Matt Prohaska on the #ChangeStartsWithUs Pop-Up Job Fair

The faces at work are changing. To adapt, new workforce strategies must foster a more inclusive and agile recruitment process. That was the focus of the recent Advancing Diversity Honors #ChangeStartsWithUs Pop-Up Job Fair held in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show. Job candidates who typically couldn’t gain access to such participating companies as Oath, Facebook, Google, Viacom, AT&T AdWorks, Zappos, Caesars Entertainment, Jam City and Prohaska Consulting had brief meetings with representative and recruiters right on site. To help them prepare, the Jack Myers KnowledgeExchange hosted a portal on MediaVillage containing available job listings from all partners.

I met with Matt Prohaska (pictured at top), Chief Executive Officer and Principal at Prohaska Consulting, a market leader solving digital complexity for brands, agencies, publishers technology providers and investors, to see if the Job Fair yielded positive results.

Mary Ellen Holden: Why did you participate in the Advancing Diversity Job Fair?

Matt Prohaska: To find great new talent. I also want the industry to know that we are building a diverse workforce. Having serviced clients in 24 countries around the world with more than 100 people on our (virtual and literal) team, an inclusive workforce is central to our success. I am a big believer in the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which highlights inclusivity. We need to give underrepresented candidates a first look; if we don’t, we won’t ever see diversity of thought grow across our organization.

It was personally fulfilling to be recruiting among industry giants at an elite showcase during CES, where issues around diversity and inclusion were appropriately top of mind.

Holden: What does diversity mean to Prohaska Consulting?

Prohaska: Diversity is table stakes. It informs the way our team naturally operates. Studies show that creativity, employee morale, performance and quality output increase with an inclusive team. A well-rounded workforce enables us to function effectively with our global, multicultural client base. Frankly, it leads to better business because you have a better understanding of your clients. It’s a win all around.

Great events like this, where we get to network with a broad talent pool, drives it home. It was particularly special as we were simultaneously celebrating the leaders in our industry who have advanced this platform.

Holden: Did the Job Fair meet your expectations?

Prohaska: It exceeded them. We weren’t expecting such a large applicant pool and we didn’t think that they’d be as prepared as they were. To give you context, I created a job networking event series in 2001 after 9/11 and before LinkedIn and Meet Up. We sent available postings to candidates ahead of events as it enabled them to prepare for discussions. Candidly, until the Myers team did that I hadn’t seen that strategy employed since we did it 16 years ago. A little prep makes a big difference.

Holden: What was the interview process like?

Prohaska: Speed dating. We talked to 15 people in less than an hour. It’s all about finding the right fit. Our talent model is simple: we look for anyone who has the requisite skillset, makes the effort, has the right attitude and can meet our five core values of hustle, humor, humility, trust and transparency. It has nothing to do with what you look like, or how old you are, or what your sexuality is. We think that our philosophy is emblematic of the new global workforce. It was great to speak with a new crop of folks about our company — and our clients, as we recruit for many of them.

Holden: Have you conducted any follow-ups?

Prohaska: Yes. We haven’t extended any offers yet, but we do have a few candidates [with whom] we are continuing the recruitment process. We are also keeping in touch with several candidates that didn’t have an immediate fit as we are connectors of freelance and independent talent worldwide. Due in large part to our talent model, more than 100 people who have worked with us successfully moved on to other organizations.

Holden: Switching gears, is there one takeaway that you’d like to share from the Advancing Diversity Honors?

Prohaska: The common thread throughout the Awards ceremony was “courage of leadership.” Each speaker was infused with energy, passion and a strong belief in doing what’s right. They were doing the right thing because it was also right for their organization. Courage was evident across organizational ranks. Working together, a diverse team forms the pulse of organizations that “sing” well together.

Pictured above: Laura Gaffney, Vice President, Global Publisher and Business Development, Prohaska Consulting, speaking with a candidate at the Job Fair. Photo credit: Prohaska Consulting

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