WE’RE A CREATIVE, INTERACTIVE & MARKETING TALENT RESOURCE

What recruiters want you to know

Do you ever feel like applying for full-time jobs is a full-time job in itself? You know the drill – shotgun your resume out to 50-100 online postings. Maybe you even read some of the descriptions. If lightning strikes, you’ll snag 2-3 HR phone interviews. With any luck, you may even hear back from one of them within a month, but maybe not, and that’s what you’re used to.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you had someone in your corner who really took the time to get to know you? Who brought relevant jobs to your attention and made sure that your resume was on the right hiring manager’s desk at the right time?

That’s where we come in!

The creative consultants at smartdept recruit exclusively on creative roles in Chicago, Seattle and Grand Rapids. Meeting with the right recruiter can be one of the most rewarding and beneficial relationships you make in your career.

How can you make the most of the relationship?

  • Come prepared with your resume and portfolio, and be open to suggestions. Our recruiters have seen it all. They are experts in the creative space – and they know what their clients are looking for. If they have a suggestion on how to better your digital portfolio or resume, take it! If the smartie you meet with, doesn’t have much feedback on your resume, ask for it!
  • Be transparent and honest, always. We promise to be sincere and match you with not just any role, but the right role. In return, if you have other irons in the fire, if contracts aren’t what you’re comfortable with, we need to know! We build relationships with people and it’s our expertise. It is vital that we keep both our clients and our candidates on the same page.
  • Explain when you’re feeling unsure. There are a lot of murky waters to navigate here, and we’re here to help. Are you looking at multiple offers? Great! Talking out all of the options with your recruiters is the best way to weigh the pros and cons of each opportunity.

What can you expect when you meet with a smartie?

  • We will never force a job onto a candidate.
  • Honest and valuable insight into job opportunities – if we have something that sounds great to you, but we know from our relationship that it isn’t the best fit whether that means the culture, growth trajectory, or work style isn’t aligning – we are going to be honest with you.
  • Consistent communication and a smooth timeline (most of the time) – unlike those online applications you’re applying to day after day, we are going to keep you up to speed. If you’ve been disqualified from the role, we don’t leave you hanging. And if we are waiting on our client to review your application, you will know. We do our best to keep the process as seamless and hassle-free as possible.

So what do our services cost you, the job seeker? Nothing.

It will require your time, your engagement and a little bit of trust. smartdept. inc. is a free resource to our job seeking candidates. Now what are you waiting for – get in touch with a real-life smartie today!

Find a job in Chicago >
Find a job in Grand Rapids >
Find a job in Seattle >

 

from the desk of Hannah Staal, Creative Consultant in Grand Rapids

The Zombie

from the desk of smartdept. inc. Principal, Eric Pairitz

1. The Zombie

Okay, it’s true, zombies are as popular as ever. Movies, shows, conventions about movies and shows — it goes on and on. Hey, for the purpose of entertainment, I love them too. But there’s one place that zombies are not welcome (anyone?). That’s right. In an interview. In this context, a “zombie” refers to a person who continually gives one-word answers and generally refuses to engage in a “conversation” during the interview.

There are many elements involved in successfully navigating the interview process. The most obvious is having the exact skill set the prospective employer is seeking. But perhaps the second most obvious is communication — being able to talk through a solution you’re offering in your portfolio, for example. Or, your approach to a difficult situation you encountered at another job and how you worked through it. Clear, concise communication can leave a prospective employer impressed and can sometimes be a difference maker if other elements of your interview come up short.

Besides, think of all the money you’ll save not having to buy zombie make-up! All by simply being conversational with your approach to an interview.

 

Introducing our new blog series – Interview Don’ts

from the desk of smartdept. inc. Principal: Eric Pairitz

I would like to formally (or informally) introduce smartdept’s new blog series — cleverly entitled, Interview Don’ts. This eight-part series was created to help give potential candidates an edge by making light of a few “don’ts” that we occasionally see while interviewing.

Accompanying these short bits of useful knowledge are video performances depicting, in a (not so) real way, how these scenarios might play out.

In addition, I am pleased to introduce, The Not Ready For Bedtime Players, a small, but mighty group of performers who took the stage in these budget-busting depictions.

Stay tuned for the first installment tomorrow, and enjoy!

