We’re Going Mobile!

Thursday, March 15th, 2012|Comments Off on We’re Going Mobile!

Although mobile recruiting is still its infancy, it is here and it is growing. And so are we!

A study by Potentialpark of 30,000 job seekers and 350 top employers shows:

  • 19% of job seekers are already using their mobile devices as a tool in their job search process
  • 50% of job seekers say that they will use mobile devices in the future when looking for new roles
  • Only 7% of the surveyed employers have developed mobile versions of their career sites

So while 19% may not sound like a lot, 46% of us own smartphones and that number goes up every day. And – as smartphones get smarter – we’ll continue to use them for more and more activities.

Any savvy recruiting company should be developing tools to reach these demographics. And it is even more important for creative recruiters. Our talent is made up of Designers, Developers, Graphic Artists, Writers and Digital Marketers, many of whom are early adopters of new technology.

And so, without further ado, we present the mobile version of the Artisan Creative website!  Launched earlier this month, if you haven’t seen it already – check it out with your Smart Phone or Tablet device.

Direct your mobile browser to our site and set a bookmark to get the latest job postings, apply directly for our open positions and keep up with our blog!

Your Mother Was Right – Thank You Notes are Necessary!

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012|Comments Off on Your Mother Was Right – Thank You Notes are Necessary!


In today’s job market, getting an interview – making it past the initial resume culling process – is an achievement in itself.  But where, in the past, making the cut would lead to a face-to-face interview, hiring managers often have too many qualified candidates for most positions.  As a result, candidates are more and more likely to get a phone screen or Skype interview first.

Whatever the type of interview you have, follow-up is the most important thing if you want to keep your name at the top of the “maybe” list.   It is the only way to be noticed when hiring managers are overrun, with so many people to consider. 

Here are some tips on what to do AFTER you talk to that hiring manager:

  • An email thank you is appropriate for a phone interview or an in-person interview with a very quick turnaround time on a decision.  An email thank you also gives you the opportunity to include a relevant link to a story or article that builds upon what you discussed in your interview–a great way to highlight your attention to detail and interest in both the company and the role.
  • A handwritten thank you is essential after an in-person interview.   Snail mail may seem dated, but the time it takes to write a note is very much appreciated and remembered.  The type of note you select can also demonstrate a bit of your personality as well.
  • Always have your References ready, but don’t provide them unless and until they are requested.  A thank you note or email is usually NOT the best place for relaying this information.

I’m willing to bet Mom was right about a lot of things – but with regards to thank you notes – she couldn’t be more on track!  To stand out in the crowd of job seekers, write those thank you notes!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

8 Tips for Your Next Telephone Interview

Thursday, March 8th, 2012|Comments Off on 8 Tips for Your Next Telephone Interview


Telephone interviews can be one of the most uncomfortable parts of the job-seeking process.  Many employers use them regularly in their hiring process as a way to reduce costs and save time.  Most often they are used to disqualify candidates early in the process, before further time has been invested by all parties. 

There are usually 2 types of phone interviews:

The “screening call”.  Quite often the HR department needs to learn additional information about candidates before forwarding their application to the Hiring Authority. Although the initial contact can be quite unassuming, HR is most likely trying to “short-list” a stack of potentials for the position.

The “committee” telephone interview. Sometimes several hiring authorities or department staff will get together on the interviewing process, so that they can share their conclusions afterwards. This rarely happens when the company is still early in the process.  Rather, it usually occurs when there are too many qualified candidates for the face-to-face interview.

Depending on the nature of the person conducting the telephone interview, these calls can be either quite plesant or extremely uncomfortable.  In either case, there are certainly several ways to best prepare yourself for a successful call:

  1. The person on the other end of the phone may be just as uncomfortable as you. Concentrate less on your feelings and more on how to make the other person feel at ease.
  2. Smile over the phone. Believe it or not, smiling while you talk will help you sound more friendly and open.

