Artisan Blog

Project Management Triangle

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Project Management Triangle


"Fast. Cheap. Good. Pick two."

This is a summation of the Project Management Triangle, a framework for project scoping and resource allocation that has been in use since the 1950s, and has long been embraced by freelance software developers in particular.

The basic idea is that an emphasis on any one or two corners of the triangle requires constraints in the third. What we emphasize shows the world who we are and what we value. Project managers, hiring managers, and creative professionals must determine what areas are most important, and realize the value of compromise in some areas to achieve excellence in others.

If you are filling a role or scoping a project, or you want to make sure your clients understand your constraints and give you appropriate support, the Project Management Triangle is a useful model for negotiating fairly and setting appropriate expectations.

In any profession, it is useful to keep these rules in mind:

If you want work done at high quality, with a quick turnaround, it may be expensive.

Time is perhaps the most precious resource of all. The work that goes into completing complex projects on tight turnarounds doesn't begin when you sign the contract - it requires years of study, experience, and preparation on the part of those who complete the assignment. Under such demands, you will need to work with the best, and you can expect them to charge what they're worth.

If you want your work done quickly, and you have a tight budget, it may not be of top quality.

If you make harsh demands and don't pay well, you may run the risk of being "penny wise and pound foolish," or sacrificing big returns in the future for small savings now. You can offset this by shifting from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. If you don't have a lot of money, what other sorts of value can you offer talent to get them excited about your projects and build strong, ongoing relationships based on collective appreciation? To set the stage for great work, establish realistic expectations based on mutual respect.

If you want to build something of high quality at low cost, it may take a long time.

As Billie Holiday sings, "The difficult, I'll do right now. The impossible may take a little while." If you have high expectations and a low budget, your most crucial virtues are patience and persistence. Your success depends on building long-term relationships with passionate professionals who care about your project and have the expertise to get it done.

Every project is different. That's why we use flexible mental models to determine how we can best accomplish our goals. For instance, under the "lean startup" framework, we would not gauge "fast," "cheap," or "good" in the same way as we would in a typical corporate setting. However, for most projects, the Project Management Triangle provides the most useful values system for determining the scope and setting expectations.

If you're hiring skilled and qualified professionals for your project, or you're an ambitious creative in search of the perfect challenge, contact Artisan Creative today. Leverage our decades of business experience to build relationships that lead to mutual flourishing.

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Networking Opportunities in March

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Networking Opportunities in March

As a freelancer, you may work independently, but that doesn't mean you have to work alone. There are numerous networks and communities, both online and in real life, that can help you find connection, inspiration, and support.

Despite its reputation for impersonal sprawl, Los Angeles boasts a particularly strong design community. LA designers gather at large, recurring events held by AIGA, Creative Mornings, and others, and they can also be found at smaller meetups around the city.

The organizers of the Los Angeles User Experience Meetup group track design-related gatherings on the west side, downtown, online, and all around greater Los Angeles. They provided us with a curated list of five great events for LA designers to check out in March 2018. If you're looking for designer camaraderie in LA, here are five places to find it.

Breakfast Panel: Diversity

When: Monday, March 5, 8:00 AM

Where: General Assembly, 150 2nd St., Santa Monica

Why: In the worlds of design and tech, issues of race, gender, and fair treatment in the workplace have never been more salient. Over breakfast, a panel of women and an audience of industry insiders will hash things out and chew on the big questions.

Product Management: Live Chat

When: Tuesday, March 6, 11:15 AM

Where: Online - register at the link

Why: This is an open-ended "ask me anything" session with Liliya McLean, lead product manager with the iconic home goods brand Home Depot. If you're curious about product management or the product management community in Los Angeles, this is an ideal, low-pressure opportunity to assuage your curiosity and get involved. Registration includes an invitation to the highly active Product Management Los Angeles Slack community.

Tech Fair LA

When: Thursday, March 8, 10:00 AM

Where: Magic Box, 1933 South Broadway, Los Angeles

Why: Whether or not you're looking for work, attending events geared toward job-seekers gives you an opportunity to see what's out there, hone your networking skills, and get a sense of the market and community around the Los Angeles tech sector. This enormous job fair is more like a party than most, with demos, hack-a-thons, DJs, food trucks, and a fun, festive atmosphere.

