You and Your Recruiter

Viewing posts from the You and Your Recruiter category

Win Over Anyone You Meet in Seconds

Being successful in the business world doesn’t necessarily come from what you were taught in college. Surprisingly enough it has been proven by extensive amounts of research that about 85% of it has to do with your capacity to connect with other people. The key factor in ANY relationship, whether it be personal or a professional is establishing some sort of mutual trust and respect.

Technology has played a very important role in shaping and molding how we interact and behave with one another, specifically in the creative industries. Although there are a considerable amount of pros to our rapid tech advances, there have also been many cons as well which have made us more impatient; therefore within seconds, everyone you meet forms a strong impression that is the deciding factor on whether someone will like, trust, and respect you.

Whether you’re simply job-hunting, dating or mingling at an opening of a new art gallery, making a good impression is absolutely essential in life and in the workforce as well. But not to worry, as the creative tips below will guide you in the right direction.

Tip #1: Respect Boundaries

Be aware and conscious of other people’s space. Try your best to notice any clues like if they lean in, then lean in some more and if they step back, then try to do the same. Remember that rules or norms about people’s personal space depends on culture so that is always something to keep in mind.

Tip#2: Body Language Awareness

Actions speak louder than words, so be mindful on your body language as it makes up for more than half of what other people respond to. Always carry yourself in a way that projects ‘openness’-meaning that you aren’t closed off since that shows a lack of interest and at the same time doesn’t want to make other people stay around you. Feel free to refer back to a blog post I’ve written in the past that dives deeper into the specifics on the importance of body language.

Tip#3: Dress the Part

Try and find a sense of style that sends the right message that you would like to portray. Think of yourself as a product, and your wardrobe as packaging. For tips on how to dress specifically for an interview, you can always check out my previous blog post which gives great tips and tricks about dressing for success.

Tip#4: Attitude Adjustment

People can sense the energy you give off instantaneously, it’s the 1st thing they respond to without even knowing it themselves. If you find yourself disengaged or bored, put that aside and try to portray a positive vibe even if that is not how you are feeling at the moment.

Tip#5: Introduce yourself with Pride

Share what is it that you do to others in a brief and fluid way. Be passionate and explain what it means to you and why you think it makes a difference. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pitching yourself as part of a new business initiative, but as a way to engage and creatively form a power point slide to which the subject is YOU.

How To Present Your Portfolio: Turning A Vulnerability Into A Strength.

my pickHi! My name is Sophia, I am an Associate Search Consultant with The Melanie Andersen Agency. I work on all design and merchandising roles for our fashion and retail clients. I’m obsessed with all things fashion, and feel so privileged to play a role in the direction of the design and production of our clients’ products.

My favorite part of the interview process is looking at designers’ portfolios, so I created this 3 part blog series that gives some advice on how to maximize your chances of landing the interview. Resumes and portfolios should be the champions of your cause, not the Achilles’ heel for an otherwise talented designer. Last week, I gave some pointers and general advice on what you should be aiming to achieve with the layout of your resume and portfolio. For Part 2 of the series, I have laid out some tips on the content you should include in your portfolio. Hope you find this helpful!

Part 2: Content

What to include in your portfolio is a question every designer struggles with. The best advice I can offer is it needs to be a balance between inspiration, work for your previous employers, and personal work.

Although there shouldn’t be too many inspiration or mood boards, including at least one is important, because it is an inside scoop on your thought process and how you curate ideas, themes, and color schemes, etc. That being said, your portfolio should be a showcase of your work, you don’t want there to be any confusion as to whether it is your work or inspiration you are including. When I am looking at portfolios, I like to see a mix of work you have produced for a company, as well as personal sketches and designs. It is important for a hiring manager to see how a designer operates with and without the constraints of the company they work for.

I would caution not to make the portfolio too big, as hiring managers are usually impatient and don’t have a lot of time to look at a huge portfolio, so include only the best. It is also important for you to have digital portfolio samples, a lot of clients ask to be sent pieces of a designer’s portfolio prior to agreeing to an interview. Also, you should be sure that the file is small enough to easily send via email.

