Artisan Blog

7 Tips for Researching a Company

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

 


 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 402nd  issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

Do you have an upcoming interview that you need to prepare for? Researching a company ahead of time gives you valuable insight for asking key questions and making an informed decision about the role and company.

 

Here are 7 tips for researching a company in preparation for an interview:

Website: This may seem obvious, but starting with the company’s website to find out history, focus, leadership philosophy, products and customer base are key to getting familiar with the basics. This will show you care enough about the role to prepare.

News and Recent Events: Has there been a recent merger, senior hire or product release? When appropriate, reference it during the interview to show the interviewer you are familiar with the company and product offerings. It will show you are a thorough and detail-oriented candidate.

Company Blog and Social Pages: Blogs provide great information about a company’s culture. What do they blog about? Is their company voice casual or corporate? Understanding culture and brand is crucial to succeeding in an interview. It will show you are aligned with the company culture.

Team: Perusing your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile is a must-do. Review where they’ve worked or schools they’ve attended. Do you have any connections in common? What are their interests and hobbies? Do you know any other employees in the company? Try to find some common ground. This will give you a better chance of connecting during your interview.

Current Hires: Is the company hiring multiple roles or filling a replacement position? Take a look at other open positions. This will give you insight about the company’s growth and focus.

Inside Info: Take a look at Glassdoor to read company reviews and discover information about a company’s hiring process, employee responsibilities and employee reviews. This will give you additional feedback from present and former employees.

Arrive Early: When it comes to interview day, arrive 10-15 minutes early so you have an opportunity to sit and wait in the lobby and get a good feel for culture and office environment. This will give you an opportunity to interact with some of the other team members and see the culture in action.

Are there any other research tips you follow before an interview? Don’t forget to read the rest of our interview advice before your next interview.

 

 



Play to Your Strengths

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

We hope you enjoy the 401st issue of our weekly a.blog.

In our 20 years of running a successful creative staffing agency, we’ve met some companies who spend a lot of time and money focusing on an employee’s weakness and helping them overcome those weaknesses through ongoing training.

At Artisan Creative, we decided to focus on our team’s strengths instead. We believe the best way to keep team members engaged and productive is to develop and invest in their individual strengths. By consistently playing to everyone’s natural talents, our team has become better at collaborating and communicating with our clients and talent.

This year we selected StrengthsFinder to create a common platform to build and communicate from. Each team member first took the on-line test and with the help of a certified coach, we reviewed the finer details during an in-person session to help find and align the collective strengths of the team.

This created an open line of communication within our A. Team and has enabled us to better understand ourselves, our behaviors and reactions to situations.

Here are a few pointers from StrengthsFinder that we now use on an ongoing basis:

1. Know your own strengths.

To best develop other people’s strengths, we must first understand our own. Only then can we help our team develop theirs. This applies equally to the candidates we screen and help throughout their careers.

We each have our own unique strengths and no two people are identical — and everyone is at their best when there is a focus on a strengths-based approach to working.

This practice fosters an environment where people feel comfortable discussing their strengths authentically. It also helps recognize team communication, natural strengths and how to maximize those strengths.

2. Understanding one's own strengths gradually leads to effective use of those strengths in the workplace. 

We can help our team understand and utilize their strengths in internal communications with other members and external communication with vendors, talent and clients.

By building on one another's strengths and accepting and accommodating differences, teams gain a keen awareness of how their strengths support their peers.

3. Help people who aren't using their strengths.

When people don't apply their strengths to a task or revert to focusing on their weaknesses instead, we can redirect attention to what they do best naturally to create their best pathway for success.

4. Harmonize team strengths.

Any team can be positioned for success when team members understand and leverage one another's strengths. We can further optimize groups by bringing together teams with complementary strengths to balance and improve performance.

5. Keep strengths top of mind.

At Artisan, we review and recap instances where a strength was beneficial in a given situation: For example, how did someone’s strategic talent provide input for a new marketing initiative, or how another team member’s “developer” talent helped one of our talent in their career path.