Creating Reality AR/VR Hackathon

When: Monday, March 12 - Thursday, March 15

Where: Ronald Tutor Hall, 3710 McClintock Avenue, Los Angeles

Why: In the entertainment capital of the world, from Silicon Beach to the Hollywood Hills, the rise of virtual and augmented reality has been a subject of intense commercial and creative interest. This week-long series of workshops and team projects promises a full immersion in the technology, the community, and the field of VR/AR.

DTLA Community Hack Night at Nordstrom Rack/HauteLook

When: Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 PM

Where: The BLOC Office Tower, 700 South Flower Street, Los Angeles

Why: Creative people often bond best when they have something to work on together, preferably a project that's ambitious, immersive, and fun. Girl Develop It Los Angeles hosts this hands-on skill-building session for designers, developers, and passionate makers of all stripes. It's a safe environment for experimentation, and for curious techies and aesthetes of all descriptions.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that the essence of professional success is about more than money - it's about building a strong network, doing interesting things, and leading a fascinating life. We keep our eyes open for all sorts of growth and enrichment opportunities for creative professionals, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and beyond. Contact us today to learn more.

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3 Benefits of Working Remotely

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

3 Benefits of Working Remotely

Although some work challenges may seem best tackled by teams coming together in person, with each leap forward in virtual networking technology, colleagues in far-flung locations can come together just as productively in a virtual setting. The continuous rapid pace of improvement in this area, makes it more efficient and more rewarding for creative professionals to do their work remotely.

According to The New York Times, 43% of employed Americans do at least some of their work off-site. Those who have embraced remote work, and the lifestyle that comes with it, have discovered significant benefits.

The Artisan Creative has been working remotely since 2009 and we'd like to share some of those benefits with you:

More Productivity

To work remotely is to relinquish stressful and time-consuming rush-hour commutes and eliminate workplace distractions. Remote workers can create routines, schedules, and environments that are best suited to their own preferences and patterns, which often result in getting more done, in less time, with less hassle than would be required to complete the same tasks in an office.

To work well without constant oversight requires some discipline and responsibility, and for those who excel at it, remote work can be an enormous boon to their careers, improve their results, and stimulate a new work ethic.

More Freedom

For those with the discipline and independence to live a remote work based lifestyle, traditional borders and living restrictions have disappeared.

By being adept at working off-site, building their networks, and collaborating well virtually, professionals no longer need to relocate to prohibitively expensive cities to advance their careers. Some even choose to become "digital nomads" and travel as they work, seeing the world while pursuing creative careers on their laptops and mobile devices.

Even if the corporate headquarters is across town, having the liberty to work from home, a co-working space, or a coffee shop can open new lifestyle options for those who wish to spend more time with their friends and families or simply have the space to create.

More Ease

Off-site work used to be much more of a challenge and a commitment for all parties involved. Now, with so many effective options, much of the past friction has been eliminated.

As mentioned earlier, the technology that drives document-sharing, teleconferences, virtual meetings, and location-independent digital collaboration has advanced tremendously, and it gets better every day.

There may come a time in the not-so-distant future when the majority of teams do most of their work and collaboration remotely. Already, the increase of remote work is popular with the rising Millennial Generation and represents a wider range of lifestyle choices in a highly networked global society.

Contact Artisan Creative to prepare for the future of work and learn how to thrive in a changing creative economy.

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Dos and Don'ts of Job Applications

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Dos and Don'ts of Job Applications

An on-line job application is your first impression with potential employers. Being conscious and deliberate about this crucial first step can help target your job search process.  As you strive to learn and make each application a bit better than the last, you may find that applying for jobs can be an exciting chance to move your life and work to another level.

As talent advocates in the creative business, we have observed some consistent patterns as to which job applications are more likely to open doors. Here are a few best practices, as well as common mistakes to avoid - knowing these can save you a lot of time in your job search.

DO: Apply For Jobs You Want, and Tailor Each Application

If you must choose between quantity and quality of applications, go with quality every time. It's easy to apply for jobs online - every hiring manager who posts an ad is likely to get deluged with applications. To get noticed in this flood, it is essential that you pay attention to the text and subtext of the ad.

Craft your profile so it aligns with the hiring manager's expectations and present yourself in a way that communicates that you want not just any job, you want this job. If you are mindful about your application, it will stand out from the vast majority of those who simply apply for as many jobs as possible, as quickly as possible.