Now that you have the insider tips for layout and content, be sure to check out the third and final installment of this blog series: Presentation!

Candidates- Don’t Get Too Big for Your Britches

I met with a very junior account candidate the other day and was inspired to blog about my conversation with her. This is a good lesson for candidates at any level and in any function but most relevant to those who do not have a ton of real work experience and are just starting out. Again this candidate was a very junior account person with one year of experience yet she was given the unique opportunity at her level to truly own projects and to interface with the client. I told her that she is actually in a unique position at her agency in terms of project ownership as her level is often more administrative/pure support in many agency environments and structures. I actually even said “the grass is always greener” to get my point across. I was shocked as she was calling the clients “her client” and also expressed frustration that the Account Supervisor on her team was more strategic while she handled the day to day—this is exactly how these levels should function!

This candidate had somehow gotten too big for her britches. It is normal to have frustrations in the job and to feel disgruntled from time to time. However, it is very important to keep the big picture in mind, to take a step back every now and then and think about whether or not things are that bad. It is wonderful to be eager to grow in one’s career but it is also important to remain humble, to not become impatient, and to look at the positives in your situation rather than possessing an attitude that something is owed to you. Surely there are some awful work situations where candidates have every right to want more for themselves but this particular candidate was clearly in a great spot for her level. My advice to her was to have some healthy and open internal conversations with her supervisor. I advised her to position the conversation as “I am eager to grow here and would love to discuss the next steps in my career” rather than “I feel like I deserve a higher title due to all of my responsibilities.” Perhaps she should be more thankful for the amount of responsibility that she has been given and realize that this will help her to position herself in a slightly more senior light once she decides to explore new roles.

Hopefully it will all work out for her but I decided to hold off on presenting her anywhere until her internal situation is resolved and she can think more clearly and with less frustration when exploring new opportunities.

Candidates-Why You Should Consolidate Your Questions During The Offer Stage

The moment a candidate receives an offer is like music to the ears and such a cause for celebration! While a joyful moment, it can also be stressful and candidates often react in a more frantic and disorganized manner than they should. It is part of my job as a recruiter to reign candidates in and keep them focused and organized during offer negotiations. However, it doesn’t always go as planned and frankly the offer can be seriously jeopardized if not handled correctly and with care by candidates.

Once candidates receive an offer and review the terms—it is essential that they take a deep breath, sit back, and write a list of consolidated questions regarding the offer and perhaps even the role/agency (if they did not have the opportunity to ask certain questions during the interview stage). Once this list if vetted and thoroughly reviewed, it is presented to the client who will in turn respond in a consolidated manner as well. Issues arise when there is a surplus of backs and forths—candidates appear annoying, doubtful, and frankly not buttoned up. A lot of hiring managers/HR people like to move quite quickly so backs and forths are a total nightmare and cause for concern. The worst case scenario is a withdrawn offer, which I have seen happen a couple of times, because candidates are literally asking very ignorant and even petty questions during offer stage—is there a coffee machine on every floor? What’s the policy on working from home? These types of questions are a NO NO and a complete waste of time.

The bottom line is that the offer stage is a very fragile and critical part of the hiring process. Candidates need to act professionally and organized so the process can be as streamlined and clear as possible. Candidates have any right to gather more information at this stage, but it must be done in a thoughtful and concise manner. This is definitely a skill honed over time, but candidates should at least heed this advice before they make major mistakes once an offer is made. A good recruiter will help to manage this part of the process but even a good recruiter can have a difficult time dealing with a frantic and question slap happy candidate.

Important Reminder to Candidates: Why You Should NEVER Lie About Your Salary

This is a very important reminder to all candidates—do not lie about your salary. It is natural and realistic to seek an increase in salary when seeking and considering other opportunities. Unless there is some special circumstance, both recruiters and clients are aware that candidates desire salary increases in order to accept a new role in their careers. A lateral move is often entertained if the candidate is extremely overpaid or perhaps has been out of work for an extended period of time. However, candidates often lie about their salaries (either their bases or total packages) and this always results in unfavorable situations during the offer stage—either the client withdraws the offer or the candidate ends up looking suspect even if we (as recruiters) do our best to smooth things over in the face of a lie.

