Ask the Recruiter: Secret Santa edition

I’ve just joined a new company and we’re doing a team secret Santa – anything in particular I should avoid? 

It’s supposed to be a bit of innocent fun to get us all in a festive mood, but there are potential pitfalls when one participates in Secret Santa at work, people’s careers have been made and broken on the basis of  funny and thoughtful or ill-conceived gifts. I’ve compiled a short list of tips based on painful personal experience…


  • Stick to the price limit – likely no-one will begrudge a quid or two here and there, but you don’t want to make anyone feel awkward. Those diamond earrings you bought for Jenny are just going to make everyone feel weird – especially Jenny.
  • Try to personalise your gift. There’s nothing worse than getting a mini bottle of fizz and chocolates when what you really want is a Star Trek t-shirt… it’s not that difficult to give it a little thought. And if something is personalised you’ll be surprised how pleased Gina from marketing might be (and she LOVES Star Trek).
  • Pick up clues. Perhaps you don’t know Dave from accounts very well, but you walk past his desk every day and his screensaver is the West Ham team with their FA Cup trophy from 1980. However misguided Dave’s allegiance may be, this might help you work out what to buy for him.


  • Buy something inappropriate. Getting your boss nipple tassels will likely not get you promotion. And if you’ve drawn your office crush, don’t consider this the appropriate time to show your love with a romantic gift.
  • Leave it ‘til the last minute. Everyone knows if you’ve put no effort in – get in the spirit of the season.
  • Show any disappointment. Yes, Geoff from HR has just given you a Brussel sprout-scented candle and you hate everything about it, but don’t let on. Just take it home and re-gift it to your least favourite family member.

The main thing to remember is, it’s meant to be fun! Enforced fun is the best kind of fun! Happy holidays everyone!

New Year, New Job?

According to research, there has been a sudden increase of people searching online job boards every January for the past three years. It’s safe to assume this trend will continue! It makes sense, of course, as it’s a time of year when many of us assess various aspects of our lives, so why not our jobs?

That means there is more competition for jobs but also that there are more vacancies to apply for. Any job search can be hard work, but if you follow the tips in this article by Trudy Steinfeld for Forbes, the search should be easier.

One additional tip from us at Media Contacts – get going on your job search before the January to get yourself ahead of the competition! If you apply for jobs in December, you can be starting your new job in the New Year rather than just interviewing for it!

Best of luck!


Also, with the New Year fast approaching, now is the time to look ahead to 2019, and for us that means looking at changes in employment law – we found this article really useful, and it has some interesting thoughts and advice from Recruitment Buzz. Give it a read if you’re interested! 

PR Account Executive Jobs

So you’ve seen some adverts around for PR Account Executive jobs and you think it might be the kind of thing you’d be good at…

Before you even start applying for PR Account Executive jobs, you’ll want to know exactly what’s involved and what skills you’ll need.

What’s involved in PR Account Executive jobs?

  • Writing press releases – they might be about a product launch, an event or anything that’s happening in your client’s company.
  • Pitching press releases – now you need other people to write about what you’ve written! Speaking to national, local and trade journalists to get coverage for your clients.
  • Arranging meetings of interviews for your clients with various journalists.
  • Regularly monitoring the coverage your clients get in the press and reporting on it.
  • Handling clients’ social media accounts and monitoring and reporting on engagement.
  • Keeping up to date on the news – both general and industry specific.
  • Helping to devise new ideas for PR campaigns.

What skills are required in PR Account Executive Jobs?

  • Excellent writing skills are essential in PR Account Executive jobs – you’ll need top notch spelling and grammar as well as creative flair.
  • A genuine passion for media and the news
  • PR Account Executive jobs tend to involve a lot of time spent on the phone, so an excellent telephone manner is essential.
  • You’ll often work to tight deadlines, so excellent timekeeping is required.
  • Not every journalist will want to speak to you or pick up your story, so you need the confidence and resilience to cope with rejection!

PR Account Executive jobs can be very hard work, but they can also be genuinely rewarding and, assuming you do well, you can move up the ladder quickly. To find out more, visit our website here

Five Minutes with… Maz Reive

Each month, we’ll feature one of our team members in a brief Q&A, so you can get to know us all better! This month we’re meeting Maz who specialises in recruitment for the publishing and events industry.

How did you get into recruitment?