DON'T: Spray and Pray

New job-hunting interfaces with one-click "Easy Apply" features make it possible to apply for dozens of jobs per hour, but that doesn't necessarily make this a constructive practice. Make sure you exclusively apply for jobs that you understand and that you know are a good match for your goals, skills, and expectations. Always show enough consideration for the time of hiring managers and recruiters. Target the companies that you are really interested in. Your thoughtfulness will pay dividends over the course of your job search.

DO: Present Yourself Well

When creating your resume, cover letter, and other application materials, maintain a positive mindset and present yourself, your skills, and your accomplishments in the most appropriate light. You've worked hard to get where you are, and you're looking for the best opportunity to contribute and to take your career to the next level.

DON'T: Fib or Exaggerate

If you tell the truth, it's easy to remember! Duplicity isn't worth the mental energy, and it is easy enough to find the truth in our super-connected electronic age. If you mislead about your capabilities, you may find yourself in an interview for which you are not qualified, which is scary and embarrassing. Be realistic and honest, and you will make more progress in your career over time.

DO: Make Your Application User-Friendly

Keep it short - resumes of one or two pages, and cover letters of no more than five succinct paragraphs, are more likely to be read in full. For resumes, use lists with bullets, clear headings, and easy-to-read typography. Be mindful of applicant tracking software, and use common industry terms and keywords that are likely to capture the attention of robots as well as humans.

DON'T: Go Overboard With Style

Unless you're a graphic designer showing off a particular aesthetic sensibility, stick with a simple, minimalist resume that is easy on the eyes. Don't include pictures, colors, flourishes, competing typefaces, or other distractions. Your resume should be functional first. Focus on communicating your value for maximum efficiency and impact.

Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more about how you can make your application stand out. And read our advice on how to perfect your portfolio and how to have a great interview to help land your dream job.

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Staying Creative and Innovative

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Staying Creative and Innovative

"This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete."

― Steven Pressfield

As the holiday season approaches and we look ahead to a new year, it’s important to continue to remain creative and innovative. Often time in nature or away from the screen is exactly what is needed to generate new ideas. Creative professionals can't afford the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike. Hobbyists and dabblers can get to work when they have the occasional great idea. For a pro, the challenge isn’t to paint a masterpiece every 20 years, it is to keep working when generating ideas becomes a challenge, insecurity and impostor syndrome set in, and creativity becomes harder to come by.

Here are a few tips to use in 2018 to stay productive and do your best creative work whenever you're feeling challenged to generate new ideas.

Commit to a Daily Practice

The only way to consistently have good ideas is to consistently have a lot of bad ideas. That's why it's vital to have a daily creative practice that serves to clear out the psychological clutter.

The writer and investor James Altucher suggests writing ten ideas a day, every day - these ideas can be about anything, and they can be really out there, as long as you force yourself to keep coming up with them. Comedy legend Jerry Seinfeld sets a daily timer and forces himself to write until it runs out - most of this material doesn't make it anywhere near his set, it’s the practice that separates him from the amateurs at open mic nights.

750 Words is one of several web portals that's designed to reward a daily creative practice, regardless of the work quality. If you are an illustrator or designer, take up a similar practice of drawing one new sketch every day. This is the best way to keep your creative muscles limber and strong.

Join a Creative Community

It is important to be an active member of your local community of creative pros. This will give you a chance to share and test ideas, commiserate, and get a positive nudge when you need to keep going.

You can find groups of like-minded creative professionals on Meetup, or attend Creative Mornings talks in your city. If you don't live near a creative metropolis, there are plenty of supportive social networks online, too.

When you identify as part of a creative tribe, you may feel a lot more secure in your work, knowing that others must overcome the same challenges as you and you can ask for help when you need it.

Respect Your Own Process

It may sound like a dream job to conjure up creative inspiration and play with new ideas every day for a living, however, it can be a real challenge if you aren't in touch with your own mental, physical, and emotional rhythms.

To maximize your output, pay attention to your input. Take regular breaks, eat healthy and delicious food, and get plenty of sleep, even when you're on tight deadlines. It's worth making sacrifices to keep yourself in good condition.

To maximize your potential, pay attention to your own signals. Do you start strong in the mornings and taper off in the afternoons, or do you hit your stride in midday? Can you do deep, focused work for hours at a time, or do you prefer 55-minute work intervals staggered with five-minute water breaks?

