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Recruitment PR lessons from the Apprentice finalists

In my last Apprentice blog I outlined the reasons why I thought Scarlet would win. Then Lord Sugar hired Carina. Now I'm not going to lie, in the lead up to the final it appeared that the head hunter had the most ideal business proposal – and I truly believe it still is, even if she didn't win. However, Carina absolutely pulled it out of the bag in the last show of 2019 and completely deserved the win. As both candidates arguably fared well in the final, for my last blog post I want to outline the recruitment PR lessons both individuals demonstrated well.

Scarlet's niche recruitment PR

Lord Sugar asked the runner up to demonstrate in the final what her firm's USP would be, and I certainly believe she demonstrated this. In the world of recruitment – and PR in general – the issue of diversity is a hot topic. You'd be hard pressed to go to any conference or networking event associated with hiring and not hear 'diversity' or 'inclusion' mentioned at some point. And from a PR and marketing perspective, barely a day goes by when we don't get a request from a journalist or editor for commentary on the gender imbalance in a specific sector or job level, or similar diversity topics.

For Scarlet, not only has she capitalised on this trend by focusing on female-orientated hiring, but she's also targeted two incredibly male dominated specialisms; CEO level recruitment and STEM expertise. While I can't attest to the potential success of her business without knowing more about her staff and business plan itself, as an experienced PR professional, I can say that her views will be in high demand in the media.

One particular recruitment PR success I want to draw attention to is the use of a podcast in the final show. In case you missed it, Scarlet hosted a podcast with two other leading females in the industry to discuss why there are too few women in employment across STEM relevant roles. Activity like this will help ensure her brand is noticed by the right people and improve her growth prospects without the investment from Lord Sugar – and I will certainly be keen to hear more on this. When you have a niche business offering like Scarlet's, PR and marketing can be your best friend and, in many instances, your greatest source of long-term revenue.

Carina's marketing campaign

There's no doubt that the alleged 'non-baker' (admit it Lord Sugar, you were wrong. The woman can bake!) pulled a rabbit out of the hat in the last show. She clearly had a vision of growth for her business, but her golden ticket was certainly secured by her joined-up marketing campaign. With two amusing advertisements produced that consistently demonstrated the key message of the brand, there was no doubt that Carina was in the running to win.

What I really want to draw attention to, though, is not just that she had created a strategic marketing plan, but that she also used the skills of those around her to deliver results. The 2019 winner really is an example of a leader who recognises that you can't be an expert at everything, but you can find the right people to take your concept to the successful levels you know it can reach.

When she announced the film crew would be the three amigos who utterly failed in the Finland advertising campaign I honesty thought it was going to be a car crash. However, she clearly knew their potential and, having given them a very clear brief, set them off with all her confidence. And they certainly delivered. She also took Tommy along with her to develop the brand name, logo and work on her pitch. Now I'm sure we'll all agree that he was the best person for this job – who wouldn't want lovable Tommy supporting and motivating you in one of the most stressful 'job interviews' you'll ever face.

So if there's one PR for recruitment takeaway from the final that I'd like to end on it's this: don't try and do it all on your own. You might be an expert recruiter, but are you a specialist in PR, marketing or social media advertising? If the answer is no, I'd suggest looking at who is, and working with them.

08-vickie-web-pic-161x161-2Author: Vickie Collinge


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