Delight a Job Seeker (and Support the #BEconomy) with these Black Friday BCorp Picks

Is there a job seeker on your holiday shopping list this year? If you’re stumped on what to get them, your search is about to get a whole lot easier. We’ve compiled a list of some favourite thoughtful items that may come in handy during their job search, but that’s not all. Every gift suggestion you’ll find in the list below is made by a company that is, like Ian Martin, a certified B Corporation. That means they’ve been independently audited and meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. B Corps aren’t just in for the bottom line –  they see business as a force for good in this world. B Corp companies compete to be the best FOR the world, the people living in it, and the natural environment. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #1: A Great Work Bag 

For new grads, making the transition from lecture hall to boardroom can be tricky. Help them update their style with a classic bag that means business. 

Our suggestion: The Slim Briefcase by LeDaveed 

LeDaveed bags are made in Canada with Nixburg Bullskin full-grain German leather, which is durable, waterproof, and uses 80% less water than the average leather to create.  This classic briefcase is an investment piece, but they will use it for years to come. The bag was designed based on detailed feedback from 200 on-the-go professionals, resulting in an array of unique features. 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #2: A Classic and Comfortable Pair of Well-made Shoes 

There’s nothing that detracts style points from a new interview outfit faster than a pair of scuffed-up old shoes. Ensure they’re dressed for success from head to toe with a quality pair of shoes. 

Our suggestion: Nisolo is a direct-to-consumer shoe company that makes contemporary classics that transition effortlessly from work to play. The James Oxford is a great choice for women and the Luca Chukka Boot is a versatile choice for men. The skilled shoemakers who produce these shoes receive, at a minimum, beyond fair trade wages, healthcare, and a healthy working environment.  


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #3A High-quality Dress Shirt 

A classic white dress shirt is a job interview staple that deserves a space in everyone’s closet, whether they’re currently looking for work or not. 

Our suggestion: 

Tuckerman & Co.’s dress shirts are made with 100% GOTS-certified cotton, the gold standard for organic cotton. They also have thoughtful design details like non-toxic canvas interlining to help collars and cuffs keep their shape, real mother of pearl buttons and a slightly raised hem, so shirts looks good whether tucked in or untucked. The Men’s White Twill and Women’s White Twill are both timeless choices. 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #4A Caffeine Upgrade 

Whether they’re burning the midnight oil perfecting their resume or setting out early in the morning for a job interview, a great cup of coffee will be well appreciated.  

Our suggestion: 

Ethical Bean is a Canadian coffee company that has set a goal to compete with the world’s biggest growers and roasters on quality and taste, but only with fair trade, organically grown beans. Their Sample 6 Pack includes enough coffee to make three pots each of both their Lush Medium-Dark Roast and Classic Medium Roast. 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #5A Recommended Reading Collection 

In case their job search has left them feeling in need of a little inspiration, give them some reading material to remind them that it’s possible to have a great career and make the planet a better place at the same time.  

Our suggestion: 

Patagonia’s Business Library is a collection of three books that offers over 40 years of business wisdom, strategies, and practices from a company that was viewing itself as a shareholder of the planet long before it was cool. In Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of Patagonia, offers insight into the persistence and courage that have gone into leading one of the world’s most respected and environmentally responsible companies. Tools for Grassroots Activists captures wisdom and advice from 20 years of the Patagonia Tools Conference, an event Patagonia hosts that brings together inspiring thought leaders. The Responsible Company shares stories from experiences at Patagonia as well as efforts by other companies to illustrate some of the key elements of responsible business for our time.


Did you know that just by submitting your resume to Ian Martin, you too can become a meaningful gift-giver? Every applicant to Ian Martin’s jobs receives $25 to invest in a microloan that helps an entrepreneur who does not have access to traditional banking systems via It’s just one way jobseekers can join our mission of breaking down barriers to meaningful work. Together, we are changing the way business is done by creating benefit for people and our planet. 

