Artisan Blog

9 Things to Avoid During a Job Interview

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

tips-avoid-job-interview

Interviews necessitate that you make a good impression, however nerves or being unprepared can hold you back from presenting yourself in the best light. Other factors can also erode confidence such as what you're wearing, when you arrive, or whether you're focused, present and actually listening to your interview. Here are nine things to avoid during any job interview.

  1. Being unprepared. Anticipate questions about your resume and experience, and have answers for the most common interview questions. Do your research to get an idea of company culture, products and where your skills may translate. A quick search of the company’s website and social media channels will prepare you.

  2. Forgetting your manners. There are simple things you can do to solidify your impression as a thoughtful and considerate person this company wants to hire. Arrive on time, say thank you, be respectful to all and have a positive attitude.

  3. Unprofessional attire. Is your outfit wrinkled or messy? A sloppy ensemble signals to your interviewer that you didn’t care enough to notice the details. Have a couple of alternative outfits picked out in case your normal go-to outfit has something wrong, and always make sure all of your interview outfits are pressed and ready to go.

  4. Discussing salary. Best not to discuss salary in a first interview. Only discuss it if the interviewer asks you about it first.  Otherwise best to focus on the role and company culture and discuss salary in  follow-up interviews. If you are working with a recruiter, they will have shared your parameters ahead of time, so leave the negotiation to your recruiter.

  5. Not listening. What is your interviewer asking you? If you're not paying attention and either answer the wrong question or ask them to repeat it, you imply that your attention span or attention to detail is low. Show that you can follow directions and keep an open mind by simply listening.

  6. Rambling, fidgeting, or getting too nervous. Yes, interviews can be nerve wracking, but you're here to show you are best for this job. When you go on and on, elaborating on every answer, you're supplying too much information and offering irrelevant anecdotes. On the other hand, freezing up is equally bad! If you think you could get nervous, practice your answers beforehand in the mirror so you’ll feel confident in the room.  Be concise, articulate and to the point.

  7. Putting down a former boss or company. Even if your former employer was a nightmare for you to work with, nothing will make you look worse than speaking ill about them. You also never know who knows who! If a previous job situation was truly terrible, practice explaining what didn't work for you in that position in a positive way.

  8. Answering your phone. Turn off your cell phone and put it away while you're interviewing. Picking it up when it buzzes might be instinct that shows the interviewer you can't focus, or you care more about what someone texted you than this job opportunity.

  9. Being late. ABOT: Always Be On Time. If you don't know where the company is, map it out before driving (or taking public transit or an Uber) so you know how long it'll take to get there and can plan accordingly. If there is an outstanding situation for being late, like a car accident or a sick child, have the hiring manager's phone number on dial so you can call and let them know what's going on.

Are you a hiring manager, or a long-time job interviewee? What are your tips on what to avoid in a job interview? Tell us on Twitter!

5 Ways to Know if Working Remotely Works for You

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Telecommuting is quickly becoming less of a trend and more of the norm. In fact, 37% of U.S. workers say they're done it! Part of this is the practicality of the modern workplace -- for many positions, it's not necessary to be in an office. And for many workers, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is preferable to a higher salary.

So, where would you like to work? At your home office, or on the sofa? What about in a co-working space or a coffee shop? You might think that telecommuting would make a great part of your daily work routine, but it takes a surprising amount of self-discipline, concentration, and effort. See if working remotely is right for you by asking these five questions:

  1. Can you communicate well online or via video chat? Interacting with a team in-person is very different from being online. You need multiple communications tools to connect. If you feel like email is the only way to get in touch, you need to shake it up and practice communicating with instant messaging, video conferences, and teamwork platforms like Slack and Asana. Get comfortable using these technologies, and know when it's best to hop on the phone. One last thing: if you can't be available when everyone else is, you'll either have to work twice as hard to stay on top of what's happening, or need to connect more often to stay abreast of changes.

  2. Are you able to initiate conversations and projects? You can't be shy when you work remotely! Starting conversations with your co-workers or manager so you can get the ball rolling on projects is necessary. And if you're a manager, it can be hard to be present and available when telecommuting. You'll need to reach out to team members regularly, and set very clear goals and expectations, as well as offer support from afar.

