Blog

Category: New Hires

At Dynamo we’ve always cared as much about how we work, as the work that we do.

Today we’re announcing a change in the way we recruit, which we believe takes a significant step in reducing unfair discrimination or bias in the application and assessment process.

This is not the first time we’ve sought to be different and do better.

Two years ago, in response to a survey showing there was a £10k pay gap between men and women, we took the step to publish our own #genderpaygap, and continue to do so every year.

By being open and honest about our data, ways in which to improve, and sharing our experiences publicly, we’ve tried to encourage companies of all sizes to take a hard look at their operations and end pay differentials due to people’s sex, which still exist in today’s workforce.

Our research, discussions and learnings from this are informing our new approach to recruitment.

Anyone who’s been involved in recruitment at volume will know there are many bulk filters companies use to make the process ‘manageable’, usually applied at the pressure point when it comes to splitting applications.

But many of these filters can actually reinforce unfair discrimination, and we want to reduce any bias that occurs at these points, whether intentional or otherwise.

That’s why, in recruiting for our latest member of staff, we’ve launched #blindrecruitment: a name-sex- and education blind application process.

Name- and sex-blind

Having a name- and sex-blind application is not new. The UK’s CBI has been recommending this for years, most recently with a report in 2016, but we believe that we’re one of the first PR companies to put this formally in place.

We’re doing this for the simple reason that whilst senior executives may be very clear that they do not discriminate, the evidence suggests otherwise, and that unconscious discrimination occurs frequently, and often.

Removing your name and sex simply means that no discrimination will be made based on what you’re called, or your gender, as these details can often imply sex, socioeconomic, or ethnic backgrounds.

Education-blind

But we believe just doing this doesn’t go far enough.

It’s still a common practice in companies to look at degree results, many using a 2:1 class degree as a minimum entry requirement – the degree being a proxy for ability, capability, and character.

But our direct experience has also shown this proxy doesn’t hold. We’ve hired amazing staff without degrees and without high school qualifications.

More worrying still, in our discussions with other agencies and trade bodies, it’s clear that there are many societal factors influencing whether you can actually get into university. This is backed up by recent news that shows that many of the UK’s top universities have an appalling record of accepting BAME candidates.

It’s clear that not everyone has the opportunity, and increasingly the money, available to go to University – and we’re also well aware that even if you do have a degree, this is no indication of whether you have drive, or excellent written and verbal communication skills, which is what we prize in Dynamo above all.

Taking out our own bias

So we’ve decided that, in looking for a new AE / SAE, we don’t want to know in your application whether you went to University, nor if you did attend, what degree you got. We also don’t want to know what school you went to, or any educational qualifications you’ve achieved. We don’t want to know your name, nor your sex. All we want to know is whether you have the skills, knowledge or aptitude for the job.

We of course can only go so far with this – though most of the application process is ‘blind’, the final stage before an offer is made will be an in-person interview. However even at this stage the interview panel will be as diverse as we’re able to provide, in both age, sex and background.

Sharing our work

We’re well aware that there’s always more to do, always more to learn, and always more ways to improve. So like all the things we do at Dynamo, we very much want this to be a conversation and debate starter.

In launching our latest recruitment drive we have consulted widely outside our own organisation, notably with the PRCA, our trade body who in the last year has taken  extremely positive steps in ensuring good governance in PR organisations, as well as the Taylor Bennett Foundation, who tirelessly work to address the need for greater diversity in the public relations industry.

We welcome all feedback, so feel free to comment, tweet or post using #blindrecruitment or do contact us if you’d like to know more. If you’re interested in applying for a job, or know someone who is, then you can apply .

 

Paul Cockerton
Paul Cockerton
Categories: General, New Hires

Oh, hello! I’m Stef, one of the Account Executives at Dynamo and I’m here to tell you a bit about how I ended up in PR.

Growing up in Romania, most of my school years were spent focusing on maths and science. However, as much as I enjoyed the structure and logic behind those subjects, I never really felt like they would turn into career options for me. From an early age, my biggest side passions were reading and learning English, so I tried to find ways to incorporate that into my future job. Step one was deciding as early as year nine that I would go to university in the UK and then spending the next couple of years slowly wearing my parents down with arguments and other people’s success stories until they allowed – even encouraged – me to do so.