If you know of someone that is on a mission to find meaningful work, please encourage them to browse our current job openings and also check out BWork, the world’s largest job board for purpose-driven job seekers.


Do Candidates Really Care About Corporate Social Responsibility?

You’ve found a strong candidate. The interview is going well. You’ve told them about your company’s impressive benefits package, highlighted the opportunities for growth and development within the position, and shared some of the things your company does to support work-life balance. As you go through your mental checklist of all the factors that could positively influence the candidate’s decision to join your team, you feel like you’ve checked all the boxes. But has your pitch included some evidence that your company is committed to improving the lives of people and the health of our planet? If not, there’s a 50% chance that great candidate is going to walk out the door at the end of the interview and never look back.

According to research, your company’s commitment to corporate responsibility has a direct tie to attracting and retaining talent that may be even stronger than you realize: 

  • 58% of candidates surveyed said they consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. 
  • 55% said they would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if the salary was less. 
  • 51% said they will not work for a company that doesn’t have strong social or environmental commitments.

Highlighting corporate social responsibility is even more critical if you’re trying to convince a candidate that is between the ages of 27 and 35 to join your team.  

  • 67% of this mature Millennial segment surveyed in the study said they would not work for a company that did not have strong corporate responsibility commitments.  
  • 76% of mature Millennials said they would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if the salary would be less than at other companies. 

Ian Martin employees volunteer during our annual B Corp Day in the local community.

Convincing candidates that your company is committed to making the world a better place isn’t as simple as pointing out your recycling bins and sharing some impressive figures from your charitable donation programsToday’s candidates are wary of corporate greenwashing, so be prepared to share some hard data to prove that your company walks the walk when it comes to its social and environmental efforts. 

One way that for-profit companies can prove without a doubt that they follow rigorous standards related to their social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency is to acquire B Corp certificationWhile the certification process will involve time and effort, it will set your company apart as an organization that is not only competing to be the best IN the world, but also to be the best FOR the world. Joining the roster of over 2,400 other Certified B Corps including recognizable names like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and Etsy won’t hurt your recruitment efforts either! You can learn more about the additional practical business benefits that Ian Martin has experienced as a result of our own B Corp certification here. 

Since research suggests that 78% of employees want to be an active participant in helping their company improve its responsible business practices, the corporate responsibility case you present to the candidate shouldn’t focus solely on big-picture initiatives and results. Share examples of the processes and programs you have in place that allow employees to get personally involved in your company’s charitable and environmental efforts. Today, the priority that employees place on opportunities to personally support causes or issues they care about is on par with benefits like wellness programs and tuition reimbursement. If you have a community volunteering or pro bono program, share data to give candidates a better sense of how many employees currently participate. Encourage current employees to share their volunteer experiences on your company’s social media channels. This will allow candidates to see real-life examples of your commitment to your community when they are conducting pre- and post-interview research.

In today’s raging war for technical talent, employers should leave no stone unturned when it comes to convincing candidates why their company is a great place to work. Our Insider’s Guide to Technical Recruitment has some helpful tips to assist you in assessing your company like a prospective employee. If you would like to get additional insight into the types of questions that candidates may have about your company’s corporate social responsibility effortsconnect with one of our Ian Martin Hiring Consultants. 

BCorp Day 2018

Meaningful work was abound on Friday, June 15, 2018 as Ian Martin employees participated in our annual BCorp Day festivities, which included volunteering at several initiatives across our branches in Canada, the US, and India.

Every year we take a break from business to do good in our communities through meaningful, hard work! It is also a chance for us to honour our status as a Certified B Corporation, and celebrates our efforts toward making business a force for good for our communities and for our planet.

Here’s a snapshot of what we accomplished:

Among other initiatives around town, in Oakville, our employees helped plant trees and remove invasive species for Oakville Green, helped build and beautify furniture at Habitat for Humanity, served up a delicious meal at Eden Food for Change, and sorted donations at Safety Net Child and Youth Charities. And after a morning of volunteering, our team celebrated with an afternoon BBQ and pickup softball game – a favourite company classic.

