Artisan Blog

Entering the World of Recruiting

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Entering the World of Recruiting


Entering the World of Recruiting

I entered the world of recruiting the same way most recruiters do: by accident.  Except in my case, it was not so much of an accident as it was pure luck.  I spent the majority of my professional years in the customer service and administrative world where I helped people in minor ways.  I helped them pick out a new outfit, helped schedule an installation, helped an event, and so on.  I've always enjoyed the business of People but I wanted more.  I wanted my efforts to go towards a bigger cause but I wasn't sure what that cause should be. 

As luck would have it, an opportunity to join a creative staffing agency presented itself and it just all made sense: help connect good people to great work.  It wasn't as straight forward as abolishing world hunger or saving the whales but it was something feasible that I could put my skills towards and make a substantial impact to people's lives.  While I'm a firm believer your work should only make up a small percentage of your qualify of life; admittedly, it plays a big factor in facilitating everything else.  I recognized this and I was excited to have found my cause.   

The training process was an incredibly steep learning curve and I quickly discovered how psychologically savvy and mentally tough you really have to be in order to excel at this job.  You have to understand your candidates: what drives them to do what they do, where they want to be, and WHY.  Just as importantly, you have to understand your clients: what they want accomplished, who they want it accomplished by, and again, WHY.  My days were consumed with researching the creative industry, connecting with everyone I came across, and studying everything my team was doing. 

I realized the only way to succeed as a fresh recruiter in this fast paced industry is to tackle it full force with good intentions.  The best way to do that is to dig deep and ask the right questions.  Once I got around to picking up the phone, I was amazed by how passionate people are about their craft and how eager everybody is to learn, grow, and become a better version of themselves.  I admired their tenacity to not settle for less than what they deserved and it quickly became my mission to help get them to where they want to be. 

With about one month of experience under my belt, I can say this profession is not for everybody.  For those that stick it out, the reward of knowing you helped someone find not only work, but work that they are proud of, where they can hone their craft and continue to grow, that's a pretty amazing feat.  Of course, not all placements will be into a dream role but just as important in the path to where we want to be are the stepping stones leading us there.

Jen Huynh - Recruiter  Artisan Creative


Is Recruitment the Career for Me?

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Is Recruitment the Career for Me?

Moving from agency to recruitment

Have you ever noticed there are a lot of creative recruiters who used to work in agencies? Perhaps you’re working in AdLand and have entertained the idea of moving into recruitment?

Chuck Palahniuk once said “Find joy in everything that you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home. It’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.” When I was no longer finding joy in my job, I changed careers. I joined a recruitment agency in London and spent two years working under an ex-Project Manager from Ogilvy who was a huge influence on my career. Having worked at a digital agency, changing careers into recruitment seemed simple, especially when applying project management techniques.

Moving from the creative world to recruitment is a natural transition for many people. Some of the best recruiters I know once worked for agencies--production artists, account managers and project managers. Many of the core responsibilities of working in an agency can be applied to recruitment: managing briefs, dealing with budgets, scheduling, leading meetings, reviewing design portfolios, blogging, social media, marketing and events. It’s all there.   

Why would someone choose to leave an agency and move to recruitment?

For me, I wanted a change. I knew I wanted to do something that allowed me to have some kind of avenue into the creative industry but I also wanted my own independence and freedom. When you work as a recruiter, you’re working on your own to build a network--the more work you put in, the more you get back (which is true for many jobs, but especially applies to recruitment.) 

Artisan is a virtual agency. We work remotely and stay connected by Skype, AIM and phone. This setup isn’t for everyone, but it works wonderfully for those who crave their own space and have the skills to work autonomously--obviously being in LA, no commute is an added bonus. 

How do I make the first step into recruitment?

