Artisan Blog

Overqualified? Really??

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Overqualified? Really??


A friend of mine recently heard that she had not landed a job because she is “overqualified.” She was gobsmacked!

What does that mean? How could that be a bad thing? She wanted to know, and I'm sure there are many out there wondering the same thing - "How can anyone be overqualified for an empty position?"

With today’s poor, although improving, employment climate, there are many highly experienced but unemployed folks out there looking for work. Some of them are moving into freelance projects and entrepreneurship, but some are changing career paths and applying for entry-level roles in new industries, perhaps at a lower salary than they previously earned and with fewer or no direct reports.

I asked our team of recruiters what it means when a job seeker is told they are “overqualified” and what it might mean about their experience in relation to that specific position:
  • You may have more experience than the person that you will report to.
  • You may have a higher salary requirement than what they are willing to pay.
  • You may take a position and then be more likely to leave because you are working below your potential and are not challenged by the work.
  • The person you would be reporting to is intimated by your skills and knowledge.
  • Someone with too many years of experience may have work habits that are hard to break. The position might want someone more "green" so they can "mold" them to fit the company's style and culture.

At the end of the day, turnover and training are both expensive. A company wants to know that the investments they make in new employees will not have to be repeated anytime soon.  Most companies would prefer to leave a position vacant until the right person can be found, rather than hire and then lose someone who is overqualified who takes "the first job that comes along".

If you are one of the highly-experienced job seekers in the market, here are a few ways to avoid appearing overqualified for positions, before you ever have an interview:
  • Edit your resume bullet points - Replace the accomplishments that don’t apply to this role with ones that do.  Or simply remove them.  Be sure to include keywords for the current position in your bullets.
  • Education - List any degrees or certifications that are relevant to the role, but leave out more advanced degrees. Your Ph.D. or MBA is an incredible accomplishment!  But do you need it to get this job?
  • Cover Letter - A cover letter is really the only way to express why you would be challenged and excited about the role, even if you might appear to be further along in your career on your resume.
Remember that your resume is simply a tool for standing out in a pool of candidates. As long as everything on your resume is true, it doesn’t have to tell your whole life story.

Wendy Stackhouse
, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Tips for Interviewers

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tips for Interviewers


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

How to Choose a Recruitment Company

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How to Choose a Recruitment Company


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artisan Places Talent in All 5 of the "Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2012"

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Artisan Places Talent in All 5 of the

Photo by rob.knight via Flickr Creative Commons

I saw an article in Inc. Magazine this week about the 5 Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2012 so I clicked to see what they could possibly be, and I was in for quite a surprise!

In today’s rough economy, everyone with a good idea is starting their own business and they all need great websites with fantastic graphic design, user-friendly interfaces and talented staff to design, manufacture and sell their products and services. This tremendous growth in entrepreneurship is leading to a great deal of demand in these 5 creative fields:

  1. Web Developers—Web Developers are in high demand, especially in major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Every business needs a website or they cannot function in today’s business climate.

  2. Creative Design and User Experience—Companies are having trouble finding talent with a demonstrated track record in these areas. If you have an extensive portfolio with top work and are looking for new opportunities, you are in good shape.  There are more opportunities than can be filled.

  3. Product Management—Especially in the area of ecommerce, companies need people with experience in customer interaction and working in the cloud.

  4. Online Marketing—Tech savvy communicators with great language and interpersonal skills don’t grow on trees. Companies need Marketers who can generate viral traffic through the web, social media, and engaging content.  Talented writers and bloggers who really know the interactive space are in high demand.

  5. Analytics—Thanks to the variety of measurement tools available, CEO’s are starting to understand the value of search and social media, but now they demand the best ROI. Analysts who can show C-level executives how their marketing strategies are working to build their business will do very well next year.
It looks like 2012 will be a good year for creatives—let us know if Artisan can help you find talent or find a perfect role in the New Year!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Artisan’s Resume DOs & DONTs List: Part 2

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Artisan’s Resume DOs & DONTs List: Part 2


If you’ve ever sent out your resume through an online application – you’ll probably find yourself wondering, at some point, if you’ll ever hear back from that potential employer. Did your resume stand out? Did it contain everything it should? Did you include something you shouldn’t have?

While every employer is looking for something different – most hiring authorities would agree that there are certainly things to avoid on resumes – and other things they love to see. While we can’t guarantee you’ll get a call-back – we’d love to help improve your odds with a few tips!

Last week we discussed some of our suggested resume must haves. Today, we take a look at some key things to avoid on your resume:


1. Don’t make it longer than 2 pages. Remember you need only include a concise description of your positions and major achievements/successes for those positions in the last 10 years. Your resume should simply whet the appetite of future employers. Leave something to discuss during your interview!

