Artisan Blog

Should you be blogging?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Should you be blogging?



Why Blog for your Business?


Your website is a great place for people to go to find out information about your company.  What you do, what you sell, where you are, what jobs are available, who partners with you.

All of that is important.

Your business blog, however, is important, too, and worth spending time on.  Your blog gives people a sense of who you are and what is important to you as a company.  It lets them know what’s going on at your company that is exciting.  It gives you a place to show your appreciation for your employees’ hard work and commitment.  It’s also a place to show off your expertise in your field and be helpful.

Is your company culture like a family?  Here’s where you can show that.  Is it more like a think tank?  Here’s where you can show off your analytical skills.  Is it a place where creative people collaborate?  Here’s where you can showcase all that creativity.

The real benefit of business blogging is in the relationships you can build.  If you are out there talking about what you do and asking questions, you will start relationships with your readers.  Relationships are everything in today’s business world and are vital to take your business to a whole new level.

Why Blog for your Job Search?

Funny thing is, Job Seekers should be blogging for the same reasons Businesses should.  Whether you are a freelancer or employed full time, your business expertise is what makes you relevant in your field. 

Blogs offer a way for you to illustrate not only your knowledge of a particular industry or skill, but also show your appreciation for your network.  You can also talk longer and more specifically than you ever would in an interview about your mission.  You can talk about what is important to you, what inspires you and what gets you excited.  You can even showcase your creativity.  You can give a potential employer a sense of who you are and how you might fit into their culture. 

And again, the real benefit is relationships.  Starting conversations, finding people with things in common, getting and giving support all help in your job search. 

Check out Wordpress.com or Blogger .com to get started.  They are free!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Top 8 Traits Employers are Looking For: Creative and Marketing

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Top 8 Traits Employers are Looking For: Creative and Marketing



I was reading an article on 8 traits employers are looking for on BioSpace.com the other day and although some of them were right on target, others missed the mark in terms of Creative and Marketing roles.  And of course the hard part is making sure you show them all off in your interview. 

So here you go, à la David Letterman, my Top 8 Traits Creative Employers are Looking For (and how to work them into your interview):

[DRUM ROLL, PLEASE]

8.         Engagement. Direct eye contact and listening skills are just as important as being articulate. Show how well you collaborate right from the start.

7.         Confidence. A classic, but still so important. You are creative and skilled and talented.  You ARE!

6.         Dress. Whatever your style, be clean and put together. Hiring managers expect you to be professional, but still want to see a bit of that personality shine through. Check out our blog for more tips on what to wear to your creative interview.

5.         Do your research.  Know as much as you can about the company culture and the person you are meeting.  Prepare a couple of interesting questions to ask your interviewer.  LinkedIn is a great place for finding inspiration!

4.         Adaptability. I agree on this one. If there is any chance to express that you’re ready for anything, do so.

3.         Curiosity.  Creative people are interested in learning new skills and coming up with new angles on old problems.

2.         Stories.  A great story is gold. Have a few stories prepared to illustrate how you accomplished something challenging, delivered a project with unexpected results or learned a valuable lesson.  Come on, you must have some stories to share!

And 1.  Energy.  Be a bright shiny penny.  There are a lot of people out there who are tired, overworked and underpaid. You might be interviewing with one of them.  Remember - you may be between roles and stressed, but you are NOT tired! 

Did you notice anything that was missed from the lists?  What traits do you think are important?  We’d love to hear your favorites!  

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


7 Tips for your Skype Interview

Friday, September 02, 2011

7 Tips for your Skype Interview


With a growing number of employers open to telecommuting positions and more hiring being done from corporate locations based elsewhere in the country or world, many jobseekers are finding themselves preparing for interviews via Skype.