There’s a lot to consider, so make sure you do your research. Find out about local agencies. Do they focus on design or are they technical? Do their recruiters manage full desks (meaning they do sales AND recruitment)? Are they owned by a bigger corporation? Do you prefer to work for smaller independent companies? What kind of positions do they recruit for? Ask questions. Contact other recruiters who made the move. Find out about their culture and see if it resonates with you.

If you have a question about recruitment, Artisan or changing careers, connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn and email.

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition for Artisan Creative

The Savant

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Savant

Whether you’re a hiring manager, a recruiter or simply tasked with hiring new talent, there are various conclusions that we draw in order to determine if someone should be hired for a particular position. Do they have the relevant qualifications? Are they the right cultural fit? Can they lead a team or take direction from a higher authority? It’s important to understand different personality types so that management styles can be tailored in order to get the best out of the person or if you simply just want to hire more people exactly like them.

Artisan recently read some research published by discussing the personality traits of people most likely to succeed in the creative industry and it got us thinking about how their conclusions relate to our candidates, our clients and ourselves. It’s become somewhat fashionable in 2013 to discuss the pros and cons of introverts vs. extroverts, but by looking past the basics, we can begin to understand different personalities and how to utilize this information to our advantage.

Savant is French for “knowing,” which explains why The Savant personality type is a sought-after person within the creative industry. They tend to be incredibly skilled, yet really home in on just a few specialized subjects. Savants are fantastically creative and brilliant, but may struggle with basic math and feel out of place in social situations. By nature, they’re introverted and creatures of habit, often spending hours working independently on a project.

How Do I Identify and Work with The Savant?
  • Establish rapport--Put them at ease. Make them feel comfortable whether in a job interview or a work environment. 
  • Lead the conversation--Ask direct questions about their skills and achievements rather than questions about themselves.
  • Test them--If they’re a developer or a writer, put them to the test and see them flourish.
  • Give praise--The Savant type can grow bored when not pushed or excited about their work but when they do find something they love, they are often their own worst critic. Be sure to show support for their efforts.
Next time you’re hiring new talent or going through an interview process yourself, take some time to understand and recognize personality types. Look out for telltale traits and tailor the surroundings to fit. If you’re a Savant type yourself, focus on your best talents and see just how far you can push your creative potential.

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition

Are You Driving Your Co-workers Crazy?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Are You Driving Your Co-workers Crazy?


Most of us spend 80% of our time at work. Even when you like the people you work with, sometimes it’s the little things they do that can get on your last nerve. Or maybe you, too, could use a reminder of preferred office etiquette.

Crossing the line – Whether you have a corner office or share a cubical, everyone cherishes the personal office space they are given. Remember to be considerate when entering an office or cubical. Don’t touch personal items (including computers or monitors) and always return office supplies if borrowed.

It's also important to consider your colleague's own personal space. Many people, no matter how friendly, don’t like to be touched, poked, patted or hugged by their colleagues. Be mindful of that before you reach out.

Small Talk – Sometimes, you just want to put your head down and get to work. A chatty colleague or lingering manager can make completing work on time difficult. If you tend to enjoy the “water-cooler chat” - watch the body language of your associates for clues to ensure you’re not keeping them. If they are looking away or have their head on their hand as they listen – they are too busy, bored and most likely not listening.

Quiet Down! – For workers sharing space – especially in a cubical setting – excessive noise during the day can be difficult to overlook. Talking loudly on the phone, using speakerphone, popping gum, watching videos or listening to music (without headphones), drumming your nails or munching on crunchy snacks can get on your associates’ nerves. If you’re prone to any of these habits – try to control them while at the office.

What’s that smell? – Speaking of snacks, bringing food into the office to eat at your desk is often a no-no at many companies. If you can’t take a break to get out of the office for lunch – at least use the common kitchen area to eat, and keep the smells out of the office (no matter how great the recipe).

Other smells that could bother your colleagues include excessive perfume, cologne or scented lotions as well as a problem with body odor. Remember your personal hygiene is important to you – and the people with whom you spend most of your day!