2. Don’t use your LinkedIn profile as your resume. While your LinkedIn Profile can certainly be a great point of reference – and should include much of what you include in your resume – it is not a substitute for your resume. Resumes should be customized for the positions/companies to which you apply.

3. Don't be vague with dates. Potential employers want to know the duration of time you spent at a company. 2009 to 2010 isn't clear. Was that 2 years or 2 months? NOTE: If you are a freelancer who has returned to a client many times during a multi-year period, more general annual dates are acceptable.

4. Don’t include a salary history. Salary is just one of the elements in negotiating an offer. But it’s a powerful one. Don’t show your hand before you’ve even interviewed. Wait until it’s requested – if it’s ever requested.

5. Don't list your references; employers or recruiters will ask for them. No need to tell us “Reference Provided Upon Request” either. This is given. You should have updated contact details ready to provide potential employers at any time during an active job search.  Make sure references are aware they might be contacted about your professional relationship.

6. Don't talk about yourself in third person. This practice is not usually received well by most hiring managers. No matter your intention, this normally comes off as awkward, unfriendly and disconnected - none of which are good if you’re being considered for a position with a new company who doesn’t yet know you. Save the third person for your bio on the company website after you get the job!

7. Do not include a picture of yourself or busy design elements on your resume. They are simply distracting from what’s important – your experience and accomplishments. If you simply MUST have a prospective employer know what you look like – include a link to your LinkedIn Profile and make sure your picture is professional. Chances are – they will be checking you out there anyway. On the flip side – especially for Designers – feel free to include design elements as part of your resume – just make sure they are clean, simple, tasteful and emphasize your written content, not detract form it.

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!


Hard to believe another Autumn is upon us and the beginning of the holiday season already here. 

This Thanksgiving our team is especially grateful for so very much:

Jamie D: This year I am most thankful that I have been able to collaborate with people who are focused on making a difference in the success of others.

Jess: I am most thankful for the love, support and health of those family members and friends who mean so much to me. 

Ana: I am grateful for the realization that I can begin again in every moment - drop the past and BE present!

Margaret: I am most grateful for having such a loving husband who is so good to me!  I am also thankful for my mom who is 82 and for the most part healthy and happy.

Stephanie: I am grateful to be working with Artisan!

Laura: I am grateful for my family and health...might seem cliche, but it's so true!

Kevin: I am thankful for massive snowfall at Heavenly (and Mammoth), getting to work with reasonable & ethical partners, my dogs, being able to so easily describe myself as "short and bald with glasses", my always-accommodating and welcoming immediate family and extended family all over the USA and Black Label.

Katty: I am thankful for the Love and Support of Family and Friends.  Definitely came in handy this year!

Wendy: This year I am most thankful for the support of my friends and family.  I made a lot of decisions that were very risky and they have all worked out beautifully, but I never could have arrived where I am without the inspiration, encouragement and acceptance of the people in my life.

From all of us at Artisan - we wish you and yours a very Happy (and tasty!) Thanksgiving Holiday!

The Pros and Cons of Being a Creative Freelancer

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Being a Creative Freelancer

According to MSN Money this week, freelancing is “the future of work.” 

New employer businesses have declined 27 percent since 2006, but if you count newly self-employed people in the sample of startups, the numbers have stayed the same and, in some cases, even increased. Many of these self-employed talent have been freelancers all along, but there are large numbers of unemployed creatives taking their skills and starting their own businesses. 

Technology and globalization have made it possible for “solopreneurs” to launch their own businesses with greater ease. And in today’s job market, especially for recent grads and older workers, “solopreneurship” might be the best option for making a living.

But freelancing is not for everyone. Whether freelancing is the right option for you depends on a lot of factors, some of which are very personal.

Here are some of the pros and cons to help you figure out whether the freelancing life is right for you:


Flexibility – Want to work mornings and evenings, but not afternoons? Need to take care of your children or want to volunteer twice a week? You can make your own schedule if you work for yourself. If you want time to work on your personal projects, you can fit those in, too. Flexibility usually means a better work-life balance.

Environment – Working from home allows you to work where you’re most comfortable and with all of your favorite equipment, software and set-up. No commute means you also lower your carbon footprint.

Fill in the gaps on your resume – If you’re looking for a full time job, freelancing is a good way to keep your skills up-to-date and keep your resume from developing a lot of white space. Partnering with a freelance recruiting firm that specializes in your area can help add potential clients and projects to your resume as well.

Save money – Gas, wardrobe, lunches – all things you don’t have to purchase often when you’re working for yourself. There are also many great tax benefits available, depending on how you set up your business (we advise that you see a Tax Specialist who has worked with Independent Contractors or Sole Proprieters for more information).

