Artisan Blog

Facebook Password, Please

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Facebook Password, Please

It has been reported that potential employers are asking candidates for their Facebook passwords as part of the interview process or, alternatively, looking over the shoulders of candidates while they log in to Facebook to see their profiles.

Now, I haven’t actually heard from anyone who has been asked directly to supply this informaiton, but an officer of the Maryland Department of Corrections says he was asked for his log-in credentials. Someone could be testing the waters to see how asking for passwords would go over with the general public, but this report is being widely discussed. Even two US Senators have requested the Department of Justice and the EEOC look into the practice.

Whether this is becoming common or not, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place in case you’re ever asked. Everyone certainly has an opinion on how to react:

  • One school of thought believes that we shouldn’t be posting anything on social media we wouldn’t want the world to see anyway, so who cares.
  • Another opinion is that Facebook is personal and not business and no employer has any right to any of that information at any time.

    Unfortunately, private isn’t really private on the internet, as we have discussed before and it is always a good idea to think before you hit that button.
  • Another group (me included) thinks that some information can be posted publicly for employers to see and get a feel for your social media interactions, but not all personal information. Since I use social media for work at work, I like having some updates on my public profile as writing samples and background information.

    I put a link to my Facebook Page as a “business person” right on my resume and do post some information publicly on my Facebook Profile as well, but only what I would want strangers to have access to.

    I would, however, never give my Facebook password to a potential employer and don’t think you should, either. If you gave it, how would they know you would protect their proprietary information? And how could you avoid disclosing information that it is illegal for them to ask for?

    And remember that when someone has access to your profile, they also have access to information about your friends who have not given consent for that access to anyone but you. It’s not just your own privacy at risk.

What should you do if you are asked for your Facebook password?

Don’t panic. Give them a link to your public profile or page, if it is relevant to the job. Tell them you don’t believe that disclosing passwords is a safe practice in business (remember it might be a test to see if you would disclose something inappropriately). You can also mention that it is in violation of Facebook’s Terms and Conditions to give out your password and you respect those rules, like you would respect theirs.

If they insist, unfortunately, I believe it is time to politely and firmly end the interview. Company culture is an important factor in job search and you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. If they make you uncomfortable in the interview, how would it feel to work there?

Update: Maryland is now poised on the brink of being the first state to ban employers from asking for Facebook passwords!  49 to go!

Wendy Stackhouse
, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Tips for Interviewers

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tips for Interviewers


Helping candidates prepare for interviews is a big part of what recruiters do each day.  However, in screening and qualifying candidates for a variety of positions, recruiters are usually also experts at how to interview too.

Some of the things we’ve previously discussed on our blog - like body language - apply to interviewers as well as interviewees.  However, there are also posts, such as questions interviewers can’t ask in an interview, that are just for you.

We decided to give interviewers a few more tips for finding the perfect candidate:

  • Prepare - Make sure you know ahead of time what you plan to ask the candidates and how you will describe your company and the role.  Don't hesitate to bring notes and be sure to keep the tone positive.

  • Listen - Active listening is essential to getting the information you need. Make eye contact with the candidate and listen to their tone - as well as their words.

  • Ask open-ended questions - Questions that start with "How", "Why" or "Can you explain" are great ways for candidates to tell a story about something they’ve done in the past. Stay away from "yes or no" questions that stop the flow of the interview.

  • Keep track of time - Always leave time in an interview to address any questions the candidate might have about your company and the role.  This will give you some insight about what's important to them.

  • Arrange next steps - If an interview goes well and you think you could have the right person on the other side of the desk, don't be afraid to tell them.  Enlighten them on your current interview process and set up a second interview with other hiring authorities or team members, if appropriate.  If the interview did not go well - or it's too early in the process to determine a fit - let the candidate know when a decision will be made about next interview rounds or hire(s).

