Artisan Blog

6 Tips for Interviewing Creatives

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 428th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

Preparing for an interview is a two-way street that requires both parties to be present and engaged in the conversation.

In previous blogs, we highlighted general best practices for interviewers such as active listening techniques. As interviewers we must set the stage and tone of the interview to reflect our company culture and team dynamic.

Interviewing and hiring creatives adds an additional layer of intricacy since the portfolio plays a key role in the dialog.  Here are some important skills that interviewers can practice when looking to interview and hire creative candidates.

Smile  A welcoming smile is worth more than a 1000 words.

Prepare   As interviewers, it’s our responsibility to be prepared for the meeting by reviewing the candidate’s resume and portfolio in advance and crafting targeted questions to learn more about them, the projects they’ve worked on, and build better rapport. Take notes beforehand to keep things on track and stay upbeat and 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. The best creative work is often a result of successful communication - make sure you get the most out of your conversations with candidates.

Ask open-ended questions  Questions that start with "How", "What" or "Can you explain" are generally more useful than “yes or no” questions when interviewing for creative roles. Open-ended questions allow candidates to tell stories about their experience, and ideas. Ask about the candidate’s design thinking and creative problem solving process to get a better sense of their conceptual skills.

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. You can often learn more from the questions candidates ask than from any other aspect of the interview.

Arrange next steps   If an interview goes well and you think you have the right person on the other side of the desk, say so. Enlighten them on the state of your interview process and set up a second interview with other hiring authorities or team members, as needed.

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. Transparency around your hiring process helps keep candidates engaged.  If a candidate isn’t a good fit, letting them down gently gives an opening to pursue other opportunities that they might be better suited for.

Hiring a new team member makes a huge difference to the future of your business. If you have questions around these high performing priorities, you can always ask an expert.  At Artisan Creative, we are experts in interviewing creatives. Happy to help you with your next hire.

Tips for Developing Your Design Portfolio

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 425th issue of our weekly a.blog.

When seeking to fill a creative role, hiring managers often request a portfolio that shows the body of work a designer has successfully compiled over the years. However, if you are beginning your creative career or looking to break into a new vertical within creative, you may have to think of news ways to add relevant samples to your portfolio.

It may seem like a Catch-22: the only way to gain experience is to already have it.

Here are several options to develop your design portfolio further, gain more experience or try a new vertical:

Ask Friends & Family

Look within your network. Ask your friends and family for referrals to other small businesses and colleagues. Who do they know who can benefit from your creative expertise and may not have the resources to go to a design firm or agency?

Explore Personal Projects

Have you ever wanted to re-brand a favorite product? Have you ever said, I would love to work for that brand? How would you tackle an assignment if you were to land a project with a favorite company? Here’s your opportunity to take creative license and give your favorite brand a new look! (Note: Make sure you are clear in your portfolio that this was a personal project or add a special section for exploratory work to your portfolio.) 

Consider Non-Profit work

Accepting pro bono work for a non-profit or for a cause you are passionate about is a good way to build experience in a new vertical. Many nonprofits and community organizations need the skills and savvy of creative professionals to get their message out, although they may not have the budget to do so. This creates ample opportunities to take on exciting and challenging projects that look great on your resume, in your portfolio and give you an opportunity to strengthen your community.

This also enables you to try out different ideas, discover what type of work you enjoy, and hone your unique voice and vision. Because of the unique marketing challenges they face, nonprofit organizations provide creative professionals the opportunity to develop some truly remarkable and memorable projects.

As a creative professional, you have the power to change the way people think. If you want to harness that power for good, pro bono work for a non-profit may give you the opportunity to do just that.

As a job seeker, you have heard many times about the importance of a personal brand or a meaningful story that ties together your work. By taking on pro bono or passion project opportunities, you can explore the issues that matter to you.

How to Get Started

Opportunities for pro bono creative work are everywhere, look around and ask. Contact organizations you admire and, if they are receptive, pitch your ideas to them directly. Or, you can go through the Taproot Foundation, which helps creatives and nonprofits find each other. (It's like Artisan Creative, for the nonprofit world.)

And, of course, we are here to help you define your goals, build your skills, gain clarity on your mission, and seek out all sorts of professional opportunities. Contact us today to learn more.