Step two was deciding on what course I would pursue, a decision I wish I could say was a result of thoughtful research and introspection. It was not. I spent year nine as part of a team organising a local theatre festival, in their media and communication division, which was tasked with promoting the event in the local press. I loved every minute of the experience, but the deciding moment that made me see this as a career option was an enthusiastically organised press conference, where no journalists showed up. Amidst the obvious disappointment, I found myself wanting to understand where we went wrong in our communication with the press and curious about the inner workings of the media. And the rest is history!

Step three was starting my Communications and Media degree at the University of Leeds, where I got my first contact with the immensely varied field of communications. I spent the following three years trying to sample as much of it as possible, both academically and professionally, through various part-time jobs in the University Press Office or market research agencies (yes, for a while, I was one of those people calling you for feedback on your most recent purchase). With a degree and some experience under my belt, I found a job in corporate communications and public affairs, where I was lucky enough to feel like I was receiving a second education in communications due to the sheer volume and variety of skills and responsibilities involved.

Remember when I mentioned my big passions as a kid were reading and learning English? This may come as a shock, but I loved learning and school in general, which has continued into adulthood. After a year and a half in my corporate communications job, I decided I wanted to understand more about the three main areas of communications that interested me the most, which lead on to step four: a Master’s Degree in Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing at Goldsmiths, University of London. It was an intense but brilliantly challenging year, followed by an equally brilliant internship where I got to work on one of the best tech conferences around, TechCrunch Disrupt.

After that, joining Dynamo and coming into tech PR felt like a natural (fifth) step for me. Six months later, I am amazed by the amount I’ve learned already and how much there is still left to do in the future. In fact, these are the key reasons why I enjoy working in PR – the variety and fast pace of the job which guarantees that no two days will look the same, whilst safe in the knowledge that there will always be something new to learn.

stefanie.ailioaie
Categories: Culture, General, New Hires

Hi, I’m Dan and I’m the new hire here at Dynamo. I’m taking over the blog this week to tell you a little bit about how I made my journey to PR.

Like any good origin story, my journey to Dynamo starts way back when I was a kid. I’ve been crazy about all things techy since day one – in fact, one of my earliest memories involves bugging my dad to let me play on his IBM Thinkpad. It was actually his work computer, so there wasn’t much in terms of games, but I remember being thrilled to go on Netscape and mess around on Yahooligans – a big shout out to anyone who remembers or used this! This interest in technology never really faded as I grew up, in fact, it’s probably gotten worse the older I’ve gotten; now that I’ve actually got disposable income to spend on gadgets and gizmos.

When I turned 17, I started my very own website reviewing video games. Whilst I’d love to say it was because I wanted to develop my skills as a writer, the more honest reason is that I wanted free games and figured this would be a good way of getting them (it was)! I taught myself HTML, CSS and very basic PHP, then I used WordPress as a backend and I grew that site from just me and a couple mates blogging to a volunteer team of 20 with a readership of about 50,000 people every month.

After I got my offer to study English and American Studies at university, I decided to shut down the website. I realised I wanted to spend my free time doing something that didn’t involve being sat in my room constantly, and I ended up spending a lot of time helping run a theatre. After university ended, I found myself working for a digital marketing firm in Nottingham. I missed writing a lot, especially about technology, so I applied for a job here at Dynamo after seeing Nick Morey tweet about the opening (who I had met 5 years earlier thanks to my website!)

After a telephone interview, I was invited in to interview with Peter. I was amazed that we spent most the interview talking about my website and current tech trends. Unlike other interviews, Peter didn’t really seem to care about my degree all that much, he was much more interested in what I had done in my spare time. We then chatted about where we thought the VR industry was heading and he offered me an internship on the spot.

The internship was really useful for getting a handle on the basics of PR. I completed press lists, helped with admin and just generally provided support to a number of accounts. I was given enough responsibility so that I was challenged, but I never felt like I was being put out of my depth. A few weeks after the internship finished, Dynamo offered me a job as a Junior Account Exec! It’s been great because I’ve been able to use my previous experience in digital marketing in my approach to PR, meaning that I’m bringing something different to the team. I also still know a fair few people who are still in the video game journalism industry, thanks to my website, which is also incredibly useful for making sure I reach out to the right people!

Joining Dynamo has allowed me to combine a lot of my passions into one job, and it’s pretty easy to see how everything I’ve done has helped me make the jump into the world of PR. Although it wasn’t something I originally thought about going into, there are so many bits that tie into my previous experiences, it’s a natural fit. If you’re thinking about going into PR, I’d absolutely say go for it. I was a little worried before starting about not having much experience in the industry, but Dynamo are always on the lookout for someone who can bring something different to the table too.

