Artisan Blog

6 Month Goal Setting Review

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 431st  issue of our weekly a.blog.

Hard to believe that this week is already the ½ way point of the year! It seems each year that our days & weeks pick up speed, zooming by faster than ever.

Our connectivity to our devices, to our colleagues around the globe, and to friends and family via social, makes one day blend into another with the passage of time becoming seamless.

With the mid-year here, now’s a good opportunity to revisit the goals we set early on in January and take stock of where we are.  Are we on track? Are there goals that have already been accomplished that we can remove from our list? Can we add additional ones for the next 6 months? Are we behind on some? How are we keeping ourselves accountable for staying on track?

If you didn’t make the time to set goals earlier in the year, it’s never too late to start now.

If you are on track with the goals you set in January—congratulations!You are part of a committed group of people who know how to keep on track and stay focused. The rest of us can use some help to stay the course.

Marshall Goldsmith, in his new book Triggers says, “we are superior planners and inferior doers”, and that we start the day with excitement and enthusiasm and yet we get “blindsided by our environment ” and don’t get to do what we had planned. He further suggests three steps to forecast the environment by Anticipating, Avoiding or Adjusting where possible, to stay on track with our plan.

So, if we are continually getting blindsided and not accomplishing some of our goals….. it raises the question of how much do we really want to achieve that goal?

If the goal is getting pushed from month to month to the following year….how important is it? Should we just drop it and focus on a few vital goals that are non-negotiable or do we get back on track, revisit our goals, evaluate them and measure their progress?

Here at Artisan we create vision boards that provide a visual reference for our goals. It was a great exercise and I was inspired by the pictorial vision of what my year could look like. I placed my vision board right in front of my desk—so I would look at it everyday. However, after the first few months of the year, my vision board became part of my office décor. Even though I was looking at it daily, I wasn’t seeing it.

I wasn’t actively revisiting the bold statements and visuals I had intentionally placed on my board and wondered if they still resonated or were driving me towards a better year. Until…I read Dr. Goldsmith’s Triggers book and understood the power of asking active questions to keep me on track and help me focus.

I now start each day by evaluating the action items I had set the day before to help me achieve my bigger goal and ask myself the daily question introduced in the book.

Did I do my best to………..? and then I fill in the blank with my goal.

For example, on my vision board I have several images of the great outdoors (mountains, the beach, trees, etc.) to inspire spending more time in nature. Now I ask myself the active question of  "Did I do my best to spend time in nature today?”.  Some days that means a hike in the Santa Monica mountains or a walk on the beach, and other days it may mean a simple walk around the local park. 

The important facet is I’m trying to do something everyday to move the needle closer to my goal.

What daily actions do you implement to achieve your goals?  Please do share!

Generating Sticky Ideas

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Some think of creative inspiration as that elusive moment of epihany when the lightning bolt of clarity suddenly strikes. If you're a creative professional or entrepreneur, you know that you can't rely on such breakthroughs to happen simply when you need them to.

That's why many of the tried and true books in the creative industry focus on proven, repeatable formulas for generating effective ideas at any time, even when you're not feeling like Leonardo Da Vinci.

One such book is Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip and Dan Heath. Drawing from backgrounds in science, marketing, and folklore, the Heath brothers set out to find patterns among "sticky ideas," concepts that catch on, spread, and "stick" in the collective memory of an audience. Released in 2007, this book has become an essential read in the advertising/marketing trades and beyond; its ideas have proven remarkably prescient in fields from pop culture to politics to online memes.

The Heaths boil down the essence of a sticky idea to six core principles, which they describe in their "SUCCESs" model. You can use this formula to generate your own ideas and to test them for "stickiness," no matter what sort of creative work you're doing.

Ask yourself if your idea meets the following descriptions, as the most "stickiest" of ideas tend to be:

1. Simple

To win the minds and hearts of an audience, get right to the point. "The man who chases two rabbits catches neither," says one Confucian proverb, and if you make a complicated argument with several different key points, your audience is unlikely to remember any of them. Your ideas must be simple, useful, and profound. Practice cutting away all that essential fat on your ideas, until they're lean, strong, and unforgettable.

2. Unexpected

The most memorable ideas disrupt norms or break predictable patterns. You can use counterintuitive and surprising ideas to roust people out of their trances, making them laugh, think, or take action.

Consider the iconic tagline from the rental company Avis: “We’re number two, so we try harder.” In this campaign, the company grabs attention by confessing a weakness - it has a long way to go to catch up with Hertz, the industry leader - and inverts it into a strength. Audiences expect companies to puff themselves up; they don’t expect them to admit to weakness, or to explain how it actually makes them stronger. With its sincerity, self-deprecation, and use of the unexpected, this Avis campaign ‘stuck’ for 50 years.

3. Concrete

A concrete idea is specific, vivid, and visceral. It has mass, weight, and impact. In a world accustomed to the lofty abstractions of academic and corporate jargon, a concrete idea will stand out. Practice communicating your ideas in pictures, sounds, and feelings, and take advantage of the human mind's natural affinity for information that appeals to the senses.

4. Credible

You may not be a doctor (or even play one on television), however you should be able to support your ideas with a sense of trusted authority. Celebrity endorsements and personal stories work because when trusted public figures are willing to stake their reputations on something, those who trust and admire them will approach it with confidence. If you can't get the Surgeon General to endorse your product, you can show it in action, present case studies, or cite striking statistics and details to enhance your credibility.

5. Emotional

An appeal to a person's pride, fear, anger, or compassion is usually more effective than trying to convince them with logic. To quote Jonathan Swift, "you cannot reason someone out of something he or she was not reasoned into." Even the most rational and sophisticated people can only override their core emotions with great difficulty.

