the rest of the press release is simply padding. You don’t ‘get’ how influential journalists are: Journalists have it tough. They want to work with businesses who a) make their lives easier by having a good story to tell, and b) could be a great source for future commentary if the journalist is running a story on a similar topic further down the road. To win their trust you need to understand what they have written

about in the past, too. This involves doing some homework (sorry if this means you have to make more effort, but hey…tough, it's what we do for a living and if you want to get media coverage you need ). Take a look at the publication(s) they write for and check out their Twitter profiles too. This will enable you to spot their style of writing and their perspective on certain subject matter. Remember, journalists are people too and just because they may right for The Guardian or the FT, they may also like BBC Football too. So follow them online, click what they share online and make comment and gain a greater insight into the trends, topics and issues that are important to them. This enables you to build rapport when pitching your story and it also makes the journalist feel that you have specifically targeted them, rather than scatter-gunned your press release to hundreds of others on your list (and no one wants to be on someone’s ‘list’). RI by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, Editor and Managing Director at Clearly PR & Marketing Communications

How mumbo jumbo is killing recruitment by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins | Editor and Managing Director at Clearly PR & Marketing Communications

profile” or “Write a headline that rocks” articles – invariably written by:

He’s not a specialist in the intersection of work and technology, nor is he leveraging unparalleled industry expertise to form a perfect marriage between clients and candidates (these are both actual job descriptions used by recruiters). Short of holding him up as some sort of trendsetter, it does seem that Mitch’s cut-the-bull-and-just-saywhat-you-do approach is being taken up by an increasing number of other recruiters who are shunning those descriptions that quite frankly leave most of us utterly baffled as to what they actually mean. If you received a CV and the candidate described their role in the way that we outlined in the introduction to this article, you would be none the wiser as to what they do. In fact, you would probably hit the Trash button whilst uttering the words ‘pompous arse.’ Quite right, too. But where did we ever get the idea that such descriptions were a good idea? It’s Google’s fault…oh and Steve Jobs too. Type the words ‘how to create a great LinkedIn profile’ into Google and the results generated will be full of “How to create a killer LinkedIn

a) People who have clearly never used LinkedIn professionally and have probably had to find the answer themselves by searching on Google b) Self-professed ‘Best-selling authors’ whose books you have never read largely because they were self-published or have been discontinued on Amazon due to them being quite simply crap, and c) So-called LinkedIn ‘experts’ who sell their services as headline writers (baffling that people are stupid enough to pay anything to these people) Where it has all gone terribly wrong is that too many recruiters have taken the advice being offered a step too far and towards the extreme. Others have seemingly been getting drunk on Steve Jobsisms. That love what you do speech has served as a rallying call for many recruiters to join together in a collective wave of determination to prove to potential clients that they are passionate about what they do. In doing so, they believe that that will seduce their prospects to work with them. Yet all they are doing is demonstrating that they really have no understanding of what motivates HR people in the first place…and bollocks doesn’t enter into the equation.

Prior to working in PR, I sold recruitment advertising back in the 1990s and early 2000s for the likes of and and my clients were also HRM’s and HRDs. I still work HR departments today on their employer branding and I have yet to meet a HR who would be taken in by the diatribe spouted by so many recruiters on LinkedIn. If you are to adapt your job title, just say what you do. For instance, if you are an Associate Consultant at a search firm you could add ‘Helping FTSE-100 firms secure the executive talent they need.’ This clearly states what you do and is remiss of any unwanted hyperbole that could and will negatively impact in your personal brand AND that of the agency you represent. Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, said: “Be able to be found. Think of what people will search for when

they are looking for someone who does what you do.” And he’s right. As the old adage goes, keep it simple stupid (KISS). When searching for candidates on LinkedIn do you use words such as leveraging, driven, passionate or rock stars? Of course you don’t because that’s not what they do, so don’t include these in your profile. In other words, practice what you preach. Am I being a tad cynical? Perhaps. But as a PR agency for the recruitment and HR industry, it is our job to manage the reputation of the clients we work with and to ensure that that are perceived in the right way by the right people. Your brand, both as a business and an individual, represents an expectation of what you will deliver for your customers and the experience they will have when they do business with you. So ask

yourself if you engage with someone who uses such downright ridiculous, self-perpetuating descriptions? To become an attractive proposition to a potential client you need to clearly (no pun intended) articulate what you are all about. The second you lose sight of this is the moment that your prospects will click to view the next recruiter profile and if they like what they see elsewhere, the decision over who to contact becomes clearly (pun very much intended) obvious. RI

