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Interview Don’ts – Stre-e-e-e-tch!

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

3. Stre-e-e-e-tch!

Yup! We’ve all done it. And, most of the time, we don’t even realize we’re doing it. For instance, during a traffic stop, when a police officer asks, “How fast you were going?” Or when the nurse’s assistant at your regularly scheduled check-up asks, “What’s your height and weight?” (I always say 6′ with shoes on.) Oh, and my favorite, “How many baseball cards do you have?” Okay, that one is more specific to me. But you get my point. Every single day, we’re asked a dozen questions that allow us the opportunity to “STRETCH” the truth.

But what about during an interview? Can we “STRETCH” a tiny bit there? You know — make four-and-a-half years of experience into five? Maybe bump that previous salary up a bit? Stre-e-e-e-tch!? Just a little? Well, I’m not your mother, so do what you think? However, creatives, beware! There’s one place for certain that you should never make a “STRETCH.” And that place is during a portfolio review.

That’s right! You should be up front in every case about your level of participation on a particular piece in your portfolio. If your contribution to a piece was more production and less conceptual, let your prospective employer know. Maybe it was a collaborative effort? If so, give credit to your partner (they’d like that). Lastly (and this seems obvious), never represent someone else’s work as your own. If you convey to a prospective employer that you possess a particular skill set, you can expect to be put in a position to use that skill set if you’re hired. Stretching the truth may set you up to fail in your new environment. Worse yet, it could cost your employer time and maybe even money.

So remember, if you’re a creative with an opportunity to show off your work, it’s best not to “STRETCH” the truth. Oh, and how many baseball cards do I have? I’d say, “About a million.”

By | June 7th, 2016|Tags: , , , , |

Grand Rapids, Michigan is about to…

GET SMART!

You can call it River City, Furniture City or Beer City (because it’s known by all three). And now, you can call it the newest home of smartdept. inc. That’s right! Just like LeBron took his talents to Miami (and then back to Cleveland), we are taking our creative, interactive and marketing recruiting talents to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Effective April 15, 2016 the second largest city in the great state of Michigan, located 30 miles away from a lil’ lake with the same name (that’s Lake Michigan), will be the next location of smartdept. inc. Grand Rapids is a diverse city known for healthcare, consumer goods and the arts. It’s growing and people dig it (we have this in common).

If you know anyone in Grand Rapids who would find our service useful, tell them we just arrived and we need some help unpacking.

 

 

By | April 14th, 2016|Tags: , , , |

I Wanted to Be an Archaeologist—and Now I’m a Recruiter!

from the desk of smartdept. inc. Creative Coordinator, Hannah Stover

Did you know what you wanted to be when you were little? When I was a young lass, I dreamed of becoming an archaeologist. Harrison Ford wasn’t my only motivation, though. Getting to the core of a problem, digging until the treasure was found… it gave me a thrill.

As I got older, my dreams turned into more realistic goals such as becoming a private investigator, a published author, or a master of espionage. I began working in customer service when I was 14 years old, and since then I’ve worn many hats: restaurant manager, dance instructor, pre-school teacher—I even spent one summer doing an archaeological dig on Palomar Mountain, near San Diego.

I was introduced to Meghann, the Seattle smartdept. inc. branch manager, in February 2015. Recruiting was always in the back of my mind, but after our meeting it was all I could think about. I knew this was it. From February to November, I dug up everything I could find on recruiting. This cemented what I already felt in my gut: Recruiting is my jam. My first day at smartdept. was on November 30, 2015.

So how do you know when you find the one? The job that makes your brain buzz with possibilities, the career that fits you like a glove? Ask yourself three questions—questions that might illuminate things you haven’t thought about for years:

  1. What games were you drawn to as a child? Crafting? Rolling around in the mud? Both? I never minded getting dirty, but I wasn’t interested in dealing with activities that felt “messy” to me.
  2. Who did you idolize when you were young? Any strong, successful woman caught my eye as a youth, but I always liked the stylish edge that’s possible with office jobs.
  3. Where do you live? Seattle? Chicago? LA? No matter what city I’ve lived in, I’ve discovered there will always be needs that align with whatever skills people have acquired or desire to acquire.

Finding the perfect job is translating your dream into reality. It’s possible! For example, if you know you’d be the perfect graphic designer but you dream about being inside the Matrix, designing systems, perhaps you should become a developer!

Regardless of the field you choose for your career trajectory, we live in a tech world that’s changing every day—almost too fast for us keep up with. Tell me about your dream job—I have ideas! The world is your oyster, my friend. You got this. We can help!

