Need a new search?

If you didn't find what you were looking for, try a new search!

Storytelling and Interviewing

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019|

If you’ve spent any slice of time searching for a job, you’ve probably experienced this. At some point in a typical job interview, often right at the top, your interviewer will say, “tell me about yourself.”

Technically, this isn’t a question, it’s a prompt. It puts you on the spot. It can be intimidating!

However, with the right preparation – along with dashes of confidence, enthusiasm, and self-awareness – “tell me about yourself” can be your opportunity to shine.

In preparation for this inevitable inquiry, here are a few ideas to keep in mind.

Tell Your Story

Intrigue your interviewer, engage their interest, and make them want to learn more about you – make use of your storytelling skills. Go on a journey, from the moment you realized your professional passion, through the experiences that honed your skills, to the conversation at hand and the opportunity currently in front of you. Explain how you’ve grown and evolved, and share anecdotes that support your big idea (e.g., “I’m curious,” “I’m an enthusiastic collaborator,” or “I’m a shameless data geek.”). Some classic storytelling structures used by great writers can serve as outlines for your own tale of inspiration, perseverance, and success.

Show Some Personality

Refer to your hobbies and the unique life experiences you’ve had. If it seems appropriate, you can even sprinkle in a bit of self-effacing humor. With the human element in play, the “tell me about yourself” portion of your interview can help you stand out and determine whether you’ll be a match for this team and its culture.

Specificity Kills Ambiguity

When you can, talk about your experience in terms of quantifiable accomplishments. “I had a job in digital marketing” makes less of an impression than “I led a Facebook ad campaign that grew my company’s email list by 300% in Q1 of 2019.” Similarly, when you talk about your personal qualities, use pictures, sounds, and feelings – this will give you an edge over competing candidates who lean on vague generalities, superlatives, and played-out jargon.

Cut to the Chase

You should avoid rambling and be able to comfortably wrap up your answer within 60-90 seconds. For practice, write out your answer, read it aloud, and cut anything that’s awkward or inessential. To get things moving quickly, hook your interviewer with your very first sentence.

Make It Relevant

“Always relate your answer directly to the job in question,” says Coach Tracy of The Career Launcher. “Tie your answer directly to the mission of the role and the challenges that typically are dealt with by job holders, and try to differentiate yourself with evidence of your skills for the job.”

Your interviewers want to be convinced that you’re right, as they need to know you’re the perfect match for this particular job. Whenever you tell your story, include variations each time to align with the details of the job description, the specific needs of the company, and how your skills and experience apply to the opportunity you’re applying for.

Spin the Table

Career coach Liz Ryan introduces “spinning the table,” a sophisticated method for transitioning out of your own story and into the substance of the interview, specifically your interviewer’s pain points, which you can then address. Answer your interviewer’s question, then ask them a question in turn. “You aren’t asking questions just for fun,” says Ryan. “You want to find out what the job is really about… You want to find out where the pain is because once you’ve got the hiring manager talking about their pain, the conversation can go to a completely different place.”

At Artisan Creative, we place creative, marketing, and digital talent with the companies and opportunities that will give them a chance to do their best work and live their best lives. Contact us today and let our a.team find your dream team.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 534th issue of the a.blog.

6 Tips for Interviewing Creatives

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017|

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two that we’d like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 428th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

Preparing for an interview is a two-way street that requires both parties to be present and engaged in the conversation.

In previous blogs, we highlighted general best practices for interviewers such as active listening techniques. As interviewers, we must set the stage and tone of the interview to reflect our company culture and team dynamic.

Interviewing and hiring creatives adds an additional layer of intricacy since the portfolio plays a key role in the dialog.  Here are some important skills that interviewers can practice when looking to interview and hire creative candidates.

Smile  A welcoming smile is worth more than 1000 words.

Prepare   As interviewers, it’s our responsibility to be prepared for the meeting by reviewing the candidate’s resume and portfolio in advance and crafting targeted questions to learn more about them, the projects they’ve worked on, and build better rapport. Take notes beforehand to keep things on track and stay upbeat and 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. The best creative work is often a result of successful communication – make sure you get the most out of your conversations with candidates.