 

The Art of Marketing Your Skills

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 422nd issue of our weekly a.blog.

Our work landscape is changing rapidly and we have to be prepared to change with it. Whether you're looking for new freelance opportunities or a full-time job, it’s important to think like an entrepreneur.

Even if you've never thought of yourself as an entrepreneur, one who often has to be the top salesperson, the marketing expert, as well as the billing and collections agent, you can create more opportunities and open yourself up for greater success if you think of yourself as an entrepreneurial brand. That means it’s your responsibility to market yourself and flex your creative muscles in new ways to bring fresh clarity to your priorities, values, and goals.

As you become more comfortable with marketing yourself, here are some core principles to keep in mind drawn from the work of respected marketing authorities and tested in the crucible of international business.

Own Your Own Niche

Being the first one in your category is the first law of Al Reis and Jack Trout’s 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.

Inventing your own category gives tremendous advantage and allows you to make the rules that your competition must follow. If you can't be the first in a broad category, claim a subcategory, and be the best to market in your own distinct niche.

For example, your focus may be web design. Although you may not be the first web designer in your city, you may still have an opportunity to focus on a specific clientele base or have an expertise in a vertical. To build your reputation in a specific niche, attend industry and networking events, study hard, learn a lot and become a subject matter expert.

Think Like a Storyteller

Even if you're not trained as a storyteller or fiction writer, you've probably loved enough films, novels, and anecdotes to intuitively appreciate the power of a good yarn.

When you describe your career trajectory, victories won, and challenges overcome, try thinking in terms of the "mono-myth" of "The Hero's Journey." Fiction writers, filmmakers, and marketers have used this structure to guide them down many different paths.

Share your story, your inspiration, your process—tell the story of why you stand out in your field and how you differentiate.

Start looking for the "Hero's Journey" structure, and you'll see it everywhere. It has shaped careers, lives, and civilizations. How can you harness the power of story telling to tell your own tale?

Be Candid

A candid approach highlights your sincerity and shows you have nothing to hide. A sense of humor or a quirky personality will resonate better with potential clients and employers with a similar sensibility. If you are clear as to who your target audience is, then it’s easier to be yourself.

Some brands have had tremendous success by poking fun at their own shortcomings. Avis struggled for years to overtake Hertz, to no avail. Finally, it increased its profile and drew a lot of new customers when it embraced the slogan, "We're #2, so we try harder."

Be your best self, and be proud of it. This gives you the freedom to be comfortable and honest.

Continue Learning

When defining your unique combination of skills, keep one eye on how relevant you expect them to be in five years. In the digital world, bubbles form and burst often. Job titles may change, so build continuously on your core competencies and adapt.

Continued education is key in many industries and the creative and marketing industry is no different. Be sure to continue your learning and sharpen the tools of your trade.  Sites such as Lynda.com or General Assembly are great resources.

Continuously iterate on your own marketing message. Use methodologies such as A/B testing to refine your ideas, build on what others respond do, and discard what isn’t working.

Represent Yourself

As you blend your range of skills and experience into a coherent, memorable storyline, make sure the story reflects who you really are. Heed the advice of marketing guru Seth Godin, to "under promise and over deliver."

If you make promises you can't keep, you will find yourself in positions you aren't qualified for, or assignments you aren’t excited about.

A well-branded portfolio will continue to support your story and be a representation of your skills. The story of your creative thinking, along with a display of your most current work, your involvement in a project, and your collaboration with other team members will speak volumes. If you are unable to create a website for yourself, there are wonderful options in the marketplace such as Dribbble or  Behance.

When using social media to market your skills, make sure it’s well branded with a cohesive message woven through all channels. Whether it’s LinkedIn or Instagram—create a unique branding voice that represents you.

Bring your own unique story to life and share it. If you need additional help marketing your skills contact Artisan Creative for representation. We work with hundreds of clients in different verticals who are looking to hire new talent. Your next assignment could be waiting!

 


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.

7 Ways to Create an Outstanding Creative Portfolio Online

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Creating an amazing creative portfolio that highlights your skills and experience is a necessary one! As a creative professional it’s best to keep your portfolio up-to-date and ready-to-go in case a prospective project or client comes your way. Here are some best practices to create a successful portfolio:

1. Determine your goals. Are you trying to get hired, boost business, or just showcasing your work? Is this a portfolio designed for building relationships or your brand? Clear criteria will help serve you best. If you want to get hired, display work that is relevant and current to get hiring managers at your dream company to notice you.

