Artisan Blog

Understanding Team Dynamics

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


As hiring managers, we have to think about our existing team dynamics each time we add a new team member.

Our new hires will need to be fully integrated into our existing team structure—and the success or failure of that integration depends on our orientation and on-boarding best practices, our timing, and the team’s group performance requirements.

Additional considerations range from current interpersonal team structure to culture and skills level of the current team.

What type of environment are we adding the new person into and what is our goal? Are we looking for someone to strengthen missing skills, to complement the current thinking, or to challenge the team and take their performance to the next level?

In 1965, Dr. Bruce Tuckman introduced the team-development model of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.

It’s an interesting study based on recognizing where your current team is, and what happens as a new member is added.

In this example, we’ll use a marketing team to demonstrate.

Forming

In the marketing team’s forming stage, the Marketing Manager or Director will be very hands-on to set the tone for team, establish direction, set individual roles and responsibilities and provide overall vision and guidance.

The Marketing Manager must be prepared to manage every aspect of decision making, and answer questions about the team's goals and objectives, as well as set expectations internally and with external stakeholders.

At this stage, the team tends to avoid conflict or push boundaries. The team is just in the process of forming—and there are more individual thinkers operating in silos.

This is a perfect opportunity for individuals to get to know the strengths of one another, create friendships, and align in order to move from silo-ed thinkers towards a larger team mentality.

Storming

In the storming phase, the team may not be in total agreement or come to consensus quickly. Individual members may try to find their own voice within the group and establish presence. There may be some challenges and conflict—this is OK! Breaking paradigms and new ideas can emerge here, and the team has the ability to grow. The Marketing Manager guides the team through this stage, allowing the team to confront their diversity of thought, and ensuring that challenges or drama don’t derail the team’s success.

Norming

In the norming phase, the new team starts to hit its stride. There is harmony, and synergy amongst the group and the Marketing Manager moves to be more of a facilitator than a hands-on implementer. The team is aware of responsibilities, and natural leaders develop within the group to handle simpler decision making on their own.

There is commitment, strong workflow, good discussions as well as building friendships amongst teammates.

Performing

In the performing phase, the team is high-functioning with a shared strategic plan.The vision is clear, and the team knows its purpose and its why.The team is focused, and clear on goals, takes responsibility for achieving them, and makes most of their decisions against criteria agreed upon with the leader.

The team has a high degree of independence, and can delegate tasks internally. They can resolve internal conflicts as they come up, and have strong interpersonal relationships.

The Manager moves into more of a coaching role and can assist with growth and development, as they are no longer being called upon to manage day-to-day tasks. However, it remains important for the manager to ensure the team is still being innovative and not falling into complacency of thought, or group think.

Sharing the knowledge of the concept of "Team development” can be helpful to a team—especially in the storming phase.

As you look to add to your teams, dissolve project teams, or move team members to other groups, it’s a good idea to be aware of the overall team dynamics and recognize what stage the group is in. It will certainly play an integral part into your orientation and onboarding practices.

Artisan Creative's a.team is here to help you build your dream team. Contact us today for assistance with your hiring needs.

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 435th issue of our weekly a.blog.

How to Write Compelling Job Descriptions

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

At Artisan Creative, we recruit for a wide range of creative, marketing and digital roles, and therefore post an array of job descriptions to our Open Jobs page.  We write job descriptions every day and would like to share some best practices with you.

When you’re writing a description, we recommend using the following pointers to ensure you attract the best candidates--not only from a skills perspective, but someone who is also the best culture fit with your team.

As a hiring manager, how you write a job description will make an enormous difference to who is attracted to your company and role. 

Pick the Right Title

Start with a job title that reflects your company’s needs and culture.  Craft a description that portrays the role specifically and accurately. Job titles and expectations change with technology, time, and shifts in the landscape of your industry. If you are hiring for a new role, do some research to see how the job market is searching for this kind of position. Make sure the right candidates gravitate towards your opportunity with clear awareness of how they might fit in with your team.

Be Specific

It’s important to identify key responsibilities. Your candidate must be willing and qualified to do handle the must-have requirements. Remember it takes every new hire time to get up to speed in a new role - your aim is to identify potential talent who can minimize that learning curve as much as possible.

Eliminate jargon and buzzwords and replace them with more concrete and concise language. Use strong action verbs and relevant words that communicate passion and values. Tell a story! Borrow tested formulas from storytellers and marketers to make your job descriptions connect.