  3. You are not judged by the same criteria used at an in-person interview. For example, eye contact can be an excellent barometer when meeting face to face.  However, on the telephone, you’ll be judged by a more subtle set of factors such as the sound of your voice, your tone, your level of friendliness and enthusiasm.

  4. Speak succinctly about your past experience and accomplishments. Many professionals launch into long, drawn-out answers to telephone interview questions.  Remember, you do not have your interviewer’s eye contact or other body language cues to monitor.  Clear, short responses will keep the person on the other side of the line engaged (and not put them to sleep)!
  5. Utilize “dead air” during a conversation; don’t fear it. Have a list of prepared questions about the company or position when caught in one of those spots. Although good communication is theoretically up to both of you, dead air is typically your responsibility to fill.
  6. Focus on your listening skills. You’ll find that your nerves will sometimes make this very difficult.  Simply close off all thoughts about whatever is going on around you and concentrate on the words and voice of the interviewer.  Take notes while you listen, if it helps you focus.
  7. Situate yourself properly before the call.  Because so much of your success in this situation is determined by your comfort in the surroundings, plan the interview for a time when you can speak privately, comfortably and without distraction. Or, if the caller takes you by surprise, ask for five minutes to get organized, get their phone number and call them back.
  8. Don’t talk about issues related to compensation, company benefits or any negative issues with your current employer. This is solid advice for any first-interview situation.  This initial touch point is to make enough of a connection to get to the in-person interview phase.

Do you have any tried and tested tips for phone interviews?

Need help preparing for your next Skype Interview?  Check out our Skype Interview Tips.

Eliminate the Negative: Tips on What to Avoid in a Job Interview

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012|Comments Off on Eliminate the Negative: Tips on What to Avoid in a Job Interview


Whenever I have an interview coming up, I go through my preparation process.  By the time the interview arrives, I know exactly what I want to say, at least to the standard interview questions I’ve encountered before, and I’ve prepared questions to ask – if the topics don’t come up naturally.

However, it’s also a good idea to make a clear list of the subjects you would rather not discuss, and how you will handle the situation if and/or when these topics do arise.  Here are some ideas from the recruiters at Artisan Creative about things to avoid on your interview – and some positive alternatives:

Talent Manager, Laura Burns:

  • Avoid saying anything negative about your former employer. Rather, plan to talk about a good relationship you had with the company and how that helped you do a better job.
  • Don’t talk about your personal life, even if the interviewer does. It is very easy to get caught following their lead. Try to steer the conversation back to the workplace.
  • Don’t talk about salary or benefits right at the start. If you’re working with a recruiter, let them discuss those items for you. They can probably get you a better package and will most likely have more experience negotiating than you do.

Creative Recruiting Manager, Jamie Grossman:

  • Don’t take credit for a whole project – even if you think it sounds better. Instead, discuss your accomplishments and how you worked with all those involved in the project. Employers like to know that you are a good at collaborating, too.

Sr Account Manager & Recruiter, Carol Conforti:

  • Instead of “I hated my last boss,“ say “I did not share the management philosophy.”
  • If you didn’t get along with someone try “my coworkers and I had different ideas about how things should be done.”
  • Don’t look for a promotion before you get hired. However, you can say “I feel very capable of doing a great job; is there a career path for this role?”
  • Instead of “When can I get a raise?” try “What is the review process here?”
  • Avoid asking “Do people work hard or spend long hours here?” If you want to know, say, “What is a typical day like here?”
  • Always have a question ready. Even if you don’t really have any, try, “What are the next steps?”

And recent addition to the team, Account Manager & Recruiter, Melinda Geniza:

  • Always put a positive spin on your challenging experiences and talk about lessons learned.
  • Don’t be too modest about your achievements or contributions on certain projects: Avoid statements like “this was just a little thing I did…”
  • Generalities when describing your work are not as effective as specifics. Use technical language and details when talking about your process.
  • Don’t come across like you aren’t interested in the job. Even if it’s not your dream job, you must be interested or you wouldn’t be at the interview. Interviewers can pick up on your lack of enthusiasm through body language and eye contact.

