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2016-10-19

What does our generation want from an employer?

We asked that question to three UK creatives, including Sink The Pink co-founder Amy Redmond, as a new campaign to help regulate the job application process launches

Tuition fees keep rising and rental prices refuse to drop; UK unemployment rates may be falling, but many of us are easily lured into jobs we hate just to pay rent and have enough change for the occasional night out. Heineken is looking to change this. The company’s ‘Go Places’ campaign aims to redefine the vague job descriptions and never-ending interview process we’ve come to know and loathe by offering a series of online suitability tests and taking an attitude of unprecedented transparency.

The idea is to find candidates suitable not only on paper but in terms of personality as well. At the heart of the campaign is a 12 step test which seeks to create a profile to be kept in mind when searching for and applying for job roles. In the words of Heineken, the campaign not only offers unprecedented access to existing employees but shows the ways that employers must modify their recruitment process to ensure their values are in line with the need of applicants – “Employers need to go further to appeal to a generation of millennials who are looking for brands to show they are connected to the things they care about,” says Gianluca Di Tondo, Heineken’s senior global brand director.

“Employers need to go further to appeal to a generation of millennials who are looking for brands to show they are connected to the things they care about” – Gianluca Di Tondo, Heineken’s senior global brand director

It’s an initiative revelatory of modern times; the role of employers, employees and the workplace itself is shifting quickly. Amy Redmond, Sink the Pink’s co-founder, is well aware of this. While developing what would later become a jewel in the UK queer scene, she worked several jobs at a time to support her dreams. Now, when hiring at creative agency ECA, she remembers her own experiences and uses them as a reminder to ensure flexibility for her collaborators. “We’re very open to working around schedules”, she explains. “If the person is right for the job, it’s up to them. Being excited and passionate about the job is all that counts.”

Crucially, the concept of employment has been shifting drastically since companies largely moved their presence online. The result is a strengthening freelance economy which forces brands including Heineken to rethink the ways in which they can attract candidates. Still, freelancing does have its difficulties – a fact attested to by Australian photographer and writer Jonno Revanche, who contributes internationally to a host of international publications. “Your geographical location is still a big decider of your validity”, they admit. “I’ve seen the inside of lots of creative jobs which often aren’t as supportive and fantastical as they might seem. It’s a cliché to call it an illusion, but it has to be maintained for a reason.”

The one bonus of freelance work is the lack of emphasis on formal qualification still prevalent in the job market but, by shifting emphasis towards personality and away from professional experience, Heineken’s recruitment process actually opens up the market to a new generation. According to NY-based creative polymath Johnny Casanova, formal education isn’t always the key to success: “Our generation has been conditioned to believe that a university education was the guaranteed propeller to success, but that’s just not true anymore,” he admits, before again honing on creative industries as a key example. The overall message is encouraging – employers are finally redefining their goalposts and introducing innovation to the recruitment process, therefore opening up the creative industries to a new, ambitious generation.