  3. Can you be a great team player without seeing the team? Since you won't be interacting with colleagues in the breakroom or over lunch, you need to think about how you reach out and connect to co-workers. This means having team calls to catch up, setting up video conferences to brainstorm ideas, or scheduling virtual lunch dates. You may also have to boost team engagement by recreating "water cooler" conversation. Ask about personal topics like vacation plans or what was on TV last night.

  4. Do you have a great task management system in place? Many telecommuters report they are just as productive as on-site employees, but poor management and engagement could mean telecommuting doesn't work for a company -- or for you! A lack of oversight can lead to major issues later. If you're working as part of a team, talk to your manager about what work productivity really means, and how to prove it. If you're a manager, make sure your team understands those goals, and hold them accountable. And if you struggle with personal responsibility, working remotely may not be the best option for you.

  5. Is it possible to still meet occasionally? Okay, the whole point of telecommuting...is to not go into the office! But if you're working for a company that's located in the same city as you, it can't hurt to visit the office now and then. This way, you can review things like quarterly goals or evaluate projects with the whole team at once, and then get back to work. Think of it as a fun way to catch up with people, too! Try to schedule a happy hour or some kind of after work activity so you bond and get to know the people you're working with online.

Flexible work hours bring a specific set of challenges, but also many rewards! The needs of working remotely vary from those of the traditional office, so as long as you keep in mind these ideas, you'll be able to keep your team engaged and motivated.

How to Enter the World of Recruiting

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

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You may not know it yet, however recruitment is a more exciting career than being skydiving instructor or secret agent!  Where else can you impact people’s lives by finding them an impactful opportunity!  Whether it’s a 2-day assignment, or a life changing full time move across country, recruiters are matchmakers between candidates and clients.

Here are just some of the things you’ll need to know when entering the world of recruiting:

Become a detective! You need to listen, search and connect the dots by discovering your client’s need. You then have to find the perfect candidate for that role. Finally, you need to learn how to bring the two together. It’s your responsibility to make sure  the opportunity is right for both the candidate and the client.

Hone your communication skills. You have to speak confidently about a candidate’s skills and background as well as a job or company’s features and benefits. Your writing skills are key in writing job descriptions to capture a company’s needs for that position, while presenting an attractive offer to potential candidates. You also need impeccable writing and presentation skills when highlighting your candidate and their key qualifications.

Ask the right questions. Being naturally inquisitive goes a long way in recruitment. Getting to the heart of what hiring managers are looking for means asking questions about what they really need. Additionally, you need to know what to ask candidates so you can find the one who meets all the requirements or is the best fit.

Listen! Listen to your clients’ needs and candidates’ wants. These have to be in sync with one another.

A positive attitude goes a long way. Know you are making an impact. Recruiters help a company make key hires that impact their culture and their success. They help find the impactful and sometimes life changing opportunities for their candidates. The match may not happen overnight. Don’t be afraid of rejection, and know you are making a difference.

Be passionate! Recruiting is a job where you literally get to impact people’s lives! You could be the missing link between connecting someone to their dream job.

Want to join our team? Talk to us about joining Artisan Creative as a recruiter!

Why Thank You Notes Are Important

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

thank-you-notes-important

Receiving a handwritten note is very special. Yet the art of the thank-you note has somewhat disappeared over the course of the last couple of generations. While thank-you notes are an opportunity to connect with people in a meaningful way, digital continues to trump pen and paper.

However the handwritten thank-you note says a lot about who you are, and sends the message you care enough about the medium to invest yourself in writing down your gratitude on paper. It's proper etiquette, of course, but it's also about recognizing what other people have gien you. Consider how you would feel if someone sent you a thank-you note, whether it was for a gift, an hour of your time, or your effort. Why not pass on that good feeling to someone else? 

Start by having supplies on hand. You never know when you’ll get a gift from a client or friend, when a job interview will necessitate one, or when someone surprises you! Have stationery that reflects your personality and keep a roll of stamps handy. Second, make the time. All you need is a few sentences, so take out 10 minutes in your day to express your appreciation for their actions. Then seal up the envelope, put it in the mailbox, and ta-da! You’ve spent a minute wisely showing gratitude beyond an email or text.

Sending a digital thank you, like an email, within 24 hours of your interview is considered good manners and a second best option to the printed kind. However, when possible, follow-up with a personalized thank you to make a difference and get the hiring manager’s attention one last time. Use this time to thank the interviewer for the opportunity, and reiterate ideas you might have discussed during the interview. Keep it brief and to the point. It's about showing your appreciation, not networking. 

