What’s scarier … Halloween, or recruiting?

October 23, 2014

Graduate recruitment. What a horror show. I studied marketing in the country’s ‘top’ university for four years, and I came out of there not knowing that my current job exists. I can’t even claim that I had presumed it all happened within a full service advertising agency either; I’m saying that I’m not sure I could swear that I had ever wondered what happened between the Don Draper bit and the ad appearing on TV.

How on earth can that have happened? How is it still happening? I met a class of final year marketing students last year. When talking them through the role of a media agency, it was pretty clear that I was delivering brand, spanking new news.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Career guidance in schools is woefully under-funded. Same at college.  But what about the students? By the end of college, shouldn’t they have sought out this information for themselves?

Why don’t they? They answer is, they know they don’t need to. They know that we, like most industries, hire on potential; personality, record of achievement, proven relevant skills (tough enough with grads) and a fair degree of gut feel.

This all rose to top of mind again today when I saw this video doing the rounds:

This grad is being lauded for having the initiative to put this video together and get it to people who might be able to give him a job. In it he says “If you’re a marketing, a HR manager and you work for a marketing, advertising firm, then I’m interested”. I’m not sure he could have been any less specific. All this tells me is that he thinks that marketing and advertising are the same thing.

This is, of course, hypocritical. I’ve already said that I was just as ignorant myself. But I don’t think we can accept that any longer; with the amount of information available now, grads should be coming to us with a decent understanding of what we do; at least enough of an understanding to have a list of questions as long as their arm.

We work in a bloody brilliant industry; and we’re all vying to make it better, day by day. Graduate applicants should be dying to prove to us why they want to get stuck in.



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