In Ottawa, our team helped out at the Cancer Foundation and the Silver Spring Farm Garlic Project, which helps support persons with developmental disabilities.

In Calgary, employees helped at Seniors Resource Society where they went to an elderly woman’s home and put in 12 total hours of yard labour—everything from cutting the lawn, weeding, and cleaning up her patio.

In Edmonton, our team had a fur-filled morning at the Edmonton Humane Society where they wrote thank you cards for monthly donors and socialized with the animals—basically anyone’s dream job.

In Houston, our employees volunteered at NextOP, which supports military veterans returning to civilian life after honourable discharge. Our team helped veterans with job searches, resume writing, and placement support.

Our India team made a huge impact at the Ashraya Government School in Bangalore. Over 60 employees spent the morning designing projects to help children with their learning and development. The team also donated school supplies to the school, along with their interactive project plans.

All in all, 162 Ian Martin employees participated, with each person contributing to an incredible 512 total volunteer hours! Check out the photos below that capture some of us hard at (meaningful) work:

Top 10 Reasons to B Inspired

Last week was the 2014 B Corp Champions Retreat set in stunning Burlington, Vermont. Champions Retreat is the annual get together of B Corporations (what the heck are those?) from around the world. The retreat is a place for B Corps and like-minded folks to B inspired to advance the movement. As a first time participant, I sure was!

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Why be a B? An open letter to fellow business owners

Today, the Ian Martin Group is announcing its re-certification as a B Corp (‘B’ stands for Benefit). In the two years since we became a B Corp, our Impact Score jumped from 88 to 105. This letter is to share with you the practical business benefits of “Being a B” – and to encourage you to B one too.

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Thank You for B-ing the Change

You could work with any staffing and recruiting company. Thank you for looking at the company behind the services and choosing us. Together, we are creating a better way to do business.

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Adolescence to Adulthood as a Values-Driven Company

As a CEO, from time to time you get weak signals – feedback about the emotional life of the company you tend.  It’s never a science but I try to gather these voices and pay attention when they begin to form a current. I believe one way to help ‘culture’ grow is to name and examine these streams when they become apparent.

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Measuring How We’re Doing


NPS – Measuring how we’re doing with our largest group of stakeholders

In December 2011 the Ian Martin Group became a certified B Corporation. What’s a B Corporation again? You can read Tim’s post on the topic, but to sum it up, B(enefit) corporations operate the same as traditional corporations but with higher standards of corporate purpose, accountability, and transparency.

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Raising The Bar

“All Aboard” the announcer’s voice boomed as we settled into our seats on Amtrak train 130. We were leaving behind the city of Brotherly Love and heading north to the Big Apple. The “free” Wi-Fi was frustratingly slow so I shut down my iPad, sat back and gazed at the American countryside as we passed by. I started to reflect on the previous day’s events and was struck by a thought – how did I get here? No – not the physical location but to the two days of meetings Tim and I were having with the founders and employees of B Lab in Philadelphia and New York (note: ‘B Lab’ is the not-for-profit that certifies B Corporations).

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Having a Purpose is Good for Business

This article was originally published on The Mark News for an ongoing series following three of Canada’s founding Benefit Corporations.

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It’s Official! Ian Martin is a B Corp


We’ve joined the B Corp Community!

IMG is officially a Certified B Corporation

With a score of 88.3 we join Bullfrog Power and Dirtt as the newest Founding B-Corp members in Canada.

(The total number is 29, and on the rise.)

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The Business of (Better) Business


Last week, a small group of IMG employees attended a grassroots brainstorm hosted by Hypnotic and B Lab  to discuss how businesses can do…well… better business. This low key event was meant to drive awareness and promote thoughtful discussion around how businesses can move toward mainstream adoption of the triple bottom line.  Often referred to as TBL, Triple Bottom Line evaluates a business’ overall impact by measuring the three pillars in its sphere of influence: people, planet and profits.  As one might guess, the evening’s discussion was heavy on people and planet but fell a little short on profit.  This is not to say it wasn’t beneficial. Quite the contrary.