As much as you can, let your work life move to your own inner rhythms. And mind the "taste gap;" sometimes, when you're disappointed in your own work, it means your taste is improving, and you just have to keep applying yourself to reach new creative heights you never imagined before.

Talk to the Experts

At Artisan, we work with the top creative professionals in the business, and we've seen talent handle challenges and still produce brilliant work on a consistent basis.

When you're inspired to take your career to the next level, contact Artisan Creative, and join some of the most prestigious creative talent around. We hope you enjoy the 455th issue of our weekly

Holiday Prep for Freelancers

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Holiday Prep for Freelancers

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, everyone is gearing up to bring the final weeks to a close and prepare for the new year. For many, this includes vacations and paid time off. As a freelancer, your year-end to-dos may be a little different and can be just as rewarding.

Here are a few tips to help you celebrate your success as a creative freelancer during the holiday season.

Pick Up Extra Work

If you want to keep working during the holidays, you may still find work that needs doing. When full-time designers, developers, or other creative professionals are out of town, employers may need someone to pick up quick assignments that otherwise wouldn’t be turned around in time.

If you are ready, willing, and able to work during the holidays, make sure to let your important professional contacts know and update your social profile with your availability.

Additionally, this is a good opportunity to work on personal passion projects and expand your portfolio with new pieces.

Tend To Your Infrastructure

A successful freelancing career involves much more than client work. It requires managing and marketing, taking care of financial obligations, and making sure you have the infrastructure in place to get work, get paid, and stay connected.

The holiday slowdown provides an opportunity to take care of professional details that aren't often a part of your usual assignments.

For freelancers, paying taxes and doing other paperwork is often a challenge; why not tackle it during the slow days?

You can also take online classes to learn new professional skills, to be more marketable during the new year.

Now that your clients are on a break, this is an ideal time to handle all obligations of running your own business. Organizing your paper files, managing digital declutter or achieving inbox zero can be great projects to get ready for 2018.

Prepare for Down Time

Even in our super-connected, always-on culture, the business world tends to slow down during the holiday season. Starting on the week of Thanksgiving and continuing through the first week of January, offices take on a different rhythm and often focus on staff and family celebrations.

It is always wise to have plenty of money socked away for such dry spells. Lots of personal finance and accounting programs will automatically save a certain amount each month, or you may be able to set up automatic savings through your bank.

With a buffer in your bank account, you can spend your holiday season relaxing, not fretting about money.

Take a Break

If you can find regular work and manage your career, freelancing can give you the freedom to travel, spend time with your loved ones, and set your own schedule. If you are able to and have handled all your obligations, why not take off for a week or two? Time to reflect and unplug is a great opportunity to recharge and get the creative juices flowing.

Set an "away" message, letting everyone know you are taking some much-needed R&R. You can go entirely off the grid or put your hours on "emergency mode," in which you let it be known you are only available for very important matters.

Prepare for Next Year

Set your goals, create a vision board and plan ahead for a successful year ahead.This month leading up to the holidays can be a great opportunity to research companies you want to target.

If you haven't had time to update your resume, website, or online portfolio, block off some time and make sure you are showcasing all your current work in a manner that does it justice.

Give Thanks

The holiday season is an appropriate time to acknowledge the people who have supported your career.

Send a note to your clients, vendors, and colleagues, letting them know you've appreciated the opportunity to work with them and wish them the best in the new year. If you're a designer, you can send a special holiday card, extending your gratitude and ensuring that clients will keep you in mind.

Here at Artisan, we are grateful for another rich and rewarding year of working with top creative talent and clients. We look forward to celebrating continued success in 2018 and developing new ways to support you and your work.


Contact us today to learn more. We hope you enjoy the 452nd issue of our weekly

How to Achieve a Winning Mindset

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How to Achieve a Winning Mindset

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

- Michael Jordan

It's easy enough to feel positive and optimistic when things are going well. However, to prevent burnout, turn setbacks into opportunities, and build a strong and reliable business, career, or life, we must develop a resilient winner's mindset. This is crucial for those who are in the job-hunting or interview process.

Whether you're currently up or down or experiencing success or setbacks in getting to the next level of interviews, when you internalize these core principles, you can be like Mike, a person who learns from mistakes, profits from adversity, and grows stronger and wiser over time.

