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Andrea Bristol, CEO Admire PR Ltd

Andrea Bristol CEO of Admire PR

Can you share a little about your background and experience in hiring and building successful teams?

I have built and run Admire PR since its inception and been responsible for hand-picking all the people that have worked for us during that time. Making sure that I sourced people who were creative but also had a strong team ethic. As the company has grown from strength to strength, I have had to add to the staff to effectively manage the workload.

What are the top 3 qualities you look for when hiring anyone.

  1. Observation Skills Working in Public Relations is not just about coming up with words to create, as we like to describe, positive reputations. We need to find places for those words and other opportunities we can utilise to promote our clients. That is one of the most important areas where observation skills come in, that ability to spot a comment, an angle which we can use as leverage to promote our client either as an individual or as a company. For example, one of the people who works for me knew a person who was an ex-schoolteacher who ran a company that organised tutors for home schooling. As rumours of a lockdown circulated, he contacted the local BBC radio station about her. She was soon on Radio $ and the BBC World Service. He certainly gave her a positive reputation! In our business, we cannot wait for opportunities to be handed to us. We need keen eyes and good observation skills to spot a chance when only the merest glimmer is showing.

  2. Inquisitive about Learning In the same way, we cannot sit back when it comes to looking for opportunities. The same is true with a person’s skill set. I am looking for someone who, even if they are brilliant at what they do, has the drive and desire to shine even stronger. More than that, I want someone who is not satisfied with the skills they have and taking them to greater levels. I would be looking for someone who I can help and support to extend the range of what they do. But there are other ways candidates can show that inquisitiveness. By for example commenting that they would not only find new publications printed or online for one of our clients, but also go that extra mile. How? By taking the trouble to find out exactly how the publication likes to receive their submissions. Adherence to this criteria can boost our chances of getting our clients into the public realm.

  3. It should probably go without saying that a love of words and reading is important, and I have saved the most important skills to last. People may hint that AI could spell the death knell to “human” copywriters. But they have something that AI can never truly love and passion for words, and the ability to use them to entice, educate, embolden, and enthral. But reading is just as important. Many times, we are writing, not as ourselves, but as clients. We must have that love of reading and of course observation skills that can only be used to write, but we can write in a seamless way that reflects perfectly our clients style and ethos. Plus, of course, we may have to cover many topics over a day, a week, or a month. A love of reading and research is an essential attribute.

What are some examples of questions you might ask during an interview to determine whether a candidate possesses these key qualities?

I think certainly an example of how they sought out an opportunity, thought outside of the box. It needn’t be just in their work, it could be an opportunity in a hobby. It would be good to ask what they would do if they had to write something that was new to them. Perhaps how easy they found it either in school exams or writing on their social media to observe the character or word counts!

If you had to assign weightings to the above qualities, which would get the highest weighting, and why?

I think I hinted at that in my answer! A love of words and reading, with this you can put that bit extra in your writing. By reflecting that passion in what you write and the way you write, you can ignite something in the mind of the reader. That is what helps them remember your words, and via those words enhances the positive reputation of the client.

How do you assess people for qualities like adaptability, resilience, and a growth mindset during the hiring process?

It would perhaps be a curveball but it's good to ask what they would do if faced with a piece of work to write and nothing came into their mind at all.

How do you balance evaluating a someone's technical skills with their soft skills and overall fit for your team and company culture?

We use Harrison Assessments, a psychometric tool, to help us asses team fit - they are really helpful.

Is there one particular source you tend to find the best candidates?

I like to use recruitment professionals, I use a boutique agency where I have a long term relationship with the owner and she udnerstands what we need.. Then they can not only seek out the candidates the technical skills, but also those vital soft skills.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting to build a hiring process?

Always remember, you don’t want a clone of yourself – you want someone who excels at the jobs you would love to delegate to someone.

Where should people follow you to find out more about your work?


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