Artisan Blog

Where Are You Going?

Jess Bedford - Thursday, July 25, 2013



When you land a new role, you want to tell everyone what it is and where. After all, it is exciting! It could be your dream job and, these days, if you are on a job search, you might have been looking for quite a while.

Although you will give proper notice at your current job, however, you probably should keep the details about your new job opportunity limited to to yourself and your family until your first day.

Why?

Especially before all of the tiny details are arranged, you don’t really have a deal. If you have received an offer but the paperwork is still processing, you have not truly landed. Let your colleagues know you are leaving, but keep the specifics to yourself for the moment.

Even after all of the logistics have been worked out, you are still not in the chair and your name isn’t yet on the office door. While you are in limbo, resist the urge to make an announcement. Your new company might want to do it first and you don’t know their policy. Better safe than sorry.

Be extra careful about talking on social media about your new job. Careers have been made or broken right here. In one story we wrote about last year, a candidate’s offer was rescinded because they started posting about it too soon. Don’t list your new role on LinkedIn until you have started onboarding.

On your first day of work, you can make your excitement about your future public knowledge. Be thoughtful about thanking your colleagues for their support and write professionally about your new position. It’s easy to gush, but everyone is going to see your news--including your new manager.

And enjoy it! It's not every day you get to start something entirely new!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Hiring? Job searching? Questions for Assessing Cultural Fit on Both Sides of the Table

Jess Bedford - Tuesday, July 09, 2013



You’ve found the perfect candidate, at least on paper, and you are scheduling an in-person interview. You hope they are indeed perfect and your search is over. Or you have been offered an interview at your target company. Your goal is within reach. Or is it the wrong fit? Whether you are hiring a new employee or searching for a new role, how do you tell if there is a true culture fit?

Hiring Managers

A resume only provides limited information. Past experience and education are significant factors in finding a good fit, but company culture may be even more significant, especially if your organization is willing to train new hires who have the right temperament. A candidate who is filled with regret will never be very productive. Here are some good questions to ask in the interview to help you know if the candidate will fit into your company’s culture:
    1. What qualities are most important to you in a good boss?
    2. Do you think it is a good idea to become friends with your co-workers?
    3. What are the best things about your current or previous job?
    4. Do you prefer working independently or on a team? Why?
    5. How would you like to improve your management skills?
    6. What motivates you to go above and beyond expectations at work?
    7. Tell me about a time you felt most fulfilled at work.
Talent

Whenever you are looking to change jobs, you want to know that all of that trouble is worth the effort. Here are a few questions to help candidates evaluate a company’s culture at an interview:
    1. What do you like about working here?
    2. How many hours a week do you work in a typical week?
    3. Does the team hang out together outside of work?
    4. How much time is spent collaborating and how much is spent working alone?
    5. Are employees rewarded for high performance?
    6. How do employees usually get promoted?
Remember that the interview is not the time to ask about salary or benefits, even if those are your most important factors. 

For a happy onboarding and a long relationship, the people on both sides of the interview desk need to be comfortable that the company’s culture and the candidate’s temperament will go well together.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Reflections: Desperation

Jess Bedford - Thursday, June 20, 2013



Someone asked me recently, “Why did you apply for this particular job?” I was glad that my answer wasn’t “Because I really need one!” 

But what do you do if that is indeed the answer deep down? And how do you keep that desperation from affecting your job search process? Here are some tips for keeping that desperation at bay:

  • Talk to positive people—All of us have in our networks some people who are encouraging and others who are ready to commiserate with us. Both have value, but when you are trying to get into a healthy mental space, spend more time with those who help you feel more confident rather than those who are ready to join you in the Slough of Despond.
  • Change your language—Talking to people about your job search is great, but think about how you can solve problems for a company rather than how much you need a job. Using more positive language will feed more positive feelings to your network and to yourself.
  • Choose wisely—Applying for a million jobs sounds like it ought to land you just one, but would it be the right one, anyway? Focus your search on jobs that look like they will make you happy and fulfilled, that suit your life and your passions. You will go into any interview excited about the prospect of a better future.
  • Work with a recruiter—Not only can a recruiter steer you to roles which are truly suitable, they can coach you for interviews, help you tweak your resume to work better for you, and give you inside information that can make the difference when trying to land that perfect job.
Of course, there is a difference between being desperate and just looking like you are. Be sure to avoid these behaviors that could make you appear desperate even when you are not:
  • Too Many—Don’t apply for ten jobs at your target company, even though you really want to work there. Apply for the right job, get an interview and let the hiring manager realize that you are as good are better for another opening if you’re not right for that one.
  • Too MuchFollow through and follow up are both important, but if you contact the hiring manager too many times or via too many channels—or worse, at inappropriate times—you don’t look eager, you look over-eager. And maybe annoying before you even get a chance to show that you’re not.
  • Too Cute—Preparing for your interview by practicing answers to likely questions is key, but planning out clever ways of saying “I’m perfect for this job!” can make you seem less genuine and more panicky. Instead, plan to tell stories that show your interviewer that you are perfect by example and let her draw her own conclusions.
During any job search, there are periods of frustration and anxiety. Don’t beat yourself up about those feelings. Be proactive in your behavior and those times will pass quickly and your search will benefit from your positivity.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Try Something New This Summer

