Going the extra PR mile: if anyone can, James Caan

James Caan, ex-Dragon and self-styled 'recruitment mogul', appears to be the ultimate Caan-do guy...

by Dave Waller
Last Updated: 25 May 2011
Now there's not necessarily anything wrong with self-promotion. It's a largely unavoidable requirement for most entrepreneurs - and if done properly, it can bring huge PR rewards. But here at MT, we can't help wondering: is it possible to overdo it to such an extent that people hit saturation point, and start being a little sceptical about all your claims to expertise?

Take ex-Dragon James Caan, for example - who, if the torrent of press releases produced by his legion of PRs is to be believed (around 15 a week, it appears, on a bewildering range of subjects), may well be the sole answer to all UK plc's current woes.

Caan's latest appearance in MT’s editorial inbox comes in his capacity as CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw, which owns recruitment firm Hamilton Bradshaw Human Capital. Commenting on the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ report of an 8.9% rise in available graduate jobs, Caan suggests that today's graduates still lack evidence of skills. While in another release this week, issued on behalf of Eden Brown recruitment on the back of the BBC’s Countryfile tribunal, he was waxing lyrical about older workers. You’d have thought with all these recruitment businesses to run, he'd have no time to conjure so many pithy soundbites.

And that’s not all. He’s also said in recent days that he welcomes the Government’s decision to make the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) available to twice as many individuals as previously planned (a very valid point, to be fair). And separately this week, he also said that students should be able to gain extra marks towards their degrees from experience gained in the work place.

Wondering how he maintains such a prodigious output? Well, recycling is part of the answer. ‘I have found over the years that graduates can fill three pages with details of their dissertations yet tell prospective employers nothing about their practical experience,’ he wrote on the work experience release. Which is, happily, exactly what he said/ thought about the AGR report.

Caan himself could never be said to lack self-confidence. Talking about a recent speech he gave at Cambridge University, he said: ‘There were 300 graduates in the room and I am sure many of them were sitting there thinking, 'I’d love to work for someone like James Caan'. Right. Though perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by his bullishness: this is, after all, the man who famously offered a struggling Pakistani family £740 for their baby last autumn when he was there on a charity mission.

Still, if nobody bites on your story, there is an alternative – start a new magazine. The former Dragon panelist has somehow also found time to provide ‘support and expertise’ to a new business title called the Market. The cover star of its first issue? That's right, James Caan...

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