Artisan Blog

Tips for Active Listening

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have a learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 419th issue of our weekly a.blog. 

 

MIA: When in conversation, do you listen, or do you just wait to talk?

VINCENT: I wait to talk. But I'm trying to listen.

 -Pulp Fiction, 1994  

Active listening requires that we set aside our own egos and imperatives as we listen to another person speak,  in order to be fully engaged with what that person is communicating, both verbally and nonverbally.

When done in good faith, active listening gives rise to an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect. At work, it can help mitigate conflicts and facilitate better teamwork and higher morale.

When listening actively, use these five principles until they become second nature. Don’t worry too much about whether or not you’re doing it correctly. Simply open yourself up to the conversation before you.

1. Notice body language and sub-communication

Communication is about much more than what is said out loud.

In order to really listen, you must get beyond the stated facts and pick up on the tone and emotions behind them. The same speech can have two entirely different meanings depending on whether it is delivered with self-assurance, with a knowing smirk, or with lots of filler words ("like," "um"), crossed arms, and erratic eye contact.

To actively listen, stay open, withhold judgment, and take in the sum of the spoken and unspoken communication.

2. Repeat, rephrase and ask questions

Before you respond, make sure you understand what has been said.

You can do this by repeating the speaker's key points, and restating them in your own words. This will give the person an opportunity to clarify or add more information. This way, before you respond, you can be fairly sure you fully comprehend the other person's point.

Before you offer a rebuttal, ask thoughtful, open-ended questions to clear up any lingering misconceptions. This can open a productive conversation and lead into fruitful areas of discussion neither one of you anticipated.

3. If you get lost, start over

Have you ever been having a conversation and suddenly realized the other person had been talking for a long time and you stopped paying attention some time ago? It's okay to admit it.

Just be honest. Say, "I think I lost you back there somewhere. I was with you up to a point. Would you mind clarifying this one area?" Make sure you are getting all the information you need to hear and understand the speaker in context.

If you are indeed listening in good faith, pay attention to what is being said, keep up with the content as it’s shared, and quiet your own inner voice.

4. Don't rehearse or think ahead - stay in the moment

When you're ready to listen, take a deep breath, and take a moment to let go of your own thoughts, opinions, ideas and perspective. Be fully present with the other person's experience. Perceive their feelings and get to know the human behind the voice.

If you begin formulating a response while you are pretending to listen, you are bound to miss important subtext and implications. You risk sounding dismissive or defensive. People can tell when you aren't listening. Don't interrupt. Wait your turn. Listen to others the way you would have them listen to you.

5. Care

The best way to connect, listen and learn is via genuine curiosity about other people's experiences and to have empathy.

Empathy is a learned skill that requires constant honing. Practice active listening, and you may find that other people's experiences resonate with you far more than you ever expected. You may discover a spirit of cooperation within yourself that you may have been too nervous, defensive, or distracted to appreciate before. 

At Artisan Creative, active listening is the key to creating trusted relationships with our talent and clients.


​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 a 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 a 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!


7 Tips for Researching a Company

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

 


 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have a learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 402nd  issue of our weekly a.blog.

Do you have an upcoming interview that you need to prepare for? Researching a company ahead of time gives you valuable insight for asking key questions and making an informed decision about the role and company.

Here are 7 tips for researching a company in preparation for an interview:

Website: This may seem obvious, but starting with the company’s website to find out history, focus, leadership philosophy, products and customer base are key to getting familiar with the basics. This will show you care enough about the role to prepare.

News and Recent Events: Has there been a recent merger, senior hire or product release? When appropriate, reference it during the interview to show the interviewer you are familiar with the company and product offerings. It will show you are a thorough and detail-oriented candidate.

Company Blog and Social Pages: Blogs provide great information about a company’s culture. What do they blog about? Is their company voice casual or corporate? Understanding culture and brand is crucial to succeeding in an interview. It will show you are aligned with the company culture.

Team: Perusing your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile is a must-do. Review where they’ve worked or schools they’ve attended. Do you have any connections in common? What are their interests and hobbies? Do you know any other employees in the company? Try to find some common ground. This will give you a better chance of connecting during your interview.

