1. Don’t be cynical
Fed up with paying for recruitment ads? Of course you are. And recruitment agencies? Yes, I know, necessary evils. But you can save on recruitment costs by using PR. Try this: “Company X announces plan to create 100 new jobs.” Doesn’t apply to your business does it? You’re not going to create 100 new jobs are you? But over the next five years? That’s more likely. And wasn’t that in your business plan five years ago? Plans make news.
2. Inform the community
If a local firm says it’s just about to create jobs, that’s good news for the local community and the local paper. This story helps the editor and tells all those readers you’re looking to recruit. If you want to fill a specific vacancy, try this: “Company X bemoans lack of local financial management skills.”
3. Try a competition
Another release could be “Company X offers £1,000 prize for referrals for new staff.” Invite nominations from finance people for a local Financial Manager of the Year Award. Another favourite is “Company X announces golden hello for new financial director.”
4. Turn into a survey
Publicise some of the Cvs you’ve already seen, “Company X says that 95 per cent of all applicants are under 40.” You’d follow up by saying you’re looking for more experience staff. Another angle might be: “Company X gets no response for £xk position.” The implication for this is that the local economy is either very strong or that people are lazy. Either way it’s a story.
5. Use your imagination
Make the job titles of the staff in your firm more exciting. A finance director could be a “bottom line specialist” or a “commercial locomotive”. Of course, you can go too far when the “transparent wall maintenance engineer” finds out that they’re a window cleaner.”
6. Copy other examples
Ever wondered why the Army turns up at local fairs or gets involved with marching bands? Or what about the Red Arrows?
7. Use PR for retention too
Your staff need to know from an independent source that they work in an attractive place. You could commission a survey to highlight the range of your firm’s benefits compared to others.
8. Exploit positions you fill
Make good use of the appointments columns. These are where people who are moving jobs are posted. You should fully publicise any people you do recruit and offer photography. And not just a man/woman in suit either.
9. Remember radio
Local radio can be useful, especially what’s known as drivetime – between 7am and 9am and 5pm and 7pm. It helps if the story is aural – ie, if you’ve got a strong regional accent.
10. …and the basics
Your release must be well presented and typo-free. It should say: who, why, where, when, what, how and how much. It must be relevant and tailored for a specific title.
And the final rule. If at first you don’t succeed…
Written by Chris Lewis for the September 2001 published edition of Real Business
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