The good news is that once you know these things can be offensive to some of your colleagues, you can stop them. Immediately.

What bad office etiquette bothers you at the office?

Jess Bedford, Marketing & Project Manager

7 Interview Questions Every Employer Should Ask

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Whether you’re a veteran interviewer or hiring your first employee, you’ll probably agree that the interview is the most important part of the recruitment process. Therefore it’s critical to ask the right questions. While our version of the Proust Questionnaire offers a few out of the box questions (designed in some cases to stump potential employees or just see how creative they can be), here are a few of the more typical questions every interviewer should be asking:

  1. Tell me about yourself. – This type of open-ended question is a great way to start your interview and put your candidate at ease. It should be easy to talk about yourself! It also gives you an opportunity to witness both confidence and communication skills first hand.

  2. Describe a time when something went wrong at work and how you dealt with it. - This question is ideal for learning about how your potential hire will handle the pressures of life and conflict in your office. Answers here also demonstrate problem solving skills and culture fit.

  3. How would your boss describe you? – This is a great way to ask the “strengths” and “weaknesses” question without actually asking it. It also provides some insight into how your working relationship with the potential talent might be. Does the answer describe a person that would fit well within your organization?

  4. What role do you usually play in a team? - The answer to this question should compliment the answer previously – is the way your coworkers see you the way you actually perform in your company? This question also provides insight on personality and autonomy.

  5. Where do you see yourself in five years? – The perfect question for uncovering candidate motivations, answers help determine whether your company and the opportunity presented are a good fit for the interviewee. Will they still be with your team in five years or will they quickly outgrow your department or company?

  6. Tell me about a favorite project you worked on and why it’s your favorite.Resumes offer a list of responsibilities and accomplishments. Answers to this question should reveal the story behind the bullet points, the passion for the project and the genuine interest for the work. If any of these are missing, perhaps the interviewee is in the wrong business.

  7. Do you have any questions for me? - This is the perfect way to “end” an interview as you turn the tables, engaging the talent to then interview you. Not only does it demonstrate your company’s appreciation for open dialogue, but also lets you know whether the potential job seeker is definitely interested. If they answer “no” – then they are probably not the best fit.
Is there a question you like to ask during interviews? Why do you ask it? Share with us in the comments below.

Jessica Bedford, Account Manager

Office Etiquette: 5 Things You Should Never Say (or Type)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Office Etiquette: 5 Things You Should Never Say (or Type)

Everyone speaks without thinking on occasion, and we’ve probably all hit “Send” when we wish we hadn’t. However, there are times when what you say (or type) at work can have big repercussions. Unlike our personal relationships, where it can be easier to apologize and move on, office blunders like this could land you out of a job! Here are a few “nevers” to remember:

“I really shouldn’t say this but…” followed by anything at all. You already had second thoughts. When in doubt, shut your mouth, in this case.

“Don’t tell anyone I told you.” If I can’t tell anyone you told me, I don’t want to know. Information is sometimes kept to only a few for quite valid reasons. If someone else says this to you after a juicy tidbit, get the brain bleach because it had better not go any further or it’s your fault.

“How much do you make?” Never discuss salary with your co-workers. Unless you are directly responsible for hiring someone or involved in your own salary negotiations/reviews with your manager or HR, this information should not be shared.

“My boss is the worst.” Or variations on that theme. The only person who should hear complaints about the boss is the boss – and in an appropriate venue. Your human resources department is also a suitable audience. This goes double for social media. Facebook and Twitter are terrible places for complaints about your boss or your job. You can’t control where that information goes after you post it and every Tweet ends up in the Library of Congress if not in your boss’s Inbox.

Anything you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see. I know, that’s a tough one, but a good rule of thumb, especially for employees looking for jobs. No social media platform is perfectly private and even snail mail can get passed around. Keep those steamy stories for in-person encounters with trusted friends.