Use Strong Keywords

While you want to use fresh and exciting language, you must also consider what potential candidates look for online, and how search engines will spot and rank your description. While tired buzzwords can obscure your meaning, popular keywords can be useful in luring qualified talent.

SEO and social media play essential roles in the modern job search. To ensure that your job description will be seen by as many eyes as possible, read similar job descriptions online and use keywords that are specific to your related industry. Remember to include the titles of their potential coworkers as they will be working closely or reporting to them. Additionally list programs they will use, or the trends they should follow.

Also. be mindful of how your job description will appear to mobile users, as their ranks are steadily increasing. If your current company website or job portal site isn’t mobile friendly, consider updating it.

Requirements

If a skill is "nice to have" but not "required,” make a point of noting the difference – some candidates will make up for a lack of prior knowledge with high adaptability and an eagerness to learn.

Highlight Your Company Culture

We are currently in a candidate driven market. If you are trying to attract a candidate who may have multiple opportunities, or may be considering leaving their current role, think about “why” they would be attracted to your firm and list those details. For example, if you have a friendly pup roaming the office halls, or your office is next to the beach or offers flex scheduling… mention these great differentiators.

The clearer you are in your job descriptions, the more targeted your candidate pool will be. For more guidance in finding the right candidates and building the right team to fulfill your mission, contact Artisan Creative’s a.team 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 enjoy the 433rd issue of our weekly a.blog.

Adult Learning Styles

Friday, March 17, 2017

 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 416th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

Whether you are training new hires or making a presentation to a large group, it’s important to communicate your ideas properly.

 

Adults have different ways of learning and information may not necessarily resonate with everyone in the same way. Presenting the material in different styles can transform frustration into an epiphany for some members in your audience.

Some people form vivid visual memories and learn best through pictures. Others love jokes and metaphors, while some learn best through reading or listening to an oral presentation. Some may have trouble sitting still for hours and may learn better by doing group activities.

Most of us learn best through a combination of pictures, sounds, and feelings, that compliment our dominant learning style. This idea is crystallized in an educational theory called “VAK,” for “visual, auditory, kinesthetic.”

If you facilitate training, onboarding sessions or make frequent presentations consider experimenting with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities and notice how participants respond.

Auditory Learners

Auditory learners learn best through language; when something makes sense to them, they may say, “I hear that!". If your training materials are text-heavy, encourage participants to take turns reading the material aloud. Use the Socratic method - ask questions and let the group paraphrase the core ideas in their own words. Invite compelling guest speakers to share their stories and teach in different verbal styles. E-learning materials can include audio books or podcasts that can be consumed on the go. Use repetition or clever wordplay to help the material “click.”

Skilled copywriters are well positioned to help you speak your audience’s language and get them talking.

Kinesthetic Learners

This type of learner likes to move around, do things, and take a “hands-on” approach to learning. Reading a book or watching a video may become a challenge if they can’t get involved and connect to the ideas being presented. Kinesthetic learners will retain more information if they take notes by hand, work with three-dimensional models, or interact with others in the group. To engage kinesthetic learners, let them change seats, or stand as needed for part of the presentation or provide frequent breaks for snacks and fresh air.

The right experience designer or instructional designer can help design modules to create more interaction.

Visual Learners

Visual learners love stylish presentations, slideshows, videos, flowcharts, and infographics. To engage them, use color, diagrams, photographs, and information architecture to break up heavy text. They have keen aesthetic sensibilities and see the symbolism in imagery that others may overlook. When explaining themselves to others, they may say, “look here,” or “let me draw you a picture.”

To engage visual learners, work with the best designers and presentation specialists you can find.

 

If you’re ready to experiment with different learning modalities, reach out to Artisan Creative. We work with creative professionals with experience in a range of media who can make your project shine and appeal to a variety of audiences.



​5 Secret Techniques of Great Interviewers

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 414th issue of our weekly a.blog.

As an HR professional, you have an array of responsibilities from vetting prospective hires to determining their qualifications and how they will contribute to company culture. At the same time, you are a front-line representative for your company, and must ensure that candidates also get the right first impression.

Here are a few techniques from the fields of sales, psychology, entertainment, and beyond that can help you conduct an unforgettable interview and get a candidate’s job experience started on the strongest possible footing.

Pace and Lead

Psychologists, salespeople, negotiators, and hypnotists build rapport through "mirroring' or mimicking another person’s tone and body language. This invites the candidate's trust. It may also spark some empathy on your part as you relate to that person's experience.