It’s a funny story actually. I’d just moved down from Scotland to London and I was working in charity fundraising. Chugging. And Ben [our colleague] approached me on the street to recruit me into a role he was working on. So I came into the office and ended up being recruited into recruitment.

Tell us about the sectors you recruit in…

I’m on the media desk, we work with B2B media firms and publishers. B2B media firms will have trade publications, such as Railway Gazette, but most of the work we do is on the events side of those businesses. I focus on the sales positions largely, so looking at sponsorship of events and delegate attendance.

Why do you think your clients and candidates like working with you?

I think two main things. We, as a company, are very thorough, which works well for candidates and clients. A client will know any candidate they see will fit them well, that we’ve met them and briefed them. And with candidates, they feel well prepared and we have a good understanding of what they want in their next position.

The other thing is, we’ve been going for 25 years so we have a great understanding of the sectors we work in and for candidates we’re able to give them more general career advice, even if they’re not making an immediate move, we’ll build long term relationships with them.

What specifically about working with you do you think they like?

I’m hilarious. Obviously.

Seriously though, I think listening is a really important skill in any role, making sure you really understand what a client or candidate wants in detail, including company culture, ambitions, location and everything else.

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

Ooh, I think I’d be a food critic, but also professional tennis player, so I’d be on the pro tour during the day and in the evening I’d be going to amazing restaurants and writing them up and hopefully all the exercise would cancel out the ridiculous amounts of food I was eating!

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Disco music

Who would play you in the film of your life?

I’ve no idea why, but Catherine Zeta Jones keeps coming into my head.

What’s the worst job you’ve done?

At uni I worked in a little 24 hour supermarket and often worked the night shift and, frankly, it was carnage. People would just come in and take whatever they wanted off the shelves and walk out or chat you up or whatever. So, that was fun.

What’s your favourite book?

Too hard to go for an all-time choice, so I’ll go for my favourite book from the last year or so, which is The Sellout by Paul Beatty, it’s a satirical comedy about race in America.

And your favourite song?

Bad Girls, Donna Summer

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

I’d take a nap. To get over the stress of it all. A long nap.

And finally, what’s your favourite colour?

Black and I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour.

Client Focus – Champion Communications

Who are Champion Communications?

Champion is a public relations consultancy for B2B brands that want to sell more in the UK. The agency’s team of just under 10 permanent employees and an army of specialist partners, develops powerful, award winning PR campaigns that help clients’ sales teams hit targets by opening doors, nurturing opportunities and closing deals.

What do Champions do?

They’re all about media relations and this drives them to unearth the most interesting stories that will make customers more inclined to talk to sales teams and help push them towards a buying decision. Through media coverage and endorsements, they build brand awareness, credibility and trust. The work is fast-paced and different every day. Their version of PR isn’t fluffy. They strategically link everything they do to helping clients hit their sales targets and have a real commercial impact on their business. As a result, Champion’s clients value and trust their opinions, leading them to invest in long-term partnerships with the agency.

Why might someone want to work at Champion?

Being a small team means Champion is agile and can respond quickly to changes in the business, the industry and clients. Decisions are made with transparency and are acted upon immediately – ideal for those who want to work in an ever-evolving environment.

The agency invests in its Champions from day one, helping them to feel a part of the team with a comprehensive induction and a development plan that delivers the training and on-the-job support needed to develop their skills and experience. This includes involvement in client business, with responsibility from day one and opportunities to learn-as-they-go under the guidance of senior team members.

All Champions receive regular feedback on their performance and are involved in identifying objectives designed to take their careers in the right direction. Champion is a growing business and opportunities for progression are there for the taking.

They also have an employee incentive scheme that recognises efforts above and beyond the day-to-day with financial rewards for achieving great results and high levels of client service or contributions to the growth of the team and the business.

What’s life like at Champion?

In addition to the interesting and varied work, early responsibility and career progression, life at Champion is about being a part of something different – shared values and interests make it more than just a team. They’ve created a collaborative, familial culture where everyone’s opinion is listened to and respected. Champions at all levels enjoy spending time together at work and socially.   The home of Champion is a brand-new serviced office facility in Fitzrovia featuring bright spaces, comfortable break-out areas and a coffee bar, with the added-bonus of the shops, restaurants, bars and gyms of the West End just a stone’s throw away. Sure, they work hard, but they also take time out to enjoy the finest that London has to offer, on their doorstep.

If you are interested in becoming a Champion, call John at Media Contacts on 020 7359 8244.