Artisan Blog

Entering the World of Recruiting

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Entering the World of Recruiting


Entering the World of Recruiting

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

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

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

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

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

Jen Huynh - Recruiter  Artisan Creative


Having an All-Star Job Search Team

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Having an All-Star Job Search Team

We are on teams at work, collaborating on projects and inspiring creativity in one another. Teams are becoming more and more important, even in academic subjects, at school. We are also on teams in our personal lives, whether we practice sports or do DIY projects at home. 

Have you ever been on a job search team? We all need people to help us along, especially when we are looking for that perfect new role. Who should you be scouting?

A Pitcher

A friend who is not averse to getting in there and making big moves is a great motivator. She has great ideas and unafraid of risk. Brainstorm with this team member for new strategies and energy. And let her take the lead if she has great connections.

A Catcher

Good advice is always welcome and this colleague always knows when you are in need of a little pep talk, help handing a particular situation, and a calm voice. He can also throw the ball back to you when it's time for you to be proactive.

First Base Umpire

When you are between interviews or waiting to hear, she can keep you steady on the road to landing your new job. Someone with great focus on your goals can help you stay focused as well. Is it time to take a breath or time to head for home?


No matter what, your mascot thinks you are the best. Staying positive is one of the hardest things about looking for a job and you definitely need someone to cheer you on.


A recruiter can help you see the big picture, improve your resume and presentation skills and get you out there interviewing for the jobs you want. 

Do you have everyone you need on your team? Don’t job search alone. Pull your team together and go for the win!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Is Recruitment the Career for Me?

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Is Recruitment the Career for Me?

Moving from agency to recruitment

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do I make the first step into recruitment?

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

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

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition for Artisan Creative

How to Get the Best out of Your Recruiter

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to Get the Best out of Your Recruiter

For some job seekers, recruiters are a necessity in their job search. If you’re working full-time, new to a city or generally unsure of how to approach prospective employers, a recruiter can turn what could be a long and daunting process into a pain-free and simple one. But how do you get the best out of your recruiter and how can you make the recruiting process an easy one?

Recruiters have to be prepared for the unexpected. Jobs can go on hold, candidates can change their minds, budgets can be cut and the market can be competitive. Working with a recruiter should work both ways. As a candidate, you should be up-front and forthcoming with information. After all, you’re trusting a recruiter to represent you to a future employer. It’s up to you to get the job; the recruiter just paves the way.
  • If you’re a freelancer, update your recruiter with your availability. Did you just get booked for several months meaning you’ll be off the market? Email your recruiter and let them know. That way they will know to get in touch when your contract is drawing to an end.
  • Realize that you may not be the perfect fit for that dream job you saw advertised. On paper, you think you have the exact qualifications and experience for a position, but aside from skill-set, there’s also cultural fit which, at times, can be equally important. You could be the wrong fit for a multitude of reasons: design aesthetic, years of experience, background, education, location. It’s nothing personal.
  • A recruiter’s day is a hectic one usually filled with multiple calls, meetings and a mountain of emails. If you don’t hear back from a recruiter right away it usually means that you aren’t the right fit for the particular job they need to fill that day. If you don’t hear back after a few days, follow-up with an email.
  • Be proactive. Send a bi-weekly email to check in with your recruiter and see if they have any new positions. Check their job postings regularly and if you see something you like, get in touch. If you know of a company hiring and think you could be a good fit, ask your recruiter about it. They may be a client or have an existing relationship.
  • Be honest and up-front about your experience and situation. The clearer you are about your experience and what you can and can’t do, the easier and quicker your job search will be. 
  • Refer people to your recruiter. Not only will your recruiter appreciate the gesture, it will forge a stronger relationship between you.
  • Engaging your recruiter doesn’t always have to be work-related. Connect with your recruiter on LinkedIn and Twitter. Invite them to industry networking events and make a connection outside of the office.

Working with a recruiter can be a great experience. Friendships and long-lasting business relationships can be built, so it’s important to choose a recruitment agency that puts candidates first. Have your own experiences or comments? Tweet me at @LauraPell_ or email at

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition

3 Tips for Better Mobile Job Descriptions

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

3 Tips for Better Mobile Job Descriptions

Image by Steve Paine via Flickr Creative Commons

Artisan Creative has gone mobile and since we announced the mobile version of our website last spring, the numbers of job seekers using mobile have increased astronomically. Polling on Glassdoor has reported that 65% of people on job search are using mobile devices to do so at least once a week--more than triple the number just a year ago--and 89% of people expecting to look for a new job next year are planning to use mobile devices to find job listings, research their target companies and get salary information

At Artisan, we keep mobile best practices in mind when we post our Open Jobs, but if you are writing or posting job descriptions for your company, here are some tips for optimizing them for the tiny screen:

  1. Break it up--Large blocks of text make people read less and less carefully. Split your description into manageable paragraphs that the eye--and the mind--can take in.
  2. Clean it up--Take the time to preview your mobile job descriptions and remove any stray code that may have traveled with your text, as well as to proofread your text one more time. Make a good impression with high quality candidates for your attention to detail.
  3. Move it up--Don’t bury the lead. Be sure to put the most important elements of your job description at the top so the reader will see them on the first screen without scrolling further. It will help screen out less appropriate candidates, saving their time and yours.
With more great candidates--especially in the IT and creative fields--using mobile to look for new roles, making sure your job descriptions are effective in mobile browsers is more important every day.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

7 Interview Questions Every Employer Should Ask

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jessica Bedford, Account Manager

Artisan's Favorite Things

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Artisan's Favorite Things

Maybe not raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but on this particular Tuesday, we thought we would ask our team at Artisan for their favorite things about the holiday season.