Understanding one another’s natural strength has enabled us to stay connected, communicative and collaborative.

What strengths do you focus on?

 



Body Language - What Does It Say?

Wednesday, November 02, 2016


The expression “actions speak louder than words” is often true when it comes to interviewing. Body language expert Amy Cuddy states in her TedTalk “our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” So what does this mean when you’re going for that all-important job interview?

Interviewees must walk a fine line during job interviews. How do you convey confidence, without gloating; friendly but not overbearing; talented but not arrogant?

What are you revealing with your body language and how can you make sure your messaging is what you want it to be? Using a few simple tricks and tips can impact the outcome of your interview and help forge relationships.

Direct “face” contact: We’re often told that direct eye contact is key to building relationships and showing that you’re actively engaged. Research shows that this is not accurate. Our eyes instinctively wander around a face, jumping between a person’s eyes and mouth. Do what comes naturally to you and don’t get hung up about staring at your interviewer.

Be expressive: Sitting on your hands or staying too still can be a sign of nervousness or insecurity. Use your hands and arms to express yourself. Showing your palms can be interpreted as a sign of engagement and honesty, too. However, watch the over-gesturing.

Good posture: There are few things more unnerving than interviewing someone with bad posture (see also: limp handshakes). Sit upright in your chair, but make sure you’re comfortable and not too rigid. Lean in every now and then to show that you are engaged, but remember to be mindful of your interviewer’s personal space.

Mirroring: You may be familiar with mirroring and how it shows that someone is subconsciously interested in you if they begin mirroring your body language. This works in reverse, too. Mirroring your interviewer can help create a sense of ease and maintain rapport.

You and your interviewer are relaying more information to one another non-verbally than verbally. If you are paying attention, you can understand the information being shared and influence the information in your responses.

Do you have an upcoming interview? Check out our interview advice on the Artisan Creative website.


Working with a Recruiter in Your Job Search — Why it's a Good Decision

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

 


 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years of creative staffing & recruiting. Over the years we've learned a lot and will share our experiences with you in our 20/20 series: 20 blogs celebrating 20 years of creative recruiting!Enjoy!

In this day of fast-paced applicant tracking systems and online job submission portals, getting feedback about your qualifications, or input on the job is often a challenge. Frankly,  it’s hard to know if anyone has even had a chance to review your submission.

As the automated world of online resume portals has become frustrating for many, you may want to consider working with a recruiter in your job search.

Below are 8 reasons why working with a recruiter is a good idea in your job search:

 

  1. A recruiter is a consultant acting on your behalf. They are as committed to finding you that perfect new role as you are. They are pro-actively advocating for you and thinking of new opportunities.
  2. A recruiter often understands the company culture and processes that would be much harder to find out on your own. Your own research can only go so far. Recruiters often provide details not listed on job descriptions.
  3. A recruiter can negotiate salary and benefits on your behalf, based on the parameters you have shared. They are also knowledgeable about a client or a specific role’s salary range and benefits offering so they can remove the guess work.
  4. When recruiters are engaged on a candidate search, resumes from recruiters go to the top of the pile (assuming your recruiter has a good relationship with the client).
  5. An extra set of professional eyes on your resume or portfolio is incredibly important (especially, when there are employment gaps or just to eliminate those typos). They can consult on needed edits or changes.
  6. A recruiter has access to opportunities not listed on job boards.
  7. Your recruiter can help you prepare for the interview when the time comes.
  8. A recruiter with a great reputation for representing outstanding talent adds value to your brand.

 

Having a recruiter on your team can be the difference between landing the perfect role and sitting home by yourself wishing for that great job. Consider signing up with a recruitment agency who places people in your area of expertise. You’ll be glad you did!

If you are looking for a role in the creative or marketing area, see how Artisan Creative can help.



20 Sample Interview Questions

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

 

 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years of creative staffing & recruiting in California. Over the years we've learned a lot and will share our experiences with you in our 20/20 series:  

 

20 blogs celebrating 20 years of creative recruiting!  Enjoy.

