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How to hire the best PR job candidates in 2022

21 Apr, 2022 Staff recruitment

Many organizations have had quite a shake-up due to the pandemic. As a result, some may have had to go through redundancies, and others may have lost employees who’ve moved on to greener pastures. However, it’s time to consider your workforce and whether new hires may be required. Picking the right job candidate is important, especially as hiring the wrong person can waste significant money and resources. This article gives helpful advice on how to hire the best PR job candidates in 2022 in the current extremely competitive job market.

This is even more true today as work worldwide has drastically changed due to the COVID pandemic. The massive rise of remote and hybrid employment and recruiting in the past couple of years meant that organization have had to be flexible and adjust their usual practices.

For example, job recruitment staff have had to adapt by ensuring current job postings have been listed on their organization’s website, social media, and other marketing avenues to help find the right candidate. They have also drawn upon their current employees to help get the word out. They encouraged staff to share job postings on their social media. The more shares, the bigger the reach which helped in finding  the right candidates.

Overall, you need to know how to recruit the best PR job candidates for your organization.

How important is it to hire the best PR job candidates?

The quality of your hire is important because it impacts both the role that needs to be filled as well as all those who will be working with them.

Finding the right combination of talent and likability is important, with 63% of recruiters saying talent shortage is often a big problem. The fallout from finding the wrong individual for the PR role can be damaging, so it’s great to get it right the first time.

Hiring the right candidate will help minimize the time spent by members of interview panels on this task. Finding the right person will increase stability of the position and can contribute to improved employee retention rates.

Retaining employees continues to be a problem for many businesses. New research conducted among 600 US businesses with 50-500 employees found 63% of companies said it was harder to retain than to hire employees. Also, a Gallup article in 2022, says “Warning: Even your committed employees are being recruited,” and discusses the competition for talent, and what you can do to retain your own employees.

Attention to detail is key when recruiting

How do you hire the right PR applicant? Attention to detail is the answer. When recruiting, it’s important to be rigorous in all stages of the process. From creating a job description to conducting pre-employment tests, these steps all help to give your organization the best chance of finding the right person for the job.

It’s good practice to have basic procedures and processes in place to ensure every recruitment opportunity is handled well. These procedures and processes need to be part of, and consistent with, building a better overall employer brand.

10 tips to improve your recruitment process so you hire the best PR job candidates

Every role that you recruit for is going to be a little bit different from the next. Some may require a more detailed approach, while others can follow the procedure of other roles you’ve recruited for in the past.

1. Show you care about employee wellbeing

Employers responded very well to employee wellbeing needs when the COVID pandemic hit. But they seem to have stopped making the effort. The proportion of employees who felt strongly that their employer cared about their wellbeing plunged from 49% in mid-2020 to 24% in the first quarter of 2022, according a Gallup survey. Gallup has also found this is reflected in the firm’s latest US employee engagement trend, which found that the proportion of engaged employees dropped from 36% in 2020 to 34% in 2021 to 32% in early 2022.

In view of this, you will achieve a competitive advantage over other employers by outlining in job interviews the genuine benefits you offer  to support the wellbeing of your employees. Job candidates are likely to respond favorably when they can perceive you place a high priority on employee wellbeing.

2. Be clear and concise when it comes to your PR job advertisements

For starters, it’s good to be clear from the beginning about what you want to fill a role. Many job advertisements don’t really show an understanding of the position they’re trying to fill.

Some will end up creating confusing job titles while others will mix roles together, resulting in a demanding job description that puts candidates off.

Be clear and concise with your job advertisements. It’s important to discuss with those involved in the process, what the job should entail and whether there’s anything lacking from the role that the previous employee found was required for the position.

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3. Make an efficient career page for your website

You should also consider adding a Careers page to your website, where you may display all of the available roles and make it as simple as possible for individuals to apply.

You will be able to integrate your recruiting management by including this page. You’ll be able to refer interested people to your career page whenever you add a job listing on social media or other sites such as Indeed. As a result, all applications will be centralized, making handling and evaluating considerably faster and easier.

Take inspiration from these best career page examples to ensure your Careers page contains the necessary information to successfully attract applications.

4. Use multiple channels for sourcing PR candidates

You can take full advantage of various channels for job ads. You may decide to hire an agency to help promote the role or you could outreach to specialist job sites.

Even though you may have a strong internal network of contacts who can help you to reach out to potential applicants, it’s still good practice to use several communication channels for sourcing candidates. That way, you’ve got more choice rather than being confronted by a limited pool of talent.

For many employers, a talent shortage means potentially missing out on top candidates, so market the position widely!

5. Recruitment software will improve efficiency

Managing the recruitment process will often come down to one person. However, when you want to keep all those involved in the recruitment process looped in during the various stages, using recruitment software can be a handy option.