Jess Bedford - Tuesday, June 11, 2013



If you are finding yourself with some extra free time this summer, it could be a great opportunity to bring some of your skills up to date or learn something new. We found some fun User Experience events coming up in the Los Angeles area you might want to try:

On Thursday, June 13 you can learn about Microinteractions with Dan Saffer at IxDA Los Angeles. “The difference between a good product and a great one are its details: the microinteractions that make up the small moments inside and around features…Bring The Data Forward, Don't Start From Zero, Use What is Often Overlooked, and Long Loops.”

Silicon Beach Fest June 19-22, will feature ”great innovators sparking collaborations … community support and knowledge sharing.” It only happens every two years so don’t miss the opportunity to meet Lane Halley, Chris Chandler and Jaime Levy in Santa Monica over this four-day event.

A 2-part Workshop on Lean User Testing: How to Write, Implement & Analyze Tests to Improve Your Product will be offered by General Assembly LA on two consecutive Monday nights, July 15 and July 22 from 6-9pm led by Los Angeles based Information Architect Jessica DuVerneay, also in Santa Monica. Earlybird pricing is only available until July 8th.

Artisan Creative will be sponsoring a workshop with Greg Nudelman on Agile Mobile Design on Saturday, July 20. Greg will be talking about how to create best-of-class customer experiences in the native iOS and Android mobile and tablet environments and mobile web. The workshop will be primarily activity-based, focusing on hands-on applications of user-centered design approaches like storyboarding, paper prototypes and practical application of mobile design patterns.

Summer can be the perfect time to make sure your skills are right on the cutting edge. Visit the Artisan website for even more training resources. And if you know of an event you think we should hear about, please get in touch with us via email. We are constantly Tweeting local events in LA and San Francisco for Creative, Marketing and Tech professionals and we want to hear about yours! 

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Maximizing LinkedIn: Adding Files and Videos

Jess Bedford - Tuesday, June 04, 2013



LinkedIn has developed into an essential social media platform for anyone in business and especially anyone who is now or will ever be on a job search. Nowhere is it easier to connect with colleagues, share business goals and perfect your personal branding.

Earlier in its life, LinkedIn was pretty simple. It offered a place to put the information on your resume and a way to build a professional network. However, LinkedIn’s features have grown and just recently in a very interesting way: the ability to add files and videos to your profile.

We have talked about the importance of having an online portfolio in previous posts, but the ease of having some work samples available at one central location, easy to find and easy to click on, cannot be overemphasized.

What files you will add to your LinkedIn profile depends on how you are marketing yourself and for what skills. 

What could you add?
  • Blog posts and other writing samples—I was very proud of my recent post about the themes from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” so I added it to my LinkedIn Profile as a writing sample. 
  • Images—Photographers and Graphic Designers, a few pieces which show your versatility here could attract more attention to a more extensive portfolio.
  • Videos—If you are producing video content for your clients or yourself, choose an example that shows your work well and add it to your Profile. If you are a performer, add a video of yourself in a concert or theatrical setting, or a clip from a film or television episode. Video is much more compelling than just your headshot and clicks from LinkedIn are valuable.
While you are tweaking your Profile, remember to:
  • Add new roles or responsibilities at your current job.
  • List any recent volunteer opportunities.
  • Check the keywords in your Summary to be sure that you will be found in searches that will interest you.
  • Make sure the listings on your Profile are in the order you wish. LinkedIn now lets you reorder items on your Profile by preference rather than just by date. Put more relevant listings higher up.
It’s a good idea to edit your LinkedIn profile every quarter, if only to add a new accomplishment or responsibility. Don’t let your Profile get stale; make it work for you.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Response vs. Reaction

Jess Bedford - Thursday, May 30, 2013



No one is perfect. We all have good days and bad days (at home and at work). There are days when our emotional intelligence is at its peak and days when it is at a low ebb. 