Ask open-ended questions  Questions that start with “How”, “What” or “Can you explain” are generally more useful than “yes or no” questions when interviewing for creative roles. Open-ended questions allow candidates to tell stories about their experience, and ideas. Ask about the candidate’s design thinking and creative problem-solving process to get a better sense of their conceptual skills.

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. You can often learn more from the questions candidates ask than from any other aspect of the interview.

Arrange next steps   If an interview goes well and you think you have the right person on the other side of the desk, say so. Enlighten them on the state of your interview process and set up a second interview with other hiring authorities or team members, as needed.

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. Transparency around your hiring process helps keep candidates engaged.  If a candidate isn’t a good fit, letting them down gently gives an opening to pursue other opportunities that they might be better suited for.

Hiring a new team member makes a huge difference to the future of your business. If you have questions around these high performing priorities, you can always ask an expert.  At Artisan Creative, we are experts in interviewing creatives. Happy to help you with your next hire.

Your Interviewing Style

Wednesday, March 2nd, 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!

Bringing Our Whole Self to Work

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021|

When people hear that I’ve written a book, they generally assume that I’ve written about recruiting, human resources, or the culture of creativity. After all, with over 20+ years of experience in the creative recruitment field, it’s an expected assumption.

When they learn that my book, The Butterfly Years, is actually about the journey from grief toward hope, a puzzled look crosses their brows, expressing an initial surprise that I share so vulnerably my experience of loss and grief.

You may wonder, what does that have to do with my business? What’s the connection? Well, writing the book had absolutely nothing to do with my business and has everything to do with my business… because it has everything to do with me.

I choose to bring my whole self to my business.

In the book, Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations, Frédéric Laloux explores the concept of new organizations (Teal Organizations) where management and teams focus on creating a culture where the whole self comes to work.

My whole self has dealt with grief this past decade, including the loss of both my parents and step-parents. I wrote about grief because it was hard for me to concentrate, stay focused, or even remain positive.   I worked hard to hide what was happening inside. Of course, I did not let candidates or clients, or even my team, a glimpse at what was truly happening to me on the inside at that time. I thought that I needed to fake it so I could make it. I was wrong.

Over the past ten years, I’ve learned the importance of being true to myself, being authentic, and encourage genuineness from those around me, professionally and personally.

So this is a request to all the hiring managers and recruiters who are interviewing right now. Everyone, every single candidate that you connect with, is more than their LinkedIn profile. They are so much more than what you see on their resume. It’s key to learning more about a candidate’s interests and passions, about their core values, aspirations, and motivations.

As you interview new candidates or manage existing ones, ask yourself who is the “whole self” that you’re interviewing and meet them where they are with empathy and authenticity.

 

Katty Douraghy

President, Artisan Creative

5 Tips for Active Listening on Zoom

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021|

Yes, we are in a Zoom (insert Microsoft teams, Google Meet, etc.) world and distractions are aplenty. Whether you are interviewing or conducting a team meeting, it’s imperative to be present and connect.

Between notifications for email and Slack,  phone calls, LinkedIn posts, tweets, and so on, digital communication is at an all-time high and, this all-time high requires true listening. Today active listening is a skill that too often gets lost in a sea of technological noise.

We can all improve our active listening skills in a few easy steps and in the process build better relationships, resolve conflicts, and understand issues, whether in the workplace or elsewhere. 

Here are 5 tips to help develop our active listening skills while on Zoom: 

  1. Quiet Your Mind. Quieting the mind before a meeting is critical for being present without thinking ahead to say next or trying to problem solve. This is key to active listening!  Before a meeting starts, turn off other notifications, close your eyes, and take three deeps breaths.  Turn on Zoom and you are ready to go.
  2. Maintain eye contact. Have the speaker on speaker view.  If it’s distracting to see yourself, hide your own view. When possible stand while you are conducting your meeting.  You’ll find that your voice may project better and you’ll be more present.
  3. Be empathetic. The soul of active listening is empathy. If the person you’re listening to is sad, happy, fearful, or angry in your conversation, place yourself in their shoes. Repeat back what they just said. Use statements such as “Let me make sure I understand or let me make sure I heard you correctly”. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarity.  
  4. Stay Curious and stay out of judgment.   Ask questions for clarity vs. for problem-solving.  
  5. Look for nonverbal cues. Their cadence, tone of voice, and body language can offer a lot of information. Look for small signs of nervousness, enthusiasm, or anxiety in their mannerisms, gestures, and posture to help determine how they really feel. 