The right hire can make a huge difference to the success of your business; the wrong one can stop progress in its tracks.  A good recruiter can help you find candidates with the right credentials and experience, but only you can decide who is the best person to add to your team.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

How to Choose a Recruitment Company

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How to Choose a Recruitment Company


With so many firms out there vying for your attention, it’s often hard to tell which recruiting company is right for you.  Here are a few criteria to consider when selecting the right recruiter for you or your business:

Types of Roles They Place
Some recruiters are generalists and some are specialists.  At Artisan, we focus on Creative and Marketing roles, but not strict IT positions. If you are a back-end programmer, we are not the right agency for you.  If, however, you are a User Experience Designer, Marketing Specialist, Copywriter, Production Artist or Front-End Developer, submit your resume on our website.  By specializing in only select areas - we have become experts in these fields and networks of talent.

Their Mission
Not every recruiting company will have a clearly defined mission statement, but if they do, it's a good indication of what their company culture and focus is all about.  Choose a company whos ideals and approach to business are similar to your own.

Artisan is committed to offering meaningful opportunities to our talent and to helping our clients achieve their creative goals using cutting-edge technology.  Our Mission is:
To provide job opportunities for creative talent that has positive impact in their careers.
To provide clients with top creative resources to achieve their creative initiatives.
To be innovative, forward thinking, early adopters of industry trends as required by the market.
Their Vision
It is important to bring proper vision into one's recruitment approach. It’s so easy to lose the big picture in the day-to-day if you are not clear on your overarching objective.

What is Artisan's vision?  To bring creative thinking into staffing that results in innovation and a positive impact on our community.  Being committed to having that positive impact on the individuals with whom we work and our community, helps us make decisions about how we do, what we do every single day.

Their Values
Often it is difficult to know the values of a company without knowing the people who work there.  When working with a recruiter - keep these values in mind as you interact and work with them each day.  Do they put profit ahead of every other consideration?  Do they make you feel like an individual or a number?  Do they do what they say they are going to do - when they say they are going to do it?  Are they family-oriented?  Do you feel like you've been treated fairly? 

At Artisan our values are simple: Truth, Fairness, Accountability, Integrity, Engagement & Desire to Learn and Grow.  There have been times when we have had to decline projects because they were not in line with our values.  At the end of the day, our integrity is more important to us than sales.  We will always be honest, scrupulously fair and perform with professionalism.  We feel success will come from these values.

Whichever recruitment agency you ultimately choose, you deserve to be treated both fairly and professionally.  The lines of communication should always be open.  Only that can lead to meaningful work, creative fulfillment and tangible rewards. 

If we seem a good fit for you or your company, we hope you will get in touch with us soon. 

I Don’t Think So: Illegal Job Interview Questions

Thursday, February 02, 2012

I Don’t Think So:  Illegal Job Interview Questions


I’m sure you join me in wishing that “Tell me about yourself” was against the rules, but while that question may be perfectly acceptable in any interview - there are some questions hiring managers are not allowed to ask you in an interview.

Most human resources professionals know better and will not make these mistakes.  However, interviews are often conducted by an inexperienced interviewer, perhaps a department head, small business owner or other hiring authority, who doesn’t know that some topics are actually taboo. These questions generally fall into common areas of discrimination - like race, sexual orientation, age and health status.

Employers are not allowed to ask questions that could determine your national origin:
  • Where were you born?
  • What is your native language?
Interviewers cannot ask questions that will reveal your marital or parental status:
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you plan to start a family?
Age discrimination can be a problem, too:
  • How old are you?
  • When did you graduate?
Religion can also be an issue for some employers:
  • Do you celebrate Yom Kippur?
  • What church do you go to?
Your health is your own business, not your employer’s:
  • Do you have a disability?
  • Do you have a chronic illness?
It is illegal to discriminate against you for being in the armed services or reserves:
  • Are you in the National Guard?
And what you do on your own time is private (as long as it’s legal):
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you use alcohol?
You won’t encounter these questions often - again, most human resources pros are trained not to ask these questions. But you never know...

How to respond to an illegal interview question?

Well, that depends. I’ve been known to volunteer my age (if I think it’s an asset) or mention my kids (but I probably shouldn’t). I like to think of an interview as a conversation with someone I don’t know yet.