I hope you got the theme in these answers. As the song says, “Accentuate the positive!” Prepare yourself to talk about your previous employer, your experience and your hopes for working in the future in a positive light and your interview is sure to go well!

Wendy Stackhouse
, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Pinterest for Creatives

Thursday, March 1st, 2012|Comments Off on Pinterest for Creatives


I keep reading about Pinterest and so, of course, I started wondering…

Should I join?
What do I do with it?
Will it help me with anything or just be another social platform?

So I started my boards and took a look around, but found myself still a bit puzzled.

Pinterest is basically a photo sharing platform. A place to “pin” images of things you like and are interested in. You can put a button in your browser’s toolbar that will put almost any image you see online on one of your pinboards, with the opportunity to make a comment on it. These could be your own images or those of others that you see when you are browsing. You don’t have to download and upload as you do on other platforms.

Pinterest is definitely great for businesses that sell products. They can add a “Pin It” button to images of their offerings and customers can add those things to their pinboards, which will be seen by everyone who is following them. That’s a lot of free advertising!

Pinterest is also good for service businesses which use a portfolio of work to increase their client base. Web design companies can certainly benefit from having a pinboard of their work available here.

For the same reason, Pinterest may be a good platform for freelancers and entrepreneurs. You can pin your latest work from all different sources into one board and use that as your online portfolio site. Web and graphic designers, photographers, and artists especially will benefit from having pinboards of their work available on this platform. You can also find other people on Pinterest with similar interests that you might want to connect with. Some people are also pinning their resumes, especially the new infographic styles.

Why might Pinterest be better than other photo sharing sites? In my opinion, the advantage lies in the board concept itself. Rather than looking one at a time at photos on Flickr, or a giant page of uncategorized photos, pinboards are collections of related items. Someone who is checking out your design aesthetic can get a good overview of your logos, for example, with one click. And knowing who else likes the same thing you like might be an excellent bit of information.

I’m still a newbie at Pinterest and have been pinning mostly knitting patterns so far. I would love to hear what you think of Pinterest and if you’ve thought of any great uses for creatives, so please let me know in the comments! And if you need an invitation, email me!

Wendy Stackhouse
, Consultant for Artisan Creative

What’s Your Resume Really For?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012|Comments Off on What’s Your Resume Really For?


The purpose of your resume is to get you a job, right?

All those hours, all that tweaking, all that proofreading and when you’re finally DONE, it will get you the perfect role. 

Truth is – you’re never done.  Every job application needs its own resume. Every single one.

Why?  The purpose of your resume is NOT to get you a job. The purpose of your resume is to get you an INTERVIEW. Only you can get the job.

So – how can your resume get you an interview?

Truth be told – it really varies from job to job.  However, there is one best practice you should always follow to better your odds! 

Identify and use keywords. 

Read that job description again. Get out your highlighter and mark the essential responsibilities or skills. Those are your keywords. What verbs are they using? Use those verbs. What qualities do they want? Put them in your Summary or sprinkle them in your listed achievements or responsibilities.  The more keywords the hiring manager (or his computer) sees in your resume – the more likely they are to identify you as a potential candidate for the position.

Everybody hates working on their resume. It’s definitely tempting to just send out the same resume for every job that looks like it could be the right fit.  But as more employers and recruiting firms use applicant tracking software to cull resumes, keywords will continue to play a huge role.  Make sure you’re not left out!

With a little extra time and a bit more focus – your customized resume will help you get you the interviews you deserve.  Before long – you should notice those candidate response rates going up as well.

Happy tweaking!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Why Aren’t You Blogging Yet?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012|Comments Off on Why Aren’t You Blogging Yet?


