Interview with HireMinds Recruiter and Diversity Advocate Scott White

Scott WhiteQ: Hello Scott. Could you tell us a little about yourself and your role at HireMinds?

A: From Monday through Friday I am search director with HireMinds in Cambridge.  I work with companies throughout metro Boston – from start-ups just launching innovative products and services to more established Fortune 100 companies.  I’m always on the hunt for the most-sought after candidates – leaders in digital marketing, ecommerce, PR and communications, account services and design.  It’s a great job.  The best part of what I do is making the match – when my client hires one of my candidates.  We all win!

Outside of work, I live with my partner of 13 years in the South End.  I’m learning how to cultivate a roof-deck garden without killing my plants and have taken some cooking classes and have mastered the pressure cooker.  And I spend a lot of time volunteering for the Point Foundation – more on that later!

Q: It appears there’s been a boom in hiring in Boston lately. How does Boston differ in terms of digital talent from year’s past?

A: We’ve seen a huge uptick in hiring, year-over-year.  Our clients are looking for very specific skillsets and in most cases, are looking to hire candidates who have deep experience from their industries. 

Q: What are the skills being sought out by potential communications and marketing employers right now?

A: We continue to look for candidates who have experience in search (paid and organic), e-commerce (acquisition and conversion), web and marketing analytics, account service, business development, marketing leadership, product management and product marketing, etc.

Q: Boston is arguably one of the most wired cities on the East Coast. Some even compare Boston (Cambridge) to Silicon Valley. Can you comment on that?

A: Funny you make that comparison.  Because so many of our clients have a strong presence in both locations, we opened an office in the Bay Area last year, which is led by a long-term HireMinds employee.

Q: How has diversity played a role in talent and recruitment?

A: Our clients always appreciate a diverse slate of candidates.

Q: HireMinds leverages digital media to find and engage with potential talent and employers. Can you tell us a bit about that?

A: Our search consultants actively use social medial tools to source new candidates.  LinkedIn is fantastic and most of us have connected with star candidates using tools like Facebook, Twitter and specific ones designed for the recruitment industry.  Nothing replaces old-fashioned networking though!

Q: Where does your involvement with Point Foundation come in?  

A: Being involved in the community is very important to me personally.  After having been a Big Brother for more than seven years, I became involved with Point, first as a Mentor to a local scholar and now on the Regional Board of Directors.  Point Foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society.  http://www.pointfoundation.org

Through my involvement, I have made fantastic business contacts and met strong candidates, too.  My employer has been supportive of my involvement in terms of me being able to take time off to volunteer and financially supporting the organization.

Q: What advice would you give to job-seekers in terms of their digital or diversity profile?

A: Whatever you put on your LinkedIn profile or on your Facebook wall is in the public domain.  If you write a blog post or comment on someone else’s posting, a prospective employer and/or recruiter will likely read it.  Think carefully about your posts, be it a personal or professional venue.

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My Duality is my Reality: Insights Into the Hispanic Market

Hispanic Influence

Did you know that the Hispanic culture accounts for 95% of teen population growth? How about the fact that 1 out of every 4 babies born in 2012 will be Hispanic? Or that in terms of spending power, the US Hispanic population would be the 15th largest economy in the world?

These stats come from The ‘New American Reality,’ a powerful YouTube video from Univision which highlights key insights and quantitative data surrounding one of the fastest growing communities in the US. Insights like ‘I move easily between two worlds’ coupled with statistics (1 out of 6 people in the US are Hispanic) deliver a video I’d argue is critical to anyone looking to augment their marketing strategy for 2012.

How Hispanics Use Social media

Erik Sass of MediaPost wrote a compelling piece on how the Hispanic culture uses social media. Social media tops the list while sharing information is generally not preferred. Media-rich social networks like Facebook, YouTube and Google+ are popular and brands like Hallmark, Verizon and Nestle are heralded as companies with robust research into this market.

Eric spotlights a uSamp survey:

There’s no question the online Hispanics surveyed by uSamp hold an edge in social media adoption: 90% of respondents are on Facebook, compared to 81% of the general online population. Meanwhile 57% of Hispanics use YouTube, compared to 46% of non-Hispanics. Interestingly 47% of online Hispanics say they use Google+ compared to just 18% for the general online population.

