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Sandy Charet Surfs For PR Candidates In Social Media

Sandra Charet Sandy Charet, Principal of Charet & Associates, is a 20+ year veteran of the PR and communications recruiting industry, Sandy helps companies find the right talent and experience. Sandy has been a member of the IABC for many years and has served on the Board for the NJ Chapter.  She is a frequent speaker at PR organizations, community groups and universities on careers in PR and job hunting in general.

She has seen many changes in the industry, and when social media came along while she used the new tools for candidate research she initially struggled with revealing her recruiting secrets on the web. After spending more time on social media and chatting with clients and candidates Sandy came to realize that the way to succeed online and in social media was to create content that passed on her recruiting and interview tips. She understood that if clients and candidates learned something from her, the clients were more likely to hire, and candidates want to stay in touch. Now she is very enthusiastic about engaging in social media. And in addition to Twitter, Facebook, and a blog, she recently started a LinkedIn group and hired a social media communications manager.

We chatted about the changes in the industry as they related to the new digital communications and the recession. Sandy said, "We live in a very tremulous time for communications professionals. A few years ago traditional media drove the industry, but today that's no longer the case. With the economic downturn, many more experienced professionals lost their jobs. People with 15 years experience have more difficulty getting a job today, such people are more expensive, and also don't always have the recent digital experience". Sandy also believes there isn't the same legacy in the industry there was just a few years ago because of the reduction in more experienced staff.

I'd previously written an article about the age wave with Aaron Strout, on how demographic shifts will change marketing. Sandy and I discussed these changes; there are more baby boomers today than generation X'ers, and even more Gen Y'ers, while the baby boomers are starting to retire. Sandy described how for candidates with 6-11 years of communications experience, the age wave may be starting to influence the availability of people. Sandy sees real shortages of people with 6-11 years of communications experience. Those may be people who are late gen X'ers and early Gen Y'ers. She also see's a shortage of people who are very senior. Reflecting on the changes in the industry over the last 20 years, Sandy recalled that about 15 years ago more students started taking communications degrees, while previously communications people found their way into the industry, or came from journalism.

Today if you are going to succeed in communications you need to know how to write. Other important factors clients are looking for when they ask Sandy to help find candidates are people with specialized experience in an industry, and lastly digital experience. Anyone who can sell their ideas, and has many relationships in the community will also succeed in industry.

I asked Sandy how she was finding candidates, even though she has an extensive database, LinkedIn is the one social media technology where she spends a lot of time. Sandy told me she feels more comfortable using LinkedIn when contacting candidates directly, lots of people have Facebook and Twitter, but with Facebook as the technology is more private than professional Sandy has some reserves in reaching out to candidates. Sandy said, "Everyone should have a linked profile. And not just for looking for a job. The profiles speak very well about the individuals and it speaks very well about the company. It's totally fine to have a good profile on LinkedIn for a company, it helps promote a company through the individuals with customers over the competition".

Lastly we talked about how new and social media have changed PR’s share of influence at the corporate table. Sandy said, "Social media can be dangerous, PR has to own it, as PR is usually more attuned to what's going to happen in a community, while marketing departments don’t always worry about consequences when they run campaigns. PR people understand the medium, and are ready to respond". Sandy has seen many PR agencies hire marketing people, but has not seen marketing agencies hire PR people; they would rather hire a company instead. That’s an indication of how PR agencies have expanded PR into content marketing.