Episode 6 : Interview Timing

Friday, November 17th, 2023|

At this stage of the game, you have set clear expectations for the role, you’ve written an amazing job description, prepared before and during the interview, and had your first interview with a candidate.

Now it’s decision time and time to choose whether that candidate is a good fit and ready to move to the next stage, or not.

It’s only natural that you may want input from other stakeholders to help you with the decision. You may feel a second or third interview and perspective is needed before you can make an offer.

If that is the case, then be mindful that your candidate may have other interviews scheduled elsewhere too.  And if your decision-making process takes too long, you may risk losing your candidate to timing.

I am a fan of including key stakeholders in interviews.  Remember that your candidate is also interviewing your company, so a couple of interviews with other stakeholders will give them additional insight into the culture, team environment, and product.

However, be mindful of the intention of multiple interviews, the impression it can leave, and the impact it may have.

Time is a valuable asset for everyone—including your candidate.  The days when candidates had to jump through multiple hoops to show their interest in a job are over.  Today, companies have to do the same.

So without clear and open communication, a lengthy interview cycle can imply that you are not serious about a hire, or are indecisive, or that you have doubts about their candidacy, and that their time is not valuable.  This is not the way to build trust.

So please set expectations with the candidate upfront, or if working with a recruitment firm let them know what the interview process in your company is like, so they can inform their candidate ahead of time.

A simple statement can set the tone: “Our process includes X interviews with Y stakeholders. We value your time and promise an expeditious yet thorough process to give us both a strong sense of connection, understanding and requirements.

If multiple rounds of interviews are necessary, or assessments are required, please find out where the candidate is in their interviewing journey with other companies.  Are they awaiting an offer, or have they just begun their job search?

Be ready to pivot and adjust your approach if you really like this candidate and they are your front-runner.

In our experience, we have had situations when a client was really excited about a candidate, but other stakeholders in the decision-making process were unable to conduct the follow-up interview for a couple of weeks due to vacations, tradeshows, and other deadlines….and during that time, the candidate accepted another offer.

Don’t lose your top candidate to TIMING. Create a process for fluidity.  If needed, conduct multiple interviews on the same day or if multiple days are needed, then

make the interview a priority, and clear your and any other stakeholders’ calendars so everyone is committed to continuing the process smoothly without unnecessary delay.

If hiring is truly a priority….make it be one.

Let’s do a Pulse Check

Can you make interviewing a priority at your company?

How many rounds of interviewing do you need before a decision is made?

Who are all the stakeholders that need to be part of the decision-making?


Watch the previous episodes in this series:

Episode 0: Introduction

Episode 1: Transforming Your Hiring Mindset

Episode 2: Writing Impactful Job Descriptions

Episode 3: Recruitment & Sourcing Strategy

Episode 4: The Candidate Experience

Episode 5: The Interview Mindset




Episode 4 : The Candidate Experience

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023|

Now that you are starting to receive resumes from your job posts or from your agency, let’s consider the various phases of the candidate journey and the experience they have with you.

Their perception either builds or breaks trust and can make them become your biggest fan, or your loudest foe.  Their experience starts with their earliest interaction with your website and job board, and then throughout their application process,  and the follow-up they receive (or don’t receive).

Having a process for acknowledging the receipt of their resume and establishing follow-up protocols and communication on next steps is an important step to consider, as is setting up initial interviews or even sending a rejection email and offering other resources to someone in their job search.

Follow-up and follow-through either reinforce your employer brand and the impression your company leaves with someone or it detracts from it…because unfortunately there is a resume black hole where candidates apply and they never hear back from anyone.

So even a simple bounce-back email that acknowledges receipt of a resume makes a huge impact and will set your company and practices apart, even if that includes a No.  This goes a long way to create advocacy and brand stewardship.

We’ve been thanked many times for replying back with an empathetic and heartfelt  “NO, Thank you.”  Any reply is better than leaving the candidate wondering, or ghosting them after an initial interaction.  Unfortunately, ghosting has become a real negative phenomenon in the hiring space.

So Don’t Ghost.  Follow-up!

Let’s do a Pulse Check

  • Describe your process for handling incoming resumes and applications/
  • Who reviews the resumes or applications coming in?
  • What is the follow-up process for acknowledgment and/or rejection?
  • How do you keep track of who applied, and when?
  • Do you use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?