AMAZON GO: WHAT RECRUITERS CAN LEARN Amazon’s new ‘legal shoplifting’ venture sent everyone into a tizzy when the news of its release first came out. Imagine, a shop where you just pick up your stuff and walk out! It’s like something straight out of Back to the Future. However, now that the concept has started to sink in, retailers are taking the idea seriously.

As the Guardian says: “the number of retail employees in Britain currently stands at 2.8 million. Stores like Amazon Go could therefore mean many job losses. "Retailers could realise savings of something in the order of 15% of running costs, an amount that is likely to make the technology very attractive.” This means that recruiters should take it very seriously too. In a world where Tesco stores are further evolving into a series of self-service checkouts, and where contactless card payments are making chip and pin obsolete, recruiters need a game plan. Whereas the retail industry was always seen as a solid foundation for workers, it’s now increasing possibly that that reputation is at risk. So what can recruiters do? It seems as though a major plan of action would be to encourage candidates to look into developing their technology skills. With broadband being equated in importance to gas and electric, and free coding courses popping up everywhere you go, it’s important for people looking for work to keep their skills updated and constant. No one disputes that advanced technology is the avenue retail will be taking in the near future, with The Guardian also claiming that “Amazon Go, along with businesses like Uber, Airbnb, Netflix, and even Google and Facebook, are part of a fundamental restructuring of the economy and the work that goes with it. "It is not simply that the technology is causing jobs to be lost… We are moving from a globalised world of manufacturing giants to a networked one of technology giants”. While we do like the notion of a wide variety of skills being used in the workplace, Amazon Go’s imminent popularity proves that neither candidates or recruiters can rely on a solely traditional skillset. We must move with the times and ensure we aren’t losing touch with the current work landscape. After all, we all want the best for our candidates. RI by Bethan Jones-Arthur

Amazon Go’s imminent popularity proves that neither candidates or recruiters can rely on a solely traditional skillset.

CAN PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS BOOST THE PROFILE OF RECRUITERS? by KELLY LAINE, BPS WORLD Having being in recruitment for more years than I care to admit it’s an industry that I’m extremely passionate about. The core of recruitment is to find someone an opportunity that will make their life better and this fills me with a great sense of pride. When I first started in recruitment, it was considered a ‘job’ for someone with good communication skills, providing opportunities to make money. While this still holds true today what has changed is the perception of the industry.

The excellent work of the REC has raised standards and the recruitment industry provides excellent career opportunities. Upon entering the industry you can set out on a defined pathway with qualifications to support you at every level of your development. The recruitment industry offers a real career with the “average tenure of a recruitment professional being 5 years. The qualifications available in the recruitment industry are amazing, they really support your growth and teach you everything you need to know about the industry. With BPS, joining as an apprentice we have a full development plan including on the job training, independent study whilst being mentored by our team leaders. It’s an easy decision as ‘you can learn while you earn.’ The NVQ L2 in recruitment is great for apprentices as it provides a real insight into the fundamentals of recruitment. The apprentices

gain the knowledge required to operate effectively, assess and manage candidates, establish an understanding of the industry and regulatory policies.