The digital meeting space is here to stay.  Even when we can be together again in person, many companies have shifted to a remote environment. These 5 tips can help develop our active listening skills while on Zoom and create greater connections.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 582nd issue of our weekly a.blog.

3 Tips to Navigate Your Job Search

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020|

The current massive unemployment rates have many talented candidates out of work and searching for new opportunities. Additionally, the impact of stay-at-home measures is clearly exasperating the job search efforts for many.

As we navigate these unchartered waters and contemplate what the next version of what “work” is going to mean, it becomes important to take a moment and reflect. Julio Vincent Gambuto calls this moment “The Great Pause”.

We are indeed in a (prolonged) moment of pause—which is not comfortable.  However, since we are unable to rewind and go back to what once was, we can be more fully present and work on evaluating the future and possibilities that we can create.

To do so, here are three tips on how to evaluate what you really want to do next.

Define your Core Values

Take the needed time to think about what you want to do next and how that may align with your core values and purpose. If you haven’t had a chance to define your core values yet, now is a good time to partake in core values or visioning exercises to discover what is important to you.

Focus on Upskilling

As you re-imagine what that future of work will be for you, now is also a great opportunity to upskill. Many well-known universities around the world are offering free online classes. If you’ve been thinking of pivoting into other fields such as UX or product design, now is your chance. Ideo offers Design Thinking classes, as well as Leadership and Innovation classes. Masterclass is another great resource to try out a new hobby, learn something new, or write the story you’ve always wanted to tell.

Give Back

Volunteering is a great way to keep busy, make new connections in a new field, and help others in need. If you’ve always wanted to help out a non-profit what better time to share your expertise? It also provides a great opportunity to enhance your resume. More importantly, giving back is a great mood enhancer as it boosts oxytocin levels by creating levels of engagement, productivity, and usefulness which leads to gratitude.

We wish you the best as you embark on your job search.  For additional tips on resume writing and interviewing please check our a.blog. We hope you’ve enjoyed our 560th issue.

20 Remote Meeting Best Practices

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020|

By staying safe at home, and seeing nearly all interviews and meetings transitioning online, we wanted to share twenty remote meetings best practices we’ve learned over the past ten years of working exclusively as a remote team.

Whether you are having ongoing daily team huddles, interviewing for a new opportunity, meeting a client or prospect via video for the first time, it’s important to keep the following pointers top of mind:

Equipment

  1. Ensure your device and headphones are fully charged or plugged in prior to your meeting.
  2. Whether you are Zooming, using Facetime, Google Hangouts, or another tool, test your device’s audio and video connections before the actual meeting.
  3. Look right at the camera when you speak. If you only look at the screen itself it’ll appear as if you’re not making eye contact with the attendees.
  4. With everyone working from home, combined with homeschooling for many others, ensure that you are in a quiet place with enough wifi bandwidth.
  5. Adjust your device screen to ensure your head and shoulders appear in the frame – don’t get too close or move too far away from the camera.
  6. Be stationary and mount any handheld devices such as your mobile phone or iPad so you aren’t “traveling” with your device. It’s distracting and disrespectful.

Environment

  1. Let your family or roommate know you’ll be on camera to avoid unexpected noise or interruptions.
  2. Practice your on-screen time and record yourself if possible.
  3. Adjust the lighting so your face is front-lit without any shadows.
  4. Keep an eye on your posture. Adjust your lighting as needed.
  5. Pay attention to your surroundings—especially your background. Select a clean, neutral, and distraction-free backdrop like a wall, a screen, or a panel of curtains. Close closet doors, make your bed and clean the clutter. If you are unable to do so, use zoom’s virtual backgrounds to create a branded look. You can find many examples on Canva.
  6. If you are presenting or screen sharing, make certain you have a clean, uncluttered desktop and if needed, change your desktop wallpaper to something creative and professional.