Watch the previous episodes in this series:

Episode 0: Introduction

Episode 1: Transforming Your Hiring Mindset

Episode 2: Writing Impactful Job Descriptions

Episode 3: Recruitment & Sourcing Strategy


Episode 3 : Recruitment & Sourcing Strategy

Tuesday, October 24th, 2023|


Now that you’ve clarified your employer brand, and written your job description, let’s talk about your internal and external recruitment strategy.

Before you start looking externally for candidates, have you considered anyone from your current team who may have the skillsets you need to execute? Perhaps they are in another department or are ready to take on a new challenge or for a promotion.

An internal hire could be a morale boost and build trust, bring recognition, growth, and internal mobility within your teams…and in the long run, be a great retention tool. It reduces the need for someone to look for a “better opportunity” elsewhere because they trust that opportunity exists within and you’ll look internally first.

However, if you do need to hire from outside of the organization, you’ll need a recruitment & sourcing strategy that is best suited for your needs.

If you have an HR or recruitment team in place, then you have great support as a first line of reviewers to evaluate the incoming candidates.

However if you don’t have the bandwidth or the support to plan your own sourcing strategy, you may want to consider working with a recruitment agency that will work with you to showcase pre-vetted and pre-qualified candidates.

Let’s do a pulse check:

  • Who do you know who may know someone?
  • Do you offer incentives internally for referrals?
  • Are there companies that are aligned with your expertise, or your mission/ values where you want to see people from?
  • And…what companies or verticals do you NOT want to hire from? ie.  Potential vendors or existing customers, or competitors
  • Do you want to hire from a competitor?

If you decide to pursue the route of working with an outside recruiter instead of doing it internally yourself, then it’s critical to ask the right questions to find the recruiters and agencies that best suit your needs.

Recruitment agencies typically work either as a retained or as a contingency agency.

A contingency firm will invoice you after a placement is made.  There are no upfront fees, however in a contingency search typically the agency is working on several roles with multiple clients at the same time, and every role has equal focus and attention.

A retained firm, on the other hand, typically charges a 1/3 to get started and the balance when the candidate is hired; or a third to get started 1/3 when they present candidates and the third one that hire is made.

In a retained relationship, specific focus and priority are given to an open role, and a dedicated team is assigned. They often will help you write the job description, take you through an in-depth pre-qualification process to learn about the role, team, and your company, and in return will send you a handful of qualified and pre-vetted candidates to review.  So if you have an urgent need or have a very specific requirement, this may be the right route for you.

In both cases, fees are typically anywhere from 20 to 30% based on the candidate’s first-year salary, and a guarantee period is extended.

Even though in a contingency agreement there is no upfront fee, there is still an internal cost to consider.

Do a cost analysis of what it means to hire a professional recruitment agency versus the cost of internally doing it yourself.

Internal costs include your or your team’s resources, bandwidth, and expertise, as well as the cost of that open role, the cost of lost productivity

This exercise is no different than doing a cost analysis whether to work with an outside marketing agency, an outside accounting firm, or a payroll agency vs doing those functions in-house.

If you do determine that working with a recruitment agency is the route to go, then hire a firm that has a specific focus and expertise within the skill set that you’re trying to fill versus working with a generalist recruiter.

When you’re gauging potential partners, ask your peers and colleagues for referrals, and schedule a meeting to learn more about that particular recruitment agency’s policies, processes connections in the marketplace, and sourcing practices.

Look at firms whose core values, culture, and mission align with yours and who can attract the type of talent you’ll want to hire.

By the same token, you must be upfront and truthful with your recruiting agency and partner with them.

Share with them any challenges or roadblocks with this role or at your company. Let them know of any past candidates and any who are being reviewed currently. The last thing you’d want is for them to reach out to the same talent pool.

The more your agency knows the more targeted they can be in their search and be advocates for your company.

Let’s do a Pulse Check

  • What is the internal cost of this position being open?
  • Is there someone on your team who has the expertise to review incoming resumes?
  • Does my internal HR team have the bandwidth to recruit this new role?


