Media Contacts – Birmingham office!

In its 25-year history Media Contacts’ PR team has predominantly focussed its efforts across London. Given the vast concentration of PR agencies and practitioners, the capital has long been recognised as a public relations hub. Yet there is a hive of PR activity across the UK and some of the best, award-winning agencies can be found in cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh, to name but a few.


In order to strengthen its relationships with existing PR clients in the Midlands and the north of the UK, and also to tap into some amazing new talent streams, Media Contacts is delighted to announce the creation of its Birmingham office. Former Weber Shandwick PR consultant turned recruiter, John Bowen, will head-up this exciting opportunity and has already been busy building relationships with new clients and candidates alike.


Regarding this new enterprise, John said: “Media Contacts is consistently seeing great PR talent created outside of London, fostered by agencies that dare to be different. We want to act as a conduit for gifted PR practitioners who are looking to make their mark anywhere in the UK and the creation of the Birmingham office will play a key role in this. So if you’re looking for an exciting new job in PR or are in an agency looking to make some great hires, please get in touch!”



Market Update – February 2019

Although, strictly speaking, nothing has changed legally yet, we are already noticing a change in our markets ahead of Brexit. Some people are moving back to the continent, still others are deciding not to move to the UK after all. In some markets this is creating a skills shortage, so it’s a great time to be looking for work. The skills shortage is highest in London and surrounding areas, closely followed by the North West and then the Midlands (where we’re opening up a new office – it’s almost as though we have a plan!).

We’re also encountering continued wage inflation. While in post-depression Britain, wages stagnated, in the last year or so they have risen dramatically. If you’re looking for a new job or you’re due an appraisal and would like advice about how much you should be being paid, call us on 020 7359 8244 or email your CV to [email protected].

An Introduction to… Event Marketing Jobs

If you’re an excellent researcher, love social media and you’re an excellent communicator, you might well be drawn to event marketing jobs.

What’s involved in event marketing jobs?

  • Research and analysis for events
  • National and international market research
  • Maintaining and growing your client database
  • Executing strategic, creative marketing campaigns
  • Managing suppliers and budgets
  • Developing and executing social media and email marketing campaigns

What skills / attributes are required in event marketing jobs?

  • Top notch written and verbal communication
  • Excellent organisational abilities
  • Solid research skills
  • Ability to disseminate salient information from statistics
  • Results oriented

If you’d like to find out more about event marketing jobs, call us on 020 7359 8244 or email [email protected]

Ask the Recruiter – February 2019

My company is about to go through a phase of growth, so I’ll be interviewing and hiring several people. I’ve got plenty of advice about what to ask candidates, but much less about what to avoid asking. Could you give me some tips?

I appreciate this can be daunting – it can seem as though there’s a whole host of rules about what you’re legally allowed to ask candidates. Actually, though, as long as you stick to their ability to do the job you’re hiring for, you should be okay. Here are some examples of what not to ask, and some alternatives.

Don’t ask Alternatives
Which country are you from / where were you born? Are you eligible to work in the UK?
How do you feel about managing women? What’s your experience of managing staff?
Do you plan to have children? The role occasionally requires last minute overtime, will that be okay?
How old are you? Age should only be part of the discussion if this candidate will be selling alcohol or tobacco or in some other age-restricted industry. If not, there isn’t an alternative, just don’t ask.
What religion are you? Are you happy to work with “X” type of clients? Will you be available to work the hours that this job requires?
Are you married? Some employers think a married person will be more responsible, others think a single person will devote more time to the job. Either way, you can’t ask this.
Do you have any health conditions / disabilities? Focus on the candidate’s ability to do the job.
How long will your commute be? Will you be able to start work at 9AM?
Do you have any previous criminal convictions?


Unless relevant to the role (working with children, for example) if a conviction is spent, a candidate does not need to declare it.


This is not an exhaustive list but hopefully you get the gist. Essentially, you should only interview a candidate on the basis of their ability to do the job. One way to ensure this is to use competency based interview questions – you can find plenty of examples online.

I should note, that these all apply in the same way when you’re briefing a recruiter on a new role for them to work on. A good recruiter will always send you the candidates most capable of doing the job regardless of gender/age/race/religion etc.

If you’d like your question to be featured in Ask the Recruiter next month, email [email protected].


Featured Client – Essence PR

Samantha Grocutt is managing director of Essence PR, a beauty PR agency in Shoreditch, London.

How would you sum up Essence as THE agency your clients want to work with?

Essence is often seen as an extension of our clients own brand/marketing team; we work very closely with our clients and that helps ensure we really understand their needs and expectations.

How long have you worked there and what do you do?

I founded Essence PR in 2004; I’m a very hands on managing director and work closely with my team, our clients and the media.

Why do your clients like working with you?

We’re an agency that enjoys getting involved with our clients, and as we all really love beauty – this shines through in our passion when talking to both clients and the press. We enjoy coming up with different activities that make the client stand out and we always achieve excellent results.

What are Essence’s plans for the future?

I’m really supportive of my team and always keen to listen to ideas to help grow the business; so I’d like us to continue growing and being recognised by the industry as an agency to watch.

The next big think in Beauty PR…

I think it’s all about sustainability and being more aware of the environment and not creating unnecessary packaging or single use items.  We’re starting to see brands and PR’s be more conscious about how we send products out and how we interact with press and influencers.  Also to be more aware of others less fortunate, if you think about the new Beauty Banks project that Sali Hughes and Jo Jones have recently set up and how well they’ve been received by the industry, you realise there is a change happening and as beauty PRs we need to be part of that and champion it as often as we can.

Getting to know you

If you never had to work again and money was no object, what would you do?

I’m very involved with charity organisations already, so I expect this would continue.  I’m currently co-President of The Hairdressers’ Charity and this is an organisation close to my heart.  I’m also cat-mad, so I expect I’d do something with a cat charity too!

What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?

Not sure I’ve really had one – I’ve worked in catering, bars and offices.  All have their ups and downs but you just get on with it.

What are your hobbies?

I’ve made going to the gym a regular activity now – I go early in the morning before work.  As a PR, I’m always out and about so networking and entertaining is something I do for fun.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Oh, no idea – not sure I’ve lived such an entertaining life that anyone would want to play it!

And finally, if you were stranded on a desert island, what’s the first thing you’d do?

Sunbathe – I love the sun 😊; oh, and then I’ll probably try to get practical for life on the island…