How to... hire a unicorn
From old-school postcards to engagement by text, Harry Bernstein, Chief Creative Officer at Havas New York, has a few ideas on how agencies can attract top talent by shaking up the usual processes.
Between headhunters, social media, Linkedin, job sites and family members recommending candidates, there is no barrier to finding people to interview.
Just as we are all connected in our social lives, we are all connected in our work lives. But how then with limitless candidates and people to meet can you find the right person you need? My philosophy is to find ways to attract the true talent and then challenge them to express who they are.
Instead of paper resumes and email exchanges, shake up engagement and while you’re at it, consider democratising the process.
Change the Process
I started my career as an intern and take internships very seriously. I truly believe an agency is only as good as its interns—they are the future, the next wave of talent. Agencies should begin with rethinking their approach to hiring, just as an agency takes a step back during the creative process to asks itself, “is there a different way we can do this?”
ABOVE: Harry Bernstein, CCO, Havas New York
Text to Apply
Instead of paper resumes and email exchanges, shake up engagement and while you’re at it, consider democratising the process to give talent from all walks of life the opportunity to work at an agency.
I took a risk and it paid off. In 2018, after pasting my cell number on ads in New York City and on 14 college campuses around the country, urging aspiring ad pros to text me directly for a shot at an agency internship this summer, we hired 40 interns from over 2,000 text exchanges.
Instead of trying to sell one’s self, we invited people to tell us about the world that they want to create.
I received texts from candidates from all backgrounds—fashion, music, photography, art, etc.—and they brought to Havas a different point of view and thinking to our work. Thinking outside the box will not only help your agency stand out at as a cool place to intern, but also uncover remarkable talent who bring great ideas to the organisation.
It’s important to think about how the people you’re recruiting communicate on a daily basis to engage and attract them to your company. Get on their level and start talking on different platforms, such as text.
Last year, we asked former interns to share thinking around how candidates should apply. We then formed the concept around that idea of expressing yourself. Recruits has to share their passions and their aspirations in a text.
This approach also aligned with my leadership style. I’m open and direct and lead through accessibility. This style is similar to the younger workforce who values transparency, is highly connected and communicates across many social platforms, and texts day in and day out.
The Best Idea Wins
This year, we asked candidates to fill out a postcard. Instead of trying to sell one’s self, we invited people to tell us about the world that they want to create. It is similar to last year’s theme, but instead of coming up with a list of ideas to change the world, it’s up to each individual to think a little more deeply about envisioning a better world.
The idea is that as an agency that strives to create meaningful work, you must always be in search of a better way than understanding how the future generation of creatives sees the world.