As we’ve helped prepare several of our candidates for these types of interviews – we’ve found the following list helpful in preparing:

  1. Monitor your surroundings.  Your computer should be set up in a room that is quite, well lit and clean.  Ensure your background does not have distracting posters, pictures or wall paper.
  2. Test your equipment.  The night before your interview, ensure your software, microphone, camera and internet connection are working correctly.  Test your internet connection again 15 minutes before your interview to ensure you’re call can begin on time.
  3. Dress for success.  This is an interview – dress as you would for a face to face interview – professional and polished, with a hint of personality.
  4. Be prepared.  Like with any interview, make sure you’ve done your research, prepared anecdotes to demonstrate your skills / success and developed a list of questions and/or talking points to refer to when conversation lulls.
  5. Look at the camera, not at the screen.  When the interview starts, just as in a face to face interview, you want to establish proper eye contact and maintain it throughout the interview.  This helps you better connect with your interviewer.
  6. Prepare your desktop.  If screen-sharing will be part of your interview (perhaps to showcase your portfolio of work or review websites), make sure all other windows, programs and files are closed.  You should have a professional desktop picture and limited folders on the desktop.
  7. Be Yourself.  Remember, this is your only chance to make a first impression.  Don’t let the technology scare you!  This is about people making a connection.  Let your interviewer(s) see the real you.  Be genuine about your skills / experience and enthusiastic about the opportunity for which you are being considered!

We wish you the best of luck!

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager


What type of creative talent does Artisan actually recruit?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011



We’re often asked by both prospective clients and jobseekers – what exactly the “Creative” in our company name really means.  After all, the creative industry can encompass so many areas of expertise.  So where does Artisan focus our core recruiting, networking and talent development efforts?

 

You can see a comprehensive list of the types of roles we place.

 

Still have questions?  We’re happy to help.


Dressing for Success: How to dress for an interview with Creatives

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dressing for Success: How to dress for an interview with Creatives

 

A colleague of mine in Accounting recalls how she arrived at an interview for a large financial corporation wearing black suit pants, a dressy black sweater, silver flats and a matching silver purse.  After a great interview, she was told by HR that her “casual attire” was evidence that she didn’t understand their corporate culture and they would not be hiring her. 

A few weeks later she wore the same outfit when she interviewed with our company – a Creative and Marketing Recruiting agency.  Her outfit (which hinted at her creative personality) paired with her great accounting skills, helped us realize she was the perfect fit for us.  We made the hire and she’s been here for years now! 

Moral of the story:  What you wear to an interview can be a big factor in the impression you leave behind; make sure you leave the right one.

Whether we like it or not, research suggests that more than half of another person’s perception of you is based on how you look.  Therefore, if you don’t fit that “look” a company subconsciously expects of its employees, you will have to work much harder to prove that you are still the best person for the job.

This is why researching the company culture is vital before an interview.  If after conducting your research you are still not sure of the best attire, check with the Hiring Manager, Human Resources Representative or Recruiter who scheduled your interview. 

In the Marketing & Creative world, client environments can run the gamut.  In some organizations suits are still the rule, in others it’s business casual.  And while in most agencies jeans and graphic tees are the uniform of choice, there are still a few shops where board shorts and flips flops prevail. 

With every creative company being so different – is there any way to appease the masses? 

As a general rule, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. A safe bet when interviewing with a creative company is to don a slightly more conservative version of the typical “every day attire” in your target company’s office. 

A few tips:

  • Solid colors are usually better than busy patterns; Same goes with darker colors over lighter ones.
  • Jewelry should be limited to one or two key pieces
  • Make-up, hair and nails should be neat and well-maintained
  • Go easy on the perfume, cologne and aftershave

We also recommend that you find a way to show a bit of your personality – be it with a fabulous fashion accessory (shoes, glasses, purse or jewelry) or stylish haircut.

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager


Artisan Gives Back

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Artisan Gives Back

 

Following the generous spirit embodied by Artisan’s President, Jamie Douraghy, many of the Artisan staff find great ways to make a difference in the lives of others.

Here is just a sampling of what we do as individuals to support local, national and international organizations.

Several of our staff participate in annual Susan G Komen Race for the Cure events and make regular contributions in honor of family members who have lost their lives to Breast Cancer and those who are still fighting!

One of our recruiters volunteers his time at Chrysalis to help homeless and low-income individuals get the support and resources they need to find and retain employment

One of our account managers had her wedding at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center where a large part of the rental fee for the hall will go towards Alzheimer and Autism Research. 


In addition to our staff's volunteer work and event participation, our team members also make regular cash donations to the following organizations:

Project Angel Food - Provide daily meals for people in Los Angeles homebound or disabled by HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses.