 

 

 

Corporate Culture Helps Determine Fit

From the desk of Seattle recruiter: Beth Miller

Corporate Culture. It’s the newest catchphrase for employers and job seekers alike. As the job market evens out, candidates are more concerned with work/life balance than finding a job they actually enjoy rather than just a number on a paycheck. Similarly, employers understand that happier, more engaged employees will stay longer and produce more, creating a shift toward culture fit and soft skills in many of the creative and marketing roles we’re staffing. I’ve experienced both sides of the culture equation – a great culture fit (thank you, smartdept. inc.), and a lousy one (we’ll be vague on the specifics). I’ve found a company with values that are similar to my own personal goals of professional growth and philanthropy, and I feel supported in my role.

But what does “culture” look like when you’re a freelancer? Here are a few things I like to keep in mind to gauge whether a candidate is a good long-term fit for a client.

First, take note of the physical space of the office you might be working in. Is it loud and bright, or mellow and dark? Is it an open area, or cubed? Is there music on or does everyone have ear-buds in? As much as skill set is a factor in determining whether or not a candidate is qualified for a position, it’s equally important to ensure a candidate can work in the physical space.

Second, ask process-focused questions. Having a firm understanding of how projects and tasks are managed, what the daily workflow looks like and understanding how your peers, managers and teams will interact is important. As a recruiter I do my best to set clear expectations at the beginning of any interaction with our candidates. Communication is key, and understanding how communication works within an organization can determine whether a candidate will be a good fit.

The final thing to keep in mind when assessing culture fit is whether the core values of an organization are similar to your own values. Employees come and go, and yes, corporate culture can (and probably should) evolve as there are advances in technology, organizational growth and new hires joining a company, but if you agree with the core values of an organization that’s a huge indicator that the role could be a long term fit.

Spending time thinking about culture fit, whether you’re a candidate or employer, is an important piece to the hiring puzzle.

– Beth

Job Tenure: A Millennial’s Perspective

To stay at my current job or not to stay, that is the question. Here are the facts:

-According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of January 2012, today’s average worker stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.6 years, a .2 increase from the median tenure two years earlier.

-According to the Future Workplace Multiple Generations @ Work survey, a whopping 91 percent of Millennials — those born between 1977 and 1997 — anticipate to stay at a job for less than three years. As Future Workplace Partner Jeanne Meister put it, “That means they (Millennials) would have 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their working lives!”

-According to the 2012 Candidate Behavior Study by CareerBuilder and Inavero, 81 percent of Millennials are either actively searching for new jobs or are open to new opportunities, regardless of their current employment status.

So, the notion out there is that Millennials are “job-hoppers.” I’ve heard it all: Millennials lack work ethic, we aren’t ready for “real” jobs, we’re spoiled, we don’t want to pay our dues… the list can go on and on.

Read the rest on recruiter.com!

Quote of the Day

“Ability may take you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”

~John Wooden

Behavioral Job Interviews

Behavioral based job interviews are based on learning how the interviewee acted in specific employment-related situations. The logic is that past behavior will predict future performance.  Here’s information on behavioral job interviews, including behavioral job interview questions, how to prepare for a behavioral interview, and techniques and strategies for acing a behavioral job interview.

What is a  behavioral job interview?

Candidates for employement often ask what the difference is between a regular job interview and a behavioral interview. There isn’t a difference in the actual format of the job interview. You will still meet with an interviewer and respond to interview questions. The difference is in the type of interview questions that will be asked.

Read the full article by Alison Doyle on about.com!

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

(about.com) – Some employers choose to prescreen job applicants over the phone before doing an in-person interview. If you’re selected for a phone interview, prepare for a phone interview just as carefully as you would for a regular interview.

Prepare for a Phone Interview Research the job and the company so you are prepared to discuss the company and your role if you were to be hired. Compile a list of answers to typical phone interview questions. In addition, have a list of questions ready to ask the interviewer.

Read the full article here!

Quote of the day

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.”

 ~Arnold Toynbee

Quote of the Day

“The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Revamp Your Resume

(Alison Doyle on About.com) – This is a good time of year, and you should do it at least annually, to check and revamp your resume. It’s important to take the time to write a resume that reflects why you’re a top tier candidate who should be selected for an interview. That means your position descriptions should be as quantified as possible – numbers, percentages, achievements – concrete evidence of what you have accomplished.

Read the full article here!

