Marketing Debuts: The Recruitment Process
2020 has been no ordinary year, that’s for sure.
I was furloughed back in March and an unpredictable few months followed, with widespread hiring freezes and a very slow recruitment market. Every week we saw new articles about the impact of COVID-19 on the job market and even more focusing on opportunities for under 25s.
It was devastating to read the stats on apprenticeships, internships and graduate schemes being pulled from under applicants’ feet at the last minute – taking a time that already seems almost impossible for many young people, and making it like trying to break into a steel door.
Even before COVID-19, the creative industry was known to be notoriously hard to break into without a relevant degree, without knowing someone in the industry or without being able to work for free. But this was magnified and even more so for underrepresented groups.
Returning from furlough to begin working on Marketing Debuts couldn’t have been a better way to spend the remainder of the catastrophic mess that was 2020. Working with leading agencies across London and Manchester to provide young people with not only opportunities when they need them most, but opportunities that will allow them to build an amazing career has been incredible.
We set out to do recruitment differently. We wanted to reach groups who previously wouldn’t be given such opportunities and who weren’t fully aware of the creative industry as a career option. We said ‘goodbye’ to the likes of LinkedIn jobs boards and Campaign and ‘hello’ to the gigantic pool of Indeed and Reed. We reached out to schools and colleges, local councils, low-social mobility charities and employability partners to get beyond our usual echo chambers.
We also wanted to steer our focus away from CVs. We challenged the need for agency experience and a degree and instead looked to understand motivation, work ethic and drive.
We set a task. We asked applicants to tell us about their favourite brand and something that brand did on social media that they loved. We left it open intentionally so we could see their creative thinking and their own spin on it.
I was blown away with many of the responses.
Fast forward through an initial interview and an assessment centre and it was time for our candidates to meet with agencies. Each agency had their own process and questions to ask – we supported candidates through and ensured they were well prepared and then it was an anxious wait to hear the feedback. At this stage I was as excited as the candidates themselves.
Receiving the first offer was a real highlight for me in what has been a horrendous year, but not even a dent on being able to ring the candidate and share the good news. Thanks to the agencies involved, this was something I got to do over and over again. I’ve been able to share their excitement and have almost been brought to tears with how much the opportunity means to them – I can’t wait to experience it all again with the next cohort.
All the stressful planning stages, back-to-back interviews and last-minute panics that COVID-19 was going to get the better of us have all been worth it to find our absolute gems and offer them a well-deserved career start.
Here’s to the January 21 cohort, the first ever of Marketing Debuts, but certainly not the last. Huge congratulations to Ayesha, Ahmed, Lois, Jane, Tavie, Scott, Jaimie, Sope, Nikita, Sophia & Devlin and a big thank you to our agencies, Wilderness, 33Seconds, Elvis, Leagas Delaney, Adam&EveDDB, Mando-Connect, Red Brick Road, Big Brand Ideas and Havas Lynx, for making this possible. Let’s see what the next 13 months have in store!