Industry Updates

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For Freelancers – The Importance of Billing Clients on Time

If you are a freelancer and invoicing your client directly, I cannot stress the importance of keeping up to date on your invoices. I know, this may sound counterintuitive. Afterall, who wouldn’t love to get a bill later or perhaps even not receive one at all!? I will tell you who – anyone that is managing a budget and has a P&L to work against (i.e. your client). Clients budget for projects within specific fiscal periods and if the checks and balances of those numbers do not reflect such forecasting and allocation, then it can affect their bottom line. Moreover, it can cause your client more hassle and more work, which I’m betting is not your goal. That is, unless you don’t want to work with them again. And more importantly, you yourself want to get paid, and the sooner you invoice them the sooner that can happen.

While clients do hire creatives to be “creative”, no one appreciates continually having to follow up with someone to receive an invoice or their timecard. People want to work with people who are not only talented but are also professional, responsible and accountable. To rise to the top of the heap of freelance resources available to a client, do yourself a service and be that total package of amazing talent and an ease to work with.

Introduction from Thea Raskin, Our New Senior Creative Search Consultant

I am thrilled to join TMAA as a Senior Search Consultant, where I’ll be managing all creative related searches for the agency.  My transition into executive search stems from a decade of experience within advertising and talent recruitment.

After graduating from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, I spent seven years working in the New York offices of Saatchi & Saatchi, Gotham, and Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, during which I provided client services on a variety of accounts, including General Mills, Maybelline, Perry Ellis, and Coca Cola.

My experience in advertising led me to realize a passion for the creative process, as well as an expertise within personal communication and client engagement. This realization determined a whole new area in which I could provide services to the advertising industry: staffing and talent recruitment.

I relocated to Los Angeles and transitioned my industry knowledge to the world of staffing, spending 4 years at Creative Circle, a national search firm specializing in representing advertising and marketing professionals for freelance and full time opportunities. Within my role as an Account Executive, I was responsible for new client relationships and seeing the seeds of those relationships develop into job opportunities for our creative talent.

I quickly realized that talent recruitment left me feeling valued on a personal and professional level that was lacking when I was involved in agency work.  When I think back to my years spent within advertising, it was always a great feeling to see my creative work penetrate pop culture or double mascara sales – but there is something very different and incredibly gratifying about being an instrumental key in finding an amazing candidate their dream job.

Over the years I developed a personal and professional relationship with Melanie Andersen and saw first-hand how well respected she was in the executive search community. I am honored to join her team as a Senior Search Consultant where I will be splitting my time between New York and Los Angeles to pair leading creative agencies with top talent, in what are arguably two of the largest creative markets in the states.

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.

When it comes to salaries, don’t shoot for the stars

Candidates often make the mistake of expecting and asking for salaries which are far too high as a next step in their careers. Unless you are being overpaid (which is sometimes the case), we do not suggest that you should make a lateral move but rather ask for an increase when you make the move from one company/role to another. It is always encouraged to rise up the ranks both in title and salary as you make transitions in your career. However, candidates sometimes get too big for their britches and ask for way too high of an increase when negotiating their terms with agencies. Perhaps you did not get the raise you were expecting during your last review—this isn’t the fault of your next employer. Perhaps you took a year off to travel and this has affected salary increases—this isn’t the fault of your next employer. Maybe you’ve even been performing at a level above for the past year and feel extremely disgruntled in your current role—this isn’t the fault of your next employer either!

I realize that many times you feel overworked and underpaid, but part of our job as recruiters is to guide you regarding salary and keep you grounded and objective. As recruiters, we not only know the “going rate” for particular levels of experience, types of experience, and industries/roles in general, but we also know our clients’ budget ranges and what they are able and willing to pay for particular positions. We obviously want to negotiate the best and highest salary for you, but we will always be honest in terms of what we feel you should and can realistically ask for during offer stage.

I’ve been faced with the difficult task of bringing candidates back to reality when it comes to salaries, in hopes that they will agree with me and not box themselves out of a great opportunity because they want to negotiate a higher salary or strongly feel they deserve more. There is usually someone with a similar skillset and comparable years of experience who is asking for less, so it is in your best interest to listen to your recruiter when it comes to salary negotiations and follow his/her advice so as not to appear too expensive, unrealistic, or money hungry.

Being a dreamer in life isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you really need to come back to reality when discussing and finalizing salary expectations with a potential employer. While salary is important, the most crucial thing at the end of the day is to secure the position that is truly the next best step in your career. All the money in the world can’t buy the happiness you feel when  going to a job you love every day, and monetary success will most likely follow this feeling of personal and professional contentment.

Client advice: Be realistic about salary

Clients want to find and hire amazing candidates but they need to realize that talent of this caliber usually comes at a cost.

Let me caveat this by saying I fully realize that clients have budgets and must respect these numbers in order to run their companies successfully. However, they should also keep in mind and make an effort to match the “going” rate for particular levels of experience.

Example- if an advertising agency seeks  an Account Director but the budget is only 90k (purely hypothetical) they should be open to senior account supervisor candidates or quite junior ADs–  who can grow into an account director role and whose salaries are in line with the position to start. It is unrealistic to expect to attract a seasoned account director when this type of salary is being offered.

Clients who are offering a salary that is not in line with the level of experience they seek are going to have trouble finding that amazing candidate for the role because –

1) That awesome candidate is most likely not going to take a paycut for the role and frankly shouldn’t.

2) No matter how promising the role is, the qualified candidate will not consider it in most cases because the company cannot match or exceed current salary.

3) It often makes the company look bad when they appear to be lowballing great candidates (even if this isn’t the intention) Recruiters are very knowledgeable about salaries in their respective industries and companies should take their advice when it comes to establishing a range for a role and negotiating offers to candidates.

Obviously companies shouldn’t break the bank in order to make an offer but they should be realistic and fair when establishing salary ranges for particular roles.