by Boyce Recruitment on August 24, 2015

posted on Sector news, Miscellaneous,

Recruiting trends within the PR/ Comms sector

Recruitment, like every other industry, experiences changes and trends – we’ve all heard about people being asked at interview to tell a joke or dance, or seen press reports of audacious job seekers who take out an entire billboard advert in order to catch potential employers’ attention.

Although these are extreme examples, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of what might come up in the near future – particularly when it’s within a highly-competitive area such as PR/ Comms. Being in the know could enhance your prospects of securing a role, especially if you’re also aware of what makes a great PR/ Comms candidate.

Here are a few recruiting trends to bear in mind.

You’re in demand

The fourth annual LinkedIn UK Recruiting Trends (2015) report found that staffing levels are increasing and that UK CEOs remain optimistic, regardless of what’s going on in the Eurozone. That’s good news.

What’s more, scandals and breaches experienced by other firms in recent times have emphasised the need for companies to possess some kind of crisis management ability, meaning that comms and PR specialists are in particular demand.

Digital is desirable

One of the challenges commented upon in the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ State of the Profession 2015 analysis was the ‘changing social and digital landscape’ and the implications on skill sets of current staff. It’s little wonder, then, that for PR professionals, SEO is the biggest skill in demand. Research carried out by the Public Relations Consultants Association found that training in SEO, paid search and/or web design is considered highly important. Almost unbelievably, media relations skills came second on the list of essential qualities.

SEO Search

Candidates that possess these talents, therefore, will clearly stand out among the crowd and significantly increase their job prospects. It would make sense to highlight these abilities on any application form or CV.

PR agencies’ reliance on recruitment agencies is high

Around 41 per cent of those questioned by LinkedIn said that they used recruitment agencies to help them with their vacancies, listing it among the top three most important channels for sourcing candidates. A third said that they had filled a vacancy with help from an agency. A second survey by prmoment.com compounded the view, with 68 per cent of those polled using agencies.

Consequently, it stands to reason that job hunters who register with agencies will have access to more – and possibly better – jobs than those who do not. Plus they are given assistance and guidance from a trained employment specialist, too.

Further, agencies (especially those that are selected as preferred suppliers) understand their businesses very well, enabling them to identify industry shifts and predict future needs. As such, they can create roles that both fit the business’s requirements and emphasise a candidate’s strengths.

It’s a counter (offer) culture

A trend that is impacting the entire jobs market at the moment is that of the counter offer: where an employer tries to match or better a new job offer made to an individual by a rival company. You might think this shows that an individual is valuable and needed, but this trend is far more damaging.

It’s a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction, made by bosses who suddenly realise they don’t want to lose their key talent or go through the costly recruitment process. The promise of a pay rise or slightly improved working conditions can quickly dull once the individual realises they’ve given up a potentially great opportunity elsewhere. It’s detrimental for recruitment consultants and for the hiring companies, who have to start searching again. This counter offer culture has effectively made the recruitment process longer, costlier and far more frustrating.

The advice to job-seekers is not to accept counter offers, but instead to remember why you wanted to leave your position in the first place.

Use of social media continues to rise…

Diversity Casual People Communication Technology Concept

The LinkedIn report states that recruiters’ use of social media to a) source and b) screen candidates has risen exponentially over the past four years. Professional networks are deemed as one of the key sources for both advertising and filling positions – emphasising just how important it is to have a profile on such sites. It was also concluded that use of LinkedIn had helped to ‘level the playing field’, as anyone could create a profile for free and get their name out there.

…but should it replace the CV?

One Silicon Valley HR thought-leader suggests that accepting the LinkedIn profile over a standard CV is where recruitment should go. Dr John Sullivan believes that given how infrequently candidates update their resumes, compared with the speed at which LinkedIn is refreshed, companies should “learn to eliminate the ‘resume update wait’ by instead accepting LinkedIn profiles for referrals and at least the initial application for regular job openings.”

He adds that “LinkedIn profiles are generally more accurate than resumes because they are viewed by so many individuals that any misstatements would be instantly discovered.”

If nothing else, it highlights the importance of keeping those professional social network profiles up to date.

Trends come and go; some predictions come into fruition while others fizzle out before they’ve got anywhere. You can never be sure what the next ‘big thing’ might be, but making sure you have done your research, consulted the experts and kept up to date with industry events can help you identify any trends and act on them – helping you to get that amazing PR/ Comms job.