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Renewing the Foundations


“We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.”
~ Winston Churchill

I love old bricks…
My wife, Kate, and I once rented an apartment in Ottawa sight-unseen simply because the landlord professed, “the living room features a beautiful three-story 19th century stonemasonry wall … and someone is scheduled to see the place this afternoon…”

I love old bricks…
Quietly walking through the streets of Cabbagetown – located in the corner of busy downtown Toronto – time slows down in the cobblestone alleys and drifts past the hand-built homes.  The frantic pace of the city fades for a moment.  Peace of mind gently settles in…

I love old bricks…
Further down Parliament Street – at the Distillery District – the richness, depth and texture in the stones tell a story.  Many seasons have deepened their pores, etched autographs speak of milestones passed and, now, imagination has breathed new life into this once forgotten place…

Protection Racket

It’s strange – bricks that have survived just a century seem rich with history in the North American landscape.  So many have been knocked down for something better, painted over by zealous landlords, and sandblasted by gentrification.  Our culture is constantly speeding towards the future, barely taking a breath to reflect on our past.

For this company, we have arrived at a moment that is all about the future.  By October this year, we will be launching our new logos and website (see the new logos here).  If you’re reading this, you’ve already found our new blog – perhaps via social media or our new quarterly newsletter.  We have a new parent brand, “The Ian Martin Group” (IMG), to carry the well-known brands in our existing family: IML (Engineering), IMIT (I.T.) and The 500 Staffing (Temp & Perm).  Furthermore, two new companies: IMT (Telecom) and Granary Inc. (Executive Search) are joining the fold to articulate expertise presently buried in other areas of the organization.  New opportunities abound for our employees – we have adapted our “org chart” to increase capacity, improve our training & development and support deeper collaboration between teams.  We even have a new face in senior leadership – Sue Hyatt has joined us as National Director of The 500 Staffing.

Recently, Rob Chorney, our IMIT branch manager in Toronto (also a new gig for him), likened all of this activity to a wedding announcement – the October launch may seem a long way off but you know the celebration is coming!  At the risk of stretching the metaphor, I’ll add this: while the ceremony is the focal point of any wedding, we know the important stuff happens before the invitation and after the festivities are over…

So, for the rest of this post, I’m going to step aside from the buzz of “new” and reflect on our roots – as Bruce Mullock (VP Client Relations – who has a deep sense of our history and, notably, has served at IML longer than I’ve been alive) often helps me to do.  Time in reflection often helps us see clearly the kind of future we want to create together.

About 12 months ago, we started working with brand-expert, Brian Rawlins, to help us more clearly understand, articulate and visualize the essential characteristics of our company.  This sparked a conversation that has been germinating throughout the organization ever since.  It begins with some basic questions:

Who are we?
Where have we been?
Where are we going?
And – especially – why?

We know the fundamentals: we have an excellent team of staff and contractors, a solid 50-year reputation in the marketplace, expertise in important verticals, long-lasting client relationships and a tradition of entrepreneurship.  But one question from Brian just continued to persist, “Is there anything that makes you truly unique – a ‘leader’ in the marketplace?”

We turned this question over for months, backwards and forwards, up and down, at all hours of the day and night – asking everyone, anyone – to make sure that we had considered every possibility.  In the end, the answer was right in front of us – in the form of an ‘old brick’:

“Fairness and integrity are the cornerstones of Ian Martin Limited.”

Once a leading, active, and unique vision in the marketplace – our cornerstones had been layered over by the explosive growth of ‘integrity’ as a buzzword in business – so over-claimed that it no longer provided any clear directive.  Yet inside, we knew that this legacy of ‘fairness and integrity’ had gifted IMG with something rare and authentic.  It was time to get out the sandblaster and rediscover its beauty.