We always ask candidates to disclose honest and detailed information regarding their base salaries and total compensation packages (if there is some type of base plus bonus or commission). Clients take this information into account when they review candidates information. Clients will often decide to pass on a candidate, for example, if the salary is too high. It would be a waste of time to entertain a candidate who is out of budget. That being said, this salary information is most important during offer stage as the compensation offer is based upon the candidates’ current and targeted salary.

*** This advice is even more important as most clients ask for paystubs at offer stage to confirm salary. If candidates are lying about salary, it is going to be uncovered and the offer will completely fall apart due to this lie. It really isn’t worth it. Our goals are aligned—we want to get you the increase you want and likely deserve, but we can only do so if a truthful conversation about salary occurs from the start.

So bottom line to all candidates—lying about salary will get you nowhere and only end up in a shattered offer and a group of very disappointed and disheartened people. It is also a very small industry so having the reputation of a liar is not a good thing and can spread through the grapevine quickly. The moral of the story is to tell the truth and good things will come!

New Year…..New Job!

Happy New Year to everyone! The Melanie Andersen Agency is very excited for a new year as this means a fresh start and a new outlook on the job hunting front. The start of the new year is always a really great time to reflect on the previous year’s happenings from both a career and personal perspective. What were you proud of last year? What excited you? Are you ready to make a career move and, if so, what is your ideal next step? A new year is a wonderful way to wipe the slate clean and start over as well as learn from the previous year’s ups, downs, twists, and turns.

Despite our country’s overall economic issues, 2012 was an extremely active job market. The Melanie Andersen Agency was briefed on new roles constantly on both the marketing, advertising, and PR front and the range of functions and level of experience was very diverse. We anticipate 2013 being an even more active market and are so excited to work with existing and new clients and candidates on new opportunities.

The Melanie Andersen Agency is not a typical recruitment firm. We take great pride in truly partnering with both clients and candidates to ensure a perfect, long-term career match based upon skillset and personality. In 2012, we increased our candidate pool greatly and made strong connections with A LOT of talented candidates. We anticipate being able to help a majority of them find great new agencies/companies/positions in this new year. On the client front, we made great ties with new clients (a handful of innovative start up digital agencies, for example) and maintained relationships with clients who are very dear to our heart (you know who you are!!).

So….. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013!!! Here is to a great 2013 filled with happiness, success and an exciting job exploration with the end result being an incredible new career opportunity.

Interview Scheduling Etiquette for Candidates

Throughout the interview process (which often entails multiple rounds) there is a lot of back and forth between recruiter and candidate in order to schedule candidate interviews with the client. There are often cancellations on both the client and candidate end and the hope is they are not last minute (ill save that for another blog!!). Here is an example of improper interview scheduling etiquette on the part of a candidate.

One of our clients provided availability to offer up to the candidate for a third round interview. During this particular interview, the candidate was supposed to meet the President of the agency. It should be a given that senior members of the agency have quite limited avails and their time is very valuable and should be treated as such— especially by a prospective employee. The client offered these avails and the candidate took days to reply. The President had been holding this time slot for him and was informed last minute that he could free it up because the candidate could not commit.

This really looks bad on the part of the candidate. It comes across as flighty and disrespectful and sends a signal of disinterest and lack of commitment or care. Even if the candidate is very busy during the day with his or her current job obligations, replying to emails regarding client interviews is extremely important and should be made somewhat of a priorty as it affects other people’s schedules and can also affect impressions in a major way.

If a candidate has chosen to explore an opportunity, timely replies regarding scheduling interviews for new opportunities is expected.