If you think the interviewer is trolling for inappropriate information on purpose, tell them they’re not allowed to ask that and politely move on to your next opportunity.

If you think they sincerely don’t know, are just being friendly without realizing they are doing something wrong, it’s a tougher call. I would probably smile, laugh a little and give them a quizzical, “Wow.  I've never been asked that in an interview.  Are you sure we're supposed to talk about that?” and hope for the best!  Try moving the interview along if you can.

Not everyone has the best intentions and not everyone is fully trained.  My recommendation - Keep your wits about you, know the rules and listen to your gut!  If something feels off - you probably don't want to work there anyway!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

The Proust Questionnaire for Creatives

Thursday, January 26, 2012


You’ve heard of the Proust Questionnaire, I’m sure. Made famous in the back pages of Vanity Fair Magazine, it was named not for questions, but for the answers given by Marcel Proust to a set of questions asked by his friend Antoinette Faure.

I remember them best from a television show called “Inside the Actors Studio” where, at the end of every episode, host James Lipton would ask these questions of the famous actors he interviewed. His questions included: What is your favorite sound? What is your favorite curse word? If you weren’t an actor, what would you be instead?

Barbara Walters uses a variation of the Proust Questionnaire in her interviews - which, in turn, inspired us at Artisan.

I asked our Recruiters what Proust-like questions they would like to ask (or do ask) when they interview talent, and I love the responses!  Definitely a lot more interesting than the adage “Tell me about yourself”, the answers to these questions reveal aspects of a candidate’s personality that help hiring managers determine if someone is the right cultural fit for their position.

And so I bring you…(drum roll, please)...The Proust Questionnaire for Creatives

Some that aren’t too outside the box:
  • What is your definition of creative?
  • What is your ideal job and where?
  • What inspires you?
  • Who is your favorite designer?
  • Who is your favorite architect?
  • What is your favorite source of design inspiration (website, magazine, blog, etc)?
  • What projects have you worked on that you are most proud of and why?
Some that would be fun to answer, take some real consideration but still be job related:
  • Name 3 things you could not live without?
  • What is your favorite part of the day or favorite part of your job?
  • We used to have the drop shadow, now we have the reflective surface, what do think is next?
  • What keeps you motivated?
Some that might make me wonder what they’re looking for exactly:
  • Where is your ideal travel destination and why?
  • What 3 things that you use in everyday life should be designed differently?
  • What was the last book you read?
  • What is your favorite TV show or Movie?
  • What is playing on your iPod right now?
And a few that I’ve honestly never thought about before an interview (but maybe I should)!
  • In your time away from work, what do you do?
  • Are you doing what you love or doing what pays the bills?
  • If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
  • If you could invite three people (dead or alive) to dinner who would they be and why?
  • Do you believe in aliens?
  • What's the most despicable act a creative supervisor has done/can do to you?

I’m definitely going to add some of these to my interview preparation list!

Granted - these are just some of the unusual questions potential hiring authorities could ask during an interview.  The best advice is to be prepared to answer these kinds of questions as honestly and calmly as possible. Guess that's just one more reason to do some practice interviews with imaginative friends!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

How to Decrease Turnover & Keep Employees Happy

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Decrease Turnover & Keep Employees Happy


You might think that with today’s high unemployment rate, as a business owner you don’t have to worry about turnover - nobody’s leaving, right?  Wrong!

The fact is, for every person who is putting off looking for a new job, there are those who are already working and planning to move on. As soon as they can.

Why?  They are unhappy where they are.

Employers have downsized and added to the remaining staff’s responsibilities.  Employees are stretched thinner and thinner.  Benefit packages have shrunk and, with fewer retirements, there is less opportunity for promotion and career advancement.  Companies are not doing enough to recognize their talent and do what they need to do to keep them happy.

Fewer rewards, more work, less potential for advancement = looking for a new role.

But can companies really afford this kind of turnover?

