TALENT SPOTTER: AMANDA FONE, F1 RECRUITMENT

Name: Amanda Fone
Company: F1 Recruitment
Job title: CEO

Twitter: @f1recruitment
LinkedIn: Amanda Fone
Website: http://www.f1recruitment.com/

What does your day to day job involve?
My day starts at 6am,  and I like to be at our Soho offices just before 8am either for an early morning interview with a candidate or a breakfast meeting with a client before the rest of the team get in for the day. Those early hours (prior to 10am) are incredibly valuable and enable me to get ahead for the day.

And, whilst every day is different, one thing remains constant; that is meeting new people to find out about their working lives; their aspirations, their frustrations, their achievements and hopefully by the end of our time together they trust the f1’ team to help find them their next all important career move.

I also get to meet the leaders of some of the best marketing agencies in the country, if not globally, and the CMO’s and Chief Communications Officers of household name brands to discuss their talent needs and their growth plans.   This is incredibly inspirational and I enjoy every moment.

 To give an example of a typical day: I could be running an in-house training session with my team at f1, be pitching with the team for a new account, or discussing our own development goals inside the business with the f1’ leadership team.  

Recently I have presented at a House of Commons Select Committee on the “Gender Pay Gap for Women over 40”, appeared on the ITN lunchtime news with Alastair Stewart and sat on the sofa with Susanna Reid on ITN’s Good Morning Britain debating the future of flexible and agile working.  

I could find myself presenting to a group of eager undergraduates or school leavers about careers in marketing, PR and sponsorship and be encouraging them to get that all important work experience in their holidays to find out more about the profession

Some work experience and an understanding of the profession is vital

Is it essential to be a graduate to get into PR?
No, it is not essential to be a graduate to get into PR.  But, a hunger and appetite to join the industry is key.   Some work experience and an understanding of the profession is also vital alongside an active curiosity about a career in PR.

I know youngsters who organised work experience after their A levels or worked during a gap year and simply didn’t go to university because they were offered full time roles whilst they were on their placements. University is not for everyone – approach and attitude counts for a great deal too. 

agile learning is important

What do you look for in PR hires? 
Tenacity, energy, creativity, excellent  writing skills, the ability to summarise both with the written and spoken word and of course, great interpersonal skills. The focus to concentrate on one task at a time; to be able to actively listen without multi-tasking on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, What’s App. I require 100% attention.   And, of course the ability to learn quickly, agile learning is also important.

How do you find PR talent?
Recommendations from clients and candidates, college and university referrals, advertising on The Guardian, Brand Republic, PR Week, some job boards and of course the f1 website. We create thought leadership content that is refreshed regularly on the f1 site and this content goes out via social media channels to our Twitter and LinkedIn followers. The members of our groups in turn pass it on to other PR’s who then approach us for work.  We are also taking a more pro-active approach with the media across leadership voice and cerebral issues.

How much has changed in the last 5 years?
Many businesses use LinkedIn, social media and job boards to find PR talent and good old online job ads have always been a vehicle to find staff; there are just many many more routes to talent now. 

Many of our clients want to cut through the clutter and noise of LinkedIn and social media and meet three or four really good candidates that we have already met and interviewed that they know we have vetted.    They trust our judgement to put forward the right short list of candidates that meet their needs.  People who we are confident will fit not only the skills set their business is looking for, but will fit the values of the business too. 

the global healthcare sector is growing and the opportunities for PR executives are huge

Which is the most difficult sector to recruit for?
Healthcare is the most difficult sector to recruit for – it has been challenging for over 20 years – yet the global healthcare sector is growing and the opportunities for PR executives are huge. The pay is good and the opportunities for career advancement are outstanding 

Which blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
I read anything I can get my hands on that discusses the changing role of the Corporate Communications Director and Marketing Director, Diversity & Inclusion and Agile working, my pet subjects.  My PA scours social media and the trade press hourly to find relevant articles and she is also keeping a beady eye on client wins by agencies, awards news, mergers, acquisitions, brand news, the latest marketing and social media campaigns. We tweet regularly and share content we find engaging with our followers. 

What are your tips for seasoned PRs looking to move jobs?
Whatever level you are, when you are looking to move on in your career make sure you plan properly. Always do your research and always prepare for every meeting you have, however informal. If you are thinking about moving to another agency then follow the agencies you are interested in working for on Twitter and LinkedIn and read their websites regularly for news. If it’s brand side you aspire to,  then know the sectors you find most exciting and track the top 10 companies in each. LinkedIn with their Marketing Director or Communications Director and regularly look for articles or blogs written by them. 

a career in PR is incredibly rewarding, exciting and fulfilling

What are your tips for aspiring PRs?
Be engaged, be hungry and be determined to succeed.  Find work placements, and as with seasoned PRs, follow the individuals and brands to gain knowledge and awareness of news, issues, and understand the employer brand values.  And, above all persevere to break into the industry in the sectors you enjoy – a career in PR is incredibly rewarding, exciting and fulfilling.   It is what you make it!

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