Respect the Body-Mind Connection

Taking better care of our body can dramatically increase the strength, endurance, and potential of our minds. The stress of the job hunt can take a physical toll, which makes body health awareness and appropriate self-care all the more vital.

Along with increasing our strength, longevity, and life satisfaction, regular exercise can improve our brain chemistry. When we overcome inertia and achieve our fitness goals, it inspires us to meet our commitments and handle our responsibilities in other areas of life.

Our bodies turn food into energy. When we consume a healthy and balanced diet, our bodies convert it to a much-needed energy that helps us stay centered, steady, and optimistic through difficult times.

Get Good Information

Just as we must be mindful of what we eat, we must pay attention to our diet of information and intellectual stimulation.

Diversions and light entertainment are fine as long as they are balanced with useful and well-informed content. We should make time for educational and technical material that keeps us up to date, inspirational stories of those who have achieved important breakthroughs, and difficult work that broadens our minds, and challenges our assumptions. .

We don't exist in a vacuum - cultivating the right environment is tremendously important to thrive and succeed. If you replace negative input with enriching and positive media, you will find that your thoughts follow suit and so will your perspective.

You don't need to spend all of your time just reading the classics - practice critical thinking about what you read and watch. Ask yourself, "what is the frame of reference here? Why does it exist, what assumptions are baked into it, and what can I learn from this that will help me build a winning mindset?"

You will gradually find yourself focusing more on work that reflects your values, and getting more optimistic as a result. And you will certainly be sharper in interviews, in meetings, and on the job.

Keep Things In Perspective

We cannot be defined by our mistakes and setbacks - as long as we stay in the game, we will ultimately benefit from challenging experiences and the learning opportunities they give us.

Likewise, we cannot let winning go to our heads. Every small victory should be celebrated, as it gives us the courage to reach higher goals. As we celebrate victories, we must remind ourselves that there is more work to be done. We cannot adequately prepare for the future if we rest on past achievements.

Stay proud in defeat and humble in victory. In this way, we can avoid the fate of the "one-hit wonder” and always play the long game, in the job hunt as in life.

A simple, daily mindfulness practice can be a tremendous help in maintaining the equanimity we need to stay agile and not let our good or bad experiences define us too strictly.

Move Beyond Zero-Sum Thinking

Many of our games and rituals are based on the notion that, for us to win, someone else has to lose. This represents a "zero-sum" or scarcity-based mentality, wherein we are competing for limited resources. In reality, things rarely work this way. We can usually get what we want without hurting others.

Our most pressing challenges and greatest opportunities lie in increasing the overall wealth and resources available to human society. We can disrupt old structures and cultivate new ideas from the assumption that everyone can benefit from our work, including those we may see as competition. We have our differences, and our best thinking springs from a willingness to better provide for all of humanity.

When we do our best work with the intention to do what’s right, everyone ultimately benefits. When we transcend zero-sum thinking and adopt an abundance mindset, we open a wealth of opportunity for ourselves, our communities, and the world at large.

Be Grateful To Everyone

To psychologically ground ourselves and maintain a balanced perspective, nothing is more important than a regular practice of gratitude.

This is easier said than done, particularly when many factors seem arrayed against us, in a job search or other endeavors. But no matter where we are personally or professionally, we must take stock of the many advantages and privileges we have.

If your job search has been challenging, try a simple “loving-kindness” practice. Be grateful to yourself, and slowly extend that outward to your loved ones, to strangers, and to the entire world. Just by giving it a try, you will open your mind to abundance and generosity, which will help you cope with any problems that come your way.

The more grateful you are, the more “luck” you are likely to have, as others perceive you as a source of goodwill, strength, and comfort in their own tough journeys.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals at all levels of expertise build rewarding careers by sharing job search best practices and interview tips. Contact us today to learn more.


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Creating Impactful Resumes

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Creating Impactful Resumes

In our 20+ years of working with some of the best creative talent in the business, we have seen hundreds of examples of resumes that get attention, get read, and get interviews. While every job-seeker should have a resume that highlights his or her uniqueness, we have observed some consistent patterns in effective resumes that we suggest all candidates keep in mind.

Here are five big ideas to help guide you as you write, revise, and refine your resume.