After rapport is established, you can shift your own gestures and speech to move the conversation in a productive direction. If the candidate is nervous, you can invite them to relax and loosen up. If the interview is too rigid and formal, you can inject some light humor or make things more conversational.

Know your Purpose

A good job interview is about more than hearing a prospect recite their resume and go over a list of mundane tasks. You must determine if this person's skills,  personality, values and worldview are compatible with the role you need to fill.

Before the interview, connect with the department’s hiring managers to understand the day-to-day duties of the job, and the purpose these duties serve to the organization, and fits within the team structure. Know the long-term goals that must be hit and what a successful first year would look like. Picture the ideal candidate performing this role to the best of their abilities.

Before you start interviewing prospects, clear up any confusion about what the job really entails with supervisors and stakeholders in your company. Think far beyond the job description.

Pause

“Active listening” means focusing your attention on the candidate when they are speaking and paying attention to the nuances and subtext of what they are saying. Be careful not to rush the process. Feel free to linger or elaborate on any intriguing points or rich topics that arise.

A good way to do this is to take a deliberate pause. A pause adds emphasis to an important point and gives you and the candidate time to interpret what is being said.

When the candidate finishes a thought, wait a few beats before you move on to the next question. This takes some practice, and you'll find that people often give the most revealing insights into themselves when they have finished canned responses by giving them a few more seconds of space to fill.

Find the Why

Business writer Simon Sinek devised "The Golden Circle," an immensely popular and powerful model for determining values. According to Sinek, every individual, group, and business has three layers. The outer layer, the “What,” contains our day-to-day tasks, what we actually do. One layer deeper, we find the "How," our attitudes, practices, and culture. The innermost layer, closest to our hearts, is the "Why." This is where we discover our deepest passions that motivate us.

Avoid getting too caught up in the number of years the candidate worked for a previous employer or the bullet points on their resume. Go deeper. Find core principles, values, and ideas that have stayed consistent throughout their career. If your candidate's "Why" is compatible with your company's "Why," you may have found a much better match than you would if you went by experience and references alone.

Go Off Script

When a waiter drops a tray full of dishes on the floor of a comedy club, a good comedian takes a beat and gets back into his act. A great comedian, however, reacts to the situation, riffs about it with the audience, and comes up with a new joke that's perfect for this particular time and place.

As an art form, conversation is less like rehearsed acting than it is like improvised comedy. It is crucial to "read the room" and adapt to any surprises that may come up.

Every candidate is different, so every interview should be different. Know your facts and the information you want to share. More importantly, be human. Take some notes beforehand, and be willing to throw them out if the conversation goes in an interesting direction that you didn't anticipate.

If you need help hiring and interviewing, contact us to learn more. Have the a.team help build your dream team.

Tips for Reviewing a Design Portfolio

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 408th issue of our weekly a.blog.

When reviewing a design portfolio, it may seem easy to spot a good portfolio, however when you start to study the details to truly understand how the work was created, the layers can become quite complex.

We asked our team of specialized creative recruiters to share their insight on how to successfully review a design portfolio. Their feedback is below.

Site Navigation

How easy is it to navigate the site? When finding your way around a portfolio (assuming it’s a personal portfolio site and not a Behance or Dribbble) think about how you are navigating through each page. What is your user experience? Do you have to click many links just to get the samples? Does the designer show consistency through the layout of their projects?

Thinking Process

What is the thought process behind the presented work? We love when designers break down a project and show various components of a piece, instead of just the final result. Case studies are a great way to see the design thinking behind the work. For example,  if you’re reviewing a portfolio for a branding designer look for logo explorations, type treatments, color applications, identity systems as well as the final product. If it’s a UX portfolio it’s helpful to see UX research, user personas and prototypes so you can see the methodology behind the final product and understand what design problem was solved. Designers are problem solvers by nature and should treat their portfolio in the same manner.

Project Involvement

Clarity on project involvement is crucial to knowing whether the skills listed on a resume match the work presented. Each project should give a clear indication of the designer’s involvement. If there is no mention of project involvement and you choose to progress to an interview ensure that you find out what their involvement was in each project.  More tips on the interview process can be found on our blog How to Hire Creatives.

Aesthetics

Art is subjective—be clear about the visual aesthetic or branding your team is looking for. A graphic designer with a highly illustrative, whimsical visual aesthetic and a graphic designer with a very corporate look may both list the same exact design skills on their resume—however their visuals will be vastly different. 

