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GCH-Who: Secret digital recruitment ads target East London's 'finest'

It’s one of the biggest problems facing any company, in every industry. How do you encourage ideal candidates to apply for available positions?
Here at Smoking Gun PR we know only too well the importance of building a fantastic team. Since our launch, thanks to ingenious work in marketing, public relations, social media and associated creative pursuits, we’ve been in a state of almost continual expansion that shows no signs of stopping. Certainly not a situation we’re complaining about.
The result means our monthly round up of in-house goings on, which features in our newsletter, constantly includes details of fresh recruits. This makes perfect sense, as great results attract more clients, and in order to service those clients with exactly what they need- bold, out of the box thinking to help solve any marketing problem- we need to have not just the right number of staff, but the correct, impossible-to-better skill set.
To date, we have achieved this through a number of initiatives. Firstly, the boffins in our office come from a variety of backgrounds, representative of the way the sector is no longer self-contained. For example, our fundamental ideology revolves around great storytelling, targeting specific demographics on behalf of the firms we represent. This would be impossible without trained journalists, shrewd PRs, and hungry young digital natives occupying desks next to one another, collaborating in a way that means projects can take on a life of their own.
We’re also keen to engage in constant staff training, be that through attending major conferences and workshops, or inviting professionals in to ensure we’re all up to date on the latest methods of working. Hence so many of our recruits sticking around, and moving up through the ranks. Nevertheless, all the training in the world can’t help much if you don’t have the best of the best competing for jobs when they become available.
As any recruiter will understand, it’s all about launching a drive for new staff that specifically speaks to the type of people you would like to appeal to. In many ways, it’s the same as a campaign for a client- there’s a product, which could be a job, chocolate bar, car or new direct flight route; and there’s a customer base that you want to sell to, which could be HNWI individuals, graduates, or people in the mood for a career change.
Whilst scouring the news today we stumbled upon a particularly intriguing digital recruitment campaign that is currently underway in Shoreditch, East London. The district is best known for uber-trendies some have long-since labelled hipsters (we prefer to avoid the term simply because it’s that over-used the phrase has become a caricature of itself), media startups and people who make a living doing Cool Things. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s also a place where GCHQ, AKA the British government’s online surveillance and intelligence base camp, thinks the future digital spies are to be found.
Or at least according to The Times it is.
Spray-painted graffiti tags have been popping up in the area, which read ‘GCH-Who?’, and contain a brief description of the skills currently needed in the organisation. The idea of people walking out of a social media management job, and straight into an office that specialises in tracking down terrorists, hackers and other criminals is somewhat eyebrow-raising, but apparently it’s very real.
“GCHQ is always looking to widen our recruitment focus to reach the people we would like to recruit and therefore we use a range of innovative channels for our advertising. We look at areas which are likely to contain a high proportion of people who we would like to recruit, in this case people with technical skills and experience,” a spokesperson for the government agency  has apparently said.
Bizarre but true, and in an odd way, somehow logical too, it just goes to show that the truth is often stranger than fiction, not least in a world increasingly controlled by digital media, wherein many of the rules are being written as we go along.

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