Engagement

  1. Confirm time zones in case you are meeting with someone in another state or country.
  2. Speak clearly and succinctly. Use your voice, tone, and body language to communicate and connect. Use modified hand gestures as needed or gently lean in when making a point.
  3. There can be a slight delay in communication, so be mindful not to talk over the other person.
  4. Mute when not speaking (just remember to un-mute when it’s your turn to talk).
  5. Dress and groom as if you are meeting in person. Working from home still requires being professional.
  6. If in a larger gathering, become familiar with layout views so you can fully engage with everyone.
  7. If you are making a pitch or presenting your work, have your portfolio or presentation loaded on your desktop to screen share as needed.  Practice Zoom’s presentation tools such as whiteboard, and annotation to create a bigger impact on your audience.
  8. Be friendly and smile while talking. It lifts and warms your voice, which helps you to connect with the group.

In 2009, we decided that the benefits of a successful remote environment outweighed the stresses of the daily commute. We love it and firmly believe in the life/work integration that being a remote company provides our team. If working in a remote setting is new for you, please check out this video and our additional blogs on the subject matter.

WE hope you’ve enjoyed the 559th issue of our a.blog

Perfecting Your Pitch

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019|

Whether you are a freelancer who has to pitch a project to a client, or a seasoned team member who is presenting a new concept to internal and external stakeholders, or you’re interviewing for a new job, it’s important to be able to convey your message in a memorable way that connects with your audience.

Will Greenblatt, the founder of the Outloudnow School, says “speaking is a physical act” and we need to “warm-up before we speak”. Reading your speech out loud several times before your actual presentation can be very helpful.

The first step in any presentation is to make certain you are warmed-up. Just as you need to stretch your muscles and be ready before you go for a run, your face muscles and voice need to be warmed up as well. Articulation exercises are a good way to warm up by working your way through a few tongue twisters.

Additionally, he points out that we need to be aware of our “ speech settings” and adjust as needed depending on the message, and point we are trying to communicate. Our speech settings are our volume, pace, pitch, clarity, inflection and physical expressiveness. Your voice is a powerful tool. As you practice, try adjusting your settings to see the difference.

Your breathing technique is also key to effective message delivery. Before giving a pitch or going in for an interview, nervousness can lead to shortness of breath, so it becomes important to do deep breathing exercises beforehand.

The Institute of Public Speaking suggests deep diaphragmatic breathing as a technique to get more air into your lungs as well as calm you down if your nerves are acting up.

Posture plays an important role in your breathing as well as in the delivery of your message. Ideally, you want to stand or sit straight, make eye contact, keep your hands open down by your side and smile! It impacts your mindset and will make you more approachable once you’re finished speaking.

If you are nervous about speaking in groups or in front of a crowd, practice in front of a mirror and record yourself. Watch your body language, posture, and movements, then make adjustments in your delivery. Ideally, you will invest time in your own self-development and attend public speaking courses like Toastmasters or take online classes.

At Artisan Creative, we look forward to connecting with you and sharing additional tips on interviewing and preparing for your job search.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 521st issue of our a.blog.

Startups vs. Scaleups: Which is Right for You?

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018|

Is the company you’re interviewing with a “startup,” or a “scaleup?” While some business writers may use the terms interchangeably, there are essential differences between startups and scaleups regarding structure, culture, and funding. Understanding these differences can help you decide which sort of company you want to work for, or to run.

Startups: Move Fast, Try New Things, Wear Many Hats

A startup is a young company, typically either bootstrapped or funded by a Seed or Series A Round. In most cases, it is still experimenting with its product-market fit, leaving open its option to iterate or even pivot if its current plans don’t pan out as anticipated.

The office culture of startup companies tends to be fast-paced, frenetic, creative and fun if a bit intense and unpredictable. Likewise, their corporate structures can be nebulous and improvisational as an “all hands on deck” mindset takes on shifting arrays of responsibilities to solve problems in real time.

Startups often use growth hacking, guerilla marketing, and other unorthodox tactics to find customers and spread their word. The heroes of the microprocessor revolution, the dot-com boom of the 1990s, and the current wave of Silicon Valley tech billionaires exert a substantial influence on the startup world, and their risk-taking ethos drives its innovative and hearty frontier spirit.

When a startup has established a place in the market, along with its culture and plans, it may be ready to begin the transition into a scaleup.

