Media: FT offers new angle on recruitment

From this month, the Financial Times' weekly recruitment section will include three pages of editorial content alongside the classified ads for the first time.

The Executive Appointments section's high-profile interview slot and features discussing recruitment issues should place it firmly on PROs' radars.

The supplement will be edited by Peter Whitehead, who was previously editor of the digital business section also relaunching this autumn.

Whitehead says the new editorial aims to encourage readers to spend more time reading the section. 'The job ads are only a key interest for those looking for jobs. We wanted to make the section much stickier by including editorial,' he says.

He adds the FT's significant investment in the section proves it is committed to print: 'Print still has a huge role to play in getting messages across. It's an important part of the media mix alongside the website, audio and video.'

The move has been welcomed by PROs. As Biss Lancaster's board director Andrew Robinson says: 'In general, newspapers creating editorial content is a good thing, particularly when the trend is for diminishing editorial. Adding value to a section is great.'

Executive Appointments aims to have broad appeal. 'It's for every individual who cares about their career, and every business that cares about who it employs,' says Whitehead. But he warns that the section will be tightly focused around recruitment.

'It would be easy to slip into HR and general management issues, but we will try to keep to job and hiring issues, with the occasional special report on subsequent pages,' he says.

PROs can offer ideas for features, put forward interviewees, news, surveys and research.

The interviewees should be predominately CEOs or CFOs, although individuals with interesting careers or career-move stories would also be considered. Cover stories will focus on a topical interest issue, for example, the launch edition looked at leadership succession planning as changes at Barclays, HSBC and Vodafone hit the headlines.

Content is currently only being posted on the FT's usual website (FT.com/recruit), but the plan is to use the editorial to improve the offer and broaden the appeal of the FT's job sites exec-appointments.com and non-execs.com.

Robinson says the section presents some valuable opportunities for clients. 'Getting an employee to speak about a company has much more impact because journalists see it as less tainted. It is a softer and safer environment to get a message across, rather than having a CEO spouting off four or five paragraphs,' he says.

He adds that, prior to this section, only The Daily Telegraph and The Times would run similar features in their regular career supplements. Robinson says: 'PROs should ensure they have very interesting, unique and different case studies that are well messaged.'

Quick facts
Circulation: 376,564 (ABCs, August 2010)
Deadlines: Tuesday
Publication day: Thursday
Websites: ft.com/recruit;
exec-appointments.com;
non-execs.com
Contact: peter.whitehead@ft.com

A MINUTE WITH ... Peter Whitehead, recruitment editor, Financial Times

- How should PROs make contact?

I request people to use email and only phone in a dire emergency.

The phone is the most distracting way of communicating with people - it stops you mid-thought, whereas you can shift your own time around with emails.

- What are your deadlines?

The section goes to print on Tuesdays and is published every Thursday. I try to give writers up to four weeks to produce articles.

- Who will write for the section?

I am using a mixture of freelance writers (Jessica Twentyman and Sarah Murray) and in-house writers (Andrew Baxter and Gill Plimmer).

I would advise PROs to build relationships with them because we don't have much time to put out a features schedule.

- Who are your competitors?

We do things slightly differently from everyone else, so it's hard to judge. In terms of advertising, we are up against The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Economist, but we are all seen to have our own specialist areas. The Guardian for UK public sector, social policy and education sectors, and The Economist for international jobs, while the FT would be pigeonholed as finance, accounts and banking. That is our core area, but we are keen to look beyond it.

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