Simply put, qualifications will enhance your knowledge and help you stand out from the crowd. KELLY LAINE

Our apprenticeship programme has proven to be successful with over 20 apprentices recruited and 25% already passing their NVQ L2. It gives young talent a clear pathway for building a career in recruitment. I have passed my NVQ L3 and have gained so much extra information from it. I thought I knew everything about recruitment, I really didn’t. The NVQ L3 has shown me that there is so much more to learn about recruitment. Holders of the Level 3 Certificate in Recruitment Practice are eligible to use the letters CertRP to demonstrate their professional

status. By doing recruitment qualifications whether you are new to the industry or experienced recruiter, you will enhance your knowledge and help you stand out from the crowd. RI

LESSONS FROM THE LEADERS THE INTERVIEWS: What recruitment business leaders can learn from those in other sectors.

One of the great things about my job is the exposure I get to some of the country’s most senior leaders from the worlds of politics, sport and business. Over the past year or so I have met and interviewed a great many of them through Cardiff Business Club, and what fascinates me about each of these people is the way in which all have had to overcome major challenges in their careers before reaching the top of their respective professions. Even more impressive is their openness to share these experiences with others in a frank and honest way. Irrespective of what sector you operate, we can all learn from the experiences of others across different sectors – it’s called best practice. If you restrict your learning to those within your own industry then you risk losing out on a wealth of insight to be gained from elsewhere. After all, when it comes down to it, is there really much difference between one industry and another when it comes to management practice? Whilst there may be nuances specific to each sector, high-level executive across all industry sectors face the same problems and challenges. So in this article I will share with you the key leadership lessons that came out of each of the interviews that I was fortunate to have with some of the most recognisable figures within their respective field. I hope you find some of them of value to you, too.

President UK and Ireland The Estée Lauder Companies

On being competitive: "When someone enters one of our stores we need to ensure we provide added value to their experience of engaging with us – it is all about experiential shopping. But we also need to maximise the user experience online too, which we do by offering additional services."

We need to ensure we provide added value to their experience of engaging with us.

On management: "It is important to build on an individual’s strengths rather than seeking to highlight perceived weaknesses and where improvements can be made – that can be too demoralising. The key to management is not necessarily to be liked by everyone in your team, but to be respected, to be decent, to be fair and to be transparent in all your communications. On leadership: "Never overestimate someone because of his or her position – judge all those around you on face value and not on their job title; never assume anything. And just be yourself – good managers are those who can articulate well and don’t say whatever they think other people want to hear."

Chief Executive Macmillan Cancer Support

On driving growth: "I am not raising money to put into shareholder’s pockets; I am raising money to support people to pay for services that supports those who are actually living with cancer. This is what puts a fire in my belly." On being competitive: "We are constantly innovating and we have very good people who lead this…our focus needs to be on continuing to deliver the best possible services to people with cancer, which in turn means that people will want to support us."

A desk is a very dangerous place from which to view the world.

On leadership: "Leadership is all about being with people, walking the floor, getting ‘out there’ and truly believing in what our people are capable of more than anything else: A desk is a very dangerous place from which to view the world."

Chief of the General Staff and Head of the British Army On leadership: “Reassure yourself that people may criticise you but at the end of the day victory has to be judged in the results, as Winston Churchill put it in 1897. So the important thing is to just put it behind you and march forwards – if you are going to do these sorts of jobs then you need to have a thick skin from time to time.”

We need to make sure we’ve got the right talent in 10 years' time.

On succession planning: “It’s a super tanker and if I don’t make the call now to make sure that we’ve got the right talent in 10 years' time, I shall have left my successor’s successor in a really bad place. That’s why it is really important to look over the horizon.” On diversity: “Unless the Army broadens its recruiting base, so that it draws from the whole of British society, then it’s not going to be able to deal with the sorts of challenges and perplexities that are going to come up in the future…. there needs to be an absolute understanding that the demography of our country has changed.”

Formerly Chief Executive of Timpsons

On talent management: “Success is quite simply down to having great people. We have been consistent in picking people with ‘personality’ and giving them the freedom to ‘get on with it’. But we have also been good at buying poor performing businesses that we know what to do with.”

Life is always about uncertainty – without it there would be no thrill in achievement.