2. Put your best design forward...within limitations. Hiring managers (and everyone else) want to see your best work, but they also need to review lots of potential applicants in a hurry. Feature your best work prominently on a user-friendly site that showcases your work front and center.

3. Be concise. You may feel the need to say a lot in a small amount of space. However, best to keep it simple and organized, and repeat the “less is more” mantra. If you’re a freelancer who offers multiple services, or has several skillsets, try your best to demonstrate the key pieces or case studies.

4. Think about situations where you solved a problem. Was it a creative challenge? Were there limited resources? Look at samples that have a story behind them and list clear objective and how you resolved the design challenge.

5. Consider who you want to work for. Are you looking for work in a corporate field like finance or law? Present clean, successful design instead of edgy or artsy work. In other words, select portfolio pieces which are in line with the work you are seeking. (Remember, multiple portfolios, or organized tabs might be useful if you’re interested in working within multiple industries!)

6. Usability trumps artistic vision. While it might look really cool to change the navigation on your online portfolio, it can also be really confusing. Stick to web standards that keep the portfolio organized and implement SEO in case someone is searching. Consider readability, typography, and ease -- what will be easier to update on a regular basis?

7. Make it yours! Whether you’re designing something for conservative or nontraditional clients, your portfolio needs to be 100 percent you. Infuse your personality into the design of the portfolio, let your creativity do the talking, and have fun in showing the world what you can do. If you don’t have the time or resources for your own website, then utilize the many portfolio sites that offer free resources such as Behance, Coroflot, Krop, etc.

Lastly, it should be easy to contact you, so make sure your contact information is easy to find!

Do you have an outstanding portfolio? Share it with us! We might be able to help land your next gig!

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 LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Portfolio image by Sean Halpin.

Pinterest, Google Plus, and Other Social Media for Creatives

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

We’ve talked at length about crafting tweets or building your LinkedIn page. But what about other social media platforms, like Pinterest or Instagram? What do you even do with all these platforms? And will they help your career? Here’s a rundown on other forms of social media that go beyond what Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can do:

Instagram

This app lets you post photos with comments, helping you create a curated feed of images. This is an excellent way for designers and more   to share their work, as well as share their personalities. Use Instagram to help build your client base by creating a company account.

Pinterest

Think of this as a public (or private) inspiration or vision board. Find images you want to “pin”, then create boards for them. Like Instagram, creatives can use this as a way to share what interests you visually and show off your portfolio. For instance, you could create Pinterest boards labeled “In Progress” and “Favorites”, for examples, of whatever projects you’re working on.

Google+

While this is connected to your Gmail account (if you have one), Google+ is more than just a freebie. Create circles to connect, such as a Circle of Colleagues or People You Worked With in the Past. As a creative, you can use Google+ to link to your website, blogs, or portfolio, along with links to interesting content you come across that’s relevant to your work.

YouTube

If you consider yourself an expert in your field, it might behoove you to make short videos about your work. Or, if you work for an agency, you can use YouTube to create videos about your expertise or previous clients (if they’ll allow it).

Vine

Given its parameter of six seconds, Vine might seem limiting. However, people can get extremely creative in six seconds! Creatives might find Vine useful if they’re particularly drawn to video versus static imagery. For example, you could use Vine to show the process of creating a logo design, or connect with followers by showing six seconds of your day.

Periscope

This app lets you live video stream whatever is happening around you. Start a live stream and get people to ask you questions about your work, show off finished products, or go to the public to get ideas!

Slideshare

Although this platform is connect to LinkedIn now, it’s an ideal way to showcase your portfolio and link it to your profile. Slideshare has its own user database who can follow, like and comment on your work.

What social media channels do you use to connect and engage with others while highlighting your work?

Do stay connected with Artisan Creative on our social channels!  Visit us on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare, Google+ and Pinterest.

Here’s How You Can Impress Recruiters with Your Resume in 6 Seconds.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

impress-recruiters-6-seconds

A recent Harvard Business Review article pointed out that online job search site The Ladders says recruiters take about six seconds to look at a resume.

