Quest to impress

Posted on August 12, 2011 by


As the first of many new Guest Bloggers set to feature here at The UP Blog, Emma Gordon, Head of Public Relations at Fifth Ring, discusses why employers should be as keen to impress as prospective employees.

Universities will soon be welcoming new students. Many will be keen, enthusiastic school leavers intent on three or fours years dedicated study mixed with a healthy blend of socialising and creative cookery on a budget (pasta n’sauce, beans on toast and spaghetti hoops).

But with seemingly increasing graduate numbers and an aggressive and competitive work environment for jobseeking former students, it’s frankly never been more important for university or college leavers to stand out from the crowd, if they want to land a job in their chosen field after university.

But actually, employers need to differentiate themselves too. And much like all well worn couple clichés – Laurel and Hardy, fish and chips, Starsky and Hutch – the dynamic between employer and employee should be a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.

Let’s face it, the percentage of “perfect fit” candidates in any given talent pool is only ever likely to be a small proportion. This makes it even more vital that companies establish and develop constructive relationships early on with prospective employees to ensure they’re best placed to attract, and hold on to, these people.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about employer brand in this context. Taking a systemic approach, which has to be so much more than mere lip service, to position your organisation as a leading light to win over the hearts and minds of existing and potential staff is increasingly important. It’s got to function in tandem with your own corporate brand, while defining the company’s image as seen through the eyes of the future workforce.

And from an employee perspective, I believe it’s now simply not enough to gain a good degree. So many people have worked hard and shine academically; that doesn’t mean to say they’ll necessarily fit in with every organisation.

As an employer, I want to be surprised and inspired by candidates who can show me a demonstrable and unquenchable thirst to learn, contribute and develop.

And actually – in our industry, you don’t need a degree to do that. Education is an extremely emotive subject and very subjective so I wouldn’t dream of dictating what people should or shouldn’t do. But my view as an employer is if a person has the right attributes and is enthusiastic, we can teach them anything.

In terms of tapping into new talent, we’ve made a commitment to a sustained programme of work placement – in fact as it’s Fifth Ring’s 20th birthday this year we’ve undertaken to work with 20 interns across our network over the 12 month period. At around the halfway point we’re ahead of target.

Students who we have a good relationship with that have made the right impression have, and will continue to be, offered positions when available in our organisation, offering training to enable people to develop and grow in their chosen roles.

This quite simply builds loyalty from the outset, and with a stated policy of recruiting and promoting wherever possible from within, the employees joining can see clear career progression through the organisation. Which is great if advancement is a motivator.

In short, we never stop, as employees or employers, needing to impress. If we rest on our laurels or believe we have nothing to learn or need not evolve, then quite frankly we’ve lost the plot.

A little about Emma

Emma originally trained and worked as a journalist before moving into public relations a number of years ago.

Having worked in a number or roles, primarily in agencies focused on B2B energy PR, Emma has considerable expertise in integrated communications, reputation management, strategic planning, proactive and reactive media relations and emergency response.

Heading up the PR team in Aberdeen, Emma’s clients include: GL Noble Denton, Expro, Reservoir Group, Petrofac OE&O, Tata Steel and Barclays Corporate Oil and Gas Team.

Emma is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

About Fifth Ring

Fifth Ring is a global integrated corporate communications company with a strong track record in energy and B2B communications. We provide cohesive, consistent marketing communications and integrate our five key disciplines: business positioning, design, digital media, public relations and advertising into one seamless offering across the main energy capitals of the world: Aberdeen, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Houston and Kuala Lumpur.