Artisan Blog

How to Hire Creatives

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Hiring qualified talent for creative roles (digital, marketing, UX or design) is an art unto itself.

In addition to reviewing resumes and looking for specific skills or years of experience, reviewing a portfolio and understanding the nuances in a creative’s work requires a unique talent. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Here are 3 tips to consider when looking to hire creative talent and evaluating portfolios.

1. Concept or Execution

Are you looking for a conceptual creative or one who is more executional? A conceptual talent ideates, pushes the creative boundaries, comes up with new ideas, new campaigns and a way to challenge the status quo. This person may or may not have hands-on skills— as they concept and ideate, someone else may actually sit behind a computer to bring it to life and take it to the finish line.

An executional candidate is someone who is very hands-on still. They know all the design programs well, can take the big picture idea and apply it to a variety of formats and deliverables. They’re able to read between the lines, interpret the big idea and execute it across multiple media and channels.

In some instances, one person can have both strengths—or they may favor one over the other. Who do you need on your team?

2. Your Brand

When looking at a resume and comparing two design talent, both may have similar proficiency with design programs, both may have the same years of experience and both may seem like the ideal candidate…on paper. When reviewing creative talent, a portfolio must accompany the resume, and in many cases it holds more weight than the resume.

When you review portfolio links, you may notice one designer’s aesthetic is bright, colorful, fun and illustrative, while the other candidate is minimalistic and corporate with a clean UI design aesthetic.

Both are beautiful, which aesthetic fits best within your company brand?

3. The Portfolio and to How Navigate it

When reviewing a portfolio, it can be difficult to get the full picture. Designers often work in collaboration with others: art directors, illustrators, copywriters, production artists, developers and many other talented teammates

How can you best tell who was involved in the work you are reviewing?

If the information isn't clearly defined in the sample, ask for clarification to help you get the full picture.

Do you need help hiring creative talent? Connect with us.


One-Two-One Onboarding

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Best Practices for onboarding new hires and making them feel welcome

Working with a Recruiter in Your Job Search — Why it's a Good Decision

Wednesday, October 05, 2016



Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years of creative staffing & recruiting. Over the years we've learned a lot and will share our experiences with you in our 20/20 series: 20 blogs celebrating 20 years of creative recruiting!Enjoy!

In this day of fast-paced applicant tracking systems and online job submission portals, getting feedback about your qualifications, or input on the job is often a challenge. Frankly,  it’s hard to know if anyone has even had a chance to review your submission.

As the automated world of online resume portals has become frustrating for many, you may want to consider working with a recruiter in your job search.

Below are 8 reasons why working with a recruiter is a good idea in your job search:


  1. A recruiter is a consultant acting on your behalf. They are as committed to finding you that perfect new role as you are. They are pro-actively advocating for you and thinking of new opportunities.
  2. A recruiter often understands the company culture and processes that would be much harder to find out on your own. Your own research can only go so far. Recruiters often provide details not listed on job descriptions.
  3. A recruiter can negotiate salary and benefits on your behalf, based on the parameters you have shared. They are also knowledgeable about a client or a specific role’s salary range and benefits offering so they can remove the guess work.
  4. When recruiters are engaged on a candidate search, resumes from recruiters go to the top of the pile (assuming your recruiter has a good relationship with the client).
  5. An extra set of professional eyes on your resume or portfolio is incredibly important (especially, when there are employment gaps or just to eliminate those typos). They can consult on needed edits or changes.
  6. A recruiter has access to opportunities not listed on job boards.
  7. Your recruiter can help you prepare for the interview when the time comes.
  8. A recruiter with a great reputation for representing outstanding talent adds value to your brand.


Having a recruiter on your team can be the difference between landing the perfect role and sitting home by yourself wishing for that great job. Consider signing up with a recruitment agency who places people in your area of expertise. You’ll be glad you did!

If you are looking for a role in the creative or marketing area, see how Artisan Creative can help.

Interview Questions Every Employer Should Ask

Wednesday, September 28, 2016




Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years of creative staffing & recruiting. Over the years we've learned a lot and will share our experiences with you in our 20/20 series:

20 blogs celebrating 20 years of creative recruiting! 


Whether you’ve been interviewing candidates for a long time or hiring your first employee, you’ll probably agree that the interview is the most important part of the recruitment process. Therefore it’s critical to ask the right questions.

While our version of the Proust Questionnaire offers a few out of the box questions (designed to see how creative they can be), here are a few tips and questions every interviewer should be asking:


  • Tell me about yourself. – This type of open-ended question is a great way to start your interview and put your candidate at ease. It should be easy to talk about yourself! It also gives you an opportunity to witness both confidence and communication skills first hand.