LinkedIn Reveals the 10 Most Overused Job-Hunter Buzzwords

(mashable.com) – LinkedIn has just posted the 10 most overused, tired and trite buzzwords that get slapped onto resumes and professional profiles around the U.S. and 11 other countries. According to our LinkedIn profiles, a great many of us tend to describe ourselves as motivated team players with extensive experience. Ironically, “innovative” is the second-most clichéd word found in LinkedIn profiles. You’d think we’d be able to be more innovative with our vocabularies, no?

Read full article here!

Debrief Yourself After a Job Interview

(Dave Johnson on bnet.com) – Statistics show that the average person has to weather a dozen interviews to get the job they want. All those meetings with HR and hiring managers aren’t just wasted effort, though — you can use the experiences to be better prepared for next time.

Specifically, The Wisdom Journal recommends that you thoroughly debrief yourself after each interview rejection. There are several key questions you should take the time to answer:

  • What did you learn from the interview?
  • Were you adequately prepared?
  • What could you have done or said better?
  • How can you be better prepared for the next interview?

Be honest, think about your performance objectively, and use your answers to improve your next interview. As Wisdom Journal points out:

Try to view your job candidacy from another perspective – the hiring manager’s. Would YOU hire yourself? Before you answer that – think about why you would hire yourself. Then make certain you mention those in your next interview. [via Lifehacker]

Freelance workers reshape companies and jobs

 Check out this very relevant article we found on usatoday.com about the evolving job market. Apparently, freelancing is becoming mainstream, which is no surprise to us! Is the increased flexibility and freedom worth the security that a full time position would offer? Decide for yourself here!

(Full article by Paul Davidson posted on usatoday.com)

‘I swear you’re the only one!’ Or, The Importance of Customizing Submissions

So the tedium of the job hunt is getting you down. It seems like you’ve applied to a billion places, and no one is getting back to you. You’re frustrated and all you want is an ice cream sandwich.

I understand your pain.

But let’s look at one huge thing you can be doing to better your chances.

So here’s the set-up question:

Is it better to:

A) Send out a billion resumes that all say the same thing,
Or
B) Five that are customized?

If you chose B), DING DING DING! Correct! Go get yourself that ice cream sandwich as a reward!

Potential employers get frustrated when they get materials that are either obviously generic, or (even worse) have someone else’s name on them. As an internal staffing professional, I saw a lot of ‘em. Google, Apple, Yahoo!, you name it. What did I do with those resumes and cover letters? Tossed them!

Employers want to feel special. When applying for specific positions, be sure to send a resume that has an applicable objective, as well as a resume that high-lights your skill sets that will be most valuable to that particular job. Being a jack-of-all-trades is a fantastic thing—it means you have a lot of doors open to you. However, if someone is looking for a print packaging designer, chances are they don’t really care that you were a camp counselor at Little Champs Baseball Camp and know how to make balloon animals. Focus on your packaging design skills, including brands you worked on and programs you use to design.

And double-y goes for your cover letter. Try and limit it to one page, high-lighting those awesome things about yourself that make you perfect for the job. Address the needs and wants specified in the posting, and how your skills will benefit the company. And the cover letter is the place you can let a little personality shine through (here’s the place to mention your mad balloon-animal-making skills.) Mention accomplishments that you want to highlight in your resume, such as measurable profits, gains, awards, or accolades.

Indeed, personalizing your documents can be time consuming, but trust me: it’s worth it!

Chicago Jobs

Sr. Copy writer
As a Sr. Copywriter for our client you are responsible for the conception and execution of innovative copy for integrated, cross channel initiatives including large web initiatives, online advertising, digital marketing, print advertising and/or direct mail. You should possess sharp writing skills and have the ability to understand more than one voice; adapting your writing skills as necessary to long form or headlines. You should be able to partner with art directors and designers to ensure the art direction supports the concept.

You must be able to create a range of concepts for each project, be self-motivated with a positive attitude and have strong communications skills. Copywriters at our client must have at least 6+ years of professional writing experience in an advertising or interactive agency.

You must also have strong experience working on large cross channel and/or direct marketing initiatives including rich media, web, direct and print. Experience with online and offline media is preferred. Experience with online media is a must.

