Artisan Blog

Top 8 Traits Employers are Looking For: Creative and Marketing

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Top 8 Traits Employers are Looking For: Creative and Marketing



I was reading an article on 8 traits employers are looking for on BioSpace.com the other day and although some of them were right on target, others missed the mark in terms of Creative and Marketing roles.  And of course the hard part is making sure you show them all off in your interview. 

So here you go, à la David Letterman, my Top 8 Traits Creative Employers are Looking For (and how to work them into your interview):

[DRUM ROLL, PLEASE]

8.         Engagement. Direct eye contact and listening skills are just as important as being articulate. Show how well you collaborate right from the start.

7.         Confidence. A classic, but still so important. You are creative and skilled and talented.  You ARE!

6.         Dress. Whatever your style, be clean and put together. Hiring managers expect you to be professional, but still want to see a bit of that personality shine through. Check out our blog for more tips on what to wear to your creative interview.

5.         Do your research.  Know as much as you can about the company culture and the person you are meeting.  Prepare a couple of interesting questions to ask your interviewer.  LinkedIn is a great place for finding inspiration!

4.         Adaptability. I agree on this one. If there is any chance to express that you’re ready for anything, do so.

3.         Curiosity.  Creative people are interested in learning new skills and coming up with new angles on old problems.

2.         Stories.  A great story is gold. Have a few stories prepared to illustrate how you accomplished something challenging, delivered a project with unexpected results or learned a valuable lesson.  Come on, you must have some stories to share!

And 1.  Energy.  Be a bright shiny penny.  There are a lot of people out there who are tired, overworked and underpaid. You might be interviewing with one of them.  Remember - you may be between roles and stressed, but you are NOT tired! 

Did you notice anything that was missed from the lists?  What traits do you think are important?  We’d love to hear your favorites!  

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


What Really Happens During A Reference Check?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

reference-checks 

If you’ve never had to conduct a reference check for a perspective employee yourself – you may wonder what, specifically, employers ask your former managers, colleagues and friends about your work experience?

Or, if you’re a small buisness looking to expand, you might wonder what types of questions are best for checking the references of future employers.

In either case, we offer the following as a pretty standard reference check questionnaire:

  • Reference name, company and title
  • Please describe your working relationship with (potential candidate). How long did you work together?
  • How would you describe his/her working style?
  • What are his/her strengths? 
  • What set him/her apart from others in this role?
  • How does he/she face and overcome challenges?
  • How would you rate the candidate in the following areas using a 1-10 rating system (1 being Poor and 10 being Excellent)
  • Additional comments regarding any of these areas is always welcome:
    • Attendance/Reliability
    • Adherence to Deadlines
    • Conceptual Comprehension
    • Executional Capabilities
    • Knowledge of Programs/Systems
    • Leadership Qualities
    • Overall Quality of Work
    • Communication skills
  • Is he/she someone you would like to work with again?

The best way to conduct reference checks is over the phone.  However, when time does not permit, emailing these questions is acceptable.

If you are a talent submitting references to a potential employer, confirm that the contact information you provide is accurate and up-to-date. Also, make sure you notify your references that potential employers may be contacting them. 

If you doubt a reference can speak favorably about these specific areas – it might be better to address that up front or find another reference.

Other reference check questions?  Let us know!


Is there a UX Supply & Demand Imbalance?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Is there a UX Supply & Demand Imbalance?



Since late 2009, nearly every Web Design job posting we've seen has mentioned "usability" or "user experience."  Over time, the requests have become even more specific. Companies no longer request a Digital Design; rather, now it's specifically a User Experience Designer, UX researcher, IA/UI or Visual Designer.

Now, more than ever, the importance of User Experience is everywhere, as companies try to connect and engage with their customers in the best ways possible.

On jobs boards everywhere (ours included) we have seen a significant  increase for User Experience experts.  Some  of those requests take weeks to fill; others can’t be filled at all. 

Are we experiencing a UX supply and demand imbalance?

Yes! The demand for top usability talent is becoming greater than the supply of qualified and immediately available talent.  And, with the demand now shifting from web UX to mobile and Apps, the pool of talent is shrinking even more!

It’s not the first time we’ve seen this happen.  In fact, we’re often reminded of the market for Flash Developers a few years back. Jobs took weeks to fill.  Salaries were at a peak and good talent was definitely hard to come by.  

As recruiters, we had to quickly adapt new avenues for meeting qualified talent to introduce them to new available opportunities.

What does this mean for employers?  There are some options:

  1. Be specific about your needs.  Do you need a generalist? Or a specialist?  The UX world can have multi pronged discipline.  Know what you actually need - UX / UI / IA / UT ?
  2. Be competitive with your overall compensation package.  Both in dollars as well as  benefits, flex-time or telecommuting
  3. Be open to Relo.  Look at national and international talent.  Additional fees and quite a bit of paperwork could result – but it might be worth the additional effort.
  4. Hire a UX consultant.  Utilize the expertise of a specialist for the short term.  Ensure he/she has a team of your internal staff with which to work and knowledge share.
  5. Invest in more training.  Chances are your current team of designers would love to learn more about the growing HCI field.  Invest in their education.  Pay for courses.  Hire an expert to train them.   You get more knowledge and your employees might just ignite a new passion.

But it’s not up to employers alone to fix the problem.  Talent and Recruiters have responsibilities too.

Interactive Design Talent – Perfect your art.  Especially freelancers!  Invest in classes, seminars and software needed to grow.

Recruiters – We, too, must continue doing our part to seek out new talent.  We must work closely with Universities and other Education Programs to connect with recent grads in the space, attend MeetUp groups and networking events to meet new talent and continue to educate our talent and clients about the market to manage expectations correctly.

Let’s see where the world of user experience takes us in Q3 and Q4!

Jessica Bedford, Marketing Manager & Katty Douraghy, Managing Director



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