But as noted, Hispanics are also more cautious about sharing personal information via social media: just 65% of those surveyed said they are willing to share their names, compared with 87.1% of non-Hispanics, and only 43% of Hispanics said they are prepared to post their relationship status, compared with 74% of the general population.

The full article can be found here.
Watch the video. Read about the uSamp survey and step away from the phalanx of marketers slapping ‘diversity’ labels to marketing programs.Contact Univision. Contact Hispanic bloggers. Reach out to local community organisations and glean as much insight as you can.
Then share that insight with your colleagues and make it the backdrop of your next brainstorm or client roundtable. It could be the most strategic decision you make this year.

Half of UK Employees View Diversity Programs As PR Stunts

Adecco Group recently revealed startling research surrounding employee perceptions of diversity programs in the UK. The research, gathered and distributed as part of their Unlocking Britain’s Potential campaign, sheds light on a growing disatisfaction among Britons when it comes to the way corporate cultures are promoted.

According to Addecco:

  • Almost half of UK workers think that employers’ diversity programs are “only designed to attract good PR”
  • 20% of UK workers suggest their industry does not directly promote itself to certain sections of society
  • A further fifth (22%) of employees say that a diverse workforce will not provide the skills required by their organisation

It used to be an organisation could stand back and accept accolates for even having a diverse-friendly culture. Today, that’s simply not the case. Are Britons overreacting or simply displaying an inate skepticism typical of their culture? Whatever the reason, it’s critical organisations closely scrutinize their diversity programs – and PR – to ensure they not only check the boxes, but lead by example whether they are a Fortune 500, FTSE, MSB or small-enterprise.

Don’t:

  • Label a diversity program as a cornerstone if it’s a ‘bolt-on’
  • Ignore criticism from the community (including your own staff)
  • Ignore off and online opportunities to raise awareness among diverse groups – is mainstream media coverage a smart objective?
  • Follow other traditional organisations if they aren’t leading by example

Do:

  • Memorise UK/International organisations on the Equity Index and follow their best-practices
  • Start with your staff, not your c-suite
  • Promote diverse staff from within to leadership levels (c-suite, comittees, etc.)
  • Revisit the policy – often and promote changes – often

According to the ONS (office of National Statistics), white Britons are a growing minority in the UK and it only takes a brief look at graduating university classes to recognize the overwhelmingly diverse talent entering the workforce. It’s crtitical organisations get this right, otherwise they’ll lose talent no amount of coverage can sustain.

Gay-Friendly Is Good For Business

‘Being gay-friendly is cheap and good for business’ says the Economist.

The recent article featured a list of well-known organisations boasting innovative gay-friendly corporate policies (e.g., American Express, Cisco, Dow Chemical. etc.) and highlighted the financial and social impact of an equality-friendly workplace.

Also explored were obstacles faced by employees and employers including the potential loss of talent and business.

According to the Economist, ‘Failing to treat gays equally is very likely to drive them to seek employment elsewhere. Since they are perhaps 5-10% of the global talent pool, bigotry makes a firm less competitive.’

Whether you’re a CEO or small business owner, belong to the LGBT community or not, this statistic begs the question: Does your organisation promote an equality-friendly workplace?  Is it synchronous with the corporate culture you sell to clients and shareholders? If not, chances are you’ve lost talent and new business.

Take a page from innovators in the space.

The Human Rights Campaign CEI report, released each fall, provides an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. The 2012 report awarded 190 businesses a 100% score – a massive improvement to the 13 organisations in 2000. These are the organisations worth studying – many of which are Fortune 500 companies. Some on the list may surprise you.

More organisations are exploring ways to promote their corporate culture. Studies show that a happier workplace is a more productive one. An equality-friendly corporate policy can be an invaluable recruitment tool for new hires and new business not to mention boosts morale.

If your clients, distributors or partners are on this list, congratulate them as they are part of a growing group of equality-innovators (it’s shocking to think equality is innovative).

Get familiar with your own corporate policy and that of your clients. Explore ways to augment and promote them both internally and externally. This could lead to incremental or new business opportunities. Plus, chances are you’ll be helping impact the hundreds — event thousands of staff send a powerful message to competitors and legislators – and rise above the din.