On being competitive: “Many of our competitors failed to seize the opportunities presented by diversification…If you ever think that you will reach perfection and find your heaven on earth, forget it. Despite all my luck I still worry about next year, next week. But life is always about uncertainty – without it there would be no thrill in achievement.” On leadership: “Firstly, always make sure that you have the right people. Secondly, always check the cash. Don’t bother about profit, that doesn’t matter. What matters is watching the cash because cash is control. Third, always makes sure that if you have somebody who is no good, get rid of them.” RI

Non Executive Director, Welsh Rugby Union and Former Executive Vice President of Mars Incorporated, responsible for the Human Resources strategy for the company’s 80,000 associates On succession planning: “Succession planning doesn’t happen overnight. It is all very well increasing female representation at Board level, but it needs to be done at executive level too. That is the pipeline – the feeder. By creating a pipeline of female talent business leaders you then have a pool of top executive female talent that they can delve into when the need arises.” On diversity: “Being the first woman on the Board is one thing, finding the second and then third one is the critical element we need to focus on. It isn’t until we have achieved this can we be considered truly diverse and representative.”

Be clear on what your vision and strategy is and be relentless.

On leadership: “First, choosing the right management team who you can trust to do the job you need doing. Second, surround yourself with a diverse team with complimentary skills to your own. Third, be clear on what your vision and strategy is and be relentless. Vision, strategy and talent – the why, what and who that all business leaders need to be mindful of.”

Chief Executive Fortnum & Mason - the UK's oldest retailer dating back to 1707

On driving growth “It’s quite simply a case of identifying how to get more profit revenue from other channels such as online, which can account for as much as a third of all our sales.” On defining your USP: “Who else can say they have a high-end, private label, food and luxury business? There are some wonderful stores that sell a range of incredible food products, but we have a tradition of re-evaluating who and what we are and making sure that our offer is current and reflective.”

You can still achieve your goal by being be seen as a real expert.

On leadership: “You can still achieve your goal [both as a business and leader] if you retain your focus on product quality and making sure that whatever you do is genuinely authentic - to be seen as a real expert an expert curator in everything that we do.”



Donald Trump has signed more executive orders in a week than Obama did in years. His first 100 days as a newlyappointed leader will be closely watched, and they are bound to be ground breaking. On an obviously lesser scale, newlyappointed leaders in organisations will also be under intense scrutiny. Here’s how you can make sure your first 100 days are just as successful and ground breaking (though hopefully more positively than The Donald’s…).

Know your audience You have a whole new

organisation to understand. Make a conscious effort to acclimatise and listen to your new colleagues – ensure they know that you are as much of a part of the team as they are. Dwight Mihalicz of Effective Managers backs this up by pointing out: “As anxious as you are to learn about your job, your team is anxious to learn about you as a manager. Never assume that your predecessor had good systems in place for interacting with others”. Honestly, it’s cliché but one of the best things you can do is make a cuppa and chat with the people you’re going to be surrounded by

for the foreseeable future. They need to

pressures, ensure that you stay levelheaded

understand you’re there to strengthen the

and aware that you can do this.

organisation, not overpower it. Manage your time At the beginning of your tenure, set aside a day to get your head together and map out your initial moves. After that, you need to get going on the first stages of your plans. As Niamh O’Keefe confirms in Management Issues, “in today's economy, shareholders and boards expect their newly appointed leaders to perform even better, even faster.” Take the opportunity you’ve been given and hit the ground running. Prove that they were right to choose you and ensure you start as you mean to go on: leading the pack quickly and efficiently. Know your goals inside out, and you’ll achieve them. Learn your worth Often in times where we quickly and suddenly have lots of pressure put upon us, we can buckle under the weight of it all. One of the most important attributes you can have during this time is confidence. Changeboard emphasise courage as one of the main factors in your initial success: “A leader will have the courage to put stakes in the ground early on and say: “I don’t have all the answers either, but let’s go there””. You were chosen to do this job for a reason: from a pool of talent, you were considered the most talented. When you’re under time constraints and social

Don’t be scared to show off your skills, and stand your ground – own your role and make your mark on it! RI