Watch the previous episodes in this series:

Episode 0: Introduction

Episode 1: Transforming Your Hiring Mindset

Episode 2: Writing Impactful Job Descriptions


Episode 2: Writing Impactful Job Descriptions

Monday, October 9th, 2023|


Once you’ve clarified why you are hiring, the next step in the hiring roadmap is to determine who the ideal candidate is.

And specifically, what are the core technical skills and interpersonal skills, that are missing within your current team that you need to address?

These answers will help determine the requirements the role needs and support the details needed for writing a viable and accurate job description to clarify the day-to-day responsibilities.

Equally important is to define the hard skills or IQ the role needs (the technical know-how, the programs, the education), as well as needed soft skills ( the communication skills, leadership skills, the EQ for the role). 

Think of creating the job description as a marketing opportunity for your company.   This document promotes your company to potential candidates and creates a strategic roadmap for hiring and retention success.

Writing this impactful job description is a critical step in the recruitment process, however, it is too often considered an admin task that is rushed, copied from other roles found online, or relegated to ChatGPT so it can be done quickly and posted on external or internal job boards.

Yes, you can use AI to start the foundation of the requirements, however, you’ll have to customize and tailor it so it is unique to your company, conveys your voice, and your message,  builds trust, AND supports your employer Brand.  Otherwise, your role (and company) will sound like hundreds of others on the web and will get lost in the noise of other job posts out there.

A good job description should demonstrate what success can look like for a candidate, clarify potential, and growth opportunities, list the company values, perks, and your company’s unique offerings.

Unfortunately, many job descriptions read like a laundry list of wants and todos, and rarely differentiate between what is a MUST HAVE. Many job descriptions focus only on what the company needs and neglect highlighting what a candidate may want.

If the salary is not aligned with the years of experience you are asking for, determine whether you can offer better benefits, sign-on bonuses, or early reviews to boost the overall compensation package.  Or if the salary parameters are not aligned, consider if you really need someone with all the skills listed, or can you hire someone more junior who may not have that experience and whom you can teach, mentor, and groom?

Clarifying these parameters helps define the expectations, goals, and success metrics for any job opening. In fact, without these, you may elongate the hiring process by sifting through unqualified applicants and waste your and your team’s most valuable asset, your time!

Once you are clear about the must-have skills that are needed, you can build a process or create a toolkit to evaluate the applications that are being submitted or the interviews you are conducting.

Geoff Smart, the author of the book WHO, suggests creating a Scorecard and details his process for it in the book.

You and your team can determine and rank the hard and soft skills you are looking for and plan how you’ll move an applicant through the hiring process.

Regardless of the hiring framework you use, the recruitment tools you have, or the assessments you may have in place, these preparation steps will help determine the years of experience you need and the seniority level the role requires and that will directly correlate to the salary and the length of time it may take to find the right candidate.

Only you can decide what qualities and experiences are a must-have, what you are willing to teach on the job, or when to extend an interview or reject an application.

Let’s do a Pulse Check

  • How do you define and differentiate your company to applicants?
  • How do you differentiate between the must-haves vs. the nice-to-have skills & qualifications, as well as hard and soft skills?
  • How do you define what success looks like and what it offers a candidate?
  • How realistic are the must-haves in the job?


Watch the previous episodes in this series:

Episode 0: Introduction

Episode 1: Transforming Your Hiring Mindset




Episode 1: Transforming Your Hiring Mindset

Monday, September 25th, 2023|

In his book” The Speed of Trust” Stephen R. Covey says “Trust is the one thing that changes everything.”

In Hiring, building trusted relationships starts before the recruitment and interviewing phases begin.

It starts with the preparation you do before you set out to hire that builds trust sets the stage for WHY a candidate chooses your company instead of a competitor’s.

In any hiring climate, You want to be a candidate’s First choice and highlight WHY joining your company is a good career move for them.

Not only are YOU interviewing a potential candidate, THEY are also interviewing YOUR firm, and in that vain they are reviewing YOU, and checking out your company’s reputation.

It is no longer a one-way responsibility on the candidate’s shoulders to promote their skills,  YOU have to do the same.

What prospective candidates learn about your firm via your digital presence helps establish your employer brand and builds trust between your company and their decision to apply. Clarifying your purpose, identifying your values, and highlighting your culture, and being a subject matter expert in your industry builds trust with applicants.