Why Clients Should Always Keep Recruiters Informed of Changes to a Role

I love our clients and absolutely enjoy working with each of them as they are all very different in terms of culture, approach, and needs. I have learned that communication between recruiter and client is extremely important, especially as it pertains to the particular role on which the recruiter is actively working. Miscommunication or lack of communication can be detrimental to the process of finding a great candidate for the role. Here is a good example–

I was briefed on a particular role by an agency and the position entailed managing three particular brands. The brands were awesome and a major reason why so many candidates expressed interest. While I always stress that candidates should join an agency for the agency and not a particular account, the account does matter– especially when garnering candidate interest in a position and for initial discussions between client and candidate. Accounts being managed become even more important to seasoned candidates who are more focused in terms of category expertise.

In this particular case, there was a handful of candidates very excited for the interview with this agency as the accounts were quite appealing and in line with their interests. However, during the interview, the client switched gears and discussed entirely different accounts which accounts which were night and day from the ones mentioned in the initial brief. The result was confused and disappointed candidates who also felt they had been misled by me and were caught off guard during the interview.

As a recruiter in a fast paced and quick changing industry, I realize that staffing needs can evolve and change from one moment to the next- and that’s ok. However, clients should take the time to inform their recruiters of any changes to a brief so recruiters can update the candidates and also shift gears in terms of the search pool if necessary. Again we do stress that accounts can come and go so candidates should pursue an agency for all its offerings and not one of its brands, but the reality is that accounts are very important to candidates also.

This is one strong example to prove my point but the overall lesson is that open communication between client and recruiter is extremely important and can only help to improve and streamline process.

An Important Tip on Targeting Salary

While it is never a good idea to be completely motivated by money when pursuing new opportunities or deciding whether or not to accept an offer, money is clearly a factor and a motivation for candidates as they search for and evaluate the best next step in their career. As a recruiter, part of my job is to guide candidates regarding their salary requirements so that they present a number that is optimal for them (based on current salary and level of experience) and realistic for the client (based on budget and scope of the role). Candidates often come to us with rather unrealistic expectations regarding salary and we try our best to ground them before we present them for roles. Sometimes we opt to not represent them if they are not flexible or realistic regarding salary.

That being said, a situation that I often run into is the following—a candidate has just received an internal raise and still wants a significant increase on the base salary in order to make a move. In my opinion, this is greedy and it also looks greedy to a potential employer. This type of candidate never looks good in the eyes of a potential employer. We often level with this candidate and advise them to either make a lateral move or ask for a slight and fair increase.

Someone who was just increased from $55k to $65k internally should not be targeting $75k to make a jump shortly after this increase—it just isn’t fair.

There are a few lessons here: 1) a good recruiter will accurately guide candidates when it comes to salary negotiations, 2) candidates should focus more on the actual role (is it a good long-term move with great opportunity for growth) and less on the immediate salary increase, and 3) candidates should leave greed at the door when negotiating salaries.

Why You Should NEVER Lie About Your Current Salary Information

This blog will probably seem so obvious to most candidates but you would be shocked at the fact that I have run into this situation with candidates in the past. It is VERY important to disclose all pertinent information in a truthful manner to your recruiter so this can be relayed to the client. I have blogged about candidates lying about their current salaries (and there is a difference between base salary and total salary package) and trust me they usually don’t get away with it.  The truth is often comes up in reference checks (informal or formal).  In the same vein, candidates MUST always be truthful about their current employment situation  and reasons for leaving. I worked with a candidate (a wonderful one) who had actually left her job—meaning she was no longer employed by the company!!!—and she did not inform us, even throughout reference checks, which was when we found out and had to inform our client that the candidate we were representing was no longer employed. This is seriously a cardinal sin in our eyes and in the eyes of the client. This makes the candidate look unprofessional and deceitful, and in most cases will result in the loss of an offer from a client. Even if the reason for leaving is negative or reflects poorly on candidates, they must disclose the situation to their recruiter so they can be transparent with their client about the candidates reasons for leaving. The moral of the story is candidates should always be honest when disclosing their career history and current job situation to recruiters or directly to clients (if they are not using a recruiter’s assistance). The lie will catch up with you more often than  not.