Unfortunately, sometimes those low days are also days when we are less productive or under a lot of stress from our bosses, colleagues or selves. It’s how we react or respond to that stress that determines whether we rise above the bad day or become a victim to it.

Reaction

Defensive reactions are innate, not learned. “Fight or flight” is hardwired into the human brain, and for good reason. Making a quick decision on whether to stand your ground or run away could mean life or death. The impulse, however, to choose without thinking, to allow our hardwiring to control our behavior, is still there. It is our job now to recognize it for what it is—an atavism—and make choices based on the actual situation at hand.

For example, your manager asks you when you are going to finish an important project, which you have had to put on the back burner because of other high priority tasks taking precedence. Your instincts may very well tell you to get upset and defend yourself. After all, that same manager gave you all that work and was panicking just yesterday about something else. But that may not be your best move.

Response

A response is more considered and different from a reaction in that it actually offers a possible solution to a problem or criticism that has been presented, rather than a defense. Instead of answering with why a situation is occurring, it answers how it can be remedied or solicits a request for more information so a solution can be found.

As much as we would like to react first and respond later, taking the time to respond is always worthy. Responding gives you a chance to re-evaluate a situation, perhaps break an urgent project down into more manageable pieces or set priorities more successfully. It also makes a better impression on managers and colleagues, as well as clients.

We can’t expect that every day we will be good at stopping and responding to situations. But the old rules are good rules here. Take a deep breath—or three. Count to ten. Ask to visit your manager’s office in a few minutes so you can give him a proper update. You have many more options than fight or flight.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Taking the Summer Off?

Jess Bedford - Thursday, May 23, 2013



It’s easy to get lackadaisical about your job search in the summer. Hiring managers are on vacation, everyone’s taking casual Fridays and business just seems to move slower. Many feel like September is a better time to start a new project or job – much like we used to start a new grade with new clothes and new teachers.

But to start a new job in September, you have to be out there doing your searching and interviewing in—you guessed it—the summer.

Believe it or not, summer can be the best time to:
  • Network—Find some summer activities that relate to your field and join in. Maybe your target company is sponsoring and you can meet someone new.
  • Freelance—When people go on vacation, it doesn’t mean their work doesn’t need to still be completed. Companies may be looking for temporary or short-term contract talent with your skills. Get your foot in the door for future projects.
  • Volunteer—Many organizations have special events or large-scale projects that they tackle in the summer months. Find a non-profit whose mission you are passionate about and put your skills to work for them.
  • Replenish your energy—Get outside, get more exercise, improve your health and your outlook and you will have more enthusiasm for your job search efforts in the second half of the year.
I have two friends starting new jobs next week, one of them with Artisan! They will spend this summer getting their feet under them in their new adventures.

What do you have planned?

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Are You Driving Your Co-workers Crazy?

Jess Bedford - Tuesday, May 21, 2013

 

Most of us spend 80% of our time at work. Even when you like the people you work with, sometimes it’s the little things they do that can get on your last nerve. Or maybe you, too, could use a reminder of preferred office etiquette.

Crossing the line – Whether you have a corner office or share a cubical, everyone cherishes the personal office space they are given. Remember to be considerate when entering an office or cubical. Don’t touch personal items (including computers or monitors) and always return office supplies if borrowed.

It's also important to consider your colleague's own personal space. Many people, no matter how friendly, don’t like to be touched, poked, patted or hugged by their colleagues. Be mindful of that before you reach out.

Small Talk – Sometimes, you just want to put your head down and get to work. A chatty colleague or lingering manager can make completing work on time difficult. If you tend to enjoy the “water-cooler chat” - watch the body language of your associates for clues to ensure you’re not keeping them. If they are looking away or have their head on their hand as they listen – they are too busy, bored and most likely not listening.

Quiet Down! – For workers sharing space – especially in a cubical setting – excessive noise during the day can be difficult to overlook. Talking loudly on the phone, using speakerphone, popping gum, watching videos or listening to music (without headphones), drumming your nails or munching on crunchy snacks can get on your associates’ nerves. If you’re prone to any of these habits – try to control them while at the office.

