Recruitment communications should be playing a larger and more well
planned role in the wider corporate plan, says Hazel Spencer.
Many corporate communicators talk quite convincingly about the need for
integrated corporate communications. But how many of them practise what
they preach? And how do they convince their colleagues of the benefits
Take human resources as an example. Most practitioners recognise the
value of taking a strategic approach to communicating with the
workforce, but relatively few think this through for their external
audiences. Just how much strategic thinking is done about communicating
best practice HR messages using best practice communications
Consider graduate recruitment, which normally falls within the HR
The importance of a regular supply of new blood of the right
intellectual calibre and capability is often understood in the boardroom
but, somewhere along the chain of command, the PR impact that a
recruitment communications campaign can have in the marketplace can get
In our experience, the graduate recruitment brochure is often used, both
internally and externally, as the definitive guide to an
But many seem to be unaware of the necessity to strike that fine balance
between presenting the corporate personality - accurately reflecting the
recruiting organisation - and yet attracting and informing suitable
applicants in a way that also deters unsuitable ones.
Even more strangely, responsibility for graduate recruitment, and
associated marketing communications, is most often left with HR people.
It is common for graduate recruitment to be delegated to relatively new
personnel managers, with little knowledge of recruitment communications
best practice who, knowing no better, follow in the footsteps of their
Because it is seen as a HR function, recruitment is isolated from
mainstream corporate communications, and its marketing potential gets
Personnel managers view corporate communicators merely as guardians of
visual identity, rather than people who can add value by coaching them
in communications principles. Such coaching is essential to ensure that
recruiters have the tools in place to judge whether a PR, design or
advertising agency’s pitch offer is strategically sound.
Perhaps corporate communicators are doing a poor job at selling on their
own expertise within organisations. Recruitment marketing and associated
communications should be part of the overall strategy if truly
integrated corporate communications is to become a reality.
The upshot is, of course, that PR and the rest of the marketing
communications mix can be used to benefit recruitment. A higher profile
for an organisation, whatever its field, will generate applications from
higher calibre people.
If the PR community is serious about positioning itself at the centre of
corporate communications, it needs to consider the marketing
implications of HR initiatives. This holds true of other areas -
training and coaching issues, education liaison and careers guidance, to
name but a few - many of which, like recruitment, are still exclusively
viewed as being in the HR domain. In my view, what we need is less
short-term, quick fix, kneejerk action - and more talk between
functional and communications specialists to ensure a more focused
outcome in line with overall corporate needs.