There is a small but slowly increasing number of candidates who are pro-actively asking us about our clients’ gender diversity and equality policies. It is too early to say whether our answers, when we have them, are starting to impact which opportunities are then pursued by those candidates, but who do you picture as the asker of these questions in your head?
As you would expect, none of those who have asked us these questions so far have been white and male, but there were plenty of that privileged group sat on panels in the sunshine chairing workshops and discussion groups on precisely these topics in Cannes this year.
The irony of these images didn’t escape many, and the cynical amongst us have labelled this as only so much value posturing set against the backdrop of a first world playground. Whilst I totally accept these individuals are genuinely committed to positive changes within their organisations, there are no risks or sacrifices involved for them when expressing support for diversity and equality. They are successful and powerful already. It’s those members of minority groups looking to compete for opportunities within the media market place who have to really get to grips with the genuine intent of a company around these policies. And they have to hope that it’s not just empty gestures because for them it will be bound up in amongst all the other factors that determine the outcome of an interview process.
And despite supposedly being a member of a minority myself as a female, in reality I have also benefited from the support, opportunities, freedoms and choices that come with privilege. So as a headhunter, able to facilitate entry into some of the best digital companies in market, I owe it to my clients and my candidates to be challenging my unconscious biases every day and offering substantive action myself. What that looks like I still need to figure out but perhaps it needs to start with finding out and establishing the stats and intentions of all of our clients around these policies.
Let’s face it, many of us find it incredibly cathartic to let off steam by having ‘a right good moan’ but is an interview the right place to do it?
As a headhunter we sometimes find ourselves in interviews with potential candidates listening to a list of reasons why they aren’t enjoying their current roles – it could be about poor leadership from above, a perception that their product hasn’t evolved fast enough to remain competitive or that they feel that colleagues aren’t pulling their weight. Whilst there’s no doubt that these might all be justifiable reasons to leave, should they be things that you talk about in an interview?
To answer this you need to ask yourself a couple of simple questions. Firstly, even if the issues are completely justified, is there a risk that you may come across as a negative individual and in the worst case scenario be viewed by an interviewer as a part of the problem? Secondly, does talking about these negative issues actually serve to improve the impression of yourself that you want to convey? In short, do you gain anything by talking about the negatives?
It’s worth pointing out here that there is clearly a difference between an interview with your recruiter and an interview with a potential employer. Of course it makes sense to tell your recruiter which aspects of your current role are forcing you to consider leaving because clearly you don’t want to repeat the experience in your next role. That said, our experience is that often those who get into the habit of bemoaning their current situation with us often repeat the performance when they meet with potential employers. There is no doubt that this is a mistake and it will damage your chances of landing your dream job.
Our advice here, even if you are leaving a role that genuinely does have problems, is to do your very best to find a positive way to position the narrative. Let’s look at some basic examples to clarify the point:
- Rather than talking about having a poor product to sell why not highlight instead that you’ve really had to develop and hone your sales skills in order to keep up with your bigger name competitors.
- Rather than talk about a lack of direction from your leadership team, focus instead on how autonomous your role is and how much you’ve enjoyed developing your decision making skills.
It’s a simple fact that people will tend to be drawn to those who are able to take positive experiences from negative situations. In fact, arguably, you might be seen as an even better applicant for the role BECAUSE of the hurdles you’ve had to overcome. Being able to demonstrate success from adversity might just be your most powerful play.
Your CV literally speaks a thousand words – It’s a fundamental part of the recruitment process yet can sometimes be overlooked as a menial task, or completely deter from what you should be trying to display.
To avoid having your CV fall into either of these categories, here are just a few helpful “Do’s and Don’ts” that should make the difference between a successful screening and being shunted to the bottom of the pile…
⇒ Have a short and sweet personal profile, highlighting who you are, what you do, what you want to get into. The emphasis here should be on the “short and sweet” – nobody likes to read an epic monologue.
⇒ List your most recent experience first, working back in chronological order. Employers want to see what you are up to now and why you are relevant for the role in question, not which level in the Starbucks Barista scheme you made it to…
⇒ Try to keep your CV to 2/3 pages. Your CV is a great way to succinctly display what you do in your role but it is also important to highlight why you are so good at it.
⇒ When applying for a particular role, tailor your CV to ensure those reading it can understand the correlation between your experience and the role in question. Reading through the job spec can be a great way at rewording your CV to highlight some of your relevant qualifications and experience.
⇒ Word documents are great! Whilst there are definitely more creative ways to present yourself, your CV is probably best displayed in a simple Word format- try to leave all illustrations and YouTube Videos at home as it can detract from the purpose of the CV!
Although these may seem super obvious, it is actually hard to compose the perfect CV so if in doubt – ASK!
We are more than happy to help!
CLIENT WATCH: Channel4 ⇒ Our client, Channel 4, has set diversity as their theme for this year’s annual award. Agencies and brands can compete for £1m worth of commercial airtime in coming up with the most innovative campaign aimed at improving diversity in advertising!