The search for the right words continued for many months, with many contributing voices.  One comment by Marc Ang (IMIT Recruiter) about “responsibility” stands out in my own mind, along with an article that Bill Fretz (Director of Search) turned up from a 1999 “Business Builders” meeting.  That article focused on unpacking a single word – a word deeply embedded in our culture, like a buried treasure – an uncomfortable word, perhaps – awkward because it “just sounds so old-fashioned.”


Yet, suddenly that word began to embody the kind of unique, generative, authentic ‘integrity’ we’ve always known to be our cornerstone.  Practicing ‘stewardship’ would mean taking our intrinsic talents, resources and opportunities – our gifts – and applying them to create a benefit that we share with others.

This past week, John Breininger sent me a quote from Benjamin Desraeli that I think beautifully captures the spirit of Stewardship:

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share
your riches but to reveal to him his own.”

At our best, isn’t that what we do?  The word Stewardship can certainly be applied to the basic interactions we have in the natural course of business: ‘stewarding’ the careers of our candidates, becoming ‘stewards’ of our client’s success, and practicing responsible ‘stewardship’ by giving back to the community.

The 3 traits that make IMG unique.

But Stewardship also demands that we ask some new questions that we still haven’t answered yet.  For example, at IMG, how are we ‘stewarding’ the resources of our planet – do we even know how to measure that?  As managers, do we think of ourselves as actively serving those who ‘work for us’?  How often do we talk about the productive tension between ‘stewardship’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ (another one of our traits)?   What about our time and talents – our ‘expertise’ – are we lending it back to our communities in a way that will foster growth for others?  How are we modeling ‘stewardship’ or inviting others to participate with us in the joy of giving?

These kinds of questions – though none fully answered – have actually been taking shape in this organization for many years.  Let me tell you a quick personal story…  Back in 1995, I remember being cornered one weekend by my dad, Bill Masson (President of IMG).  He had an idea (not like that was unusual) and he fully intended to draft my free time toward its execution (also, par for the course).

That year, Bill Gates had been named “Richest Person in the World”.  So, my dad had decided to write him a letter.  His idea was to convince Mr. Gates that he should give some of his fortune away (*teenager eye roll*).  My dad’s role in the project would be author, and mine editor. Despite my “lost weekend” and the “obvious futility” of the exercise, we worked hard on this project.  Looking back, I think it was a foundational exercise in articulating his vision of Stewardship – a base on which he and his team later laid the cornerstones of ‘fairness and integrity’ in 1997.

Unsurprisingly, Bill Gates never wrote us back.  But, in a way, he did respond…

In 2008 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Gates gave a speech titled: “A New Approach to Capitalism in the 21st Century”.  In it, he envisions a world where business demonstrates leadership by practicing what he calls “creative capitalism”.  Gates explains: “Such a system would have a twin mission: making profits and also improving lives of those who don’t fully benefit from today’s market forces. ”  Thirteen years removed from 1995, not only was Gates giving most of his fortune away, he was challenging us to integrate the idea of Stewardship right into our business’ day-to-day operations.  Gates concludes his speech:

“The task is open-ended. It will never be finished. But a passionate
effort to answer this challenge will help change the world.”

At IMG, we want to have the courage and perseverance to take up that kind of challenge – and to be leaders in the effort.  So, standing on our cornerstones of ‘fairness and integrity’, we’ve crafted a new statement to guide the journey – learning day-by-day to practice stewardship and entrepreneurship in balance.  At IMG, we are:

“Building authentic connections around meaningful work.”

One final word – on bricks:

The renewal of the Distillery District in Toronto was sparked by a few people who committed themselves to a gathering vision – but it has continually flourished and been given new life by the artists, retailers, architects, tourists, construction crews, residents, engineers, pub owners, festival operators, photographers and citizens who have lent their talents to ‘steward’ its transformation.

It is that kind of collective leadership – leadership by stewardship – that I hope we can model as we walk boldly into the next chapter of our story at IMG together.