 

You’ve found the perfect job, sent your resume to the company and have an interview scheduled. Are you truly ready for the next steps?


As this is an opportunity for both you and the hiring manager to interview each other, it’s best to come prepared with questions that help you learn more about the company and the role for which you are interviewing.


We recommend that you prepare by reading our blog on the six things to do during an interview. We have also included 20 sample questions below to help you gain clarity on the role and the company.  Pick a few questions that resonate with you, and integrate these into your interview.


Questions about the Role / Position / Team


1. How would you describe the work environment?

2. Can you describe a typical day?

3. Can you share more about the team I would be working with?

4. How do you envision this department in 6 months / 1 year / long-term?

5. How large is the department (how many designers, marketers, etc.)?

6. What is the org chart for the department?

7. What have been some of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?

8. What has been your personal favorite project here?


Questions about the Company Culture / History


9.   Can you share more about your company culture?

10. Can you share more about the company history and/or clients?

11. What is the leadership philosophy here?

12. How do you envision the company in 3-5 years?

13. What is your onboarding process?


Questions about Skills / Qualification


14. What are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?

15. What  training or continued education programs are offered?

16. What metrics for success do you implement?

17. How do I compare with the other candidates you’ve interviewed for this role?

18. What specific experience do I have that made you feel I was a good fit for this position?

19. Are there any challenges you foresee in this role?


And our favorite question:


20. Is there anything you feel is missing from my experience or resume that I may be able to expand on?


This is your final chance to present yourself in the moment and iron out any concerns the interviewer may have about your experience.


Do you have any go-to interview questions you like to ask? How do you prepare for your interviews? Share your thoughts with us on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter.




20 Things to do at Your Next Job Fair

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

 

 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years of recruiting and being part of the Los Angeles creative community this year. In this time we have learned a thing or two that we’d like to share with you in the first blog of our 20/20 series.  20 blogs celebrating 20 years of creative recruiting!  Enjoy.


Do you find job fairs are a whirlwind of elevator pitches and business cards? You’ve given your pitch to an employer, now what? We’ve put together a checklist to guide you and ensure you get the best out of the day.


This Saturday, Artisan Creative will be joining TechJobsLA for a job fair aimed at creatives and developers. We have sponsored and participated in this event for the past several years and look forward to seeing you there.


411 on TechJobsLA


TechJobsLA is a specialized job fair aimed at designers and developers including a series of incredible workshops and speakers.  This year Artisan Creative’s founder, Jamie Douraghy will be holding a workshop on Discovering your Why.  We all know what we do, and how we do it...do we know why we do what we do?  Come join us.


TechJobsLA is an opportunity to meet recruiters, hiring managers, startups and companies as well as a chance to network and learn new skills. This year’s event will have a dedicated digital entertainment panel. They’ll be discussing trends and answering questions. Artisan Creative founder, Jamie Douraghy will be holding a Discover Your Why Workshop.


Here are 20 tips to prepare for this and any future job fair:


BEFORE:

  1. Modify your resume so you have tailored versions to suit specific industries and companies.

  2. Print out your resume. Make a lot of copies, and we mean a lot! Keep them in a folder.

  3. Make a one-sheet of your best projects to go with your resume.

  4. Research beforehand to see what companies will be there.

  5. Dress well. Dress as if you’re going for an interview. We’re in the creative industry -- suited and booted isn’t always necessary, but do dress well.

  6. Be early.  Get there early so you can mingle before the crowds come in

  7. Volunteer.  Where possible volunteer to help out during the day.  You’ll get a first chance to meet the exhibitors, have one one one conversations, and make an impression.


DURING:

  1. Skill match. Each booth has a focus. If a booth doesn’t match your skills thank them and move onto the next one.

  2. Open jobs. At each table, ask about their open jobs and see if there’s anything that’s a match for you. This is a perfect opportunity for face-to-face time with hiring managers and recruiters.

