Multicultural ad pros are in demand, presenting unique recruiting challenges


Multicultural ad pros are in demand, presenting unique recruiting challenges


With multicultural marketing becoming ever more prevalent, agencies are on the prowl for the best talent around. But agencies are also insistent on a level of authenticity, which can bring up delicate issues.

"In a consumer-focused business like advertising, diversity and demographic expertise matter," said Raquel Sanabia, Multicultural Recruiter at Talent Zoo, an Atlanta-based advertising and marketing recruitment firm.

"Agencies sometimes ask me if a candidate fits the demographic of the client’s target audience when they’re looking to fill a position that involves face-to-face meetings with their clients,” Sanabia said. “Many of these requests are coming from the marketers themselves. They want the people who work on their ad account to be the consumers they’re trying to reach."

According to Marcy Wellings, an Atlanta-based employment attorney, "Legally, an employer or staffing agency is not allowed to inquire into, or base any employment decision, on race or gender. An employer must be very careful in scheduling interviews. If a candidate thinks they were not selected because of race or gender, no matter the reason, that employer can face discrimination charges. In a society that is highly sensitive to discrimination based on race and gender, it is extremely difficult for personnel agencies to tailor searches to the requests of their employer clients."

"Because we can not legally ask questions with regard to ethnicity, age, or gender, we often have to determine a candidate's viability for a specific position by what they offer up on their resume," Sanabia said.

Resumes, however, do not always give an indication of whether a candidate fits the needs of the position. For job seekers who want to emphasize their bilingual skills, their heritage, or unique understanding of an ethnic market, Sanabia said that candidates should “tip their hand” by specifying those qualities in a resume. This could involve listing certain affiliations or previous client experience. Additionally, jobseekers can use words like "urban," which can also suggest experience with younger consumers, another in-demand niche market.

More than ever, marketers are looking for a certain level of genuine credibility. Would a roomful of clients be more attentive to an agency's recommendations if given by someone with a similar background? In today’s fierce business climate, ad agencies and firms like Talent Zoo have to ask themselves those tough questions when recruiting ad talent.

"The clients are expecting the agencies to fully understand the nuances of the marketplace, so in turn agencies ask us to present them with those candidates," Sanabia said. "Agencies are sometimes very specific about what they want. The bottom line is that no matter how good an agency’s research, insight or creative is, perception is everything."

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What, I can visit TalentZoo in general?

tzandie, you seem like a nice gal. Consider how spammy that sounded in it's context - your one and only front page post, when you've never once commented or participated in this community in any way, ends with a plug for another website. Not a "article was found here" direct link to anything specific that would be a typical blog-post way of directing people to the right spot, just a general site-plug.

Well, someone had to say it. Lets hope your next post has learned from it. Lets hope you have a next post (and comments) and aren't one of those hit-and-run people who come here only to plug their own stuff. It's getting too common.

Considering the fact that I have been reading this site FOREVER, and Talent Zoo publishes articles every week for the ad industry, I think I have shown incredible restraint in not posting anything else before. The fact is, I find this article fascinating and thought it might help others. PERIOD. Visit TalentZoo or don't...your choice. Just trying to be helpful.

Don't worry about Bill he just has a cranky way of saying things... He means simple that you should link to the article you are refering to. Like this: Multicultural Ad Pros Are In Demand, Presenting Unique Recruiting Challenges rather than the top page which changes every day. :). Also, we don't know that you have been reading forever since you don't have one single comment to your name ( I think that was his point anyway.. I'm kinda guessing).

As for the article, I thougt it was interesting (after all, I approved it) but one thing bugs me about this. Now that they are finally catching on and understanding you can't speak to a rainbow of people if the only voice you have is the white-male, they are still boxing people in. "Multicultural" means "ethnic" in some way, perhaps "Hispanic" in the United states. Right there lies the problem - there are so many billions of variations of people what needs to be looked at is individuals not ethnicity. All in my humble opinion of course. You can't fit me in a box, I lived on three different continents when I was growing up and have moved around the world since. But I do have the usual "diplomat kid" advantage of seeing what others miss in a new culture, because I've always had to understand and fit in - fast. You'd miss that if you interviewed me based on ethnicity alone.

Dabitch - I completely agree with what you are saying. That's why we are encouraging candidates to include information on their resume that would highlight their differences rather than the same old cookie-cutter skills. The fact is, the world will never change as fast as we want it to, and quoatas and stereotypes still exist. It's unfortunate but true. So, if candidates feel they have a unique or unusual perspective to offer, they should embrace and promote these skills rather than try to "fit in" with the rest. I do understand what you are saying, too, about putting people in the "ethnic" box, but the world is still to small to just see people as people. These multicultural candidates now have opportunities in abundance that they did not 10 years ago. This may be viewed as good or bad, but these positions do exist, and someone's going to take advantage of might as well be the folks who a reading this right now.

it's definatly a step in the right direction. global ideas come from global people in this global world. ;)

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