No micromanagement – With no boss looking over your shoulder, you can have less stress and be more focused on the project at hand.

Choice – As the sole creative in charge of your craft, you have the freedom to work on only the projects that inspire you. Never again do you have to accept projects that you find tedious or unpleasant.

That all sounds great, doesn’t it? However, there can be a downside to freelancing:


No benefits – When you’re not working – you’re not getting paid. No more discounted or free health insurance or 401K contributions. These items are all out of pockets expenses for which you are now directly responsible.

No steady income – If you are providing a valuable service and marketing yourself well, you should be making money. But it can take time to build a stable of clients. And even then, your clients’ needs can change during certain times of the month or seasonally. If that makes you nervous, you might want to keep your cubicle for a while longer.

No accountability – While to freedom to self-manage is great, if you have trouble staying on-task or delivering to deadline when not managed, you will have trouble being a freelancer. Excellent discipline and time-management skills are key to keeping your clients happy!

Interruptions – Anyone who has worked from home and has a family or roommate can tell you stories about how they are always interrupted. Setting boundaries with those you live with is essential to successful freelancing.

The buck stops here – If your clients need something right away or there is a problem with something you have produced, it’s your job to take care of it. Sometimes that means late nights or early mornings to ensure everything is done on time.

Bottom Line:

If you enjoy working independently, can handle a little uncertainty and are comfortable marketing yourself for new work, freelancing could be a great choice for you.

If you like a lot of guidance or interaction, need steady income and/or want to close your laptop every day at 5, keep looking for that traditional role.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

3 Reasons You May Have a Hard Time Working with Recruiters

Thursday, October 13, 2011

3 Reasons You May Have a Hard Time Working with Recruiters


Many job seekers bemoan the fact that they send out countless resumes hoping to land the perfect role and hardly any of them are even acknowledged. It takes a lot of time, research and effort to mount a successful job search.  However, there are a few things that will almost always result in your resume landing in the “circular file”:

  1. Local candidates only - When a job posting includes this phrase – or something similar - it’s because the hiring company requires immediate assistance and/or will not pay for an employee to relocate. If you’re in Texas and the job is in Los Angeles - even if you are PERFECT for that job and willing to relocate at your own expense – chances are your resume won’t even be reviewed. Spend your time applying to local jobs – or wait until you have relocated before applying. Your likelihood of landing this job is highly unlikely.
  2. Need a Visa? If you require a Visa to work in the US, your job search will definitely be more difficult than those without visa restrictions. Start your search with companies that have international offices or deal with international clients and markets. Though many of these clients will consider hiring someone who needs a Visa, it is usually only done for high-level or hard-to-fill positions only. As a rule, most freelance staffing agencies are not able to work with talent who do not have a visa or require sponsorship.
  3. Introduce yourself – If you are in the practice of sending resumes without even a hello, consider yourself deleted. You are much better off attaching a formal cover letter or writing a short email introduction explaining who you are and why you are interested in the position advertised. Don’t forget to include a link to your website or creative portfolio if you’re in the creative sector. This is often the first thing hiring managers will click on.

Recruiters are invested in the success of your job search, too!  Help them help you!

Kevin Kahn, Talent Manager

7 Reasons to Use a Recruiter to Find Talent

Monday, October 03, 2011

7 Reasons to Use a Recruiter to Find Talent


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

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

Is hiring a recruiter right for your company? 

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

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

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

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

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

One-Up the Competition: 3 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One-Up the Competition: 3 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

As creative recruiters, talent are always asking us about the best way to stand out from the countless applications we receive. While a well-written cover letter or introduction email is a good start, job seekers need to do more to make sure their background and skills are being properly considered.

Here are a few tips to get our attention:

1. Be concise. What’s your elevator pitch? Present us with one short and sweet paragraph about why you are perfect for the job to which you are applying. Not too much, not too little. Tell us how your experience specifically applies to the job requirements. This not only makes your history more appealing, but also makes it easier for us to place you.

2. Do NOT bury the lead. If you have a degree from a well-known school, have won credible industry awards or worked with top brands - hit us with that right up front. Don’t make us wait until the bottom of page 2 on your resume!

3. Follow up. Email us every couple of weeks or so to say, “Hey, just wanted to remind you that I am available for work. I’m an art director looking for $45/hr and available to drive anywhere in Los Angeles County. Here’s my website.” This helps keep you top of mind with our company and helps us better serve our clients when we know what talent are available.

Next time: 3 Reasons You’ll Have A Hard Time working with Recruiters.

Kevin Kahn
Talent Manager


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