6. Stories

Timeless storytelling structures such as "the hero's journey" are still used by Hollywood screenwriters because they work. They can hook an audience's attention and appeal to shared and deeply held values. They work just as well for advertisers and creative professionals. Storytelling can even help build a better portfolio - instead of piecing together a collection of projects, embrace an internal structure and communicate a story of how you've evolved and what you've learned from your experience.

Creativity is a science and an art, and it can be learned. Contact Artisan Creative, and we'll provide resources to put you on the creative fast track and provide access to opportunities to improve your work and build your career.

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoyed the 430th issue of our weekly a.blog. You can find more articles here.


4 Tips for Navigating Group Interviews

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The typical job interview is one-on-one, usually a conversation between you and a hiring manager or potential supervisor. But this isn’t the only type of job interview you’ll encounter. If you’re seeking a job in a creative field, it's highly likely that you'll experience some version of the group interview.

Group interviews fall into two main categories: interviews with one candidate and a panel of interviewers, and interviews with multiple candidates. Beyond that, there is an infinite variety of possible dynamics.

Potential employers may hold group interviews for a number of reasons. A panel interview can save a companys time and give human resources, management, and prospective team members a chance to get to know you simultaneously. This can be a clue that efficiency and collaboration are a part of the company culture.

Group interviews with multiple candidates can be effective for jobs that require collabration, teamwork or steady interaction with diverse team members or clients. These can give you a chance to demonstrate how you function in interpersonal situations.

With a bit of preparation, you can approach any group interview with confidence and ease. In case you find yourself in a group interview scenario, here are a few tips to bear in mind.

Be Attuned to Group Dynamics

Find out who you'll be interviewing with ahead of time so you can familiarize yourself with their names, positions and backgrounds. If you’ve prepared for your interview well in advance, you’ll have an easier time “reading the room,” as comedians and other live performers call it.

Whether you're addressing a panel of interviewers or being interviewed as part of a slate of candidates, social graces will pay off.  Make eye contact with all of the interviewers naturally and use their names now and then during the interview to establish rapport. Do what you can to make sure everyone in the room feels included in the conversation - if anyone seems quiet or shy, provide an opportunity for that person to jump in. Pay attention to how people relate to each other.

If you're addressing a panel of interviewers, be open to all of their ideas and look for the areas their interests intersect. Think of group interviews as your opportunity to demonstrate that you are at ease working in groups, eager to help bring out the best in everyone, and able to turn strangers into collaborators.

Be Confident and Respectful

Speak up when you have something to say, but be careful not to talk over others. Use your active listening skills to make sure you hear and understand everyone else in the room and keep the conversation on track. Make sure you ask some well-thought out questions toward the end of the interview to demonstrate your interest in the role and company. Strike a balance of assertiveness and humility, and show that you thrive in an atmosphere of mutual respect and positive interaction.

Take the Lead

If you're in a group interview with other candidates and you don't have a naturally dominant personality, don't worry. A good leader is not someone who views others as competition in a zero-sum game, but someone who empowers everyone in a group to do their best. If you are asked to work together in a group project, look for opportunities to set up your teammates for success, and let them take their share of the credit.

Follow Up

As with any interview, when it's over, thank everyone involved and let them know that you appreciate the opportunity and their time — this includes the administrative assistant who helped you. Reach out to each member of the panel with a personalized thank you email or note. If you connected with another candidate you interviewed alongside in a group, consider exchanging information and staying in touch. You never know when you might be able to help each other. It’s a small world out there!

To find the best job opportunities and for guidance on how to handle even the toughest interviews, contact Artisan Creative today.

 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoyed the 429th issue of our weekly a.blog.  You can find more articles here.

 

6 Tips for Interviewing Creatives

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 428th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

Preparing for an interview is a two-way street that requires both parties to be present and engaged in the conversation.

In previous blogs, we highlighted general best practices for interviewers such as active listening techniques. As interviewers we must set the stage and tone of the interview to reflect our company culture and team dynamic.

Interviewing and hiring creatives adds an additional layer of intricacy since the portfolio plays a key role in the dialog.  Here are some important skills that interviewers can practice when looking to interview and hire creative candidates.

Smile  A welcoming smile is worth more than a 1000 words.

Prepare   As interviewers, it’s our responsibility to be prepared for the meeting by reviewing the candidate’s resume and portfolio in advance and crafting targeted questions to learn more about them, the projects they’ve worked on, and build better rapport. Take notes beforehand to keep things on track and stay upbeat and positive.

Listen   Active listening is essential to getting the information you need. Make eye contact with the candidate and listen to their tone - as well as their words. The best creative work is often a result of successful communication - make sure you get the most out of your conversations with candidates.

Ask open-ended questions  Questions that start with "How", "What" or "Can you explain" are generally more useful than “yes or no” questions when interviewing for creative roles. Open-ended questions allow candidates to tell stories about their experience, and ideas. Ask about the candidate’s design thinking and creative problem solving process to get a better sense of their conceptual skills.

Keep track of time   Always leave time in an interview to address any questions the candidate might have about your company and the role. This will give you some insight about what's important to them. You can often learn more from the questions candidates ask than from any other aspect of the interview.

Arrange next steps   If an interview goes well and you think you have the right person on the other side of the desk, say so. Enlighten them on the state of your interview process and set up a second interview with other hiring authorities or team members, as needed.

If the interview did not go well - or it's too early in the process to determine a fit - let the candidate know when a decision will be made. Transparency around your hiring process helps keep candidates engaged.  If a candidate isn’t a good fit, letting them down gently gives an opening to pursue other opportunities that they might be better suited for.

Hiring a new team member makes a huge difference to the future of your business. If you have questions around these high performing priorities, you can always ask an expert.  At Artisan Creative, we are experts in interviewing creatives. Happy to help you with your next hire.


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