Current Hires: Is the company hiring multiple roles or filling a replacement position? Take a look at other open positions. This will give you insight about the company’s growth and focus.

Inside Info: Take a look at Glassdoor to read company reviews and discover information about a company’s hiring process, employee responsibilities and employee reviews. This will give you additional feedback from present and former employees.

Arrive Early: When it comes to interview day, arrive 10-15 minutes early so you have an opportunity to sit and wait in the lobby and get a good feel for culture and office environment. This will give you an opportunity to interact with some of the other team members and see the culture in action.

Are there any other research tips you follow before an interview? Don’t forget to read the rest of our interview advice before your next interview.

 

 


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.

How to Hire Creatives

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

 

Hiring qualified talent for creative roles (digital, marketing, UX or design) is an art unto itself.

In addition to reviewing resumes and looking for specific skills or years of experience, reviewing a portfolio and understanding the nuances in a creative’s work requires a unique talent. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Here are 3 tips to consider when looking to hire creative talent and evaluating portfolios.

1. Concept or Execution

Are you looking for a conceptual creative or one who is more executional? A conceptual talent ideates, pushes the creative boundaries, comes up with new ideas, new campaigns and a way to challenge the status quo. This person may or may not have hands-on skills— as they concept and ideate, someone else may actually sit behind a computer to bring it to life and take it to the finish line.

An executional candidate is someone who is very hands-on still. They know all the design programs well, can take the big picture idea and apply it to a variety of formats and deliverables. They’re able to read between the lines, interpret the big idea and execute it across multiple media and channels.

In some instances, one person can have both strengths—or they may favor one over the other. Who do you need on your team?

2. Your Brand

When looking at a resume and comparing two design talent, both may have similar proficiency with design programs, both may have the same years of experience and both may seem like the ideal candidate…on paper. When reviewing creative talent, a portfolio must accompany the resume, and in many cases it holds more weight than the resume.

When you review portfolio links, you may notice one designer’s aesthetic is bright, colorful, fun and illustrative, while the other candidate is minimalistic and corporate with a clean UI design aesthetic.

Both are beautiful, which aesthetic fits best within your company brand?

3. The Portfolio and to How Navigate it

When reviewing a portfolio, it can be difficult to get the full picture. Designers often work in collaboration with others: art directors, illustrators, copywriters, production artists, developers and many other talented teammates

How can you best tell who was involved in the work you are reviewing?

If the information isn't clearly defined in the sample, ask for clarification to help you get the full picture.

Do you need help hiring creative talent? Connect with us.

20 Sample Interview Questions

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

 

 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years of creative staffing & recruiting in California. Over the years we've learned a lot and will share our experiences with you in our 20/20 series:  

 

20 blogs celebrating 20 years of creative recruiting!  Enjoy.

 

You’ve found the perfect job, sent your resume to the company and have an interview scheduled. Are you truly ready for the next steps?


As this is an opportunity for both you and the hiring manager to interview each other, it’s best to come prepared with questions that help you learn more about the company and the role for which you are interviewing.


We recommend that you prepare by reading our blog on the six things to do during an interview. We have also included 20 sample questions below to help you gain clarity on the role and the company.  Pick a few questions that resonate with you, and integrate these into your interview.


Questions about the Role / Position / Team


1. How would you describe the work environment?

2. Can you describe a typical day?

3. Can you share more about the team I would be working with?

4. How do you envision this department in 6 months / 1 year / long-term?

5. How large is the department (how many designers, marketers, etc.)?

6. What is the org chart for the department?

7. What have been some of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?

8. What has been your personal favorite project here?


Questions about the Company Culture / History


9.   Can you share more about your company culture?

10. Can you share more about the company history and/or clients?

11. What is the leadership philosophy here?

12. How do you envision the company in 3-5 years?

13. What is your onboarding process?


Questions about Skills / Qualification


14. What are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?

15. What  training or continued education programs are offered?

16. What metrics for success do you implement?

17. How do I compare with the other candidates you’ve interviewed for this role?

18. What specific experience do I have that made you feel I was a good fit for this position?

19. Are there any challenges you foresee in this role?


And our favorite question:


20. Is there anything you feel is missing from my experience or resume that I may be able to expand on?


This is your final chance to present yourself in the moment and iron out any concerns the interviewer may have about your experience.