  3. Collect business cards to keep track of who you have met. If you work in design, make sure your card is unique. At the last TechJobsLA, Artisan Creative received a scratch and sniff card! Loved it! How’s that for making an impression?

  4. Have your elevator pitch! Don’t be vague when you’re asked: “What is it that you do?” Give a concise and clear answer e.g. “I’m a visual designer specializing in entertainment and technology. I’ve worked with XYZ and now I’m looking for a senior position.” It’s much more valuable to both you and the employer.  

  5. Attend workshops. What you can learn from workshops can be invaluable to your personal and professional development.  

  6. Ask questions of the speakers and companies - it’s an easy way to stand out.

  7. Take a notebook to jot down any job leads and next steps.

  8. Handshakes & Eye contact. Be firm. Make a connection.

  9. Phone usage to be kept to a minimum. Emails and Instagram will have to wait.

  10. Be friendly.   Talk to the other attendees.  You never know where your next job lead can come from.


AFTER:

  1. Follow-up b y emailing a copy of your resume and thanking them for their time.

  2. Jobs Alerts.   Sign up for RSS feeds and job alerts of companies you met.

  3. Reflect on the day and what you did well.


Are you attending this Saturday's TechJobsLA at BLANKSPACES DTLA? Come and have a chat with us at our table.  Please review our open jobs page ahead of time, and follow us on social for tips on interviewing, resumes and job search best practices.   


How to Get The Most Out of Working From a Coffee Shop

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

One of the joys of freelancing or working remotely is not having to work inside a typical office setting. While you may have an office that serves as your home base, working from anywhere means you get to be one of those folks working in a coffee shop in the middle of the afternoon. Being productive and focused in a public setting takes skill, though. We are after all sharing the space with others.


Take these tips with you the next time you set up shop in your favorite brewhouse.


Keep your voice low. If you’ve got a meeting or have to take a call, step outside, or use your headphones to hold the conversation and speak quietly. Long, loud or extended cell phone conversations about a client, the job, money or the deadline aren’t fun for anyone sitting near you--and can be disruptive to those around you.


Be a good guest.  Buying one cup of coffee for several hours of table usage will not make you endearing to the staff. If you’re going to be showing up there more often, get in the good graces of baristas by learning their names and building a connection. If you plan on staying awhile, buy a scone or a snack! And tip generously for their use of Wi-Fi.


Invest in noise-canceling headphones. Coffee shops often play loud music that you may or may not want to hear, especially if you’re trying to concentrate. Noise-canceling headphones will allow you to listen in on meetings or block out noise without the distraction of the coffee shop noise. Plus, what if you’d rather listen to your own music that day?


Share. Is your laptop charged? Let someone else use the outlet. Are you taking up an entire table with your work? Move it over and let someone else sit there. Be respectful of your surroundings and fellow co-workers and karma will pay off.


Focus.  Don’t get distracted trying to strike up a conversation or make friends a few chairs over. Be friendly, however you’re there to get to work! It’s easy to get side tracked every time someone walks in.  Sit with your back to the door or face the wall. You’ll be mad at yourself later if you miss that deadline.


Where is your favorite local hangout and what are your tips for working in a coffee shop?


Resume Refresh: What to Keep Versus What to Change

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


What has been the response rate to your resume submission?

If you are not getting the responses you had hope for you may want review your resume. Here are some steps you can take to improve your resume and make an impact without starting from scratch.

Use SEO and Keywords. Some applicant tracking systems and resume management systems use keywords to highlight submissions. Make sure your resume is SEO friendly and utilizes keywords that align with the role you are applying for.

Focus on ROI. Paint a picture of what each job you’ve had is like and what you achieved while there. How did you make an impact? Look through each position and find a way to list your accomplishments and impacted the team’s bottom line and productivity.For example if you designed a logo, you “developed and created a new logo that led to a 30% increase in conversions to their website”.

Be Concise. Use bullet points or easy-to-read sentences. Hiring managers and recruiters often have little time to skim through hundreds of resumes for each job they are recruiting--make your accomplishments stand out. Focus on what strengthens your candidacy and highlight those.