Saying “thanks”, no matter the circumstance or medium conveys to others you are thoughtful and grateful and is simply the right thing to do.

How to Manage Multiple Clients at Once

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Many freelancers work with several clients simultaneously. However, juggling a large number of projects for multiple clients can go from easily doable to overwhelming, very quickly! As tasks pop up, it’s up to you to have a secure workflow system to deliver quality work on time. Here are some tips on how to make sure you and your clients stay happy while you handle different and diverse tasks at once:

Keep your calendar up to date. Whether you’re extremely organized or not, a calendar is your armor in the front line of freelancing. Label important dates, or create a system for due dates, such as “urgent”, “important”, and “later”. This will help you stay on task with the most significant aspects of these projects first before moving on to other parts that can wait. You can even create a project specific calendar and share it with your client.

Use a system that works. Management systems like Trello, BaseCamp and Asana work for lots of people because they help you keep all the small tasks organized, and allow your clients to see what’s in progress versus what’s finished. Find one that works for you, even if it’s a personal system you’ve devised. Just be sure everyone is on the same page and understands it so all parties know how far along a project is at any given moment.

Talk to your client. Always articulate to your clients your availability, your deadlines, and your deliverables. If you think a project for them will take a while, don’t be afraid to speak up. Communicate clearly by writing it down or checking in frequently so both parties know what’s expected of you.

Set boundaries. Developing relationships is how you keep business flowing, but you are allowed to set limits to how much work you can take on. Let your clients your availability for work, as well as availability for calls, meetings and your office hours.

Only promise what you can deliver. Emergencies happen, along with challenging work days and unexpected circumstances. If you send in an estimated due date for a project, budget in some extra time in case this stuff comes up. Also, leave yourself enough room in your schedule to do things like eat, take walks, exercise, meditate -- whatever is part of your daily routine.

Be realistic. As a freelancer, it's tough to say no to an assignment.  However, if you can’t deliver the project perfectly, on time and on budget, it may be best to find an alternative solution for your client.

As long as you’re consistent, communicative, and deliver to set expectations, your clients will feel you are partnering with them and will come back to you time and again.

Your Interviewing Style

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Just like no two snowflakes are alike, no two interviews are exactly the same. That being said, there are several archetypes of interviewers. Personality, company culture, and interview style play a big role in how a job interview goes, and there are many things that can contribute to a good or bad interview, such as whether the candidate is prepared, reading body language, and sussing out if they are indeed qualified for the position. But you -- and the candidate -- can help each other have a successful interview by knowing what type of interviewer you are.

The Talkative Interviewer

You’re friendly and warm! You love talking about the company you love working for, and have a lot to say about the position. You may also have a lot to say...in general. Toe the line between gregarious and chatty by keeping your guard up. Let the candidate do more of the talking, and be an active listener. The more they talk, the more you’ll be able to determine if they’re really a good fit for the team.

The Inquisitive Interviewer

You feel that the best way to get to know people is to ask questions. You’re likely to ask a candidate about aspects of their life beyond their career accomplishments or future goals. Some personal questions are fine to ask. For instance, if they made a personal connection to your company’s work in their cover letter, it’s fine to explore this. However, you should never ask any questions that could be construed as inappropriate or make someone feel uncomfortable. If they’re a good fit for the company, you’ll get to know them better later.

The Questioning Interviewer

You like to get down to business. You don’t just ask a lot of questions -- you ask them rapidly and expect the candidate to fire back just as quickly. While you may feel this is an efficient form of interviewing, your candidate may find it a little intimidating. Switch up the pace of the interview and allow them time to formulate thoughtful answers.

The “Follows the Script” Interviewer

You’re fair and objective. You also have a job to do, and that job is to find the best new hire for the team. You have a pre-set list of questions you ask, and you don’t deviate too much from the script. While it may help you keep the candidates straight, be prepared for someone you’re interviewing to talk at length on one subject, or demonstrate passion for a specific achievement. Let the flow of discourse shift when necessary -- you may find that by doing so, you find your next hire faster!

