To attract mid-level PR talent you must approach the recruitment process similar to how your business development teams identify and secure new clients: target and differentiate.
It is critical that you do research from every angle to identify names of individuals currently at this level. It's unlikely that this "in-demand" population will be responding to an ad. Be sure to tap into your current employees for referrals. Junior staff members can be an excellent source of names when approached with the question, "Who were the strongest managers/supervisors in your previous organizations?"
Also when targeting, don't underestimate the power of the references you have called upon in the past for a previous hire. Keep those individuals in your directory as they are most likely mid- to senior level professionals.
Prior to making the outbound call, try to find out as much as you can about the individual and his or her background so that your pitch is relevant to that person. Pros at this level are typically treated very well by their companies and have most likely established specialty interests. Be ready to sell your differentiated resources and rewards, as well as provide specific client assignment possibilities.
Sheldon Lamphier is MD of HR at Zeno Group.
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