Pretty early in the life of this blog, I wrote a post on why you should be blogging.

Did you pay attention?

Did you start a blog? Did you ever write a second post?

Or a first?

Excuses, Excuses!  Why not?

I don’t have anything to say
Actually, the bar here is pretty low. Do you talk? To anybody? About what’s going on? Anywhere? Excellent. Post.

Now, of course, we’re talking about a blog that has some value – to you and to your readers.  Random thoughts won’t work forever, but I’m willing to bet that if you try this 2 or 3 or 4 times, you will start coming up with relevant ideas. And guess what? You can go back and get rid of the early stuff later!

Remember – you don’t have to write an essay. Think of your first few posts as updates, just like Facebook or even Twitter. A sentence or two, a paragraph. Put your toe in the water.
I’m not a writer
Believe me, most bloggers aren’t “writers” either. They’re not perfect and they’re not any better than you. They just post anyway. (Shh, they often don’t even proofread!)

A good way to get started is by doing some curated content. Find some articles that you think are interesting or relevant or well written and pick out your favorite quote. Explain why it’s your favorite and what drew you to the article. You look smart without doing much of your own writing!

Remember that you MUST (was that loud enough?) hyperlink to the original article in your post.

I don’t have time
Do you have time to update your Facebook status? You have time to blog.

Do you have time to Tweet? More than once a day? You have time to blog.

Guess what? You can use the content from your Facebook status or your Tweets to get your blog started. What are you writing about today? Make it a little longer and post it. See, you are a writer!  That information was already out there in public, this is just another venue for it.

I don’t know how
Technology can be intimidating, but blogging has been around long enough to have some great resources for you to get started. Here are three of my favorites:

Blogger.com is a free site which walks you through the blog creation process step-by-step—my 10 year old has a blogger blog. Blogger is part of the Google family of products so if you have a Google account, it’s even easier to start a blog there.

Tumblr.com is another free site for creating a blog. Tumblr blogs are usually shorter-form and might be less intimidating. Tumblr has lots of fun themes and also walks you through the process of creating your special place to post.

Livejournal.com is another free blogging platform that is easy to use. Commenters on Livejournal have to register, but if that doesn’t bother you take a look at this platform.

If you’re still nervous about blogging, write a few draft posts on whatever you want.  Don’t publish them until you feel good about them. 

A company blog, an industry blog or even a personal blog is an important part of your brand, whether you are an executive or a freelancer. Stop making excuses! Blog!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant (and blogger) for Artisan Creative

How to Choose a Recruitment Company

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012|Comments Off on How to Choose a Recruitment Company


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

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

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

Artisan is committed to offering meaningful opportunities toour talent and to helping our clients achieve their creative goals usingcutting-edge technology.  Our Mission is:

To provide job opportunities for creative talent that has positive impact in their careers.
To provide clients with top creative resources to achieve their creative initiatives.
To be innovative, forward thinking, early adopters of industry trends as required by the market.

Their Vision
It is important to bring proper vision into one’s recruitment approach. It’s so easy to lose the big picture in the day-to-day if you are not clear on your overarching objective.

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

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

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

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

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

Brainstorming: Important Factor in Company Culture?

Thursday, February 16th, 2012|Comments Off on Brainstorming: Important Factor in Company Culture?


There’s been a lot of chatter lately about brainstorming:

  • How to brainstorm better
  • Brainstorming isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
  • It’s okay if you’re not good at brainstorming
  • Our kids are being trained to brainstorm instead of think up their own ideas

Brainstorming, like every idea-generation technique, has its place, certainly. I have a friend who sets up great brainstorms for a very large multinational corporation, and they definitely get some wonderful ideas out of that process. They also get some lousy ones.  But everyone agrees that making time for that process – coming together to “be creative” is what makes all of those ideas – good and bad – possible.