We hope these tips alleviate some challenges in navigating design portfolios. If you need expert help to help build your dream team please contact us the Artisan Creative a.team!


Visual Goal Setting

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 405th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

As part of our annual goal setting, each member of the Artisan Creative a.team creates a vision board and presents it at our first meeting of the new year. Our boards are a collection of short and long term goals that include both personal and professional aspirations.

Presenting it to the team develops accountability and enables the group to learn more about each team member’s ambitions, hopes and dreams. Some people set a theme for their board/year—others use inspirational quotes. What they all have in common is the shared use of imagery that inspires, tells a story and conveys a message to create a powerful visualization tool.

In addition to sharing our visions and goals with the group at the onset of our new year, we review our boards mid-year, and also share a recap at our year-end meeting. This sense of accountability and the revisiting of our goals helps keep us on track. This activity in one of our strongest team-building exercises, as it stays “evergreen”.

Here are 5 tips to create your great vision board and get 2017 off to a good start!

  1. Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values.
  2. Create positivity and inspiration. Have fun…imagine the integrated life/work you want to build out.
  3. Create an integrated board where elements from both your personal and professional aspirations are represented.
  4. Keep the board where you can re-visit it daily—read the inspirational messages out loud— and often!
  5. Share your hopes and dreams with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.

Tools needed:

  • A large poster board to give you plenty of space to visualize your year, yet small enough to hang on your wall. We use the 22 x28 size available from Staples.
  • A good pair of scissors and a strong glue stick!Make sure you invest in good glue so the pictures stay on all year long.
  • Variety of magazines to look through to find those inspiring words and pictures. 
  • (Optional) Markers/stickers to write or embellish your board.
  • Patience and Creativity!

Although electronic versions such as Pinterest also work, going old-school where you physically search for and cut out imagery and words from a magazine and decide where to place them is in itself an opportunity to reflect and plan via a very tangible exercise.

What is your goal setting process?

Happy New Year!



How to Invest in Your Team

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 403rd issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

In the 20+ years of meeting and interviewing talent, we’ve learned that a primary reason people are looking for a career change is often growth opportunity—and growth opportunity does not necessarily mean salary increase.

We hear from talent willing to make a financial lateral move when there is an opportunity for advancement, additional responsibility, learning, and overall personal and career development.

Here are 3 tips to help nurture your existing talent so they are more likely to stay and grow as your organization grows.

Continued Education

Continued education classes are a win-win for both employer and employee. Courses from Lynda.com or General Assembly foster new skills and improve work performance, while giving employees an opportunity to learn and grow. Consider flex time to attend classes or subsidizing a course cost.

Develop Careers From Within

Ongoing training, frequent touch points and an extended on-boarding program helps to start your employees on the right track, and when done regularly, will keep them motivated and better engaged over time.

Encourage opportunities to spearhead a task team, lead a project or mentor a new employee.

Invest in leadership training, management courses and mentorship opportunities with senior level talent.

Encourage lateral movement so employees can formally apply to new positions within the organization.

Invest in Your Employees’ Well-being

Large companies have the luxury of access to features and benefits that small to midsize firms dream of.

If your company is an entrepreneurial boutique firm like Artisan Creative, you will have to be more creative here. Some examples of non-work related investments are subsidizing gym memberships or a wellness program, paying for and rallying around a passionate cause your team believes in, journaling or vision boarding classes.

Another option is to host Lunch & Learn quarterly in the office where you can bring in a subject matter expert on a variety of topics such as Nutrition, Health or even Mindfulness.

At Artisan we wanted to learn how to play to our team member’s strengths and brought in a Strengths Finder facilitator for the day. Not only was this great for personal development and growth, it was also a powerful team bonding and communication experience.

We also offer our an annual stipend to our internal a.team to be used for heath and wellness or personal development. Our team has taken advantage of this stipend for fitness or art classes, Toastmasters, second language courses and personal interest seminars. We also hold an annual vision boarding session to share and focus on non-work related goals and aspirations.

If done right and with purpose, engaged employees have a higher retention rate than those who stare out the window wondering what else is out there and eventually leave for an opportunity to grow personally and professionally elsewhere.

What tools or tips can you share to increase employee engagement and retention?


Three Ways Recruitment Agencies Support In-House HR Teams

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


At Artisan Creative we believe in creating relationships based on trust. Our role is simple:

  • Support and complement internal HR and recruitment teams
  • Find the most qualified candidates in the shortest amount of time
  • Act as an extension of your team

This is how we partner:

Experience

Our 20+ years in the creative & digital marketplace has built deep relationships across the industry. Connectedness and enduring working relationships set our search protocols apart.

