Calling all Ninjas: You’re what we’re looking for

James Stevens

For the second year in a row, FleishmanHillard Brussels was happy to support the JA-YE Leaders-for-a-Day programme on 19 October.

Each year a student has the opportunity to shadow a leader from our office and learn about what they do during the course of a working day. The great thing about the JA-YE Leaders-for-a-Day programme is by explaining what you are doing and why you are doing it to an engaged young person there are things we learn too. Sometimes it takes this kind of exercise to make you reflect on things that are to some extent just part of daily life.

This year our student shadow for the day asked the obvious question: “What type of person do you look for when hiring?” The answer: Ninjas.

It was an interesting question as it came at a time when we’ve been reflecting on our business, how it has changed and where it is going in the future. With our capital mainly of the human variety, it led to the conclusion that what we’re probably looking for is ninjas.

European Union public affairs has changed immeasurably since the office was founded 25 years ago this year. It’s become more public, more political and more national. The range of things we do has expanded to include things like digital, social and creative as well as direct outreach, media and events. Yet at its core there is still a need to be expert in the four Ps of public affairs: politics, policy, process and people. Managing the intersection between influence and reputation for our clients requires a subtle blend of communications skills together with policy and industry knowhow, providing counsel and then just getting huge amounts of stuff done.

So, what are we looking for? Well, people that are talented and motivated enough to do all of that well. The closest we could get as a description to this was ninjas; nimble in action, flexible in thought and intellectually curious enough to learn new things each day.

What are we offering in exchange? A career path that allows each of our team members to experience and become good at all of it, with the autonomy and coaching to perfect an area of knowledge, service or skill at which they can be great.