AIDS Project Los Angeles -  In support of friends and friends of friends affected by AIDS

Red Cross - Helps communities around the world prepare for emergencies and keep people safe in the wake of disaster

St Jude Children’s Research Hospital - Pioneers in finding cures and saving children with pediatric cancer and other life-threatening diseases

March of Dimes - Helps protect against and lower the risk of birth defects by with education and research

Habitat for Humanity - Non-profit housing organization building simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need throughout the world.  One of our staff has plans to help build a house in a third world country sometime in the new few years!  We wish her the best with her goal!

Our staff members also make regular non-cash donations (clothes, appliances, books, household items, etc) to several other non-profit organizations:

Salvation Army
Goodwill
San Ferenando Valley Rescue Mission


We are always looking for new non-profit organizations to which we can dedicate our time, experience and resources. 

Tell us about your favorite ways to give back!

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager


What Really Happens During A Reference Check?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

reference-checks 

If you’ve never had to conduct a reference check for a perspective employee yourself – you may wonder what, specifically, employers ask your former managers, colleagues and friends about your work experience?

Or, if you’re a small buisness looking to expand, you might wonder what types of questions are best for checking the references of future employers.

In either case, we offer the following as a pretty standard reference check questionnaire:

  • Reference name, company and title
  • Please describe your working relationship with (potential candidate). How long did you work together?
  • How would you describe his/her working style?
  • What are his/her strengths? 
  • What set him/her apart from others in this role?
  • How does he/she face and overcome challenges?
  • How would you rate the candidate in the following areas using a 1-10 rating system (1 being Poor and 10 being Excellent)
  • Additional comments regarding any of these areas is always welcome:
    • Attendance/Reliability
    • Adherence to Deadlines
    • Conceptual Comprehension
    • Executional Capabilities
    • Knowledge of Programs/Systems
    • Leadership Qualities
    • Overall Quality of Work
    • Communication skills
  • Is he/she someone you would like to work with again?

The best way to conduct reference checks is over the phone.  However, when time does not permit, emailing these questions is acceptable.

If you are a talent submitting references to a potential employer, confirm that the contact information you provide is accurate and up-to-date. Also, make sure you notify your references that potential employers may be contacting them. 

If you doubt a reference can speak favorably about these specific areas – it might be better to address that up front or find another reference.

Other reference check questions?  Let us know!


How to Use Research Effectively in Your Job Search

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

 

Research.  The word probably conjures up bad memories from your school years where you spent hours in the library, leafing through books and periodicals to complete that paper you’d waited until the last minute to start.
 
Fortunately, with improvements in technology, more information is right at our fingertips via the world wide web then ever before.  We can access information about almost everything from our computers, tablets and phones.

So with all this information so easy to find – why are most jobseekers waiting until their interview to start researching?

Certainly, once an offer has been extended, it’s an excellent time to research a company’s history, annual reports, industry and events. However, knowing this information really doesn’t make you stand out above your competition.

Here are a few recommendations for using research throughout your job search to help you gain a competitive edge:

Find a problem you are qualified to solve, and use research to craft a custom resume to demonstrate it.  Show how you have previously:

  • Solved the problems a target company is facing
  • Capitalized on opportunities a target company is currently exploring
  • Overcome problems or roadblocks to achieve goals similar to that of your target company

Ask questions during your interview.  Engage an interviewer to discuss challenges that you have already solved.  

  • Figure out how you can turn company roadblocks into questions that address the problem.
  • Consider how to monetize the issue (“how much will you lose if the opportunity is missed?”) to further demonstrate how your experience is a relatively inexpensive solution to their problem  

Research the company culture to discover clues about the best communication style for your resume and in person interaction.

  • Review pictures on the company’s website and annual reports, read employee quotes, review LinkedIn Profiles, visit their company YouTube Channel, anything that can help you figure out the best dress style, office setting, level of formality, etc.

Now that you’ve seen how research can help your job search, here are a few places to help you find information on your target companies:

  • Organization Website
  • LinkedIn
  • The company's YouTube Facebook or Twitter pages
  • Pres Releases
  • Organization Blogs / Industry Blogs / Competitor Blogs
  • Glassdoor
  • Google
  • Quarterly / Annual Reports (for Public companies, regulated industries and some Non-profits, Hospitals and Educational institutions)


The Benefits of Giving (both personally and professionally)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Benefits of Giving (both personally and professionally)

"Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give. " Eleanor Roosevelt

Giving back isn’t just something we do at Artisan. It’s a core value for both our company and our staff.Over the next few months, we’ll take a look at the way our team members are working to make their local, national and global communities a better place.