The Power of Trust Among Niche Audiences: JC Penny & Ellen

JC Penny is a brand I grew up with in the US and one I’ve always associated with excellent customer service and quality. But until last week, I’d never associated it as a brand with similar ‘values’. JC Penny recently hired Ellen Degeneres as their official spokesperson, prompting conservative group One Million Moms to launch a petition calling for the boycott of JC Penny stores. Ellen responded by speaking about it on her show and posting online to her 9 million Twitter followers and on YouTube.

JC Penny addressed the issue head-on by publicly affirming their decision to hire Ellen as a spokesperson who according to JC Penny CEO Ron Jonson, ‘shares the same values that we do…treating people fare and squarely.’ In an interview with CBS This Morning, Jonson went on to say, ‘It’s not that common that companies use spokespeople, but if you can find that exact right person, we thought it would be great. We thought Ellen would be the perfect person because we all sort of trust her.’

Organisations don’t often hire openly gay spokespeople perhaps because it’s still seen as ‘too risky’. This is an argument One Million Moms hopes to strengthen. However, the millions who have shown their support through tweets, video views and letters – and more importantly offline action show otherwise.

Support for Ellen and JC Penny came quickly from LGBT and straight communities who leveraged social media to gather and drive offline action. This included a group of bloggers who organised local ‘shop-in’ events, a Gay Day and LGBT flashmob in New York City and Facebook groups where many posted their recent JC Penny purchases in support of the brand.

JC Penny may have lost a few moms, but they gained an army of enthusiastic and loyal new customers who now trust and believe in the brand. In a recession, brand trust is gold dust and in the case of JC Penny can give them buoyancy as customers renew their patronage or choose to visit for the first time. Benefits of which will be felt long after the next firesale.

Infographic: Majority of Community Managers Are Women

For years, Public Relations has been regarded as a female-dominated field. Will the same be said about community management? Take the compelling infographic from Social Fresh’s 2012 Community Manager Report.

‘Among the findings: 65 percent of community managers are female, and the average age is 30.’

The statistics begs the question:
– Is this simply a byproduct of a female dominated industry or representative of the growing power of mom, aka the ‘chief household officer’ and brands vying for her attention?

Peer influence remains a critical factor in determining how we behave online, where we gather and ultimately who we trust. We naturally congregate toward people like us who share a similar background or experience. Is this ‘casting’ conscious or a result of the most qualified candidates from a largely female applicant pool? Only future research will tell.

Watch this space.

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See the full piece here: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/10634.aspx

ESRC ‘Britain in 2012’ Reveals Ethnically Diverse UK

Britain in 2012Each year, the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) publishes an annual magazine touting the latest UK statistical data. The 122-page Britain in 2012 hefts a phalanx of research findings and thought-pieces on an equally impressive range of topics from green tech and higher education to ethnic society and ageing. Tucked throughout is proof of a rapidly-changing and diverse UK. Below is a snapshot of some of the more salient socioeconomic data I encourage you to memorise and share with colleagues and clients. What does this data mean for you or your clients five, ten or twenty years from now?

Britain in 2012 Key Findings:

– ‘People from ethnic minorities tend to be younger than whites.** In 2009, nearly 50% of those who are mixed race were 15 or younger. Whites are the most likely to be over the age of 65.’
– Asian, Black Caribbean and Indian make up huge majorities of the population aged 45-64 and 25-44
Source: ONS General Lifestyle Survey

– ‘11.3% of the UK population was born abroad compared to 12.3% for the US’
Source: OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development):

– ‘Provisionally, there were a total of 6,281 civil partnership in the UK registered in 2009, a fall of 12.4% the previous year.’
Source: ONS, General Register office for Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

– ‘The gender pay gap in the UK in 2008 was the fifth largest in the OECD at 21% of male median earnings’
Source: OECD

– The top three female dominated fields in order are: admin and secretarial, associate/professional and financial, personal services
– The top three male dominated fields in the same study are: managers and senior officials, skilled traders and professional occupations
Source: ONS Labour Force Survey

This is just a fraction of what’s available in BI2012. It’s still available on some UK newsstands, or via the website: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/publications/britain-in/index.aspx. If you haven’t ordered it yet, do so as this will be one of our cubicle must-have resources for the coming year. Let the musings fly.

** Please note: ethnic groups including ‘white,’ ‘asian’ and ‘black’ are not necessarily interchangeable with their US counterparts. Please refer to these as British ethnic groups if using the data.