In reviewing an article on the cost of turnover, although there are several formulas that try to determine an actual number, no one knows the actual answer - because every situation is unique.  However, one thing everyone seems to agree on is that the cost is always too high! 

As the economy improves, however incrementally, unhappy employees are going to be causing more and more turnover all over the country.

The good news is that companies can combat potential talent turnover right from the start by improving their actual hiring process. 

  • Utilizing recruiting resources - whether internally or through an expert staffing agency - is instrumental in hiring successful long-term employees. As specialists in talent search, Recruiters have access to large networks of potential talent whom they identify and qualify specifically for your company, culture and role.  This multi-step approach ensures they are selecting the right talent for your position - talent who are interested in, motivated by and excited about your opportunity. 
  • Recruiters are also vital to helping address unexpected turnover as well. With access to thousands of talent, Staffing Agencies can quickly find stopgap solutions, providing freelance or contract talent until the empty full time position is filled.  With HR resources often stretched across many positions, utilizing external staffing resources for specific full time hires will usually speed the search as well.  Recruiters direct access to talent networks, existing relationships in the field and use of multiple job boards all aid in a more efficient and effective candidate search.

In addition to improving internal hiring processes, employers must also be willing to make changes internally as well.  Money and productivity losses due to employee turnover can be minimized by thinking about keeping your employees happy and fulfilled: 

  • Find new ways to publicly reward good work and show talent they are valued
  • Offer more vacation days to counterbalance the longer hours now being required
  • Offer optional telecommuting opportunities to create better employee work/life balance

Unlimited Vacation?!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Unlimited Vacation?!

Good and Bad by vees via Flickr Creative Commons

Have you heard about the new trend in vacation policies?   Unlimited vacation has taken off quickly, being put into practice at some major companies: Netflix, IBM, Morningstar and Blue Wolf, according to this article at The Grindstone.

Sounds great!

Also known as a “results-only work environment,” for a self-motivated employee who gets their work done and finds themselves with time on their hands at the office, this could be a great part of a benefits package.

But is it for everyone?

US workers get fewer paid vacation days, on average, than workers in any other First World country, with only 13 days. Here is a helpful chart I found on


42 days


37 days


35 days


34 days

United Kingdom

28 days


26 days


25 days


25 days


13 days

Clearly the US has a way to go to become competitive with these countries and there is no doubt that US workers could use more time off to spend unwinding and recharging, not to mention developing their creativity.

Of course, unlimited vacation sounds wonderful and for many workers it is a great benefit—increasing productivity and efficiency, while boosting morale and reducing turnover. But there are some potential downsides:

  • If you are a natural workaholic, you might not ever feel like you are truly “off” if you can work whenever you want.
  • If you function better with more structure—and many of us do—you might find it difficult to get your work done without daily the daily accountability that comes with being in the office.
  • Employers save money on recordkeeping, but they don’t pay for any accrued vacation if you leave your job—use it or lose it for real!
  • Dynamics with co-workers can suffer if you get to leave when you’re done, but they can’t because they still have work to do. If you are very efficient, you could go home early every day while the methodical person in the office next door has to stay.

Unlimited vacation sounds to me like getting some of the benefits of freelancing without the disadvantages: work on your own schedule but still have health insurance and paid days off. Then again, I’m fast and disciplined about getting my work done.

How do you think you would do with unlimited vacation?

Wendy Stackhouse
, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Maximizing LinkedIn: Connections

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Maximizing LinkedIn: Connections

Last week we talked about what to do first when you sign up with LinkedIn.  I hope your profile is 100% complete, even if you are still making changes and reworking your story.

Now it’s time to connect!

LinkedIn is a place to network with people you know from your work life and your personal life. In other words, people from your real life. Only.   

They don’t have to be in your industry or have any professional connection to you.  The just need to be people you really know and whom you would be happy to introduce to someone else you know.

You will hear from people who are looking for high numbers of connections, not high quality connections.  High numbers are useless if they do not represent real relationships.

So for each person you consider adding to your connections, ask yourself:

  • Do I know them in real life?
  • Would I introduce them to other people I know?