There’s a meme going around with an acronym we like: T.H.I.N.K. Before you say something, ask yourself:

Is it True?
Is it Helpful?
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind?

Not everything we say will be all of these, but applying this test is a good way to make a conscious decision about what we say and send.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

What's Your EQ?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's Your EQ?

One of the most interesting topics I studied in my Career Development program was Emotional Intelligence or EQ. It still makes me think.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is defined as "the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways."  The way my instructor put it was understanding and using emotions to achieve your goals at work and in life. This was a bit of a surprise to me, as I thought it was probably best to be able to put emotions aside and think analytically, at least at work.

Why is EQ important in recruiting?

On the Undercover Recruiter blog, they emphasize the intangibles that can be the most important factors in a job interview.  When we are thinking about a candidate's energy, their "vibe," their sincerity and their manner, we are evaluating their EQ and using our own to make those same evaluations.

Why is EQ important in job search?

When you are looking for a new role, it is essential to know what your emotional as well as your salary and benefit needs are. What is important to you in a company culture, what makes you happy, these are the things that should help you decide whether to accept or reject an offer should it come your way. Your EQ is also a tool in your interview process, helping you to determine what kind of an interviewer you are faced with and what your best strategy might be.

Can you raise your EQ?

You can absolutely make a concerted effort to become more aware of your emotions and of the emotions of others. Try to listen actively and pay attention to what others are telling you with their tone and their body as well as their words.  When you have strong feelings, think them through and see if you can find a way to use them to reach your goals, rather than suppressing them.  Use the nonverbal information you receive in your work interactions and job interviews to help you think and plan strategically.

As a creative, I am fascinated by the process of becoming more aware and able to utilize the ideas that come from greater awareness. It's awfully fun to be on a team of people who all understand each other, even if some information is never verbalized.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

On this 11th Anniversary of September 11, 2001, our thoughts are with those who lost their lives and those they left behind. 

There's More to Onboarding Than Training

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

There's More to Onboarding Than Training

We've talked before on the Artisan blog about starting a new job and offered tips on getting through the first 3, 6, 9 and even 12 months in a new role.  Many companies, however, do not have an established system for bringing new employees through that first year and considering the stress those employees are feeling, it's a good idea to have a plan for helping those new hires become more comfortable as quickly as possible.

An Onboarding Plan v. Orientation and Training

Every employer has some kind of orientation system and training in place if it is needed for the particular job.  But often, when a company hires someone with all the skills to do their job on day one, will stop after an orientation period and just set them to work with no definite plan to help them succeed.

It is important to make sure that a new hire understands the company's expectations, is aided in setting short and long term goals and understands how and when he or she will be evaluated.  

Another important addition to successful onboarding, however, is giving your new hire opportunities to talk to his or her manager about concerns they might have at the 3 and 6 month points in their new role.  Give them a safe space to discuss their own impression of the job, how it could be improved or changed to make them happier or more productive as well as ask questions.  Often, unless given an opportunity, a new employee will keep to themselves, fly under the radar, when proactive communication could improve a situation for everyone involved.

Tips for Onboarding:
  • Develop a real plan--Don't assume that new employees will find a way to get what they need or want. Make a schedule to meet with new hires at regular intervals and stick to it.
  • Tell them about it--Make sure your new hires know that they will have chances to talk to you about how things are going for them.  Ask them to make a list of questions they have when they come up so that you can discuss them when you meet.
  • Follow through--Don't let your onboarding plan fall through the cracks if a new hire is going well.  Even if you just get together to talk about how great it's been so far, you can take the opportunity to let your employee know that they are valued and that you both that they are succeeding.
No matter how perfect a fit a candidate is into a company, he or she needs to know how they are doing, that they have made the right decision and that you are both on the same page.  Give all your new hires a chance to feel great about their role in your company and you will reap the rewards of a happy and productive workforce.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Writing Better Job Descriptions

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Writing Better Job Descriptions


“We are looking for…”

Hiring Managers - do you really know what you are looking for?