  • Describe a time when something went wrong at work and how you dealt with it. - This question is ideal for learning about how your potential hire will handle the pressures of life and conflict resolution, as well as demonstrating problem solving skills and culture fit.

  • How would others describe you? – This is a great way to ask the “strengths” and “weaknesses” question without actually asking it. It also provides some insight into how your working relationship with the potential talent might be. Does the answer describe a person that would fit well within your organization?

  • What role do you usually play in a team? - The answer to this question should compliment the previous answer – is the way your coworkers see you the way you actually perform on the team? This question also provides insight on personality and autonomy.

  • Where do you see yourself in five years? – The perfect question for uncovering candidate motivations, answers help determine whether your company and the opportunity presented are a good fit for the interviewee. Will they still be with your team in five years or will they quickly outgrow your department or company? This also provides a good opportunity to see a candidate's drive and how they can grow with the company.

  • Tell me about a favorite project you worked on and why it’s your favorite.Resumes offer a list of responsibilities and accomplishments. Answers to this question should reveal the story behind the bullet points, the passion for the project and the genuine interest for the work. 

  • What does leadership mean to you? This is a good opportunity to learn about the candidate's leadership style, especially for senior roles or when the candidate will be supervising others.  Answers will also provide good insight about candidate's expectation of their supervisors.

  • What questions can I answer for you? - This is the perfect way to “end” an interview as you turn the tables, engaging the talent to then interview you. Not only does it demonstrate your company’s appreciation for open dialogue, but also lets you know whether the potential job seeker is definitely interested. If they answer “no” – then they probably haven't done enough research on the product or company.

Do you have any tips or interview questions to share? Share with us on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter.

20 Sample Interview Questions

Wednesday, September 21, 2016



Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years of creative staffing & recruiting in California. Over the years we've learned a lot and will share our experiences with you in our 20/20 series:  


20 blogs celebrating 20 years of creative recruiting!  Enjoy.


You’ve found the perfect job, sent your resume to the company and have an interview scheduled. Are you truly ready for the next steps?

As this is an opportunity for both you and the hiring manager to interview each other, it’s best to come prepared with questions that help you learn more about the company and the role for which you are interviewing.

We recommend that you prepare by reading our blog on the six things to do during an interview. We have also included 20 sample questions below to help you gain clarity on the role and the company.  Pick a few questions that resonate with you, and integrate these into your interview.

Questions about the Role / Position / Team

1. How would you describe the work environment?

2. Can you describe a typical day?

3. Can you share more about the team I would be working with?

4. How do you envision this department in 6 months / 1 year / long-term?

5. How large is the department (how many designers, marketers, etc.)?

6. What is the org chart for the department?

7. What have been some of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?

8. What has been your personal favorite project here?

Questions about the Company Culture / History

9.   Can you share more about your company culture?

10. Can you share more about the company history and/or clients?

11. What is the leadership philosophy here?

12. How do you envision the company in 3-5 years?

13. What is your onboarding process?

Questions about Skills / Qualification

14. What are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?

15. What  training or continued education programs are offered?

16. What metrics for success do you implement?

17. How do I compare with the other candidates you’ve interviewed for this role?

18. What specific experience do I have that made you feel I was a good fit for this position?

19. Are there any challenges you foresee in this role?

And our favorite question:

20. Is there anything you feel is missing from my experience or resume that I may be able to expand on?

This is your final chance to present yourself in the moment and iron out any concerns the interviewer may have about your experience.

Do you have any go-to interview questions you like to ask? How do you prepare for your interviews? Share your thoughts with us on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter.

20 Things to do at Your Next Job Fair

Wednesday, September 14, 2016



Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years of recruiting and being part of the Los Angeles creative community this year. In this time we have learned a thing or two that we’d like to share with you in the first blog of our 20/20 series.  20 blogs celebrating 20 years of creative recruiting!  Enjoy.

Do you find job fairs are a whirlwind of elevator pitches and business cards? You’ve given your pitch to an employer, now what? We’ve put together a checklist to guide you and ensure you get the best out of the day.

This Saturday, Artisan Creative will be joining TechJobsLA for a job fair aimed at creatives and developers. We have sponsored and participated in this event for the past several years and look forward to seeing you there.

411 on TechJobsLA

TechJobsLA is a specialized job fair aimed at designers and developers including a series of incredible workshops and speakers.  This year Artisan Creative’s founder, Jamie Douraghy will be holding a workshop on Discovering your Why.  We all know what we do, and how we do we know why we do what we do?  Come join us.