MARKETING TO MILLENNIALS: WHAT EXACTLY DO THEY WANT? by BETHAN JONES-ARTHUR Ah, Millennials. Characterised in a short sentence (by Wikipedia) as ‘a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st

Psychologists say that we have only seven seconds to make a good first impression – that counts for your content, as well. Don’t lead with introductions, explanations or complications – though we aren’t stupid, we can deal with those things, we just want to know the meat of your marketing first. Give me the what before you give me the why. If you do a good enough job with that, then most

century’, this group apparently mystify marketers.

of your work is done. If you make it shareable

What can we possibly give to millennials to make them like us?

Entrepreneur magazine says that, “if you can

What’s too dismissive, what’s too cheesy, what on earth do they

too, then you’re way ahead of the game: engage a customer base within this generation


and create brand evangelists, you’ll see far better

Here, we give you 4 tips for grabbing the millennials’ attention

traditional online marketing”.

and keeping it (which is no mean feat in itself – I can say that because I happen to be a dreaded millennial). 1. Keep it snappy We’re busy. We don’t like to be kept waiting for you to make your point, and our attention starts to wane after a short while.

results than you will through any other form of

Get to the point and let word of mouth do the rest for you. 2. Be real Please cut the bullshit. Transparency is not the

enemy; millennials actually appreciate when a brand is upfront and honest with them. Be authentic! With that being said, I beg you to not try and use language you may have heard is ‘millennial talk’, unless it’s ironic.

"We're busy. We don’t like to be kept waiting for you to make your point, and our attention starts to wane after a short while. ."

Don’t call your audience your ‘baes’, don’t say your opportunities are ‘fleeky’, and please please please cut any and all references to Hotline Bling. It’s just a massive no and you will be ridiculed. Instead, focus on curating your brand tone of voice for what you want it to say. Only then do you go about shifting it to be more relevant to the millennial market. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to what you’ve built from the ground up – in fact, it commands more respect.

3. Thoroughly modern marketing Why are people still so scared of social media? Even Donald Trump is on the Twitter hype – why aren’t you? If you do have a social media presence, then make sure it’s always updated and relevant. Don’t post the exact same message on Twitter and Facebook; they’re both completely different platforms and should be treated as such. Take some time to get to grips with your audiences on each and every social network you use. Work out the line between personal and professional posts. Also, don’t tag yourself in your own tweets. It’s discordant and takes up valuable characters!

4. Let us help When we like a brand, we want to be involved! User Generated Content is your friend. You need shareable stuff and we need stuff we want to share – why not let us have a helping hand in making it? Hubspot tells us “companies that enable [millennials] to be part of the product development process will be more successful. "Marketers need to focus on building relationships with consumers by fuelling their self-expression and helping them establish their own personal brand”. This makes sense – although millennials have modern ideals, a traditional one that has stuck is the concept of brand loyalty. Though we like keeping up with what’s new, we also tend to enjoy familiarity and keeping certain

brands a mainstay in our lives. Let that brand be yours! See, millennials aren’t that bad. Be quick, be real, be modern – and don’t be afraid to ask us for a hand. We’d love to help out. RI


If you're a recruiter with a story to tell about how you have used PR to build your personal brand or that of your agency, then share your experiences with your peers. We're always looking for new articles from recruiters. After all, the more best practice that is shared, the better and more successful the recruitment industry will be! Email us at

WHAT EXACTLY IS A RECRUITMENT 'BRAND'? by PAUL MACKENZIE-CUMMINS Ask anyone to describe what a ‘brand’ is and they’ll be quick to answer with the logo, look and feel of the business. But branding goes way beyond what are essentially aesthetics, it is about perception. The meaning of what branding is has changed over the years. It’s original purpose was rather basic – to physically differentiate one product from another. Take Coca-Cola as an example.

