Monday, 4 April 2011

It takes all sorts

Looking around the office, it’s clear that there is not just one PR ‘type’. Gone are the days when PR’s were all tarred with the same schmoozing brush, written off as media luvvies who enjoy nothing more than a liquid lunch (Absolutely Fabulous still has a LOT to answer for, darling).

This point has really hit home this month as WPR supported the student work placement enterprise, B-Hive, for a second year and as we began interviews for a graduate / junior account exec to join the ranks. When judging the finalists for the former, I found different potential in each hopeful vying to be crowned the PR winner. They all had different qualities, presentation styles and ideas which made it hard to compare them. All the judges had a different take or different criteria to measure them up against and what would be right for one agency wouldn’t necessarily suit another.

The same thing stands true for each interviewee we’ve seen. Different styles, different skills and different personalities. Now, I can argue for or against anything – for example, lack of direct PR experience could be seen as a negative yet the same person could offer exceptional writing skills. And that’s the trouble with just being able to pick one person. They need to offer the best mix for that agency, whilst having the kind of personality that would suit both prospective clients and the day to day team they will work with. All this from an interview? Nothing like high expectations.

In reality, sometimes the right person just comes along, but whether this is the case or not, whoever you choose, we all know only time will tell. It’s important that agencies don’t just employ the same kind of person over and over (we all like people like us but having a whole team of mini me’s is far from ideal). Every agency is different, so is every client and every employee can bring something different to the table.

PR is a profession where it really does take all sorts. The ones who like coming up with the big ideas and the ones who need to plan every detail with military precision. For those looking to get into the profession, the best thing you can do is be yourself (cliché but it’s true). PR people can often be the worst at their own PR but to really stand out at an interview or at a pitch, you need to play to your own strengths. Remember, ‘people buy people first’ so make sure you’re ready to sell yourself. Your experience or ideas will do the rest.


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