How to save the fluffy kittens: Claudia Macdonald’s PR bugbears

Not a week goes by that I don’t receive an
enquiry about either joining our agency or getting a start in PR or events. It’s an attractive industry, apparently, with
the heady combination of variety, great brands and sometimes parties. But it’s also a tough gig to get into and the competition for jobs is hot.

As an employer, with all these enthusiasts
interested in our industry, it never ceases to amaze me just how hard it is to
get good people. And the emphasis here is firmly on good because what all of my peers are really looking for isgreat, but they’re as rare as hen’s

Hazel Phillips’s recent rant about the paucity of some PRs has got me
thinking about my own particular bugbears when it comes to hiring people. 

check, peer review or simple proof reading: 
recently advertised an account manager role and received ten plus CVs. NOT ONE
does deserve capitals. How on Earth can you be considered for a job where
writing is one of your main skill sets and you can’t spell or proof read?

who you’re talking to: 
Another PR company I know
automatically bins any CVs or emails addressed to Dear Sir/Madam. Doing your
homework goes a long way and it’s incredibly easy to do. No one wants to employ someone too lazy to
Google. This rule continues into your PR
career when you need to know that Idealog is different from Urbis.

It’s nerve wracking being interviewed, which is why it’s a great idea to do your research and have a few pre-prepared
questions. Again, part of a good PR
person’s job is to ask questions and investigate things, so it simply shows
initiative. Personally, I don’t care what the questions are.

and Events is not just for those who are “outgoing, enthusiastic and really
good with people”: 
It actually requires some
training and some relevant skills. Sometimes people cross over from one career
into PR or events really well, but it is rare that they’ve had absolutely no
previous experience in something relevant, like journalism or marketing
communications. But if you’re an
engineer and you’ve always been creative and great at organising parties, your
best bet is to get some education before mailing out your CV.

your elders: 
I know, in saying this I risk ridicule amongst
 Gen Y and those pandering to their
demands. But seriously, if I could give
you a job one day and it’s one you want, don’t be an ass the first time we meet
socially or at a PRINZ or CAANZ function. I gave a lecture at AUT recently. 
One table of students talked through their tutor’s introduction. They weren’t rude to me but they showed a
degree of disrespect for their tutor that gave me an indication of their
priorities. How will they cope when
confronted with clients, media, colleagues. 

There are some great Gen Y PR people out
there (and luckily a fair few of them work for Mango). But  I know that if I employed someone who broke
any of my above rules, they might just turn out to be the sort of person who
drives Hazel to kill kittens.

  • Claudia
    Macdonald is managing director of Mango Communications and a founding member of
    the CAANZ Marcomms Leadership Group.

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