Siimee (pronounced ‘See-Me’) is a Los Angeles-based technology startup and social impact company that was founded to recreate the way corporate America recruits and hires. The founders’ vision was to change how common algorithmic applicant tracking systems are used and build a new system that removes inherent biases using a combination of engineered technology and training.
Like many startups, Siimee’s objectives were to secure buzz about its mission as well as the investment it needed to further develop its reputation and product. KSC began with extensive research. We interviewed the founders at length and combed media for current stories and trends, looking for angles and hooks that had not been considered. We discovered that the primary founder, Rhett Lindsey, had a compelling personal story that led to the creation of Siimee and tied into national conversations around diversity, inclusion, and the persistent lack of Black and underrepresented people in management positions–particularly in tech. We also knew of several journalists at top-tier outlets who reported routinely and even exclusively on these issues.
Lindsey agreed to share his story and we provided him with intensive media training. We then developed a strong pitch and strategy, using our matchmaking process to go to specific reporters in a pre-determined order. Interest was nearly immediate. We received responses from Courtney Connley at CNBC and Elizabeth Dwoskin at the Washington Post, who expressed interest in an exclusive feature. We worked closely with Dwoskin and her team for over two weeks as they wrote the story, checked facts, and coordinated a photographer. We also juggled the exclusive with CNBC, ensuring that we would get appropriate coverage from both outlets without violating the terms of the exclusive and alienating contacts.
The Washington Post story broke on April 6, 2021. It was followed by a long-lead story on CNBC and a broadcast exclusive with CBS This Morning with correspondent Jericka Duncan. We continued to pitch and more top-tier placements followed. We successfully pivoted the founder’s story into a thought leader position for Lindsey on the topics of recruiting and D&I, which helped him gain recognition from Forbes and subsequent inclusion on its Forbes Next 1000 list for 2021.
Since the Washington Post article broke, stories have run in numerous publications.
Washington Post: A recruiter joined Facebook to help it meet its diversity targets. He says its hiring practices hurt people of color.
CNBC: How corporate America is failing Black employees
CBS News This Morning: Former Facebook employee describes problematic work environment that he says encourages hiring bias
Fast Company: 1 year, $3.8 Billion Later: How 2020’s Race Reckoning Shook up Big Tech
Business Insider: Facebook did not hire Black employees because they were not a ‘culture fit,’ report says
The Hill: Ex-Facebook recruiter speaks out about ‘a problematic system’ that fails to deliver diverse talent
Yahoo! News: Former Facebook employee describes problematic work environment that he says encourages hiring bias
Voyage LA: Inspiring Conversations with Rhett Lindsey of Siimee