What’s that smell? – Speaking of snacks, bringing food into the office to eat at your desk is often a no-no at many companies. If you can’t take a break to get out of the office for lunch – at least use the common kitchen area to eat, and keep the smells out of the office (no matter how great the recipe).

Other smells that could bother your colleagues include excessive perfume, cologne or scented lotions as well as a problem with body odor. Remember your personal hygiene is important to you – and the people with whom you spend most of your day!

The good news is that once you know these things can be offensive to some of your colleagues, you can stop them. Immediately.

What bad office etiquette bothers you at the office?

Jess Bedford, Marketing & Project Manager

Reflections: Charlie Brown

Jess Bedford - Tuesday, May 14, 2013



I was privileged recently to see a middle school production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” I say privileged because not only were the performers adorable (of course), confident and committed, but they really brought home the simple but important themes of the show that we could all stand to be reminded of:

Lucy is a crabby person. A very crabby person. She could use some of our tips on being a leader instead of just a boss. But Lucy is also filled with determination. No one would expect Lucy to be unsuccessful in her work life. And she is smart enough to learn how to deal better with people. Determined leadership can take you far.

Sally
is an amazing negotiator. She has taken the lessons of being a younger sibling and her emotional intelligence to heart and uses them with her friends and with her teachers. There is no doubt that she can win an argument or close a deal. Emotional intelligence is an important element in success.

Schroeder is a creative force to be reckoned with. He does not let the the opinions of his peers make him question his passion or his choices. He even brings his friends into his world and shows them other ways of thinking through their celebration of Beethoven Day. Schroeder is already using his marketing skills to promote what he is passionate about and he is thinking like an entrepreneur

Linus is an innovator. He thinks outside the blanket. He is always ten steps ahead of the other kids, but he is empathetic enough to want them all to understand with him, not to want to leave them behind. When Linus ditches that blanket, watch out! He’s not afraid to come up with something new.

And Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown is my favorite. On first look, Charlie Brown could be depressing. He is depressed. He is lonely. He is unfulfilled and has no self-esteem. But Charlie Brown has a quality that the other characters—and we all—need to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. Charlie Brown has hope. No matter what has happened, Charlie Brown starts over every day sure that today will be better. Today is the first day of the rest of his life. Today has every possibility of being the best day ever.

And so I find myself inspired: to persevere, to lead, to build, to be passionate, to reach out, to innovate. And, yes, to hope. And to start each day fresh.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Job Posting Red Flags

Jess Bedford - Wednesday, May 01, 2013
 

If you’re like most job seekers, you spend hours searching for, identifying and applying to jobs that seem like a great fit for your skills and experience. Most of the time your resume and cover letter disappear into the “resume black hole” with no response or feedback. Sometimes when you do hear back and go through a round of interviews, the job or company really is too good to be true! In both cases – you’ve wasted valuable job seeking time.

If only there were a way to know which job postings had the best potential for success?

While our recruiters know of no guaranteed solution, they can suggest a few red flags to be aware of when reviewing job postings:

  • Details about the position, requirements or salary are lacking. This usually indicates that there is not an actual position. Rather, the company is using the posting as a way of collecting resumes for future positions. It’s not always a bad thing to respond to these kinds of posts – especially if you are a freelancer. However, if you’re searching on a deadline – you’re better off applying for something more targeted.

  • The job description doesn’t match the title or the job pairs two skillsets not normally found together. When companies are asking for unrealistic or hard to find skills, it usually means they either don’t value those specific skills in the business (and therefore don’t understand what’s required for certain positions) or their budgets are too tight to allow for more than one position (and this person will be called upon to wear many hats within the business). Candidates should consider the effects of work environment and ability for growth in organizations like these.

  • The job is older than 30 days or is constantly reposted. This can indicate the job is not a high priority for the company (and they are in no rush to fill it), there is a high turnover at the company (requiring them to refill the job often) or the job has already been filled (and not removed from the company website). None of these reasons is good news for a prospective candidate.

  • The job description asks for sensitive information. Before you provide your Social Security Number or Bank Information, be sure you are considering a legitimate company and providing the information through a secure talent management solution. You have enough to worry about when searching for a new job. Don’t add identity theft to the list!

While one or two of these red flags don’t necessarily mean something is wrong with the job, the more you see in one job, the less likely you are to find a successful match.

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager

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