Six seconds! What can anyone reasonably do in six seconds?

Well, they can make a judgment call. And that’s what you can fix. Because as long as your resume is effective, you get a lot more than six seconds of someone’s time.

Spruce up your portfolio. Your resume may only get a few moments of time to make a mark, but a well crafted portfolio of your work can make all the difference. A great portfolio can help convince hiring managers that your work speaks louder than your resume, as well as make the connection between your work experience and actual creative endeavors.

Close the employment gaps. If you’ve been looking for a while, it can feel like the gap between jobs is just getting bigger. Volunteer, freelance, or create your own projects to add to the resume so the gaps lessen. Look for leadership roles to help enhance your standing.

Be selective. Your resume is a body of content that represents you, so it doesn’t need to be comprehensive. Include whatever is relevant to the job and hiring manager as part of your experience. The same goes for your skills and accomplishments.

Format your resume correctly. Use bold and underlining plus bullet points to help promote yourself in a concise yet detailed fashion. Add the right keywords -- the more specific, the better. Short descriptions of previous work experience will suffice. Make sure to point out your responsibilities in each position in addition to personal achievements. Education goes at the end. Finally, keep everything clean! Lots of white space helps your resume appear professional and polished.

Ask for help. Being objective about your career can be difficult. Some people overestimate or underestimate their success. Hire a resume writer, or ask a mentor or friend to help with the resume writing process.

Take your time. Creating an effective resume is not a quick or easy process. You have to think carefully about what you want to say and how to say it.

Is your resume ready for review in six seconds? What are your resume tips?

The Importance of Proofreading Your Resume (And Everything Else)

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

According to a survey conducted by Grammarly on Indeed.com, the average job seeker has at least one punctuation error on their resume, and 60 percent of errors are grammatical.

If the job requires attention to detail or if you promote yourself as “meticulous,” how can a hiring manager trust that you are those things if your resume has simple spelling mistakes and typos?

Those tiny errors could make them think twice about calling you for the role.

One cannot underestimate the importance of proofreading. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during this necessary step in applying for jobs:

Proofreading does not equal spell check. Misspellings and grammatical mistakes are common, and they happen to everyone. But spell check cannot replace your sharp eye. Most spell check programs do not recognize contextual spelling errors (like “achieve” versus “achievement”).

Don’t rush your email. When you see the perfect job, it’s easy to get excited and click “send” before thoroughly reading it over. However, if you spelled the name of the company incorrectly, it’s very unlikely they’ll be emailing back!

Check your online portfolio. Hiring managers, especially in creative fields, are going to look at your website. If you’ve misspelled a few words, or have grammar errors, it will negatively impact your beautiful photos or exquisite design. They’ll remember that you weren’t fastidious enough to double check your own website.

Keep it consistent. If you’re still employed at a position, use present tense -- use past tense if you’re no longer there. Stay consistent and use an active voice (“developed strategy,” “created designs”). Catching errors in consistency is part of proofreading.

Have a friend help you! If you’ve already combed through all your hiring materials, ask a friend (or several) help you proofread as well just to be on the safe side.

The good news is that your resume, LinkedIn profile, and online portfolio are easy to fix. All you have to do is take the time to proofread and make sure there are no errors.

So proofread your resume. Proofread your cover letter. Proofread your online portfolio. Proofread your writing samples. Proofread your blog. Proofread your email to a recruiter or hiring manager. Proofread, proofread, proofread. You can thank us later after you score the job!

5 Tips for Getting The Job You're Actually Qualified For

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Do you consider yourself to be a marketing manager, and yet, also a writer, but also a designer? Are you someone who juggles a dozen skills across multiple jobs? Ever heard of the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none”?

Maybe you are an excellent copy editor and graphic designer and technology manager. However, chances are you have a focus or interest in one area more than the other, i.e. an excellent copy editor who knows a few basics about graphic design who also  had to manage an IT guy once. Having a lot of skills is great, but it makes placing people in a job that suits them best difficult. Imagine being an interviewer and seeing all these skills on a resume and unclear where someone’s interest lies, when you’re really just searching for someone who’s most qualified for this position.