By | April 8th, 2016|

Interview Don’ts – The Cozy Monster

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

2. The Cozy Monster

A prospective employer always has a checklist of things they’d like to see in a future employee. You’ll almost always find “confidence” included on that list. No, I don’t mean the “look at my hair” or “check out my abs” type of confidence — more along the lines of a “sit up straight, look me in the eyes, talk confidently about your work” sort of thing. Yup, confidence is a great thing! It can leave the person on the other side of that conference table thinking, “Wow, this person knows what they’re doing.”

However, be aware of… the Cozy Monster! That’s right, you’re most susceptible to being attacked by this subtle beast when your confidence is at its peak.

Imagine that you just finished guiding a prospective employer through the final pages of your portfolio. You can sense he or she is impressed. You know things are looking good. Really good! All of a sudden, you feel yourself lean back in your chair and fold your hands behind your proud little head. Uh-oh! Now the Cozy Monster has got you, and there’s nothing you can do. The next thing you know, your shoes are off your feet, your feet are on the desk and this interview is in the toilet! You’ve become another victim of the Cozy Monster!

So remember, when you’re in an interview setting (use your favorite monster voice now) — “Confidence GOOD, feet on desk BAD. Grrrrr!”

By | April 1st, 2016|Tags: , |

The differences between creative staffing and experiential staffing

from the desk of smartdept. inc. Creative Consultant: Jaime Sklar

Having come from recruiting for an experiential marketing agency and then switching to recruiting for a creative staffing agency, I had no clue that there would be so many differences—or so many similarities! But there definitely are.

At the experiential agency, I was mainly staffing brand ambassadors, or “field/temp” staff, who worked with our brand-specific touring teams at nationwide events. All roles were remote, and typically I was staffing for anywhere from one to three markets across the country during a single weekend.

At the smartdept., we staff within the Chicagoland area. Our clients reach out with open positions so we can assist them in finding a match for their needs—someone who can complete their team, enhance their vision, or even build their brand/company.

So, is all staffing the same? Is staffing just “staffing”? That’s an interesting question, given the number of factors and players at work. And if it’s not, what are the differences?

Location

It seems pretty obvious that location would affect sourcing and staffing, but this is definitely one of the biggest and most surprising similarities I’ve found between creative and experiential recruiting.

  • For the experiential agency, location was huge. I typically worked in several markets at the same time, but often in obscure locations and literally across the country from one another other. Staffing locations that are far from a major city was definitely a huge challenge.
  • For the smartdept., location has also proved to be a challenge. It’s often hard to find suburban candidates who are able to travel to the city, and vice versa. It’s especially challenging for recruiters sourcing in cities that rely so heavily on public transportation. Many candidates don’t own a car and therefore can’t make it to certain client locations.

Client vs. Account Team

One difference I’ve found is who your contact is and getting information from them regarding the roles or staff needed.

  • At the experiential agency, you’re most often in contact with the account team, who relays what staff the program needs for certain events. Although you don’t interact with the client directly, you learn which types of staff work well with the touring field/staff, what the program or brand needs, etc.
  • At a creative staffing agency, you have direct access to and conversations with your client. You can get to know them personally—what types of personalities might fit their company, the typical types of backgrounds they look for, and what types of needs they most often have.

Turnaround and Scheduling

In terms of differences and similarities, this is a biggie. Both styles of staffing require you to be on your feet at all times, constantly sourcing for viable candidates, and filling roles as needed.

  • At the experiential agency, we typically had schedules for event dates up to a month in advance, so we were able to source and staff events ahead of time. In retrospect, we often dealt with event cancellations, location changes, rescheduling events to different weekends, or even events that were booked the night before they started—meaning we were forced to find staff on the fly.
  • At the smartdept., we usually don’t know in advance what requests are going to come and when the staff will be needed. Of course, we can anticipate that certain clients will have needs at specific times of the year, but there’s no guarantee. This is why proactive sourcing is huge for a staffing agency—you must always have a solid pool of candidates who are capable of meeting your clients’ needs.

Remote vs. Local

This is another significant difference I’ve found between the two.

  • A phone call is always different from meeting in person. Experiential hiring for temp staff or event staff doesn’t allow you to interact with your candidates directly; you’re usually doing interviews on the phone or communicating via email.
  • Recruiting for local candidates means you can meet your candidates in person, read their mannerisms and body language, and even look at their work with them. I think this is especially important for the “creative” roles that the smartdept. recruits for—watching someone explain their work allows you to see how passionate they are about it.

Don’t get me wrong—staffing remotely is great—but there’s something really awesome about being able to meet your candidates in person, getting to know them firsthand, and continuing to work with them for several years to come.

So, the answer to the question, “Is all staffing just ‘staffing’?” is … yes and no. They each have their place in our business, and they each have their own challenges and rewards. There’s something for everyone in this fast-paced, fascinating industry!

 

By | March 22nd, 2016|Tags: , , , |