Why the media is loving Recruitment leaders right now

28 February 2023 | 7 min read | PR
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins

Ignore what the media is reporting when it comes to the economy right now. Yes, times are challenging but read the headlines of many of the mainstream media and you would be forgiven if you believed that we’re deep in the throes of recession and the end of the world is nigh.

We’re not, and it isn’t.

You’ll invariably know that the latest GDP figures shows that the economy actually grew by 0.1%. OK, it’s not the most impressive of percentages and business leaders are still sitting with very squeaky bums. But growth is growth, and the economy is in better shape than the media would have us believe. Cue media interest in what recruiters have to say.

Finger on the pulse

There is no better and more accurate economic barometer than the recruitment industry. If recruitment agencies and executive search firms are performing well with a plethora of live roles and assignments on their books, the economy reflects this. And this is creating a wealth of opportunities for recruiters to get their names ‘out there.’

From the cost of living, hiring trends, and candidate attraction, to change management, succession planning, and diversity and inclusion, recruiters can provide invaluable insights into how these are all playing out right now. So, what sorts of things are the media interested to hear from recruiters about on these topics?

Be topical

Let’s take the cost of living to start with. Think of some of the challenges and pain points that your prospects might be experiencing right now.

For example, salary inflation may see employers increasing wages to retain and attract top talent but this isn’t financially sustainable. Or maybe talent is cautious about seizing new career opportunities elsewhere due to volatile market conditions, which may result in unfilled vacancies. What insights can you share that could help those prospects?

“Think of the challenges and pain points your clients and prospects face, and offer insights and possible solutions. That’s what the media is looking for.”

Similarly, in the last couple of weeks alone, we have seen the CEOs of YouTube, British Red Cross, Direct Line, and Confused.com announce their intentions to step down from their roles. We’re talking succession planning.

This is something that will be all-too familiar to you in your line of work, and a topic that is not only hot right now but has your name written all over it. What does your experience tell you about how organisations need to develop their pipelines of future executive talent?

Understand what the media needs

Turn the clock back five years ago and a journalist working for a regional, national, or trade publication would be required to write one or possibly two stories per day. Fast forward to now and that figure has risen to five, sometimes more.

The demand for content is increasing at a rate of knots, which means that journalists need new ‘friends’ – thought leaders – who really know their stuff and are happy to share their insights and opinions on the topics that are affecting businesses right now.

Your job is to find out who these journalists and editors are and the topics that interest them the most and then ‘sell’ yourself to them. But let’s be clear on what we mean by ‘sell.’

Sell, but don’t sell. Confused? Read on…

The media hate – nay, despise – recruiters who attempt to bullshit them and use all sorts of hyperbole in an attempt to position themselves as the dog’s proverbial. Avoid the use of ‘the leading’ or ‘market leader’ (unless you actually are), ‘the go-to’, ‘the biggest’, ‘the best’… you get the picture.

Any attempt to turn your media pitch into an advertisement will at best see your brilliantly crafted email sent to the trash bin. At worst, your agency or search firm could be permanently blacklisted from ever appearing in that media outlet.

Instead, position you and your agency/search firm and ‘sell’ your message in the right way.

Here is a real-life example we have used to get one of our recruitment clients the media coverage they wanted:

Media outlet: Telecoms industry magazine.

Client: Telecoms engineering recruitment firm (150+ staff, UK and US)

Pitch: I understand you are writing an article focusing on what employers can do to support their people with the cost of living. Clearly PR works with XX [URL], one of the UK’s fastest-growing providers of engineering talent for the telco industry employing over 150 people, whose clients include XX, XX, and XX to name but a few.

They can provide insight into what the most successful organisations are doing right now to help their employers. This includes everything from providing financial well-being advice and support to introducing new rewards strategies and rethinking existing flexible working practices among others.

XX’s managing director, XX, can provide commentary on the above and get this across to you ahead of your deadline of 2pm tomorrow. Does this work with you?

Practicing what we preach

Here is an example of how we ‘sold’ ourselves to generate paragraphs in a special feature for The Times:

Pitch: You very kindly included my commentary in a piece you wrote entitled ‘How to cope with a PR disaster’, which was very much appreciated. For this upcoming piece on how crisis communications is becoming an important consideration for executive teams, it would be great to comment on how an organisation’s reputation can be both affected and properly managed when crisis strikes in a bid to minimise the damage and facilitate reputational recovery.

Clearly PR has been providing public relations support for a plethora of recruitment and executive search firms both in the UK and US since 2014. A significant element of the work we do is to build their brands and enhance and protect their reputations and we have done this for over 100 clients during this time.

I can happily share insight on what happens when it goes right, and how a crisis needs to be managed when things go wrong. How does this sound to you?

Here’s the media coverage we got on the back of this.

Final word

The media is interested in what you have to say, and your job is to work out what your target market wants to talk about and what really matters to them. Then all you have to do is work out how best to craft your message in a way that resonates with them.

Get this right and you’re halfway there to enabling your business to be heard and understood by those who matter and in a way that increases your impact, influence, and bottom line.

Clearly PR has supported a plethora of recruitment businesses over the last nine years, including Reed, Odgers Berndtson, Harnham, MRL Consulting, Audeliss, and Hamilton Barnes. Their size and market share is irrelevant, but what they have to say is critical. That’s where we come in.

If you need support in appearing in the media outlets that your clients and prospects frequent the most, feel free to email me at any time. We’d love to work with you.