Recruitment PR lessons from week two of the Apprentice

Hands up who watched the Apprentice last night and found themselves arguing with the TV? I know I did! Once again in typical Apprentice fashion we witnessed a team fail miserably in what should arguably have been a relatively simple task. And yet again, I have a crucial recruitment PR lesson to talk about.

Communication is important, but it’s no good if you don’t listen

This to me is the biggest take away from last night’s episode. There’s no doubt that communication is crucial to any successful business. But talking at people won’t do you any favours - just as Kenna learnt the hard way when he was fired. The crucial error he made was to ignore what those around him were saying. Not only did this lead to the product completely missing the brief, but it also meant they lost out on the chance to save the big client sale. Had he simply stopped and listened (and perhaps absorbed the information) when the group said that the second batch of ice lollies looked more high quality than the first, he may have set the client team up to succeed.

Instead, he chose to ignore everything that was being said and push ahead blindly with what he thought best – telling the sales team to simply make sure they come back with some money. (A quick disclaimer: I don’t disagree that they could’ve returned with something – arguing your way out of a deal as a sales person is not the best way to make a good impression to a potential business partner, but that’s a whole other blog in itself!).

The myth of the ‘expert’

So how did it all really go wrong for Kenna? My view is his inability to listen stems from his belief that he knows best because he’s an ice cream expert. Yes, he definitely has the experience that made him the perfect candidate for project manager in this task. But just because someone is an expert, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t listen and consider the thoughts and ideas of others around them. I’m truly a believer of the concept that good ideas can come from anyone at any time. You don’t, for example, need to be an expert to realise that the ice lollies the team produced for the client were more suited to Ann Summer’s customers.

What recruitment PR can learn from the mistakes of the Apprentice

You might be wondering what all of this has to do with recruitment PR – I promise you there is a level of reasoning behind my Apprentice ramblings! The fact is, we all risk falling in to the same trap as Kenna as we build our own and our company’s expertise. For successful recruitment firms, there can be absolutely no doubt that you know your sector, your clients and your candidates well, after all, that’s how you earn your keep.

But, does that mean that you should focus solely on pushing out message after message to these audiences telling them what they know without incorporating their feedback or views? I’d argue not.

If we take social media as a case in point, there’s been a growing trend in using these channels to simply push out job advert after job advert, rather than using them as the engagement tools they were ultimately designed for.

As my colleague Dan explains in his blog, following the rule of thirds which ensures social posts are a balance of promotional, shared and branded content will provide the engagement that’s profitable for your business.

But just as Kenna shouldn’t have just talked at the team, you shouldn’t just speak to your audience online, you should listen as well. What are people saying in response to your posts? Are their comments that suggest you should be rethinking some of your candidate engagement strategies? Consider as well if there are one or two negative comments how you should react to these. Yes, there are the odd occasions were someone is simply trying to entice you into a public argument for the sake of it, but in amongst this there may be real concerns or queries that should be listened to and addressed.

Communication is key for any firm and its staff to set themselves aside from the competition. But listening is a crucial component as well, so don’t make the same mistakes that Kenna did.

Check back next week for my thoughts on the latest episode – and why not share your views below as well!

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

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