We post a lot of job descriptions to their Open Jobs page. Most of them could be described as formulaic: we are looking for a ___________ to do ____________, reporting to _______________ with the following experience... 

This is a concise, straight-forward approach informing potential candidates about what the role will entail and, more importantly, what's required to apply.

But, if you're not a recruiter who is used to writing job descriptions on a daily basis, it's important to consider a few key items when writing your job description if you want to ensure you attract the perfect candidate:

Don’t list every single task your candidate needs to perform from day one.  Instead, identify the key responsibilities your candidate MUST be willing (and qualified) to do daily. Remember it will take any new hire time to get up to speed in a new role. Your aim is to identify potential employees who can minimize that learning curve as much as possible.

Make sure that the title you list is exactly what your company needs. Remember to choose one that portrays an accurate description of the role, despite what internal policies require the position be named.  If it's a new role for your organization, do a little research to see how the job market is searching for this kind of position. You want to make sure talent can find your opportunity. 

With SEO and Social Media playing a huge role in the job searches of today, it's important to ensure that your job description will be seen by as many eyes as possible.  Using accurate keywords and/or "buzzwords" throughout your job description will help increase its exposure.  Don't forget to include the titles of people this person will work with/report to, the industries or brands they will manage, the programs they will use or the trends they should be following.

Spread the Wealth
If you are seeking to fill more than one role, before you post, make sure you have thought about all the ways the work could be distributed. Maybe a different combination of skillsets could fit a more senior-level person and entry-level candidate, rather than two mid-level hires.

Before you require a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, think about what skills that individual would have and whether someone without that degree might still have the skills you need.  If a skill is "nice to have" but not "required" - make a point of noting the difference. 

There are definitely some absolutes when hiring and only you can say what yours are. But with so many talented people ready and willing to work today, the clearer you are in your job descriptions, the more qualified your candidate pool will be.

Job Requirements: How Important Are They Really?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Job Requirements: How Important Are They Really?


Through my work with Artisan, I read a lot of job descriptions. Chances are - if you’re here reading this blog - you probably do, too.

Some of those job descriptions are in my areas of expertise and some are not, but they all have one thing in common: the job requirements often sound incredibly hard to meet!

In my career as a performer, I do occasionally run across a job posting that might as well say, “Wendy Stackhouse, please send in your resume ASAP.”  But not often. There just aren’t that many operas with witch, bird or insect roles out there. Never, however, have I seen a job description in business that perfectly calls my name.

The question for today is: how important is it that you meet all the requirements on a job listing?

The answer, of course is: it depends.

Suppose the job listing says “5 years experience required.” If you have only 3 years, but meet most of the other requirements, then go for it. If you have 1 year, don’t waste your time.

If you’ve been working in your field for a while, you probably have a lot of skills that are transferable from one industry to another. Oftentimes, however, the job description might require a specific industry background. With the creative industry specifically, there is the added element of design aesthetics or copy voice to consider as well.

In these cases, if you’ve spent years in finance or healthcare – you probably can’t transfer easily into something like retail or entertainment. Don't waste time applying if a job specifically requests this experience. If, however, you’ve worked for an agency (with a variety of clients) or you've done some freelance work for a client in this sector, you can probably sell yourself a bit better into the position. Go for it!

There are some companies out there who will not even review applicants without a college degree. If you are in the process of finishing your degree, even part time, you can list a B.A. or B.S. as “in progress” and often make it past the circular file - if your other qualifications are on track.

However, in the creative field, the lack of a degrees can often be made up with “equivalent years of experience in the field”. If you meet all other requirements (without being overqualified for the position), and you are only missing the degree – it's definitely worth your time to apply!

My coaches tell me that if you have 80% of the requirements, you should definitely apply; 70% you should think about it. In either case an effective cover letter, might be enough to get you to the next round of screening.

How do you do the math? We would love to hear in the comments!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


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