Build from the bottom. Via Paul Goyette
I was having a look at the Facebook groups and came across a thread about how a London agency was handling graduate recruitment this year. I wasn't impressed so I blogged about it on my blog. But I think it's important more people read it, so here we go.
We started this journey just under 15 months ago, the whole point of it was to be a place where people could find out about a career in the communications industry - because as fate would have it a significant number of advertising agencies are ridiculously poor at setting their stalls out to potential new hires. They then aim to charge large multi-disciplinary corporations with the mantra that 'we know all about communication'. Ironic methinks.
A year on, we are fortunate enough to still be considered relevant; because of the fact that you guys take the time to read and interact with us - which is awesome, because of the generosity of some of those already in the industry, but also possibly because a vacuum exists that few have attempted to fill. As a result, the IPA have been touch a few times, some agencies have labelled it as recommended reading, others have elevated it to essential - which is nice.
You see hits and links and free lunches are great, but they're not the point.
The point was, and still is that advertising agencies are in the proverbial bucket of crap when it comes to the hiring and retention of the best that society has to offer. The reasons are too numerous for me to dive deeply into for this post, but essentially ad agencies have been dipping into the same bucket for too long, ignoring some kung-fu crazy people, and losing many other potential grads by simply not getting the word out about what an amazing career working in comms can be. People then go into finance and consulting and are miserable. I'm generalising of course. But it does happen. A lot.
This was an attempt to increase awareness about advertising as a career, and hopefully begin to be part of a change in the way advertising agencies recruit and retain junior staff. By and large we'd like to think that it has been a positive influence, agency websites are much more forthcoming about what advertising is as a career and the IPA are really pushing to improve this facet of the industry.
AdGrads is now a funky little community on the web, be it on Twitter, Facebook or the blog itself. So as in any community, people talk to each other about what's going on. And because of this, when an organisation is unhelpful, rude or plain ignorant to a member of the community, word gets around.
Many London ad agencies are recruiting at this moment so there are countless of y'all who are examining applications and websites and hoping to stand out; just as I was not so long ago. Many of you are studying as well as trying to complete obtuse application forms. I'm sure some of y'all have part-time jobs on top of this. It is only your enthusiasm and passion that is driving you. Of course it's a requirement to have these qualities for the world of work, but that doesn't mean that they should be ignored.
So imagine a London agency that claims its goal is to use creativity to solve business problems.
Now picture said agency running a grad scheme this year. Let's say they have a fancy flash website. Where do you think they should put information about the graduate scheme on it? Perhaps in a 'careers' or 'join us' or 'contact us' section? No no, they're far too cool for such silly things. Let's imagine they devote a tiny little link right next to the hugely popular 'T&Cs' link right at the bottom of the page to the future employees of their company. And let's imagine they use the grand font size of oh say 6 for this link.
Now perhaps this would link to a section with a little bit about the agency, what they believe in, why grads should apply, what kind of training they should expect, maybe what they'll earn and other things like further reading that could be done, who to contanct with questions - that kind of thing. That would be useful, wouldn't it? But again no, our agency is perhaps far to busy or lazy to do anything of the sort (and let's remember that agencies such as BBH and Ogilvy HAVE gone to the trouble of doing all of this, and will probably get a higher number of quality applicants as a result). Let's say they just whack up a Word document of the application form. And nothing else.
But you see, advertising applicants - or AdGrads if you will, aren't put off so easily. We know this. So let's have one of them call up our agency to ask them for some further information about the scheme. Wouldn't it be bad if our agency was unable to tell an applicant the nature of the job it's offering? First telling them to look at the form, then claiming to not know what the form actually says, and finally resorting to telling the potential applicant to essentially 'apply and you'll find out everything if you get the job'. Doesn't sound like a very wise and informed bunch of people does it? Maybe not the kind of effort you'd want out of a company where you'd be expected to put your heart and soul into, to do all the little things that senior people may not want to do, but still need to be done.
And perhaps this wouldn't seem like the kind of company that uses creativity to solve business problems. Because it seems to me that this kind of attitude is exactly the kind of business problem that might need some creativity to get solved. Or barring that, maybe just some common sense.
Let's call this agency BMB.
If I could, I would tell the inevitably hard working men and women involved in this state of affairs that the funny thing about living in the age we do is that this kind of behavior, be it with your clients, your employees or your future employees spreads quite quickly. And the little student who you show disdain for may know some more students. And these students may know some people who used to be students, but now write a blog about getting into advertising. And maybe the guy who writes a blog about getting into advertising thinks that maybe this year, you don't deserve to get the best people, because as his dad often tells him "You get what you put in". And it doesn't seem like you're putting that much in this year.
"Power to the people, right on"
This is our 100th post. Quite fitting given the subject I think. Thanks for sticking with us.