There are plenty of reasons to choose recruitment software rather than a standard email chain. This type of software can help track the progress of what’s been done and what needs doing, and therefore improves the recruiters’ productivity.

A lot of miscommunication can happen between employees involved in hiring the PR candidate, so it’s good to have a central platform that everyone can work from. These systems are also a great way to complete tedious tasks quickly, and to schedule parts of the process that can be done automatically.

6. Evaluate PR candidates using a recruitment checklist

Each candidate needs to be evaluated carefully, particularly when you’re combing through the resumes you’ve received.

A recruitment checklist is certainly worth maintaining so those responsible for hiring can process the talent pool efficiently. What do you need most from the role? Perhaps you require a certain skill set or level of experience.

There will be plenty of candidates who don’t match the criteria you require. It’s also surprising how many will apply for a role that they’re nowhere near qualified for. Applying a checklist can make this process go a lot quicker.

7. Use pre-employment tests

Pre-employment tests are an awesome way of separating the real talent from the fakers. Up to 40% of people lie on their resumes, so it can be all-too-easy to hire someone based on their claims of experience, qualifications or skills, only to find that the person isn’t up to the role.

An example is attention to detail. Professional communicators need to carefully proof-read their writing every time because most of their content is written for wide distribution. One particular memory for me is the importance of proof-reading annual report drafts. It is a legal requirement to send annual reports to all shareholders and financial regulators. PDFs and printed versions are made available. One company where I was corporate affairs manager had many shareholders, and so their annual report cost $millions to publish. A typo in a significant figure in the financial section could have meant a whole report would have required reprinting due to lack of attention to detail – at a cost of $millions!

TestGorilla’s attention to detail test is an excellent way to see how attentive candidates are to the role’s requirements and daily tasks. As a platform, TestGorilla offers an entire library of tests that are worth looking at, particularly for jobs that require coding or a specific skill set.

A business trend reported in the Harvard Business Review in 2022 is that when evaluating job applicants, employers are reducing the use of degree completion as a key means of assessing job applicants’ suitability, and instead now favor hiring on the basis of demonstrated skills and competencies. This shift to skills-based hiring will open opportunities to many potential employees who in recent years have often been excluded from consideration because of degree inflation. Employers who eliminated degree requirements frequently add more-detailed soft-skills requirements in their postings. These skills can be evaluated in pre-employment tests to ensure job candidates have a good skill set for their potential new position.

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8. Make the PR candidate’s interview experience a good one

The candidates you interview should have a satisfying experience from the process, whether or not they get the position. Many employers don’t put in the time or thought into how the interview process is perceived by the candidates. This is short-sighted because it was found by Software Advice that 63% of job seekers will likely reject a job offer because they’ve endured a bad candidate experience in an interview.

Even if the candidate in question doesn’t get the job, at least they’ll come away knowing that they did their best and that the experience was a fairly neutral one. With 72% of job seekers saying a bad experience meant they told others about it either online or in-person, it can be detrimental for your future recruitment drives.

9. Streamline the recruitment process where possible

To fill a position, you need two or three interview stages. Therefore, it’s a good idea to streamline the recruitment process where possible.

A recruitment process that’s far too long may discourage some candidates. Having a shorter interview process can also help avoid the expensive costs and resources you’ll likely be using.

10. Provide feedback to your job candidates

All candidates will appreciate receiving feedback. Although the sting of rejection isn’t pleasant, it can be valuable for giving feedback to a candidate on how they have performed. The candidate may have missed out due to something minor, and they can learn from the experience.

For other candidates, it can be useful to give them feedback on where they may have let themselves down in their interview, or where their skills and experience could be improved.  It’s also worthwhile asking the applicant to give you feedback from their point of view.

Employers are usually careful about giving feedback in case disgruntled candidates want to make a complaint about the decision or the process, so speak to HR before giving feedback so you can take a prudent approach to this.

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Using a platform like SurveyMonkey might be handy for understanding what the candidates thought about the interview process. Your HR department could draft up a general email which can then be personalized according to the recipient.

These little extra efforts can really help improve the quality of your PR candidates in the future and to set a good reputation regarding your recruitment process. Many businesses don’t offer much useful feedback, so you could be a business that helps break that cycle!

These improvements to your recruitment process will enable you to hire the best PR candidates

When it comes to recruitment drives, you could always make improvements that lead you to hiring the very best PR candidates. Take these tips and implement them into your next recruitment if and when it happens.

Top image: Pexels.

About Kim Harrison – author, editor and content curator

Kim Harrison, Founder and Principal of Cutting Edge PR, loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in his books available from cuttingedgepr.com.

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