Platform: Enlisting the aid of recruitment in communications

Recruitment communications should be playing a larger and more well planned role in the wider corporate plan, says Hazel Spencer.

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

on offer?

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.

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