1. Goal

Your resume should be designed with a specific purpose in mind, usually landing an interview. Make sure that everything about it - every word, every stylistic decision, everything - is optimized for helping you achieve your goal.

Rather than having one resume you send out many times, try using several, slightly different resumes, tailored to different opportunities, potential employers, or specializations. This will give you the opportunity to experiment with "A/B testing," or compare the results of minor tweaks.

For instance, rather than including an "Objective" that remains consistent, try summarizing your career or experience in a way that pertains directly to this opportunity. See which ones get better results and refine from there.

If nothing else, refresh your resume regularly - this gives you a chance to clarify or change your goal over time.

2. Style

Unless you are a designer and your aesthetic sensibility is a crucial part of your package, make your fonts, typefaces, and other formatting decisions are legible and user-friendly. Your resume should showcase your skills and experience, not itself.

If your resume is in Microsoft Word format, use standard typefaces such as Arial and Calibri, stick with one typeface throughout, and keep the size consistent at around 10- or 12-point. Unless you're applying for an acting or modeling gig, you don't need to include a photo - your work should make your first impression, at least until you have a chance to introduce yourself in person.

When in doubt, make your resume as clear, clean, and simple as you can.

3. Structure

Use bold headers and bulleted lists for easy "F-scanning," and list your work experience sequentially, starting with the most recent.

Clearly label the name of the company, your job title, and the interval of time in which you worked there (including the month and the year, for extra transparency). There's no need to go back further than ten years unless you have some very important or impressive experience outside of that range.

If needed, you can include a "Skills" section listing software programs in which you are an expert-level user or important

Challenge yourself to keep your resume to one or two pages in length. This will make it more appealing for hiring managers and will ensure that you highlight only your best and most important skills and experience.

4. Content

List your responsibilities, using active verbs (e.g. "handled" or "resolved," rather than "responsible for"). Focus less on rote daily duties and more on challenges you overcame, goals you accomplished, and ways in which you helped your team succeed. This will help create a picture in the hiring manager's mind of what you can do in this new opportunity.

While you should avoid empty jargon, you should be mindful of important industry terms that an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or other databases might scan for, and include those. If you are posting your resume on the web, it should be search-engine optimized, using keywords that are popular with hiring managers in your line of work.

5. Details

Again, designers are exempt from strict conservatism in style. Add a logo, splashes of color, or other touches that show off your signature aesthetic. Just don't go overboard with it.

If you worked for an agency, include some of the clients you worked for and note the different sorts of projects you worked on. This can be more tangible for hiring managers outside the agency world. Make sure your URL or a link to your portfolio site is included in the resume.

Like everything else about job hunting, crafting the ideal resume is a process of trial and error - try different things, see what gets results, and learn from your experience. However, you can fast-track your career if you team up with experts who have knowledge, connections, and resources. To find out more about how to showcase yourself and discover new worlds of opportunity, contact Artisan Creative today.


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Mastering the Art of Phone and Video Interviews

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The ease of technology and virtual offices have made the phone and video interview a necessary step in the overall interview process.Some firms even go as far as requesting video resumes!

For many of us, interviews can be stressful—and undergoing the first interview by phone or video doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, sometimes it can be more challenging due to technology mishaps or the inability to see the other person’s reaction well.

Whether your first interview with a prospective client or employer is in person, over the phone or via Zoom, the same rules apply: do your best so you can advance to the next stage.

With over 20 years of helping candidates prepare for these types of interviews, we wanted to share some best practices with you:

The Phone Interview

  • Confirm time zones in case the interviewer is in another state or country.
  • Research the company, follow on social, and look up your interviewer's Linkedin profile.  You may find some things in common!
  • If you are taking a call at a specific time, ensure that you are in a quiet place.
  • Try not to walk and talk at the same time—you may sound winded, or lose reception going from location to the next.
  • Make sure your device is fully charged or plugged in during the interview
  • You’ll be using your voice and tone to communicate— be sure to speak clearly and succinctly.
  • Be friendly and smile while talking. It lifts and warms your voice, which helps you to connect with the interviewer.
  • Be prepared to ask engaging questions about the company culture and the team.
  • Have your resume close by so you can refer to it.
  • Listen well and avoid talking over the interviewer.
  • Don’t discuss salary or benefits at this stage.
  • This is your first opportunity to connect and shine.

