Artisan Blog

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

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

Portfolio DOs and DONTs

Friday, July 22, 2011

Over the years we've seen our fair share of creative portfolios.  Some AMAZING portfolios.  Others...well, not so much.

So what makes a portfolio really stand out?  Here are just a few tips to consider when sending your work out to potential employers!

Creative Portfolio DOs
DO Showcase your best/most impressive piece first. Remember that your portfolio is how potential employers first judge your creativity, skills and potential. Therefore, be sure to put your best work forward… start off with your proudest piece.

DO Go digital. Online Portfolios are the quickest and easiest way to market yourself.  Even if you have no online work to present, the online portfolio can help creatives reach a whole new audience.  There are a number of great portfolio sites out there that enable you to upload your work for a nominal fee, and sometimes at no cost.  We see talent work from Creative Hot List, Behance, Krop and Coroflot almost as much as we see unique urls.

DO Stay Organized. Make sure to establish some order by organizing your book or website into sections (advertising, logos/identity, brochures, etc.) or group by company or campaign depending on what’s appropriate.

DO Check the quality. Photo quality, that is. Make sure images are optimized and printed at the best resolution possible.
Explain your work. Including a brief synopsis of project details- outlining the client, project objective, your role and programs used is always appreciated.

DO Test those links. For online portfolios, make sure that your url links are working and the work is still yours and hasn’t changed.

DO Assume everyone heading to your site is technically challenged and impatient. Create a site that is easy to navigate and quick to load. A simple CSS style is a great way to go.

Creative Portfolio DONTs
DON'T Overload your book/site with every bit of work you’ve done over the years. Keep your portfolio concise . A well-organized portfolio with 10-15 pieces of your best samples will always shine.

DON'T Be outdated. Keep your book or website up to date with fresh and relevant work. If the work is more than 5 years old, it’s probably a good idea to leave it out.

DON'T Be Sloppy. Make sure that your book is clean, complete and free of torn, frayed or yellowing pages.

DON'T Be generic. Let some of your personal style peek through. Brand yourself by creating a logo, color palette and look and feel that represents you and carry it throughout.  

DON'T Forget your credentials. Make sure to include a copy of your up to date resume.

DON'T Forget your contact details.  What good is an amazing portfolio if potential employers have no way of contacting you.  For online portfolios especially, make sure there is an active email and/or phone number to ensure interested parties can connect with you.

Need more help putting together a killer portfolio?  We're always happy to review talent portfolios and provide feedback.  Who knows - we might even have an opportunity that could be a good fit.  Get in touch with us!

Jamie Grossman
Creative Recruiting Manager

Designer? I thought you said you were a Developer? | Becoming an Expert in your chosen field

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Designer? I thought you said you were a Developer? | Becoming an Expert in your chosen field


Q.  What do you do for a living?
A.  I'm a Web content copywriter.  A writer/producer, really.  I do some screenwriting.  But I'm sort of a writer/print designer hybrid.  I have an art gallery opening this weekend.  And I know CS5 really well.  Also, I'm an artist/electrician.  A plumber/horse-wrangler.  I can pretty much do whatever you need!  Find me a job!

In the creative services industry, a talent manager views and reviews hundreds of resumes each week.  Some resumes are clean and coupled with bold portfolios.  Other resumes are all over the place.
So, let's get right to the point:  If you're looking for work, pick your top two areas of expertise and stick with them.  Wear them on your sleeve.  In your cover letter/email, state exactly what you do best.  In your resume, do the same.  On a phone call, tell me exactly what you do best and NOT what you're CAPABLE of doing well.  

In delivering your message succinctly and repetitively, I will be able to know what you do, and consider you (possibly hire you!) again and again - as long as your work history is solvent.  If the position I'm looking at is not for you this time, we'll know it right away...But, if our conversation is good, we'll remember you in the future.