In creative services, having a resume that isn’t focused can hurt instead of help. Here are five ways to improve your resume and the chance that you’ll be offered the opportunity:

1. Narrow down what you do best to two things. Talent managers (like the ones here at Artisan Creative) and hiring managers have to review hundreds of resumes. Make yours stand out by picking your top two areas of expertise, then highlighting them in your cover letter and resume. When you’re on the phone or in an interview, continue expanding on why you are so fantastic in these two specific areas of expertise.

2. Deliver your message consistently. Don’t change what you do halfway through. In your message to potential employers, keep hammering in those two things you do well. If a particular position doesn’t quite suit you, it’s fine. You’ll find the right one, and you’ll ace the interview and get the job because it’s a job that fits.

3. Be memorable. You want your resume and cover letter to call attention to your proficiency in a couple of areas. If you list yourself as someone who knows something vague (marketing) or as someone who does too much (marketing guru meets social media and website analyst by way of dog trainer), you’re of less value than someone who lists accomplishments related to one area (develops brand campaigns for Twitter).

4. Know what you want. Do you actually want a job proofreading? Would you rather be a content writer? Look for work you want, not work you could have. It’ll save both you and employers wasted time. Focus on the job you’d love to have, then take actionable steps to get yourself there, like taking a class or crafting portfolio samples.

5. Expand your skill set with other skills that go together. Certain skills are not mutually exclusive. Telling a hiring manager that you’re a graphic artist and account manager may be hard for them to determine a place for you, but learning how to blog helps improve your writing resume. Learn Maya and After Effects. Understand broadcast producing and agency producing. Know what it takes to be a communications manager as well as a public relations manager.

Take a look at your work history. What do you do best? Do your resume and portfolio exhibit the best of your personal mastery? Is there some unexplored yet related skill set you can acquire a firm knowledge of? Knowing what you’re actually qualified for is what will get you in the door!

Summer Homework: Updating Your Resume, Profile and Portfolio

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Can you feel the heat? Summer is here, and while you might be daydreaming about an upcoming vacation to the beach or barbecue blowout, now is the perfect to get to work. The downtime many companies go through in the summer means the next couple of months are ideal for updating your resume, online profiles, and creative portfolios. This way, you’ll be ready in the fall when companies pick up the hiring pace!

Reviewing Goals

We tend to think of the beginning of the year as the time to establish new goals. If you set the bar high this year, now is a great time to review those targets. Have you received any industry awards? Accomplished an impressive task? Were there any setbacks earlier this year that prevented you from reaching those goals? Look at the positive (achievements you can be proud of) and what can be improved upon for the rest of the year (new goals from now through next New Year’s). Think both short-term, like taking an online course, and long-term, such as rising in ranks from coordinator to managerial levels.

Update Your Resume

If you’re a freelancer, you may have picked up a few exciting projects this year. Keep it clean and professional, including all important industry and vertical job experience, job titles, responsibilities, and years of experience. State clearly whether a job was freelance or not, since many small jobs with short lengths of employment time can be considered a red flag for employers. Edit and spell check. Don’t get bogged down by buzzwords, but use action words and call attention to your professional successes. And although it’s separate, it’s related -- make sure your references are still good and up to date.

Finesse Your Online Profile

Much like your resume, it’s likely there are jobs to add on LinkedIn or achievements you can list. Is your photo from several years ago? Take a new one or find a more recent one and replace it. Don’t forget to edit and proofread here as well! Ask colleagues for recommendations and join virtual networking groups. Moreover, use LinkedIn as an opportunity to stamp your personal brand. Endorse people you’ve worked with you admire, and personalize invitations to expand your network.

Improve Your Portfolio

What projects did you take on within the last year? Are those reflected in your creative portfolio? Go through the old and new and clean it up. Lead with the work you are most proud of, and take out anything that’s over five years old. Add your writing samples, social media campaigns, graphic design work, advertising logos in high res, quality images, and so on to LinkedIn, CreativeHotList, Behance, or your personal website. You’ve worked hard, so make sure these valuable projects are highlighted!

Of course, you can still enjoy summer while you’re cleaning up your professional resources. Take your laptop to Santa Monica and enjoy the sunshine while you type. Balance play with this much needed work, and your rejuvenating summer will lead to an even more productive fall.


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