CLIENT WATCH : HAVAS ⇒ It’s great to see our Client Havas doing their bit to instil awareness this week with employees – and what an influential speaker to kick off with!
When preparing for an interview you’ve probably been given at least one of the following standard statements by your recruiter:
- ‘do your prep’
- ‘make sure you’ve researched the company’
- ‘make sure you’ve done your homework and looked at their website’
Clearly they have the best of intentions here, after all you both have a shared goal, namely for you to secure a job offer, but does the advice go far enough? The short answer is no, it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. Researching the business and role that you are interviewing for is absolutely a crucial part of your interview preparation but it is only the first step.
The comparison we would give to best illustrate this point is the difference between the early stages of your school life, where factual recall scored you most of your marks, through to the later stages of your education where the focus shifted onto your opinions and interpretations of those facts.
How should you translate this then into your interview preparation? A simple example would be to move past the ‘what does this company do’ part of your preparation and think in greater detail about ‘why do they do what they do’ and ‘how do they do it well’. Instead of knowing that ‘their key competitor is company X’ think about what advantages and disadvantages you see between the company you are interviewing with and their key competitors. Hiring managers will be drawn to candidates who understand their business, warts and all, they will place a value on individuals with an opinion, this will in turn often lead to a more open and interesting dialogue for both parties during the interview. Demonstrating your ability to interpret your research findings into insightful observations gives the hiring manager a glimpse of what they could buy. Just as importantly you are showing them that you care enough about the opportunity to go the extra mile, this won’t go unnoticed.
At Ferrari Healy we have recruited for some of the most exciting brands in the media/tech space over the years. Whether we are hiring on behalf of Apple, Amazon, Oath or Facebook this advice is essential to make it through to the later stages of the process. All companies have particular likes and dislikes and your recruiter should be able to help you tailor your approach but this one simple tweak to your approach will absolutely give you an edge over the competition and might just secure you that great job!
I’m going to liken my current impressions and findings within headhunting to a well-known TV show and see how far I can take the analogy…. I will reveal my age along the way but this is an important piece of analysis so it’s worth it.
Chegger’s Plays Pop – Keith is dead (some say prematurely) so you can see how long ago I’m asking you to cast your minds back, assuming of course you were even born, but for those of you who are old enough to remember Keith Chegwin’s game show, it offers a reasonably accurate analogy of today’s digital recruitment market. In this pop music quiz show, we saw kids running across a studio as fast as they could to jump onto brightly coloured circular mats that represented one of three answers to a music question. You could change your mind before the buzzer went, so there was a lot of dashing backwards and forwards and some pushing when one mat got crowded, but when the time was up, those who had landed on the wrong mats were out of the game, plunged into darkness, quietly shuffled off stage left by a TV runner, presumably to return to living with their parents……
Call those three mats currently lit up Google, Facebook and Amazon and you pretty much sum up what it can feel like to be a candidate in today’s commercial digital marketplace. Without stretching the analogy to breaking point, there is a mad dash at the moment to any one of those three mats, to follow the flow of ad spend and to future-proof one’s career (if there is such a thing). You have to be quick, you have to be clever and you have to be ballsy, and you have to have the courage of your convictions. In Keith’s game only one mat stays lit, the one that represents the ‘correct answer’. With its development of visual search the mat that is receiving the most attention right now is orange and you can buy it with next day delivery, but you still may not be that safe and secure having reached a mat at all, it might not be the right move for you.
We are often asked if we can offer the opportunity to interview at any one of these three, (the answer is yes for two of them) but we then always try to spend time evangelizing about all sorts of other opportunities and destinations that may not be on an initial priority list for a lot of people but that we believe in and that have tangible merits to joining. Some of the seasoned candidates who have done a stint at the pointy end of ad tech look like they’ve come in off the battle field, and, usually with young kids at home, are desperate to gain an element of security. But joining any one of the oligopoly companies doesn’t suit everyone, and doesn’t guarantee happiness and fulfilment or career advancement just because your clients are spending money with you.
So this consultant is going to continue to suggest one of the aforementioned mats if it would be a the right answer for that particular candidate but is also going to highlight and represent a number of other amazing roles and companies that need some genuine consideration.
It seems everyone is talking about Amazon right now and rightly so because amongst other big news such as their acquisition of Whole Foods and new product roll-outs, their data offering is hugely exciting. Compared to other tech giants, Amazon holds data that shows what people are actually buying and 55% of all product searches start on Amazon, with this number rapidly rising!
This article explores exactly what it is about Amazon that is getting people so excited and suggests that perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Amazon proposition is what they don’t do… Yet.
Apple are to launch their Search Ads proposition in the UK next week which will allow developers in the UK, Australia and New Zealand to advertise their apps within Apple’s App Store’s search function. Apple has been running ads within search in the US since last October and claims conversion rates of more than 50% – exciting times ahead!