TechJobsLA is an opportunity to meet recruiters, hiring managers, startups and companies as well as a chance to network and learn new skills. This year’s event will have a dedicated digital entertainment panel. They’ll be discussing trends and answering questions. Artisan Creative founder, Jamie Douraghy will be holding a Discover Your Why Workshop.

Here are 20 tips to prepare for this and any future job fair:


  1. Modify your resume so you have tailored versions to suit specific industries and companies.

  2. Print out your resume. Make a lot of copies, and we mean a lot! Keep them in a folder.

  3. Make a one-sheet of your best projects to go with your resume.

  4. Research beforehand to see what companies will be there.

  5. Dress well. Dress as if you’re going for an interview. We’re in the creative industry -- suited and booted isn’t always necessary, but do dress well.

  6. Be early.  Get there early so you can mingle before the crowds come in

  7. Volunteer.  Where possible volunteer to help out during the day.  You’ll get a first chance to meet the exhibitors, have one one one conversations, and make an impression.


  1. Skill match. Each booth has a focus. If a booth doesn’t match your skills thank them and move onto the next one.

  2. Open jobs. At each table, ask about their open jobs and see if there’s anything that’s a match for you. This is a perfect opportunity for face-to-face time with hiring managers and recruiters.

  3. Collect business cards to keep track of who you have met. If you work in design, make sure your card is unique. At the last TechJobsLA, Artisan Creative received a scratch and sniff card! Loved it! How’s that for making an impression?

  4. Have your elevator pitch! Don’t be vague when you’re asked: “What is it that you do?” Give a concise and clear answer e.g. “I’m a visual designer specializing in entertainment and technology. I’ve worked with XYZ and now I’m looking for a senior position.” It’s much more valuable to both you and the employer.  

  5. Attend workshops. What you can learn from workshops can be invaluable to your personal and professional development.  

  6. Ask questions of the speakers and companies - it’s an easy way to stand out.

  7. Take a notebook to jot down any job leads and next steps.

  8. Handshakes & Eye contact. Be firm. Make a connection.

  9. Phone usage to be kept to a minimum. Emails and Instagram will have to wait.

  10. Be friendly.   Talk to the other attendees.  You never know where your next job lead can come from.


  1. Follow-up b y emailing a copy of your resume and thanking them for their time.

  2. Jobs Alerts.   Sign up for RSS feeds and job alerts of companies you met.

  3. Reflect on the day and what you did well.

Are you attending this Saturday's TechJobsLA at BLANKSPACES DTLA? Come and have a chat with us at our table.  Please review our open jobs page ahead of time, and follow us on social for tips on interviewing, resumes and job search best practices.   

How to Get The Most Out of Working From a Coffee Shop

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

One of the joys of freelancing or working remotely is not having to work inside a typical office setting. While you may have an office that serves as your home base, working from anywhere means you get to be one of those folks working in a coffee shop in the middle of the afternoon. Being productive and focused in a public setting takes skill, though. We are after all sharing the space with others.

Take these tips with you the next time you set up shop in your favorite brewhouse.

Keep your voice low. If you’ve got a meeting or have to take a call, step outside, or use your headphones to hold the conversation and speak quietly. Long, loud or extended cell phone conversations about a client, the job, money or the deadline aren’t fun for anyone sitting near you--and can be disruptive to those around you.

Be a good guest.  Buying one cup of coffee for several hours of table usage will not make you endearing to the staff. If you’re going to be showing up there more often, get in the good graces of baristas by learning their names and building a connection. If you plan on staying awhile, buy a scone or a snack! And tip generously for their use of Wi-Fi.

Invest in noise-canceling headphones. Coffee shops often play loud music that you may or may not want to hear, especially if you’re trying to concentrate. Noise-canceling headphones will allow you to listen in on meetings or block out noise without the distraction of the coffee shop noise. Plus, what if you’d rather listen to your own music that day?

Share. Is your laptop charged? Let someone else use the outlet. Are you taking up an entire table with your work? Move it over and let someone else sit there. Be respectful of your surroundings and fellow co-workers and karma will pay off.

Focus.  Don’t get distracted trying to strike up a conversation or make friends a few chairs over. Be friendly, however you’re there to get to work! It’s easy to get side tracked every time someone walks in.  Sit with your back to the door or face the wall. You’ll be mad at yourself later if you miss that deadline.

Where is your favorite local hangout and what are your tips for working in a coffee shop?

5 Morning Habits of Productive People

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


No matter your sleeping habits or natural rhythms, we all have a starting routine to our day. However, one of the things that makes successful and productive people the way they are is how they handle their morning routine. Here are our tips on how you can go from chaos to clarity in the morning, and lead yourself into a productive and creative day.

