Agency Recruiters Still Don’t Seem to Understand This Whole ‘Diversity’ Thing

By Patrick Coffee 

Everyone who works in advertising—and quite a few people who don’t—has heard something about the industry’s diversity problem. Clients want staffers who can better sell stuff to a public that is diversifying by the day, agencies want their internal teams to better represent that reality for new business purposes … you know all of this.

But people still can’t seem to avoid doing the very things they’re not supposed to do. Take, for example, this recent LinkedIn job post from an experienced creative recruiter who works for a fairly well-established agency in one of our country’s largest cities.



There are several things wrong with the post, first being the insinuation that only Hispanic people can “understand the Cuban culture.” This statement very roughly translates to “We want to hire someone who speaks fluent Spanish,” and there are plenty of people who qualify. Some of them may not even be Hispanic!

Going out on a rhetorical limb here, we have to believe there are some copywriters around who speak Spanish, know a good bit about Cuban culture and responded to the tone-deaf description above with a hard eye roll.

The fact that the recruiter chose to write HISPANIC in all-caps also implies that the agency will only consider candidates of Hispanic origin for this job. That would seem to directly contradict Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”

Maybe next time the agency should just ask for someone who has watched every Bourdain episode set in Cuba.