Freelance Information Architect (city/north suburbs)
Responsibilities:
Design the UI architecture, interface, interaction flow and aesthetics of web applications and web sites
Develop conceptual diagrams, wireframes, prototypes, visual mockups and graphic assets Develop and maintain detailed user-interface specifications
Build upon and expand established style guides and UI patterns
Present design work to product and executive teams for review and feedback
Promote usability best practices

Qualifications:
Experience as a user experience designer, interaction designer, user interface designer, information architect, or similar role
An online portfolio or samples of work demonstrating related experience
Experience working in a collaborative team and working directly with developers for implementation of designs
Fluency in best practices for web-based information architecture and design, as well as strong knowledge of usability principles and techniques
Familiarity with the technical considerations needed when designing for dynamic AJAX-based web 2.0 applications
Visual design expertise demonstrated through mockups and style guides
Excellent communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills
Proficiency in a variety of design tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, Visio, and Dreamweaver
Ability to prototype in HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and/or Flash is strong plus
Ability to create illustrations for stylized graphic artwork and icons is a strong plus
Demonstrated history of acquiring user data (e.g., conducting usability studies, performing user research)

Freelance/Full Time Flash Developer (city/northwest suburbs)
This position will develop lightweight multimedia/video applications for the web using object oriented Actionscript 3. Familiarity with 3rd party libraries such as Tweenlite and Bulkloader would be highly beneficial. Maintain a knowledge base on Flash-based technologies and solutions in the market. Indirectly manage the different team members activities to ensure the project success

Requirements:
Strong understanding of object oriented programming in AS3 using Flash or Flex
At least 4 full years professional work experience programming applications with AS3

At least 4+ years experience hand-coding Flash
• Experience with Rich Internet Applications, Macromedia Flash, particularly technical and coding aspects such as Object Oriented Action Script 2/3, Flash Remoting, Data Binding, Components, etc. required. Flex or Lazlo experience a plus
• Must have extensive knowledge of Action Script 2.0/3.0, Script Based Animation, Object-Oriented Programming, Flash Video (Progressive or Streaming), Event Driven Programming and XML
• Experience with Design Patterns, Advanced Object-Oriented Programming, MVC Architecture such as Cairngorm, Web Services, Flex and Backend/External System Integration a plus.
• Experience version control systems
• Experience with Analytics Solutions (Omniture, WebSideStory, WebTrends)
• Image production techniques using Fireworks or Image Ready
• User Interface Design, Information Architecture, graphic design experience a plus
• Understanding of good design principles and ability to adhere to complex design specifications during implementation
• Demonstrated ability to accurately estimate and scope development work
• Strong attention to detail.
• Strong written & oral communication as well as presentation skills.
• Team management skills.

Beneficial skills
Tweenlite
Video Technologies
OOP Design Patterns
HTML/CSS
JSON
XML
Firebug
Javascript
Server Side Languages (ASP.NET)

Direct Hire: Sr. Internet Designer (north suburbs)
Job Functions:
1.   Collaborate with Senior Internet Art Director and website team (Editorial, Internet Business team, Information Architecture, Internet Marketing and Merchandising, MIS) to determine company’s ongoing website design goals and initiatives.
2.   Based on initiatives, identify specific projects and project priorities.
3.   Assess full scope of any project by procuring information from all relevant departments.  (Such as Merchandising, Direct Marketing, MIS, etc.)
4.   Determine appropriate design approach for projects based on objectives, information gathered, available timeframe/budget, and current known leading themes in advertising, catalogue, stores, etc.
5.   Present design recommendations (visual and content) to Senior Internet Art Director for feedback, further collaboration, or approval.
6.   Develop website work schedules with internal and external project teams.
7.   Manage the design implementation process, collaborating with internal web production group, or external sources where necessary (i.e. writers, photographers, producers, etc.).
8.   Ensure that new design programs are produced at standards that uphold/elevate the company’s brand identity.
9.   Communicate the status of projects to Senior Internet Art Director and internal teams.
10. Manage design projects within known budget.
11. Maintain an awareness of the housewares industry, competitors and cultural trends that affect both.
12. Provide excellent service to both internal and external customers whether through direct contact, over the phone or through written communications.
13. Maintain an awareness of loss prevention, security and safety following the guidelines provided by the Human Resources Department.

Web Designer
Looking for a talented Interactive/UI Designer. Requirements for the position MUST include:

Interactive Designer w/UI Experience
High Proficiency:
-Adobe CS (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)
-Adobe Flash
-Handwritten HTML & CSS
-Experience creating Information Architecture as it applies to web design
and to application design (especially wireframing)

Some Profiency:
-Experience developing in a .Net environment
-JavaScript (and JavaScript libraries such as jQuery)
-ActionScript 2 & 3
-Adobe After Effects

Requirements
-Bachelor’s Degree
-Agency and large brand experience necessary

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