The Busy Interviewer

You have a LOT on your plate. You’re leading the team, taking care of projects, answering emails -- maybe you don’t even really care that much about being a part of the interview process. But the candidate might be nervous, and not feigning interest in the interview can come off as rude. Try to set aside any distractions and listen to them, especially because they could very well be working for you soon.

The Funny Interviewer

You’re a joker. You like to have fun and laugh, and you want a team that does the same. Yet sarcasm or jokes might cross the line. An anxious candidate might not know how to react to your humor, or even share it. Try to focus on their resume, and if you think they’re too serious, then you can make another choice later.

The New Interviewer

You’re fairly new to the company or your team. In fact, this might be the first time you’ve had the responsibility of hiring someone! But being new means you don’t have the same level of experience as other folks. Prepare in advance of the interview. Have a list of questions ready and their resume printed out for reference. Think of what questions they may ask you about the job or company, and have replies ready for them.

Are you looking for talent at your company? Tell us what you’re looking for so we can help!

How to Network on LinkedIn

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

networking-linkedin

In terms of networking for business, LinkedIn is the clear winner. Whether you want to recruit talent, grow your personal brand, explore interesting content, or find job opportunities for yourself, LinkedIn enables you to build a powerful network of professionals. However, you have to know how to network in order to make the most of it. Here are some tried and true best practices for growing -- and keeping -- your LinkedIn network healthy and happy.

Treat your profile like a snapshot of your professional life. This is your first LinkedIn impression, make it a good one!  Add relevant and current job information. Post an appropriate profile image. Much like your resume, portfolio, or social media accounts, use it to put your best foot forward.

Get people to recommend you! The best people to endorse you are those that have actually worked with you. They’ll be able to speak about your skills and experience in glowing terms and with specificity that can’t be matched by tenuous LinkedIn connections.

Recommend others! Writing valid and relevant recommendations for other people will help you get back in touch with colleagues who you could connect with later. Besides, it’s a nice thing to do! Remember the golden rule!

Ask for connections from people you know. Former colleagues, old friends, and new acquaintances all build towards a great network. However asking for connections from strangers won’t help much. If you don’t know them, explain why they should want to connect with you with a personal message crafted just for them instead of a standard one.

Be part of groups -- but choose carefully. Being part of a LinkedIn group can help you join up with other professionals in your area, or connect with others in your business. Pick groups that are most relevant to your interest, and stay active by posting introspective responses to interesting discussions. Leave the ones that don’t lead anywhere or aren’t fulfilling.

Contribute to more than yourself. Starting a discussion or posting a link should give value to your profile, your groups, and the community at large. You want to relate to and identify with your network. Don’t just use LinkedIn for self promotional purposes.

Relationships, including online ones, take time to develop. If you want to become closer with someone via LinkedIn, then invest time. Setup a professional meetup to talk shop, or find out what common ground you have based on your profiles. What can you offer these connections? How can they reciprocate?

Are you following Artisan Creative on LinkedIn? Get the latest job updates, exclusive content, and more!

Managing Your Inbox to Inbox Zero

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Email is still an extremely useful and essential tool to stay in touch quickly and conveniently. Yet email can also get in the way of being productive. If you’re reading and responding to every message that zooms into your inbox, it can end up wasting a lot of hours in the work day.

Moreover, an inbox that’s filled with old or unimportant messages creates digital clutter that distracts and prevents from maximizing your time. The following “inbox zero” strategies can help “detox” your inbox and restore its health and productivity levels.

  • Set aside specific times to read and respond to email. Don’t leave your email open all day. Turn off incoming messages on your phone. Block out times during the day -- such as late morning, after lunch, and an hour before the work day ends -- to check and respond.

  • Organize your inbox with labels and categories. Prioritize your email into various groups, use filters  and file messages away once they’re read so they’re out of your inbox. If you need to refer to them later, you can always search for them.

  • Unsubscribe. Promotional emails are just clutter! Clean it out by hitting the unsubscribe button.

  • Does this email need action? After you read an email, decide ASAP what to do. Either delete it immediately, delegate it, reply and send, or file it away in one of your inbox categories.

  • Not every email is a task. Only some of your emails actually need an answer or some kind of action taken. Figure out what needs a longer or more thoughtful response, then set time aside to answer later.

  • Use filters. Most email service offers some kind of filter section to help sort incoming mail automatically. Learn how to use yours to block unwanted senders, sort or reject junk mail and spam, and sort real emails into your categories and other folders.