1. Think. Whether it’s meditating, journaling or simply being still, take a few minutes to think about your day. Clearing your head before the day starts is a great way to help you stay productive throughout the day. Focus on being present and what’s happening right now, not what’s going to happen in the later morning or afternoon or evening. If it helps, use an app to guide you through a morning meditation. Some will even help you focus on a particular area, such as reducing anxiety or improving creativity.

2. Exercise. Getting in even seven minutes of exercise and a few minutes of stretching can go a long way towards improving your physical energy. If you have time, getting in a full workout before the work day begins means you’ll be able to focus on work and do other things with your evening. Even if you don’t have time for a full workout, just the act of moving your body first thing in the morning means you’re using it in a meaningful way, which is in and of itself productive.

3. Eat healthy. Starting the day off with a healthy breakfast is a surefire way to give your body the fuel it needs to get through the day. It’s also a way to continue focusing on your morning and make sure that you get a moment to eat, especially if you have a busy day. Try blending greens together in a smoothie for something quick, or focus on healthier fare like greens, lean protein, and complex carbs.

4. Focus. Instead of looking to your to-do task for the day and stressing out over it, take this moment to look ahead. What do you want to achieve? By knowing what’s coming up, you’ll be able to map out your to-dos for today more easily. For example, if tomorrow is a big deadline for a project, you can plan ahead so your work day helps you get done anything you need to help reach that deadline.

5. Don’t Plug-in! Instead of immediately checking social media profiles or emails, try to resist the urge to “plug in”. Use this time to focus to set priorities or learn--like reading a chapter in a book, or learning a new language, or doing something creative--anything to help prep for the day. This will help you stay focused instead of worrying about what’s coming based on an email sent.

~Nadia Osman for Artisan Creative

The Competitor in Us All

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Olympics bring out the best in everyone— from pride, to perseverance to passion for the competition.   Those stories about athletes who overcome personal and professional obstacles to make it to the games inspire many.

Time and time again, as these athletes compete, win or lose, they get back in the game, proving that a defeat is just that—a momentary loss.  Of course, it’s painful to lose, however, the one constant is getting up, dusting off and trying again.

We are all competitors—whether we recognize this or not.  We pitch to the same clients, we apply to the same job boards, we compete for the same RFPs, and we look for the same talent skill set.

How can we best adhere to the same competitive principals, as we tackle goals and challenges that arise in our daily lives or work? 

Here are 5 lessons we’ve learned from the Olympics:

  1.   Even though you compete in the same arena & in the same game, the mindset you bring is yours and only yours.
  2. You enter the track with many other competitors— the preparation you do beforehand is yours and yours alone.
  3. You may experience a defeat, or miss a target by .003 seconds— your reaction, acceptance and perseverance to come back the next time is your decision.
  4. You may fall down — the decision to get up is yours
  5. You may work long hours to pursue your goals, train hard, have a coach, have an accountability partner— how you apply the lessons learned and improve your game is up to you.

 What do you do to stay in the game and create a winning mindset?

Resume Refresh: What to Keep Versus What to Change

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What has been the response rate to your resume submission?

If you are not getting the responses you had hope for you may want review your resume. Here are some steps you can take to improve your resume and make an impact without starting from scratch.

Use SEO and Keywords. Some applicant tracking systems and resume management systems use keywords to highlight submissions. Make sure your resume is SEO friendly and utilizes keywords that align with the role you are applying for.

Focus on ROI. Paint a picture of what each job you’ve had is like and what you achieved while there. How did you make an impact? Look through each position and find a way to list your accomplishments and impacted the team’s bottom line and productivity.For example if you designed a logo, you “developed and created a new logo that led to a 30% increase in conversions to their website”.

Be Concise. Use bullet points or easy-to-read sentences. Hiring managers and recruiters often have little time to skim through hundreds of resumes for each job they are recruiting--make your accomplishments stand out. Focus on what strengthens your candidacy and highlight those.

Use a common font. Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman are all easy to read. Stick with these simpler fonts instead of fancy ones. Pay special attention to the requirements of the applicant tracking systems and the readability of your resume. The exception to this is if you’re a designer, in which case you’ll want to make sure your resume showcases your design skills. Want to further improve readability? Increase the line spacing so there’s more white space.

Delete objectives. Those statements at the top of your resume are unnecessary and waste valuable space. Instead of stating what you want in your resume, move it to your cover letter, where you can explain in more detail what you’re looking for. Consider adding in more description about your previous positions instead. Did you just help your manager reach quarterly goals, or did you create some kind of system to help them do that better?

In short, keep your resume creative, relevant, and results-based. What are your resume refresh tips?


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