What the Recruitment Industry Can Learn from PwC’s Oscars Mistake

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ve probably heard about PwC’s epic mix-up at this years’ Oscars. The mistake, and its resulting actions, have highlighted just how much damage one small slip up can cause to your brand, and how it’s nearly always best to take accountability and try to move the message on.

PwC has been counting the Oscars ballots on behalf of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts for over 83 years, but this one small mistake was it all it took to eliminate all the positive branding and credibility they’d built around that. This is just one recent example of many that are out there, that shows just how fragile your brand can be.

The lesson to be learned here is of course to always be careful with your marketing activity, but also to acknowledge that mistakes can and do happen. In recruitment, all it could take is for one candidate to meet a recruiter on an off-day, have a bad experience and then write a negative review on Google, the first place most people search to find businesses, or leave a negative comment on social media.

Competition is so fierce nowadays that the way you approach these inevitable mistakes can define your relationships thereafter. In this position, we’d advise to take a leaf out of PwC Chairman, Tim Ryan’s book and own the mistake: “What was going through my head at the time was, ‘We have to get to the bottom of this, and if we made a mistake, we’ll own up to it. My philosophy in life is, bad news doesn’t age well.”

If you do receive a negative review, then the best approach is to respond to it and let people know you’re proactively taking action, and then contact the reviewer themselves. If it’s something more significant then make sure you’ve got a PR plan in place to handle the response.

Chris South

As Director of Prominence, Chris is the first-person recruiters speak to when trying to get a handle on their marketing activity. He is also highly involved in the day to day delivery on all client accounts, but is slowly learning to let his fantastic team take care of business and to only interfere when needed! Based in Auckland, Chris travels to Australia monthly, meaning he has a lot of air miles and has also seen every new film. However, he is the first to tell you that the life of a frequent traveller isn’t quite as glamorous as it seems! Chris is inspired by people that break the mould and try to make things better.

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