This week we start with our President, Jamie Douraghy

“Over the past few years, I've been asked to join several boards to help guide a variety of non-profits to achieve greater success in everything they do.

They range from the industry-related creative organizations (AIGA LA), to alumni groups, to remotely-located entrepreneurs, to helping grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses (Make-A-Wish LA).

What I found was that in order for me to give my best, I had to uncover the relevancy for what I was about to undertake. I did not want to enter into a commitment half-heartedly and not deliver to their expectations.

Through my involvement with these organizations and my leadership at Artisan, I was able to facilitate the growth of these groups, help promote their events and assist with their fundraising initiatives.



What surprised me about my work on these boards, however, was that my involvement didn’t stop there. By working with these non-profits myself, I was inspired to motivate others - my friends, employees and extended network – to find their passion and to give back.

Additionally, I wanted Artisan Creative to do more. As a result, we selected Kiva as our charity of choice to make regular contributions. We liked the fact that they are helping build local communities on a global level, supporting entrepreneurs as far as Tanzania and as close as Detroit.

So far, Artisan has already made six loans to aid Agricultural efforts in Ecuador and Rwanda as well as craftsmen & dressmakers in Peru.



You can help Artisan raise more Kiva funds here.

What I learned through giving back:
  1. Make sure the cause resonates with you personally. If you’re not passionate about the initiatives you support, it becomes more difficult to remain motivated and involved.
  2. Find a purpose within the volunteering you do. Remember that giving is a commitment not a convenience.
  3. Be open to change (both within and without) as a result of your engagement. You never know how helping others will help you, too."

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager


Is there a UX Supply & Demand Imbalance?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Is there a UX Supply & Demand Imbalance?



Since late 2009, nearly every Web Design job posting we've seen has mentioned "usability" or "user experience."  Over time, the requests have become even more specific. Companies no longer request a Digital Design; rather, now it's specifically a User Experience Designer, UX researcher, IA/UI or Visual Designer.

Now, more than ever, the importance of User Experience is everywhere, as companies try to connect and engage with their customers in the best ways possible.

On jobs boards everywhere (ours included) we have seen a significant  increase for User Experience experts.  Some  of those requests take weeks to fill; others can’t be filled at all. 

Are we experiencing a UX supply and demand imbalance?

Yes! The demand for top usability talent is becoming greater than the supply of qualified and immediately available talent.  And, with the demand now shifting from web UX to mobile and Apps, the pool of talent is shrinking even more!

It’s not the first time we’ve seen this happen.  In fact, we’re often reminded of the market for Flash Developers a few years back. Jobs took weeks to fill.  Salaries were at a peak and good talent was definitely hard to come by.  

As recruiters, we had to quickly adapt new avenues for meeting qualified talent to introduce them to new available opportunities.

What does this mean for employers?  There are some options:

  1. Be specific about your needs.  Do you need a generalist? Or a specialist?  The UX world can have multi pronged discipline.  Know what you actually need - UX / UI / IA / UT ?
  2. Be competitive with your overall compensation package.  Both in dollars as well as  benefits, flex-time or telecommuting
  3. Be open to Relo.  Look at national and international talent.  Additional fees and quite a bit of paperwork could result – but it might be worth the additional effort.
  4. Hire a UX consultant.  Utilize the expertise of a specialist for the short term.  Ensure he/she has a team of your internal staff with which to work and knowledge share.
  5. Invest in more training.  Chances are your current team of designers would love to learn more about the growing HCI field.  Invest in their education.  Pay for courses.  Hire an expert to train them.   You get more knowledge and your employees might just ignite a new passion.

But it’s not up to employers alone to fix the problem.  Talent and Recruiters have responsibilities too.

Interactive Design Talent – Perfect your art.  Especially freelancers!  Invest in classes, seminars and software needed to grow.

Recruiters – We, too, must continue doing our part to seek out new talent.  We must work closely with Universities and other Education Programs to connect with recent grads in the space, attend MeetUp groups and networking events to meet new talent and continue to educate our talent and clients about the market to manage expectations correctly.

Let’s see where the world of user experience takes us in Q3 and Q4!

Jessica Bedford, Marketing Manager & Katty Douraghy, Managing Director



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