Do you have any go-to interview questions you like to ask? How do you prepare for your interviews? Share your thoughts with us on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter.



20 Things to do at Your Next Job Fair

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

 

 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years of recruiting and being part of the Los Angeles creative community this year. In this time we have learned a thing or two that we’d like to share with you in the first blog of our 20/20 series.  20 blogs celebrating 20 years of creative recruiting!  Enjoy.


Do you find job fairs are a whirlwind of elevator pitches and business cards? You’ve given your pitch to an employer, now what? We’ve put together a checklist to guide you and ensure you get the best out of the day.


This Saturday, Artisan Creative will be joining TechJobsLA for a job fair aimed at creatives and developers. We have sponsored and participated in this event for the past several years and look forward to seeing you there.


411 on TechJobsLA


TechJobsLA is a specialized job fair aimed at designers and developers including a series of incredible workshops and speakers.  This year Artisan Creative’s founder, Jamie Douraghy will be holding a workshop on Discovering your Why.  We all know what we do, and how we do it...do we know why we do what we do?  Come join us.


TechJobsLA is an opportunity to meet recruiters, hiring managers, startups and companies as well as a chance to network and learn new skills. This year’s event will have a dedicated digital entertainment panel. They’ll be discussing trends and answering questions. Artisan Creative founder, Jamie Douraghy will be holding a Discover Your Why Workshop.


Here are 20 tips to prepare for this and any future job fair:


BEFORE:

  1. Modify your resume so you have tailored versions to suit specific industries and companies.

  2. Print out your resume. Make a lot of copies, and we mean a lot! Keep them in a folder.

  3. Make a one-sheet of your best projects to go with your resume.

  4. Research beforehand to see what companies will be there.

  5. Dress well. Dress as if you’re going for an interview. We’re in the creative industry -- suited and booted isn’t always necessary, but do dress well.

  6. Be early.  Get there early so you can mingle before the crowds come in

  7. Volunteer.  Where possible volunteer to help out during the day.  You’ll get a first chance to meet the exhibitors, have one one one conversations, and make an impression.


DURING:

  1. Skill match. Each booth has a focus. If a booth doesn’t match your skills thank them and move onto the next one.

  2. Open jobs. At each table, ask about their open jobs and see if there’s anything that’s a match for you. This is a perfect opportunity for face-to-face time with hiring managers and recruiters.

  3. Collect business cards to keep track of who you have met. If you work in design, make sure your card is unique. At the last TechJobsLA, Artisan Creative received a scratch and sniff card! Loved it! How’s that for making an impression?

  4. Have your elevator pitch! Don’t be vague when you’re asked: “What is it that you do?” Give a concise and clear answer e.g. “I’m a visual designer specializing in entertainment and technology. I’ve worked with XYZ and now I’m looking for a senior position.” It’s much more valuable to both you and the employer.  

  5. Attend workshops. What you can learn from workshops can be invaluable to your personal and professional development.  

  6. Ask questions of the speakers and companies - it’s an easy way to stand out.

  7. Take a notebook to jot down any job leads and next steps.

  8. Handshakes & Eye contact. Be firm. Make a connection.

  9. Phone usage to be kept to a minimum. Emails and Instagram will have to wait.

  10. Be friendly.   Talk to the other attendees.  You never know where your next job lead can come from.


AFTER:

  1. Follow-up b y emailing a copy of your resume and thanking them for their time.

  2. Jobs Alerts.   Sign up for RSS feeds and job alerts of companies you met.

  3. Reflect on the day and what you did well.


Are you attending this Saturday's TechJobsLA at BLANKSPACES DTLA? Come and have a chat with us at our table.  Please review our open jobs page ahead of time, and follow us on social for tips on interviewing, resumes and job search best practices.   