However, if brainstorming sessions are not run properly, it is remarkably easy for brainstorming to turn into groupthink without anyone realizing it.  Groupthink has the negative connotations that brainstorming escapes: people getting together and forming a mob, not really a consensus.  If everyone is thinking the same thing so it must be a good idea, right?

Utilizing brainstorming best practices to properly structure a brainstorming session – going for as many ideas as possible, allowing one speaker at a time, deferring all judgement during the session, allowing “builds” and visuals and ensuring all ideas are documents – groups can avoid the pitfalls of a groupthink session. 

While there’s a lot to be said for working in small groups to throw ideas back and forth, many also argue the more solitary ways of coming up with ideas as well.

Recent research studies are showing that although we need criticism to improve our ideas, we need solitude to come up with them in the first place. Socializing during the creative process can help to refine ideas, but at the same time, true originality comes from one person trying to solve a problem.

When it comes to problem solving, all companies have their own culture and ideas about brainstorming.  Understanding this process – especially as it relates to creative idea generation – is certainly an interesting question to ask at an interview.  Knowing how you would be involved with presenting your ideas and/or editing those of others could be a big factor in whether a company’s creative or marketing department is right for you?

What are you thoughts on brainstorming?  Do you prefer solitary or group settings?  Hours or short bursts? 

Whatever the answers, knowing how you like to tackle problem solving – and the way potential companies choose to handle it – could be more telling about a long-term culture fit within an organization than we realize.

 Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

The Creative Interview

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012|Comments Off on The Creative Interview

Most of us have interviewed for many different roles in our working lives, from our first summer job in high school (where they needed to know if we could mop floors) to interviews hours of testing to prove our skillsets were as solid as our resumes claimed. 

We’ve talked a lot on our blog about how to prepare for a typical interview – and even for a more atypical one – but we’ve never talked about how a creative interview differs from a more general one. Nor have we really talked about what creative recruiters are looking for versus their counterparts in another field.

I asked the recruiters at Artisan: “How do you think ‘creative’ interviews differ from ‘regular’ job interviews?”

The answers were pretty consistent.

  • The portfolio is the number one factor during a creative interview. Whether the interviewer has already seen work samples via a website or a PDF, the design aesthetic and body of work are always the most important consideration.  However, further explanation of that work is always required.  Talent must be prepared to explain their portfolio fully.

    “Creatives must be able to walk us through their work, their involvement in producing that work, their challenges, their inspiration and the effectiveness the work had,” said Account Manager, Jess Bedford.  “The finished work is only part of the whole creative process.  Understanding how creatives work through that process, helps us better qualify talent for culture and team fit.” 

  • Creative rapport is essential.  As is often the case, initial interviews may not always be held with like-minded or department-based interviewers.  HR, for instance, may not understand the full creative processes as well as a Creative Director.  Therefore, establishing an interviewer’s level of understanding for one’s creative specialty is essential.  Do it up front, too.  Therefore, when one gets to the portfolio review, you know which work will illustrate something relevant to their needs / interest, and how in depth your review should be.
  • Past resume experience is not always the key factor.  What’s more important than the clients you’ve worked for is being able to demonstrate, through both paid and/or spec work, a keen eye for design and the ability to push the creative envelope.

    “For so many of our clients – the resume is second to the creative work,” said Carol Conforti, Sr Account Manager and Recruiter.  “Many creatives make the mistake of only including work that’s been paid for and/or approved.  Some of the best portfolios I’ve seen include both finished work and the other concepts that the clients didn’t use.  Many even have concepts designers have ‘played with’ in their free time.”

What I take most from these answers (thanks, recruiters!) is how essential a portfolio is to the creative interview.  And being able to review that portfolio effectively is just as important! 

But that’s only part of it.  Research, once again, turns out to be really helpful as well. Whatever you can find out before the interview about the company, about the job responsibilities, even about the background of the interviewer or their client, will help you present your portfolio in the very best light possible.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

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