Artisan Blog

The Savant

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Savant

Whether you’re a hiring manager, a recruiter or simply tasked with hiring new talent, there are various conclusions that we draw in order to determine if someone should be hired for a particular position. Do they have the relevant qualifications? Are they the right cultural fit? Can they lead a team or take direction from a higher authority? It’s important to understand different personality types so that management styles can be tailored in order to get the best out of the person or if you simply just want to hire more people exactly like them.

Artisan recently read some research published by discussing the personality traits of people most likely to succeed in the creative industry and it got us thinking about how their conclusions relate to our candidates, our clients and ourselves. It’s become somewhat fashionable in 2013 to discuss the pros and cons of introverts vs. extroverts, but by looking past the basics, we can begin to understand different personalities and how to utilize this information to our advantage.

Savant is French for “knowing,” which explains why The Savant personality type is a sought-after person within the creative industry. They tend to be incredibly skilled, yet really home in on just a few specialized subjects. Savants are fantastically creative and brilliant, but may struggle with basic math and feel out of place in social situations. By nature, they’re introverted and creatures of habit, often spending hours working independently on a project.

How Do I Identify and Work with The Savant?
  • Establish rapport--Put them at ease. Make them feel comfortable whether in a job interview or a work environment. 
  • Lead the conversation--Ask direct questions about their skills and achievements rather than questions about themselves.
  • Test them--If they’re a developer or a writer, put them to the test and see them flourish.
  • Give praise--The Savant type can grow bored when not pushed or excited about their work but when they do find something they love, they are often their own worst critic. Be sure to show support for their efforts.
Next time you’re hiring new talent or going through an interview process yourself, take some time to understand and recognize personality types. Look out for telltale traits and tailor the surroundings to fit. If you’re a Savant type yourself, focus on your best talents and see just how far you can push your creative potential.

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition

6 Tips for Better Employee Engagement

Thursday, October 17, 2013

6 Tips for Better Employee Engagement

I once had a boss who was the most enthusiastic person you’ll ever meet. She was always high energy, always excited, always fully present and working hard. During an important and urgent project she could be heard asking everyone, “Isn’t this fun!?

All the time.

Her enthusiasm was definitely infectious and did inspire her team--mostly volunteers--to heights of creativity that none of us could have imagined. We built the Roman Colosseum out of cardboard boxes!

Of course there were times, however, when you really wanted to answer, “Not so much.” We got tired and sometimes what she wanted us to do seemed truly impossible.

She was trying to keep us engaged and most of the time it worked. Here are some of our tips for keeping your team engaged even when they are approaching their burnout point:
  1. Stay in the trenches--All the verbal encouragement in the world falls on deaf ears if you go back in your office and close the door. Leaders are willing to do everything their team is doing and more. Participate.
  2. Listen to suggestions--That fantastic team you have assembled is a font of great ideas. Be flexible and let them make some of the decisions about the project. They will be more invested in its success than if they are just following directions.
  3. Don’t hear whining--You’ll hear it or hear about it, but making a big deal about it won’t help. Block it out. It will pass, especially if you empower your team to implement their own ideas.
  4. Keep calm and carry on--As the team leader, your attitude affects everyone else’s. Make sure you have a good one while you power through the project to completion.
  5. Plan rewards--Your team will cheer those cupcakes or lattes, especially if their energy has passed its peak. Let them have a little party and they will continue on with goodwill.
  6. Say "Thank You!"--Even if your project is in your team's job descriptions, they will appreciate feeling appreciated. Gratitude is always in order.
Any team--or leader--can hit the wall, but you don’t have to fall apart when it happens. Be aware of the dynamics of your team, pay attention to nonverbal cues and the next time you say, “Isn’t this fun?” they just might say, “Yeah!”

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Leadership: They Will Do What You Do

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Leadership: They Will Do What You Do

Any parent knows: children learn from what we do much more than from what we say. The same can certainly be said for members of a team under your leadership. You can tell them how you would like them to collaborate, what you want from them in terms of respect for others, or the best way to manage their time, but if you are not modeling the behavior, all that will fall on deaf ears.

Your team is not trying to be difficult or get in the way of your vision, they are listening to the nonverbal instructions you are giving them. So it’s up to you to give them the right ones:
  • Ask for feedback--If you are willing to listen to the insights of your team, they will be willing to listen to yours. If you have hired the right people, they will have valuable information and suggestions to streamline a process or improve a product.
  • Mentor--Develop the talent on your team. Teach them what you know and let them grow. Encourage them to mentor newer team members as well. Developing individual relationships on a team can lead to greater success with brainstorming projects.
  • Be specific--Especially if you have very particular expectations, be clear about what they are and how they could be exceeded. Generalities often result in average outcomes.
  • Be human--There will be times when someone on your team has work/life balance issues for a while or an emergency. Sometimes that person will be you. 
You don’t have to be perfect to be a good leader--you just have to be paying attention. Just like all those people following are.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

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

Dog Days of Summer

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

If you are a dog person, you know the benefits of having a furry companion at home. Dog owners recover more quickly from being sick, suffer less frequently from depression and loneliness, and have a built-in conversation starter. But there are also some benefits to bringing your dog to work or encouraging your employees to do so:

  • Attract and retain quality candidates—A “dog friendly office” is an appealing perk to a job seeker and a tough perk to walk away from once hired.
  • Improved Morale—Dogs don’t just make their owners smile, they increase levels of the brain chemicals that make us happy and calm. Plus they are pretty entertaining!
  • Increased Productivity—Letting dogs come to work will keep your employees at their desks until a project is finished, since they don’t have to be home to walk or feed their pet. Dog owners also miss fewer days of work due to illness.
  • Team Building—Dogs don’t just help you get dates, they also help you build connections with co-workers.
Freelancers are accustomed to having their dogs with them while they work. Full time employees would love to have the same opportunity to bring a little bit of home with them to the office. Have you ever worked for a dog-friendly company? We would love to hear about it! And have a terrific Take Your Dog to Work Day on Friday, June 21st!