Artisan President Katty Douraghy: “This year, I’m spending the holidays in LA for the first time in 10 years! I’m looking forward to taking in the sights and sounds of this great city.”

Melinda Geniza: ”My favorite thing about the holidays is spending time with my family. For the entire week before Christmas my cousins and I put together a production and perform for our entire family at our Christmas party. We've done original plays, musicals, and even tribute shows completely unrelated to Christmas. It’s a tradition that has been going on for 25+ years! This year will be special because the party is being held at a clubhouse with a theater so we will have access to a stage and movie screen... it will be a multimedia show with live performances and allow us to do things we haven't done before. Gotta love technology!” 

Marketing & Project Manager Jess Bedford is spending the holidays Down Under: “Choosing just one thing is way too hard! Christmas is my favorite holiday for so many reasons: I love decorating the tree, listening to Christmas music, baking treats, making home-made gifts, wrapping packages and donating to a number of charities. Then to have several dedicated days off to be with my family, enjoy all the hard work that went into making the time so special and counting our many blessings. That's what Christmas is all about!”

Talent Manager Laura Burns: “My favorite thing about the holidays is the spirit of caring, getting together, and celebration. This year I will be touring SoCal like a tourist and visiting places that I have never seen after being here 7 years from NYC!”

Talent Manager Maggie Grant: “My favorite thing about the holidays is being with my family, and Christmas morning, my dad makes a special breakfast casserole he only makes once a year! This year, we are hosting a party for all of our friends and family."

My family is enjoying a 2 week break from homework and school projects, spending time with friends and getting excited about the fun things we have planned for the new year, especially volunteering with middle school choir!

These are a few of our favorite things. We would love to hear about yours!

Happy Holidays!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

What's Your EQ?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's Your EQ?

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

What is Emotional Intelligence?

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

Why is EQ important in recruiting?

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

Why is EQ important in job search?

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

Can you raise your EQ?

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

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

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

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

Writing Better Job Descriptions

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Writing Better Job Descriptions


“We are looking for…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resumes: You Have 6 Seconds...Go!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Resumes: You Have 6 Seconds...Go!

In recent days, the internet has been a buzz about recruiters taking only 6 seconds to look at a resumes before deciding whether to toss it or read more.

6 seconds.

That is definitely a bit depressing, right?

My career coach says it takes 80 hours of work to perfect a resume and, even then, you have to tweak it every time for every application.  Goodness knows how long we are working for that 6 second look.

But if your resume is effective, of course, you get a lot more than 6 seconds.

We asked the Artisan Recruiters about their thoughts on resumes and whether the 6-second rule really applies:

Account Manager, Carol Conforti, looks at resumes for more than six seconds, but often looks at a portfolio first so she can relate the work to the experience. Carol feels that creative staffing is different from typical recruiting, as often a few creative hands go into making a campaign and job titles can vary from company to company. However, if the resume is from someone that is not local and the client is not willing to relocate anyone, they get a shorter look.

MD, Katty Douraghy, definitely spends more than 6 seconds looking at resumes but, like Carol, weighs portfolios more heavily since we are a creative agency.  Katty looks at resumes for: keywords, gaps in employment, agency vs. client side history and evidence of leadership skills. She checks for longevity and if jobs were for a short time or whether they were clearly freelance projects.  It takes more than 6 seconds to do a thorough job.

Creative Recruiting Manager, Jamie Grossman, looks first for at least one well-recognized company, industry or brand, but if the candidate is just out of school, she considers where they went. If a talent does not meet the bare qualifications - you can tell pretty quickly they are not going to be right.  But that often requires much more than 6 seconds on average.

Account Manager, Jess Bedford, says the better formatted a resume, the longer she spends looking at it. She likes the use of bold, underlining and bullet points to make it easy to read.  Short descriptions of companies are also helpful to get a sense of industry experience. Education should always be at the end and the information should be contained to one page.

We all hope that our resumes get a good look - and we can definitely always improve them. A few key takeaways:

  • Make sure you are using the keywords from the job description in your bullet points or Summary.
  • Be as specific as possible about your responsibilities and achievements, especially where you showed leadership.
  • Leave some white space to keep it clean and clear.
  • Never neglect the importance of a portfolio when applying for creative roles.

Good luck!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


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