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Why don’t more PR teams use personality profiling in their recruitment?

25th April 2013

These are hard times and as margins are squeezed, it has never been more important to attract and retain good employees. Yet the PR industry still suffers from a high turnover of staff that is costly, in both time and money and can damage client relationships. Many articles have been written about the different strategies that agencies can employ to retain staff and this is clearly an area for all employers to concentrate on. However, the problem would be better addressed by initially putting more effort into ensuring the new employees are a good ‘fit’ for your organisation, your existing team and your clients. Consider how well you know the people you work with. Why did you employ them? Was it their impressive qualifications, their experience or contacts that attracted you to them? Did you just like them at interview and surmise they would fit in well with the rest of your team? The chances are it was a haphazard combination of all those factors and many more, but is there a better way? Building and retaining an effective team is far easier if you know the personality types and psychological strengths and weaknesses of your existing team and any new people joining it. If you know how someone is going to react to long periods of intense pressure, you can manage them and the team more effectively as well as increasing staff and client retention. We all see the world and our place in it, in different ways. Some of us prefer cold hard facts and figures; others focus on the human, more emotional side of things. Some of us are driven by the need to achieve success and be publicly acknowledged for doing so, whilst others prefer quiet recognition of our achievements while remaining in the background. Using personality profiling when recruiting a PR team, we can quickly identify those who are good with facts and figures and those who have strong creative and presentation skills. Some personality types are project and task, focused on achieving their KPI’s and targets while others are best at handling client relationships. When putting your team together, it is invaluable to know how the individual personality types interact with each other and your clients so you can make informed decisions. Psychometric testing such as MBTI® and Insights® Discovery have been around for many years, but can they help you with staff selection and retention? The answer is a qualified yes. Qualified, because although they are an extremely accurate and powerful aid, they should not be used as a single solution, rather as an additional tool to make sure you get the right balance in your team. None of us are good at everything and certain tasks will be more easily tackled by some individuals than others. Using personality profiling, focused on team selection and team building to profile candidates for key roles, is a great way of ensuring that your PR team is balanced and effective. MTM Skills Training uses the Insights® Discovery Personal Profile to give an in-depth understanding of what makes an individual ‘tick’. The profile is broken down into sections detailing a persons strengths and weaknesses, what added value they bring to a team, identifying potential ‘blind spots’ and areas for possible development. We suggest interview questions that will challenge the candidates’ perceptions of themselves and their world view and give you, the employer real insights into what they really think. The profiles are quick and easy to produce and the process is certified by the British Psychological Society. In the current climate, every employer needs to know as much as possible about their potential employees in order to make the correct appointment. It goes without saying that a balanced, well-managed account team is going to be more productive and creative. Rather than simply relying on personal instinct, personality profiling is a far more effective approach to recruiting and retaining the best teams in PR. Darren Russell is operations manager at MTM Skills Training

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