The Video Interview

In addition to the above steps, the following best practices also apply to video interviews:

  • No matter the technology used (Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout or others) adhere to this mantra: Test, and Test again. Test your device’s audio and video connections before the actual interview. Don’t wait until the interview day to download!
  • Practice ahead of time on screen and record yourself if possible. Pay attention to your posture, voice, lighting and background and adjust as needed.
  • Position the camera at eye-level and make eye contact with it! If you only watch the screen itself you’ll look like you’re not making eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Dress and groom as if you were interviewing in person. Dress for the job you want!
  • Check the lighting and move your computer as needed so that your face is illuminated without any shadows.
  • Make sure your head and shoulders appear in the video frame – don’t get too close or move too far away from the camera.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings—especially the background. Select a clean, neutral and distraction-free backdrop like a wall, screen or a panel of curtains.
  • If you live with a roommate let them know you’ll be on camera to avoid an unexpected noise or interruptions.
  • If you are a creative, have your portfolio loaded on your desktop in case screen sharing is needed. Make sure you have a clean, uncluttered desktop and if needed, change your desktop wallpaper to something creative but professional.

The techniques will become more natural over time. You’ll know that you’ve mastered the art of the phone or video interview when you’re invited for the in-person interview!


If you need help in your next job search, please connect with the We are 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 440th issue of our weekly


Best Practices For Working With Recruiters

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

As you build your creative career, you are likely to interact with many recruiters, from those employed by large companies to those who work for third-party agencies such as Artisan Creative.

Over time, recruiters can become strong allies in your quest to build your portfolio and reputation, interface with potential clients and employers, and find the work opportunity that best suits you.

At Artisan Creative, we continue to work with a wide range of clients and talent. During our 20+ years in business, we have learned what makes talent and recruiter relationships work well together. Here are a few best practices for fostering productive and mutually beneficial relationships.


The more upfront you are with your recruiter, the more they can help.

A good recruiter can help tailor your resume and cover letter for specific opportunities based on insights they have about a role. It is your responsibility to present yourself honestly and accurately in every detail.

If you know you are stronger in some skillsets than others, let your recruiter know. If you are not that interested in an opportunity, or a commute is too far, talk to your recruiter. If you have multiple offers or are interviewing for an Out-of-State role, keep your recruiter in the loop.

A recruiter is your advocate, and they can help if they know the full picture by offering suggestions on your resume and portfolio and advising on interviewing, job search and other best practices. 

Once you get the job, and you settle into a new position, keep your recruiter abreast of any concerns regarding scheduling, compensation, or issues on the job. Part of your recruiter's role is to help manage your relationship with the client – make sure to keep your recruiter in the loop and let them support you during your orientation time period.

As long as you are transparent, there is no harm in working with several recruiters at once. You should always work as hard as you're able to build your own career - the stronger a candidate you are, the more recruiters can and will want to help you. The key is to be upfront and let your recruiter know if you have already been submitted to a specific role, or if you are no longer interested in an opportunity.

Communication is key to an open, mutually respectful working relationship.


At Artisan Creative, we focus on digital, creative and marketing roles. We love seeing good creative work get rewarded, and hard-working creatives build long and satisfying careers. We are fortunate to have established long standing trusted relationships with many of our talent as they grow in their careers and often become our clients!

Your best experiences with recruiters are likely to happen with those who are focused on your field of expertise. If you are building a career in a creative field, working with a specialized creative agency such as Artisan will give you inside access to connections and resources you might not be able to find on your own.

Other fields, such as accounting, or admin have their own specialized, long-running recruiters who know the peculiar ins and outs of their industries. Work with recruitment agencies who specialize in your area of expertise.


If you find that you work well with a particular recruiter who generates great opportunities for you, you can help your recruiter succeed, too.

Recruiters love to see talent do well. If you find yourself excelling in a position that's just right for you, let your recruiter know - it will mean a lot!

Many third party recruiters such as Artisan Creative offer referral bonuses to those who refer other strong candidates. This is a great way to reward another person with more opportunities while also benefiting yourself.

The creative fields are always changing, and we succeed best when we join forces to learn from each other and work together to thrive in a shifting landscape. At Artisan Creative, we are always looking for new creative talent to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity this work offers.


Artisan Creative's is here to help you find your dream team.  Contact us today to learn more and join our social network to hear about upcoming job opportunities.

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 437th issue of our weekly



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