Use a common font. Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman are all easy to read. Stick with these simpler fonts instead of fancy ones. Pay special attention to the requirements of the applicant tracking systems and the readability of your resume. The exception to this is if you’re a designer, in which case you’ll want to make sure your resume showcases your design skills. Want to further improve readability? Increase the line spacing so there’s more white space.

Delete objectives. Those statements at the top of your resume are unnecessary and waste valuable space. Instead of stating what you want in your resume, move it to your cover letter, where you can explain in more detail what you’re looking for. Consider adding in more description about your previous positions instead. Did you just help your manager reach quarterly goals, or did you create some kind of system to help them do that better?

In short, keep your resume creative, relevant, and results-based. What are your resume refresh tips?


Job Interview Questions Designed to Make You Think

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


Job interviews can be anxiety-inducing, especially if you really want the job. Your resume and cover letter were good enough to land the interview, but meeting face-to-face (or via Skype or Google Hangouts) is a whole other story. And nowadays, it’s not enough to ask the standard interview questions. In fact, many top companies ask their potential candidates an array of surprising and unfamiliar questions to help get your creative juices flowing and see how you respond on the fly to thinking analytically and developing solutions. It’s a chance for you to loosen up, relax, and show the interviewer the real you.

We’ve put together a list of real-life interview questions from top companies around the world courtesy of Glassdoor and beyond, from companies including Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Intel, and Trader Joe’s. Try practicing answers to questions like these, and see what fun answers you come up with on your own!

  • If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Choose a city and estimate how many piano tuners operate a business there.
  • If you could be remembered for one sentence, what would it be?
  • Why are manhole covers round?
  • Design an evacuation plan for this building.
  • How many Big Macs does McDonald’s sell each year in the U.S.?
  • 25 racehorses, no stopwatch. 5 tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races.
  • How much do you charge to wash every window in Seattle?
  • If I was talking to your best friend, what is the one thing they would you say you need to work on?
  • How many children are born every day?
  • If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?
  • How would you breakdown the cost of this pen?
  • If you have 2 eggs, and you want to figure out what’s the highest floor from which you can drop the egg without breaking it, how would you do it? What’s the optimal solution?
  • How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?
  • Design a spice rack for the blind.
  • What do you think of garden gnomes?
  • You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Image by Meilun.

Artisan Creative is celebrating our 20th year staffing and recruiting Creative, Digital and Marketing roles. Please visit Roles We Place for a complete listing of our expertise.

Click here if you are looking to hire. Click here if you are looking for work.

For information on hiring best practices, interview tips and industry news, please join our social networks on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.


Using the "Active Voice" in Your Resume

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

resume-active-voice

Using the passive voice -- where the subject is acted upon by something else -- is not impactful on a resume. Yet it happens all the time!

While we may express ourselves daily using the passive voice, the problem with using it on a resume is that it downplays your accomplishments. You are responsible for your own career, so why make it sound like you stood on the sidelines and watched it happen when you were directly involved? You must use the active voice in order to take responsibility for your actions and prove you get results.

Typically, you don’t use “I” on a resume, so how can you tweak statements to show your active voice? Start each bullet point with an action verb that connects your work to what goals you accomplished. For example:
  • Increased Twitter engagement by six percent
  • Created wireframes for new company website
  • Implemented new design standards for the department
  • Hired new interns as part of creative team
  • Managed copywriting calendar
By phrasing each achievement in the active voice, it makes your involvement and accomplishment clear and easy to understand for the hiring manager. You didn’t experience an increase in social media engagement -- you led the growth. That distinction is the thing that can set you apart. Of course, you should include “my or our team” or something similar when it applies to a group effort, however the active voice lets you take credit for your best work.

Remember, your resume has a very finite amount of real estate, yet limitations can breed creativity!

Ignore the passive voice and use action verbs that will define your specific and unique skills and experiences.

Looking for a new freelance or full-time job? Send us your resume. We'll help you land the next gig!



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