Scaleups: Responsible Growth and Maturity in Mind

Compared to startups, scaleups have moved beyond a minimum viable product and have established a reliable product-market fit. They can provide more clarity and security, which makes them more appealing to conservative investors.

In general, scaleups more closely reflect the values of the traditional corporate world. Their role models are long-time business and industry leaders with decades of history and persistence through ups and downs. This suits their status as more mature and well-defined entities.

In the world of scaleups, job responsibilities are more defined, corporate hierarchies are more concrete, and onboarding processes are more gradual and deliberate. Since scaleups already have a definite and established sense of their value, they tend to be more risk-averse. Investors, employees, and customers have different expectations of a scaleup – so there’s more to lose by playing fast and loose and more to gain by playing it safe.

Which Is Right For You?

If you’re a generalist, enjoy working at a fast pace, want to be on the leading, bleeding edge of technology, business, and culture – and you’re willing to sacrifice some security and stability – you may consider working with a startup. If you find one aligned with your values, the startup life may give you the satisfaction and stimulation you crave.

If you are more risk-averse and personally conservative, or you have additional responsibilities outside your professional life and want more life/work balance a scaleup may provide you a more calm and structured environment in which to apply and develop your specific skills.

Here at Artisan Creative, we join forces with creative professionals and clients at all stages and know the secrets to building the right team or career to exceed your expectations. Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 469th issue of our a.blog.

Mastering the Art of Phone and Video Interviews

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017|

The ease of technology and virtual offices have made the phone and video interview a necessary step in the overall interview process.Some firms even go as far as requesting video resumes!

For many of us, interviews can be stressful—and undergoing the first interview by phone or video doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, sometimes it can be more challenging due to technology mishaps or the inability to see the other person’s reaction well.

Whether your first interview with a prospective client or employer is in person, over the phone or via Zoom, the same rules apply: do your best so you can advance to the next stage.

With over 20 years of helping candidates prepare for these types of interviews, we wanted to share some best practices with you:

The Phone Interview

  • Confirm time zones in case the interviewer is in another state or country.
  • Research the company, follow on social, and look up your interviewer’s Linkedin profile.  You may find some things in common!
  • If you are taking a call at a specific time, ensure that you are in a quiet place.
  • Try not to walk and talk at the same time—you may sound winded, or lose reception going from location to the next.
  • Make sure your device is fully charged or plugged in during the interview
  • You’ll be using your voice and tone to communicate— be sure to speak clearly and succinctly.
  • Be friendly and smile while talking. It lifts and warms your voice, which helps you to connect with the interviewer.
  • Be prepared to ask engaging questions about the company culture and the team.
  • Have your resume close by so you can refer to it.
  • Listen well and avoid talking over the interviewer.
  • Don’t discuss salary or benefits at this stage.
  • This is your first opportunity to connect and shine.

The Video Interview

In addition to the above steps, the following best practices also apply to video interviews:

  • No matter the technology used (Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout or others) adhere to this mantra: Test, and Test again. Test your device’s audio and video connections before the actual interview. Don’t wait until the interview day to download!
  • Practice ahead of time on screen and record yourself if possible. Pay attention to your posture, voice, lighting and background and adjust as needed.
  • Position the camera at eye-level and make eye contact with it! If you only watch the screen itself you’ll look like you’re not making eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Dress and groom as if you were interviewing in person. Dress for the job you want!
  • Check the lighting and move your computer as needed so that your face is illuminated without any shadows.
  • Make sure your head and shoulders appear in the video frame – don’t get too close or move too far away from the camera.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings—especially the background. Select a clean, neutral and distraction-free backdrop like a wall, screen or a panel of curtains.
  • If you live with a roommate let them know you’ll be on camera to avoid an unexpected noise or interruptions.
  • If you are a creative, have your portfolio loaded on your desktop in case screen sharing is needed. Make sure you have a clean, uncluttered desktop and if needed, change your desktop wallpaper to something creative but professional.

The techniques will become more natural over time. You’ll know that you’ve mastered the art of the phone or video interview when you’re invited for the in-person interview!

 

If you need help in your next job search, please connect with the a.team. We are celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two that we’d like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 440th issue of our weekly a.blog.