Not good: 
Do you remember that guy, Greg? 
He's the one with the marketing background, but he's trying to get into AfterEffects and Maya.
Well, what is it that he's actually doing now?
I'm not sure.  I don't think he really knows either.
Who else do we like?

Do you remember Scott?
The HTML/CSS coder?
Call him.  He'd be a perfect fit!

We remember the talent who specialize in something and do it well.  And we would remember Greg, too, if he'd just figure out what he's good at and focus on it.

Here are some example skillsets that work well together:
  • Maya/After Effects
  • Web Content Writer/Blogger
  • Broadcast Producer/Agency Producer
  • Corporate Communications Manager/Internal PR Manager
  • Print Designer/Graphic Artist
  • Traffic Manager/Print Production Manager
And so on . . .

So, when you looking for work - remember:  I don't need to know everything you've ever done.  I need to know precisely what you're best at doing.

Kevin Kahn
Talent Manager

9 Tips to a More Organized Work space

Thursday, July 07, 2011

9 Tips to a More Organized Work space

I sit back for a moment and look around my desk. It’s covered in paperwork, files, pens, business cards, industry trades and several remnants of my lunch - consumed (once again) at my desk. I know where everything is.  But why does it look so unorganized?  Is this what they call creative clutter or am I just plain messy?

In speaking with friends and colleagues, I realize there really are common elements that make for a more productive, organized work space:

  • Think green. Before you hit “Print” on that email or document, ask yourself, “Do I really need to print this? Or will it just lie in a pile on my desk and collect dust?” If you do have to print it – use recycled paper.
  • Stay organized. For the paperwork you do need to action/review frequently – create a filing system on your desk. In our office we prefer stackable letter trays for certain action items and desk sorters for others. Keep blank file folders nearby so you never have an excuse not to file something properly. Remember, if you use something daily – it should be closer to you than the items you use less frequently.
  • Avoid Post-its. Prevent those sticky notes from getting buried on your monitor, desk and wall. Try using your email calendar or mobile phone to store important notes. If you’re like me and can’t quite give up the paper and pen – try using a spiral notebook instead. This keeps all of your important notes in one place.
  • Throw out all those extra pens. Keep only 3 or 4. General rule – if it’s leaking, chewed or missing a cap – it’s time to go!
  • Keep personal items to a minimum. Pictures of or personal tokens from family and friends help keep us motivated and remind us of what’s important. However, any more than 3 items becomes a distraction.
  • Eat away from your desk. This one is tough for me. I can’t remember the last time I ate lunch at an actual table! When we eat at our desk it encourages trash to collect. An empty cup. A take out bag. Extra utensils. Salt & pepper packets. More napkins than you could use in a lifetime. Prevent the trash (and crumbs) by eating away from your desk (and preferably out of the office). We all need a daily break from work to keep us at our best!
  • Keep phone and computer cords to a minimum - Go Wireless. Move freely by investing in a stylish wireless mouse and bluetooth headset. You can even upgrade to a wireless pen tablet.
  • Keep electronics off your desk. Even if you have the room, items like printers, routers, batteries, etc take up space and just add to the clutter. Move them to another piece of furniture or the floor (if appropriate)
  • Cleaning supplies. By keeping cleaning supplies nearby, you’ll be encouraged to wipe down your surface more often.
Well, I know my marching orders tomorrow: take an actual lunch break, spending 30 minutes outside (away from my desk eating lunch) and the other 30 minutes inside (at my desk) getting organized! Cheers to a more productive week ahead!

Jess Bedford, Marketing & Project Manager

Welcome to the Artisan Blog!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Welcome to the Artisan Blog!

Welcome to the newest version of our Artisan blog.

With so much information flying around these days, we decided to only bring you information and ideas that will focus in the four areas we feel most relevant to the work we do together:

  • creativity
  • staffing / job seekers
  • entrepreneurship
  • giving back

Our goal is to keep it simple and provide something of value each time you log in, read and reach the final sentence.

Thank you!
Jamie Douraghy, President


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