Arun Lloyd
Arun Lloyd
Categories: New Hires

After over a year’s worth of planning, structuring, form-filling, preparation, site visits, meetings, and everything in between, Dynamo is ready to welcome its new little sister – and she has a sunny Californian accent.

With US native Heather and myself making the move from London, Dynamo will be opening its brand new offices at GSVlabs in the gorgeous Redwood City, California. This puts Dynamo in the heart of Silicon Valley; which seems fitting, given our clients, experience, and expertise with tech start-ups.

GSVlabs, our new home, is about 25 minutes south of San Francisco, and prides itself on being a campus of global innovation, hosting tech entrepreneurs, acceleration programs, and key industry events. We couldn’t really have asked for something more ideal!

The US expansion has been a long time coming for Dynamo. We’ve always adopted a Silicon Valley mentality here, with the company operating in a style more akin to Google than what you would see in a typical UK office, albeit with our own quirks. We pride ourselves on creativity, innovation, drive, charisma, and getting the best results, and we see the ‘Dynamo way’ of doing things as key to the success of this extension.

This move is of huge benefit to our clients too. We work with so many companies in the US, so to have a team on the ground here is a no-brainer. Also, we pride ourselves on the fact that Dynamo has become a centre of excellence for crowdfunding, which is an area dominated by innovative West-Coast start-ups. Now we get the added bonus of more face time!

Everyone in the office is excited about this. Heather is from the Bay Area, she’s been back and forth between Cali and London for months now getting this all set up. The fact that she gets to be settled, amongst journalists and companies she has befriended over the years must be a joyous feeling. I’m excited to be taking up a new challenge, and putting my PR skills to the test in a different environment – as well as getting to meet all the people I’ve been mostly on email and phone with for so long. The team is excited – they’ll have somewhere to visit, and it means extra support for clients in different time zones. It really is win-win all round.

The next few months promise to be exciting for Dynamo, so we’ll be sure to check in with y’all with a progress report.

(Although I did promise my mum I wouldn’t start saying “y’all”).

It’s that time of year again where we wish total strangers happy 2015, usually for a week or two longer than usual.

At Dynamo we wanted to introduce you to our brand new look – our website has been completely updated with a stunning design to kick-off the new year. We have expanded our team and office by knocking down another wall over Christmas and building a smart new meeting room. We have loads of new members of staff and are also on the look-out for new stars – check out our job advert on PRWeek.com.

Dynamo won more campaign awards in the PRWeek’s than any other agency in 2013, was declared PRWeek’s small agency of the year in 2014 and, in 2015, goes from strength to strength. Over Christmas we’ve worked with Yelp to find the seven chimneys Santa should visit (Mirror coverage here), worked out who’s the weaker sex when it comes to mistletoe for Twoo (Metro coverage here) and, today, have launched 3Doodler 2.0 – already raising £250,000 in crowdfunding in just one day.

Although we’re only five days into the new year, we’re already in the middle of a number of exciting campaigns, with senior team members launching some exciting new products at CES in Las Vegas this week. If you want to work with us, or for us, please let us know and if not please let others know. Otherwise, let us just wish you the best of health, wealth and happiness for 2015.

Peter Bowles
Peter Bowles

Daria has a strong background in technology and video games, having worked on a wide range of clients, including Samsung, Activision and Pinterest, With PR experience both in-house and working for an agency, she has insight into the wide landscape of the communications discipline. Additionally Daria is fluent in four languages which she utilises for relations with media spanning beyond the UK.

Dynamo Team
Dynamo Team
Categories: New Hires

Alexis Dalrymple joins Dynamo PR with 15 years experience of spearheading strategy and communications for B2C and B2B mobile and technology brands, with extensive skills in media planning, analyst relations, crisis management and executive coaching. Previous clients have included O2, BlackBerry, EMC, Nokia and Infosys.

Dynamo Team
Dynamo Team
Categories: New Hires

As an Ex-Apple Genius, Will brings a range of technical knowledge to Dynamo, whilst insisting he is still tech agnostic. At university Will studied his passion, Music & Audio Technology and brings these strong multimedia skills to the online media space. Will has experience with a range of consumer and mobile clients including HTC, SwiftKey and WildTangent.

Dynamo Team
Dynamo Team
Categories: New Hires