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

4 Tips for Developing Great Managers

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

4 Tips for Developing Great Managers

Photo by svilen001 via stock.xchng

A company’s most valuable—and most expensive—asset is its talent. Finding, hiring, and training that talent are all important and no organization could exist without those things. But when you have that creative talent on board and working, you want to keep them happy, keep them growing and keep increasing their value. Here are some ways to develop your managers as well as your talent:

  1. Offer Rewards--We hope you are rewarding your talent for productivity gains and reaching sales quotas, but consider rewarding your managers for their talent management successes. A great boss will keep your talent productive and creative and if your managers are making an effort to be outstanding leaders, make sure they know you know it.
  2. Create Mentors--In marketing, you are always analyzing what is working and dropping what is not. You can do the same with your managers. Develop evaluation tools and pair up your talented leaders with less experienced managers to make sure that what is working internally infuses your culture.
  3. Provide Training--As many as 40% of managers are defined by their employees as “bad” or worse bosses. Those employees are thinking about finding a new role. But turnover is not inevitable. Even experienced managers can benefit from some training in talent management. 
  4. Consider the Consequences--If you think you need to consolidate your team, be sure you have carefully thought about the unintended consequences of piling one more job on that overworked assistant, giving that account manager 3 more clients or crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. Cost is only one consideration in successful talent management. Make sure you know what the benefit will be. Your amazing team could be one straw away from falling apart.
Turnover can be painfully expensive and affects your entire culture. Effective talent management can help your company avoid it.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Boss vs. Leader

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Boss vs. Leader

As the country celebrated Bosses Day this week, it got me thinking about some of my own bosses over the years. It also got me thinking about leadership – about how some of the best bosses I’ve had not only managed my work but also allowed me to be part of the process. 

But what’s the real difference between a “boss” and a true “leader”?

The Boss

We think of a boss as an authority figure. Someone who makes decisions when they need to be made, including hiring and firing. Someone with a vision of the company, who sees the bigger picture. Who delegates tasks to others and keeps the machinery of the company moving, hopefully smoothly.

All of those things need to happen, but in a top-down culture, a Boss can also neglect some things that leaders never do. Does a Boss:
  • Ask for input before making decisions?
  • Take employees’ needs and desires into account?
  • Welcome feedback?
  • Allow employees to try new strategies that he or she did not think of?
  • Seek out talent who know more than they do in their area of expertise?
I’m sure we all agree that a great Boss does all these things. Sadly, many Bosses do not.

The Leader

A leader takes the role of “boss” a step further. A leader:
  • Knows and respects the knowledge and experience of his or her team and utilizes both
  • Rewards employees for creative solutions
  • Gives credit where credit is due
  • Nurtures talent and helps it to grow deeper
  • Is happiest surrounded by a talented team
One of my favorite sayings is: “If you find that you’re the smartest person in the room, find another room.” No person grows without being challenged and companies don’t grow without true leadership. 

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. 

There's More to Onboarding Than Training

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

There's More to Onboarding Than Training

We've talked before on the Artisan blog about starting a new job and offered tips on getting through the first 3, 6, 9 and even 12 months in a new role.  Many companies, however, do not have an established system for bringing new employees through that first year and considering the stress those employees are feeling, it's a good idea to have a plan for helping those new hires become more comfortable as quickly as possible.

An Onboarding Plan v. Orientation and Training

Every employer has some kind of orientation system and training in place if it is needed for the particular job.  But often, when a company hires someone with all the skills to do their job on day one, will stop after an orientation period and just set them to work with no definite plan to help them succeed.

It is important to make sure that a new hire understands the company's expectations, is aided in setting short and long term goals and understands how and when he or she will be evaluated.  

Another important addition to successful onboarding, however, is giving your new hire opportunities to talk to his or her manager about concerns they might have at the 3 and 6 month points in their new role.  Give them a safe space to discuss their own impression of the job, how it could be improved or changed to make them happier or more productive as well as ask questions.  Often, unless given an opportunity, a new employee will keep to themselves, fly under the radar, when proactive communication could improve a situation for everyone involved.

Tips for Onboarding:
  • Develop a real plan--Don't assume that new employees will find a way to get what they need or want. Make a schedule to meet with new hires at regular intervals and stick to it.
  • Tell them about it--Make sure your new hires know that they will have chances to talk to you about how things are going for them.  Ask them to make a list of questions they have when they come up so that you can discuss them when you meet.
  • Follow through--Don't let your onboarding plan fall through the cracks if a new hire is going well.  Even if you just get together to talk about how great it's been so far, you can take the opportunity to let your employee know that they are valued and that you both that they are succeeding.
No matter how perfect a fit a candidate is into a company, he or she needs to know how they are doing, that they have made the right decision and that you are both on the same page.  Give all your new hires a chance to feel great about their role in your company and you will reap the rewards of a happy and productive workforce.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


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