Building trust includes the communication you have with them from the time they apply, throughout the interview phase to the final step of an offer.

Trust is also built (or broken) in how you lead, how you give feedback, how you interview, and how you,= as a leader, show up.

I am going to ask you more questions to get you thinking about “why”…..

You don’t need to have the answers now….this is to transform the hiring mindset.  There is a worksheet in the resources section to work on this when you are ready.

Trust is a critical component here and ties right into why you are hiring now:

Why is this role open?

  • Is it because of growth?
  • Or is it because of attrition?

If it’s because of growth:
Are you hiring because your workload is too much and your team is already tapped?

  • Or is your team missing key skillsets to address the new work?
  • Is it to offload some of the things that you are doing yourself that you just don’t want to be doing anymore?
  • Is there an influx of projects, however, you don’t have enough staff to be able to handle them, or are deadlines being missed or opportunities being lost?

However, if it’s for attrition:

  • Did an employee leave?
  • Or did you let somebody go?

These are very different questions to ponder and the answers may shed light on a deeper issue to address with the next hire:

If somebody left:

  • Why did they leave?
  • Was there a cultural nuance that you need to be aware of?
  • A team dynamic or leadership issue to be aware of?
    Was it because of salary/benefits?
  • Did they leave for a better opportunity?  What does that mean? And how can you message and build trust that they can grow and flourish right here and that your workplace is that better opportunity?

Or did you let somebody go?

  • Why was that?
  • What was missing in how they did their job?
  • What was missing in their technical or communication skills?

Contemplating these questions will help you determine what your team needs now, who will be the right candidate, and how your employer brand is perceived… then start building trust with your messaging as you embark on the hiring journey.

Let’s do a Pulse Check

  • What does your employer brand convey?
  • Can an applicant get a sense of your culture from your digital presence?
  • How is trust established via your online communication?

What the previous episodes in this series:


Hybrid Onboarding Best Practices

Friday, July 21st, 2023|

Reposting this onboarding graphic from a while back as it is even more relevant today as we navigate the remote and hybrid workforce.

As managers, we have to create a sense of culture, belonging, and teamwork amongst teams who may not be physically together in one place. Onboarding, whether remote or in-person, is essential to the development of empowered, dedicated, and productive teams.

A successful onboarding process allows for greater employee retention and engagement.  Here are some things to try and connect your remote and onsite teams with each other for a successful hybrid experience.

Utilize the technology that is already widely available:

Collaboration technology such as monday.com or Trello allows for teams to connect and collaborate successfully.  Zoom and Teams allow us to stay connected and to see each other.  Since 55% of communication is non-verbal, being able to see one another on video conferences allows for better connection.

Keep the communication going:

Communication is key to onboarding success, especially when managing employees remotely. Create trust and encourage your new hire to give feedback, voice concerns, and ask questions. It is important to set clear expectations, give constructive feedback and keep the lines of communication open.

Over-communication is essential when working with a dispersed team. Planning daily huddles and video meetings, using Slack, or other messaging tools keeps the lines of communication open.

Document your SOPs  Build a library of your standard operating procedures so that new hires (and the rest of the team for that matter) can easily access this info.  This will save you and other managers from responding to the same questions over and over, as well as set the standards needed for the team to adhere to.  Tools such as Loom and Trainual build a knowledge bank of best practices and training.

Remote does not have to mean impersonal: Working from home can feel lonely or disconnected, you make new hires feel as welcome as if they were walking into your office on their first day. Sending a welcome gift from Snackmagic or the Goodgrocer, reach out on their first day with a welcome message, schedule a Zoom team lunch with the whole team to provide a genuine introduction, and create a positive employee experience.

Keep up the team spirit:  Working solo from our homes does not mean we have to be in a silo. Create a cohesive work remote environment to enhance your company culture by having group social Zoom gatherings.  Gatherings such as online cooking events, painting classes, or planning for a virtual scavenger hunt helps builds teams connect, build trust, and grow engagement.

Onboarding is much more than an orientation, it helps assimilate new hires into their work environment and culture. It is important to create an ongoing onboarding process that promotes greater efficiency and employee retention.