In the 1880s, soda producers were two a penny and the makers of Coca-Cola – then a fledgling company – understood that to encourage consumers to try their product it needed to look different to others. Gillette is another example. During the 1800s men would go to their local barbers to have a shave. Then in 1901, King. C. Gillette invented the world’s first safety razor, which effectively eradicated the need to send a razor to a barber for sharpening. With its distinctive green packaging

'Branding' has moved beyond simply being a name...consumer choice is now based on how a brand is ‘perceived’.

emblazoned with Mr Gillette’s face on it, the company established one of the first brands to be known worldwide. By the mid- to late- twentieth century, the meaning of what a ‘brand’ was began to move beyond simply being a name. Marketers realised that consumers had a greater choice of products and services and how a brand was ‘perceived’ was increasingly influencing buyer behaviour. ‘Perception’, rather than just the packaging and design, now became synonymous with ‘brand’. Today there is an overuse of the word ‘brand’ – largely because organisations take the stance that simply thinking they are a brand means they are perceived to be one by default by those outside the confines of their four walls. This is not the case. A ‘brand’, as we know it, is not something that a recruitment agency can bestow upon itself via a beautifully crafted piece of copy on a website or what an advertisement says. It must be earned through its actions. Put another way,

However, defining exactly what your brand stands for seems to be rather a complex issue for many recruiters. Indeed, having worked with in excess of 70 recruitment businesses over the years it is clear that there is an identity crisis within the industry. What I mean by this is that many agencies struggle to really define what their USP is and how they ‘think’ they should be positioned. Yet this is critical to understanding what the agency’s brand stands for. Ask most agency owners and consultants one simple question, What makes your agency different to X, Y, or Z?, and they will either struggle to answer, or they will reply with a bunch of We do… and We are…


responses – all of which are self-absorbed and fail to deliver the what’s-in-it-for-me (WIIFM) response that clients really want to hear. They say nothing of what they will deliver nor anything of the experience of working with said agency. Our strapline for Clearly PR, for instance, places the focus fully on the client:

So how do others describe what ‘branding’ means? Within the recruitment industry, opinion varies. In a recent LinkedIn discussion, Mitch Sullivan, managing director at FastTrack Recruitment, described branding as “A value (or set of values) someone associates with a company whenever they hear or see their name.” Dave Hume, director at Seriously Connected, believes that “there are many who are simply freelancers, micro businesses, who believe they are building a brand, spend too much time on logos and colour schemes…. and not enough time on those values or sets of values.” Richard York, business manager at Stark Brooks, takes this point a step further. He said that, “values are all well and good…but if those values are not met, they become irrelevant [and] they might have a negative impact.” Brand, he says, is “about purpose, about what your customers (clients and candidates) say about you to their network. If you have a true purpose, understand it and deliver on it, your reputation becomes your brand. It only matters what others think of your business, not yourself.” Advertising legend, David Ogilvy suggested that branding is: "The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised." Seth Godin suggests that: "A brand is the set of expectations, memories, storiconsumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.


"If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer." In today’s ultra competitive recruitment marketplace, there remains a belief among many recruiters that being a ‘name’ or having great sales patter will suffice. But it won’t, not in the long term anyway. Customers (i.e. clients and candidates) look to engage partners who stand for something and offer something no one else can. So think about what you stand for. Resist the temptation to use hyperbole to describe who you are as an agency and what you do, and seek to be the agency that you would want to appoint if you were sat on the other side of the table. RI



Donald Trump is the next President of the United States. While we may be surprised, nay shocked, that Trump succeeded when so many of us expected him to fail, the reality is that the outcome should have been clear to see. The election centred on one thing: trust. Trouble is, despite the back tracking and self-contradictions, racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments, things that ironically spit in the face of trust, the Trump campaign was victorious because it recognised that people were fed up of

the ‘established’ order. They wanted change in a way that echoed the Brexiteers in the UK. Hilary Clinton was the embodiment of the establishment, while Donald Trump’s lack of political experience was its very antithesis. This is why he appealed to those voters who were disenfranchised with the mainstream political system. His mantra, to make “America great again”, was a rallying call against the status quo and a declaration by Trump that he was looking after their best