  • Write a telling subject header. In your email, use the subject field to inform your receiver what your email is about. It makes it easier for you and them to organize, archive, and search for later.

  • Delete Spam and Trash folders. Set aside time every few weeks to permanently delete spam/junk or trash messages.

  • Don’t use email as a to-do list. There are plenty of apps, and good old fashioned pen and paper, that can help you create a great to-do list. Email is a communication service. Use it as such!

Establishing a routine for email habits will help you stick to them. Got any other inbox zero suggestions? Tell us on LinkedIn!

5 Ways to Unblock Creative Blocks

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

For creative professionals, creative blocks are not just a moment of unproductivity. They can be frustrating, maddening stretches of time, potentially affecting deadlines and deliverables.  As a creative you can’t afford to run out of ideas!  It can happen to anyone!  However, not all hope is lost. Here are five ways to help jumpstart your creativity again:

  1. Stick to a routine. If your schedule has been off recently, it might be keeping your brain too busy to let creative thoughts flow naturally. Commit to at least one routine thing, such as waking up at the same time every morning, meditating for 15 minutes a day, or cleaning up your work space.  A cluttered desk can lead to a cluttered mind.  You’ll be surprised what great idea might pop into your brain when you’re concentrating on mundane, uncreative tasks instead.

  2. Go for a walk. Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away -- literally. Take a walk around the building, in the park, by the beach, or wherever you like. Don’t think too hard about anything when you do. Put headphones on and listen to your favorite music or some podcasts. Let whatever thoughts you want enter your head without judgment. And if you can’t get outside, just step away from your desk and give yourself a break.

  3. Stay motivated. Inspiration comes from all kinds of sources. Look beyond your own work and colleagues into other creative work. Listen to new bands or rediscover old ones. Study fashion, photography, art pieces, and film. Go beyond your comfort zone and seek out completely new artistry.  Look at illustrations, design, branding, packaging, typography and more from a variety of industries. Let nature inspire you. What strikes you as interesting? What gives you that “eureka!” moment?

  4. Keep a swipe file. Austin Kleon talks about having a “swipe” file at the ready so you can “steal” ideas, or jot down new ones. It doesn’t matter if it’s a physical notebook or a digital one, so long as it’s something you can access easily and carry all your ideas in one place. Designers and illustrators might want to consider carrying a sketchbook so they can sketch out ideas instead of just making a note of them.

  5. Explore all options. You may be looking at a problem from a familiar perspective. Don’t make assumptions or let your inner critic stop you from coming up with another approach. Look at the issue from every angle. Train yourself not to run away from ideas that may not seem to fit right away. Instead, see if there’s a way to turn it into something. It’s not about getting a square peg into a round hole -- it’s about shifting your concept of pegs and holes altogether.

How do you get past creative blocks? Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, and share how you overcome blocks to find the best solutions to your creative needs.

4 Ways to Turn a Challenging Day Into a Good One!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Having “one of those days” where everything is feeling out of control, is really about how quickly you can recover. You can write the day off, or you can turn things around with a new game plan. It’s mostly about managing your attitude.

  1. Take a break. Sometimes things only seem bad, and a moment away from the center of chaos (also known as your desk) can help you see everything clearly. If you freelance, extend your lunch break by a bit longer to give yourself some well-deserved “me” time. Or, if you’re in the office, take an extra moment out of your day to take a quick walk to clear your head.

  2. Get ideas out of your head and on to paper. Create a to-do list and set realistic goals for accomplishment. Stress can make a challenging day worse. Identify what you can do quickly and take control of your day. For example, “I have to respond to this email by lunch,” or, “I need to come up with three more ideas in the next hour”. This motivation will help you see past the bad day blues and get your mind back to work.

  3. Ask for help. When you are in a challenging situation set time limits for your tasks, delegate where possible, and prioritize. Ask your boss or your co-workers for a helping hand. Collaborating and working together, gets more done!

  4. Eat! Make sure you have good nourishment. Feeding your mind and body is essential to how you deal with difficult situations. Avoid sugar!

Some days are more challenging than others, with events seemingly beyond our control. However our attitude is entirely in our own control. How we deal with a stressful situation, handle ourselves and treat those around us, is our responsibility. Find a way to get a quick attitude adjustment when it’s needed.

We’d love to hear any tips you can share on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook!


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