Job Interview Questions Designed to Make You Think

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


Job interviews can be anxiety-inducing, especially if you really want the job. Your resume and cover letter were good enough to land the interview, but meeting face-to-face (or via Skype or Google Hangouts) is a whole other story. And nowadays, it’s not enough to ask the standard interview questions. In fact, many top companies ask their potential candidates an array of surprising and unfamiliar questions to help get your creative juices flowing and see how you respond on the fly to thinking analytically and developing solutions. It’s a chance for you to loosen up, relax, and show the interviewer the real you.

We’ve put together a list of real-life interview questions from top companies around the world courtesy of Glassdoor and beyond, from companies including Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Intel, and Trader Joe’s. Try practicing answers to questions like these, and see what fun answers you come up with on your own!

  • If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Choose a city and estimate how many piano tuners operate a business there.
  • If you could be remembered for one sentence, what would it be?
  • Why are manhole covers round?
  • Design an evacuation plan for this building.
  • How many Big Macs does McDonald’s sell each year in the U.S.?
  • 25 racehorses, no stopwatch. 5 tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races.
  • How much do you charge to wash every window in Seattle?
  • If I was talking to your best friend, what is the one thing they would you say you need to work on?
  • How many children are born every day?
  • If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?
  • How would you breakdown the cost of this pen?
  • If you have 2 eggs, and you want to figure out what’s the highest floor from which you can drop the egg without breaking it, how would you do it? What’s the optimal solution?
  • How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?
  • Design a spice rack for the blind.
  • What do you think of garden gnomes?
  • You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Image by Meilun.

Artisan Creative is celebrating our 20th year staffing and recruiting Creative, Digital and Marketing roles. Please visit Roles We Place for a complete listing of our expertise.

Click here if you are looking to hire. Click here if you are looking for work.

For information on hiring best practices, interview tips and industry news, please join our social networks on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

6 Not-As-Common Interview Prep Tips

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


We know the things you have to do for every job interview (dress appropriately). And we know the things you should never do in an interview (don’t be late!). But what are ways to go above and beyond? Read these six interview tips to prepare for the next (and possibly biggest) interview:

1. Research the company’s blog posts. Let’s say you have an interview with a well-known tech company. And let’s say they ask you pointed questions about the company. You could name drop a product, or you could mention something specific you read, like how much you love that they won a humanitarian award. Neither is a wrong approach, but talking in specifics shows you’ve done your research. And doing your research shows you actually care about the position and the company.

2. Schedule your interview for… Tuesday at 10:30am. According to Glassdoor, this is the ideal time to have your interview. It’s great because it’s not bookended by the weekend, it’s not around lunch, and it’s after everyone’s had a chance to have their coffee and perk up. However, if the job needs to be filled fast, take the soonest available slot.

3. Answer the weird questions. Some companies are famous for asking out-of-left-field, oddball interview questions. This is done to test how you think on your feet, but it can really throw you off your game if you don’t have something in mind. Figure out what you would say if you were asked…

How would you double $1,000 in 24 hours?
What would the name of your debut album be?
How many basketballs would fit in this room?


4. Who tells your story? Many interviewers start by asking about yourself, or for you to walk them through your work experience. Craft a story statement that stands out. What influenced you in your childhood to make you work in advertising? Why did your last job inspire this specific design? Make sure your story includes a bit about your life before work, why you do what you do, and how you want to make an impact in your current field.

5. Psych yourself up. You might get nervous before an interview, so find ways to get amped like athletes do before games or actors do before shows. Listen to a great playlist of take-on-the-world songs. Primal scream in the car. Concentrate on the emotional -- what do your friends and family believe in you? Whatever works for you!

6. Be bold! This is a very gutsy move, but it can work. Before your interview ends, ask this: Is there anything you feel is missing from my background or resume that I may be able to expand on? If you ask honestly, it shows you’re self-assured, passionate, optimistic, and willing to take a risk, which are all highly regarded qualities in any employee. It also gives the interviewer an opportunity to clarify anything they like. Remember, fortune favors the bold!

Get more interview tips by subscribing to the RSS feed on our blog or following us on Twitter -- and check out our open job listings for new and exciting freelance and full-time creative careers!

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