interests. He earned the trust of the people by highlighting all that was wrong in American politics – manifested by his constant taunting of “Crooked Hilary”. In doing so he shone the limelight on himself as the champion of change. Clinton’s “Stronger together” was more of a damp squib in comparison. It was frankly boring; unlike the Wales football team whose “Together stronger” is perhaps the most brilliant example of a slogan actually becoming a true call to action (if you happened to venture across the border during the Euros you will have felt the passion this invoked). Trust, or the lack of, transcends not just the world of politics but business too. Over the last few years, the trust that employees have in those who occupy the top positions in the organisation has been in free fall. Indeed, the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, a global survey of over 33,000 organisations across 28 countries, found that the gap between those at the top of the organisation and everyone else continues to widen. It found that 64% of executives, 51% of managers and 48% of rank-and-file staff trust their organisations’ leadership team. The primary causes being that they viewed the senior teams as focusing too much on delivering short-term financial results (67%), and not enough in creating a positive long-term impact for the organisation (57%) or job creation (49%). So the question is, How can leaders build (and regain) trust? According to the Academy of Executive Coaching, the three attributes that people look for in their senior management team are honesty, fairness and the ability to deliver results. Of course communicating these things is often easier said than done, but it is possible:

The gap between those at the top of the organisation and everyone else continues to widen.

1 Internally communicate the plan:

3 Show respect:

Communicate the mission (where you are heading), vision (how you will get there and the contribution that each member of staff plays along the way) and values (what you stand for) of the business.

Often overlooked, making your employees feel that they have your respect is hugely important both to the morale of your teams and the degree in which they trust the organisation’s leadership.

Unless your staff understand, are aware and - crucially embrace these things, you’re effectively running a ship of directionless robots. So don’t be surprised if some of them opt to jump ship in search of perceived better opportunities elsewhere.

Various studies have shown that 63% of employees who do not feel treated with respect generally leave said organisation within two years.

2 Share successes and focus on shared rather than personal achievements:

We once worked with an MD of a recruitment firm who insisted on having his office at the rear of the building – out of sight from the rest of the team who all worked in a large open plan office.

According to a survey conducted by Workforce Mood Tracker, 69% of employees state that they would work harder if they were recognised for their efforts. 4 out of 5 workers (78%) said that being recognised is a key motivator, while half (49%) said that not being recognised was a good enough reason to leave their current employer.

4 Have an open door policy:

To see him meant having to walk along a corridor with just one office at the end…his. Not only did this self-imposed isolation physically separate him from the rest of the business, it also made him unapproachable and created a very obvious ‘me and them’. Be

approachable, make your staff feel comfortable talking to you about personal and professional matters and in doing so you build a better level of trust between you and your teams.

In an interview with The Times in December, former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne explained how the Conservatives misjudged the eventual outcome of the EU Referendum vote.

5 Engage everyone in the business (and we mean EVERYONE):

He said: “ When I was Chancellor I was very focused on unemployment numbers, trying to get the British economy turned around.

You will invariably have heard this story before, but a reminder is always welcome. On a visit to the NASA space centre, President Kennedy spoke to a man sweeping in one of the buildings. “What's your job here?” asked Kennedy. “Well Mr. President,” the janitor replied, “I'm helping to put a man on the moon.”

The MacLeod Review (2009) suggested that, “engaged employees are more loyal to their employer and demonstrate greater degrees of innovation.” On-going communication from the top-down and bottom-up has several key benefits: - Improves employee loyalty to the organisation - Boosts employee motivation and productivity - Increases staff retention levels, and - Raises the profile and levels of respect for those at the top of the organogram

"I guess I assumed that you’ve got to get the economy going and then people see the benefits and it’s good for people to be in work. “I didn’t understand that people want more than just that. They also want to feel that their views are understood, and their voices listened to and that the system is working for them.” And that’s the point. Demonstrate that you ‘get’ what your teams really want and make sure that your message is clearly understood through effective international communications and if it isn’t, figure out what you are saying wrong. RI

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Recruiter imPRint February 2017