That’s it!

Don’t worry about if they’re in your industry, if you’ve worked with them, if you know what they do or even if they are working at all. You never know what connections will end up being important.

I will finish with a story.  Once upon a time I wanted an informational interview with someone who worked in one of my target companies. I asked my coach, “How do I find someone at X company to talk to?”  My coach’s response was, “Check LinkedIn.” 

Two minutes later, a lovely woman sitting two rows behind me had a copy of my resume to hand to her friend that night at a basketball game because her friend worked for my target company and my friend knew I was a safe person to introduce to her.  Two minutes.

Two days later, I was having coffee with her.

Next time: Joining Groups

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

7 Reasons to Use a Recruiter to Find Talent

Monday, October 03, 2011

7 Reasons to Use a Recruiter to Find Talent


If you’ve ever been in a position that required you to hire staff, then you’ll know exactly why the recruitment industry exists – to help clients make their way through the costly and often confusing hiring maze! 

Recruiters are experts at developing key search criteria for a given position and then sourcing, qualifying and negotiating with talent to secure a successful full time or freelance placement.  Though much recruitment is conducted through a specialist recruitment agency or a contract recruiter hired for a short time to assist with key hires, some recruiters can also be found working full time directly for the company doing the hiring.  It really depends on the size and type of business you are running.

Is hiring a recruiter right for your company? 

Before you decide to use a recruiter to find talent, consider the following:

  1. A recruiter can save you time by going through the dozens, or even hundreds, of applicants interested in your position to find only the best of the best.
  2. A good recruiter will have high quality candidates already in their network – an amazing, creative and experienced pool of talent already qualified and ready to present to you.
  3. The best recruiters will always pre-screen candidates, making sure that you only interview those who are truly a good fit.
  4. Recruiters offer substantial cost savings.  They post your jobs to numerous paid job boards on your behalf, take care of taxes and insurance for freelancers and only get paid for their services if they are successful.
  5. A specialist recruiter knows the industry and the skills required for certain positions.  Therefore, they understand your specific needs intimately and, with a little education about your company and culture, can become an extension of your company to potential candidates.
  6. By involving a third party not associated with your company, recruiters allow you to search for talent confidentially, without posting the details of your talent search publicly.  This is key if you’re looking to replace a current employee or vendor.
  7. Recruiters have access to candidates who are not on the open market and may not hear about your opportunity otherwise.

Have you used a recruiter to find your staff?  We would love to hear your story!

Looking for a job yourself?  Consider using a recruiter for your job search as well!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative, with help from everyone on Our Team

7 Reasons to Use a Recruiter in Your Job Search

Thursday, September 15, 2011

7 Reasons to Use a Recruiter in Your Job Search

Last week I asked the recruiters at Artisan to give me their number one reason for using a recruiter to find a new role. I ended up with a pretty comprehensive list. If you are considering adding a recruiter to your job search team, here are some great reasons why:

  1. A recruiter is a consultant acting on your behalf. They are as committed to finding you a perfect new role as you are. They are pro-actively advocating for you and thinking of new opportunities.
  2. A recruiter can get you a lead into the company culture and processes that you could not find out on your own.  Your own research can only get you so far. Recruiters can often provide details not listed on job descriptions.
  3. A recruiter can negotiate salary and benefits for you. By knowing the clients’ actual salary range and benefits offering, recruiters may actually be able to get you a better package than advertised.
  4. Resumes from recruiters go to the top of the pile (assuming your recruiter has a good relationship with the client).
  5. An extra set of professional eyes on your resume is incredibly important (especially but not exclusively to eliminate typos).
  6. A recruiter has access to opportunities not listed on job boards.
  7. A recruiter with a great reputation for representing outstanding talent adds value to your brand.

Having a recruiter on your team can be the difference between landing the perfect role and sitting home by yourself wishing for that great job. Consider signing up with a recruiter who places people in your area of expertise. You’ll be glad you did!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative, with help from everyone on Our Team


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