Continuing to Inspire Hiring

Thursday, June 17th, 2021|

When the pandemic hit, many of our marketing and design clients were impacted—projects were canceled, deadlines were pushed out and jobs went on hold…which meant, many of the amazing creatives, copywriters, designers, and marketers we work with, stopped working.

These challenging times brought out our entrepreneurial thinking, and to help in the best way we could, we launched InspiringHiring.com as a free portal for impacted creatives to post their resumes and get hired. While it may seem odd that a recruitment firm would open up its resumes for others to see and connect without any strings attached, we decided to do it anyway.

We were determined to inspire the hiring of the amazing talent we believe in, even if we weren’t directly involved.

Now on the eve of the first anniversary of this launch, we continue to help our creative community find jobs. If you are looking to hire, look here and reach out directly to the talent you see listed.   And, if you aren’t able to find the exact candidate you are looking for, or need help with recruitment, then contact our Artisan Creative team.

If you are a candidate looking for a job, please look at our open jobs page, or post your resume here.

Together we can re-build a more creative world as we put the pandemic behind us.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 586th issue of our weekly a.blog.

3 Questions to Consider When Hiring a Designer

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021|

In the twenty-five years of recruiting creative and marketing talent at Artisan Creative, one question often asked by potential clients is “how much does it cost to hire a designer”? Our answer is, “it depends”. And it truly does depend. It depends on what your core objectives are, on what problem your designer is going to solve, and what your current team’s capabilities are.

Below are three questions to ask yourself before starting your hiring process.

Conceptual or Executional (or both)?

Are you hiring someone to think, be conceptual, come up with ideas, be iterative, push the creative envelope, and create the big picture vision for your project or brand?

If the design direction for your project is already set, do you have the big picture vision and brand parameters in place and now need someone to execute on that idea and bring it to life?

Seniority level?

Will your designer communicate with or oversee vendors and team members? Will they directly interact with senior leadership in your organization? Do you need them to help establish guidelines, best practices, processes? Are you looking for someone with leadership experience?

Some parameters to keep in mind are whether you need someone who can pitch and present to clients. Do you need someone who is going to follow established guidelines and report to a senior manager?

The salary or hourly rate for each of these functions will vary, so as you plan your project budget consider whether a senior-level talent, mid-level, or junior-level talent is right for your team and needs.

Specialist or Generalist

Do you need someone who can do a little bit of everything, or do you need a designer with a core specialty and focus?

A generalist has a vast knowledge of a variety of programs. From print to digital, to illustrations, motion…  they may be able to do it all. They may favor one over the other, or they may truly love the diversity and broad variety of projects that test their skills.

A specialist has a core focus. Although they can have a wider breadth of knowledge, they have chosen a focus of concentration for their craft. They may have higher education or many years of experience in their chosen field. They may specialize in User Experience design, or Illustration, or Motion design for example.

Depending on your business offerings, you may need a designer who is narrow and deep in their expertise, while others may need someone who has a wider breadth of experience. Who do you need for your business, what’s the best fit right now?

Be sure to add qualifying questions in your interview process to help determine the right fit.

If you don’t have the time or the support to recruit internally, the Artisan Creative team already has these and a depth of other qualifying questions we ask in our interview process for candidate qualification.  Let us know how we can help.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 581st issue of our weekly a.blog.

10 Tips for Building a Freelance Business

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020|

At Artisan Creative, we work closely with our freelance talent to help them create success in the creative, marketing, and digital fields and best market their services to maintain an on-going freelance business.  Especially, during the current state of the economy, freelancing can provide a needed respite in between interviews and job searches. Below are 10 tips to help launch or enhance your freelance business.