We have dedicated recruiters assigned to a specific search, and leverage our connections for referrals. We review hundreds of resumes and portfolios to select the best for you. By implementing targeted search plans, we save internal teams hours upon hours of reviewing profiles that may not be right.

We’ll take care of screening & qualifications. We’ll ask the tough interview questions, check references and conduct background checks -- giving you the bandwidth to manage the most valuable resource on your team: the human resource.

Focus

We know how to efficiently handle multiple requisitions across multiple teams and skill sets. The strength we add is our laser-sharp focus on one thing—finding the best candidate for the best company.

Cost

Initially this may seem counter-intuitive, however there is a bigger cost for missing a deadline, losing a client, or a potential burnout of your existing team. The strength we bring to our clients’ internal hiring teams is to find qualified, vetted candidates --whether it's for a quick freelance assignment or a full time hire. We recognize human capital is the most valuable resource of any company.

We’d love to find out more about your needs and share our screening process in detail.

Have the a. team build your dream team! Let’s connect.

Creating and Nurturing Company Culture

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


 

At Artisan Creative, we believe in creating long lasting relationships—with our talent, with our clients and most definitely with our team.

Engaging in an integrated life-work philosophy and staying true to our core values has always been how we conduct business and have maintained our culture here at Artisan. We believe this is one of the reasons for our success over our past 20 years in this business.

We also believe that culture must be nurtured, cultivated and cared for.

As our California-based company has been virtual for over 7 years, we’ve learned to do things a little differently that allow us to continue to build a strong culture for our team members who all work remotely.

Many of our client companies have offices in multiple locations, and the tips we employ with our virtual staff can easily be applied to teams in remote locations as well as virtual teams.

Below are 5 tips for creating and nurturing company culture in a virtual work environment.

 

  1. Befriend Technology! Use Slack, Yammer or any other team communication or collaboration tool to stay connected. We hold scheduled daily Zoom video huddles to brainstorm and share ideas, and use Slack to review assignments and execute our search plans. A good CRM system keeps track of communications, meetings, appointments and client and talent information.

  2. Communicate metrics and expectations clearly— review them daily/weekly. Communicate the vital short-term goals.

  3. Create a transparent environment so people understand their value and contribution.

  4. Come together often. We have in-person team meetings once a month, and team members meet up for talent interviews and client site visits throughout the month.

  5. Meet socially! We have team activities ranging from potlucks, paint nights, bowling and dinners out. We include spouses and partners in the social outings.

Please share any best practices for growing culture within your team.

 


Body Language - What Does It Say?

Wednesday, November 02, 2016


The expression “actions speak louder than words” is often true when it comes to interviewing. Body language expert Amy Cuddy states in her TedTalk “our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” So what does this mean when you’re going for that all-important job interview?

Interviewees must walk a fine line during job interviews. How do you convey confidence, without gloating; friendly but not overbearing; talented but not arrogant?

What are you revealing with your body language and how can you make sure your messaging is what you want it to be? Using a few simple tricks and tips can impact the outcome of your interview and help forge relationships.

Direct “face” contact: We’re often told that direct eye contact is key to building relationships and showing that you’re actively engaged. Research shows that this is not accurate. Our eyes instinctively wander around a face, jumping between a person’s eyes and mouth. Do what comes naturally to you and don’t get hung up about staring at your interviewer.

Be expressive: Sitting on your hands or staying too still can be a sign of nervousness or insecurity. Use your hands and arms to express yourself. Showing your palms can be interpreted as a sign of engagement and honesty, too. However, watch the over-gesturing.

Good posture: There are few things more unnerving than interviewing someone with bad posture (see also: limp handshakes). Sit upright in your chair, but make sure you’re comfortable and not too rigid. Lean in every now and then to show that you are engaged, but remember to be mindful of your interviewer’s personal space.

Mirroring: You may be familiar with mirroring and how it shows that someone is subconsciously interested in you if they begin mirroring your body language. This works in reverse, too. Mirroring your interviewer can help create a sense of ease and maintain rapport.

You and your interviewer are relaying more information to one another non-verbally than verbally. If you are paying attention, you can understand the information being shared and influence the information in your responses.

Do you have an upcoming interview? Check out our interview advice on the Artisan Creative website.


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