  1. Update your Linkedin presence and ensure hiring managers know you are open to new freelance and full-time opportunities. Focus your expertise, use SEO keywords, and ask for endorsements.
  2. View your freelancing as a business. Revisit your resume or website to review all clients and brands served, list all new accomplishments, update software proficiencies, and highlight your client and/or project management skills.
  3. Create your Portfolio. Be sure to update your most recent work, and present your best pieces first. Your design samples should be representative of the type of work you like to do, as well as showcase your range of skills.  It must be well-organized with good UI, simple navigation, and include a description of the project and your role. If you are unable to build a portfolio, use some of the great free tools such as Krop or Behance.
  4. Represent your Brand. Let your personal style shine through your presentation and create a consistent thread via the color palette, font, and imagery on your portfolio, resume, and social media assets.
  5. Be a Subject Matter Expert. Join an online discussion, share articles, write blogs, become engage on Twitter.  If you have the bandwidth, create your own blog or podcast, guest blog, or write articles to industry publications.  These tools enable you to get your name and profile in front of a larger group of people to help establish your credibility and brand.
  6. Volunteer. Volunteering for non-profits is a way to give back to an organization that can benefit from your services. All will help improve your portfolio/skillset and offer built-in opportunities to network as well.
  7. Build your Network – In-person networking may be on pause currently due to the pandemic, however greater opportunities exist online.  Join existing social media groups and discussions, and attend online industry events and expand your circle of like-minded creatives who can become collaborators on projects or be a great source for referrals.
  8. Get Listed. Create your freelance business pages. Create profiles on directories, portfolio & resume portals as well as freelance portals where you can list your work and advertise your services.
  9. Work with Recruiters.  Recruitment agencies have access to opportunities that are not listed on job boards. This expands your marketing efforts for free by enlisting teams of connected specialists who also benefit from you getting work.
  10. Perfect your pitch. As a freelancer, everyone you meet may be a potential client (or knows someone who could be a client). Work on your presentation and perfect your elevator pitch.  Representing yourself professionally will speak volumes about your abilities, so don’t be shy about sharing how can be a great freelance resource.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 573rd issue of our a.blog.

Rise of AR & VR in Recruitment

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019|

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and other emerging exponential technologies have the potential to change the ways we work together and do business. As they become permanent fixtures in our technological landscape, these new tools will enhance and influence the reality of how managers and recruiters hire, train, and build teams.

VR, AR and the like will create exciting possibilities in recruitment, for those who know how to best make use of them.

Recruitment Made Immersively

Job interviews, particularly for offsite or virtual positions, will increasingly be conducted using AR and VR. Such interview experiences can be more exciting and engaging for candidates than a standard skills assessment or phone screen. They can also allow recruiters to better predict which candidates possess the right “soft skills” and intangible qualities that might make them the ideal match for a position.

VR experiences, as part of a well-rounded interview process, can help determine how different candidates may react to real-life on-the-job challenges, or gauge their comfort level in difficult situations.

Exciting interactive experiences can provide a huge advantage at job fairs, trade shows, and in other highly stimulating environments where candidates’ attention comes at a premium. VR and AR can also be used to stage immersive virtual office tours, so candidates can get vivid, three-dimensional awareness of what it’s actually like to work in the employer’s environment.


When hiring for positions in web development, engineering, marketing, and other fields requiring some tech savvy and a level of comfort in the digital realm, some businesses and hiring managers are experimenting with cutting-edge recruiting and application practices. A few are turning their hiring processes into games. The applications of AR, VR, and other immersive technologies in gamified recruiting and onboarding could set off a wave of HR creativity and ingenuity.

In one high-profile example, the auto company Jaguar Land Rover joined forces with the experimental pop group Gorillaz on a recruiting app. This had some success at finding fresh engineering talent and the publicity doesn’t hurt, either! This savvy stunt could prove to be a watershed moment in technical and creative recruiting.

Mobile Recruiting

Nine out of ten job hunters now make use of mobile devices during the course of a job search. It is imperative that hiring managers and recruiters provide first-rate mobile experiences to draw in the best talent.

For mobile recruiting, AR is particularly promising. Imagine being able to engage with potential candidates as they walk past your offices, or test their aptitude for crucial tasks as they tour your facilities.

Assessments and Training

AR and VR can also be of use during onboarding and training and well beyond. They can accelerate a new hire’s acclimation to new responsibilities, help teach and test specialized skills, and keep your team safe and well-informed on the job.

AR, VR, and their technological cousins are already becoming parts of the fabric of how we live, work, communicate, and collaborate. Used to their full potential, they can streamline your management procedures and help you take your team to the next level.

At Artisan Creative, we’ve seen the workplace change in myriad ways, and we’ve seen some patterns stay consistent. Contact us today to discover what exciting opportunities are in store for your team, your business, and your world.