Part one: Reaching out
New employment regulations, the potential of an economic downturn, updated digital platforms - we can take a guess at what 2023 will look like for employers and employees, but it’s all (educated) guesswork.
What we can tell you for certain, however, is what things look like right now, information which may be handier than you think. If you’re on the hunt for a new creative role in 2022 (and have reached out to one of us terrifying recruiters) here is what the process might look like, along with some tips on how you can prepare. This is part one of the series where we go through the initial few steps, with the next segments to be posted soon - stay tuned!
It all starts with the resume
Whilst a lot can’t be captured in a CV/ resume (your communication skills, pics of your cute dog, and your passion for coffee), it is the first point at which your skills can be assessed against the criteria for a role so you want to but your best foot forward. You might be asked to submit a resume and cover letter, though cover letters are becoming less common these days, and your resume should still cover off all of the key info.
If you’re applying for a particular role, make sure to tailor your resume to that role, ensuring relevant experience and skills are highlighted.
If you’re just reaching out to a recruiter to introduce yourself, create a general resume that caters to the various roles you may be open to.
Add some personality! Write a brief intro paragraph, use a colourful template and jazz it up.
Keep it brief: they say that the average recruiter assesses a resume within 7 seconds, so ensuring your key info is prominent, clear and concise is a must.
It’s screen time
If your resume aligns with the role, a recruiter will usually start off with a quick 10-minute phone call, also known as a ‘screen’. In this casual chat, they might cover off topics such as why you applied for the role, how your skills are relevant, as well as dealbreakers (or makers) like your salary expectations, location, notice period and hybrid working preferences.
Make sure you pick up the phone! I know we all get a million spam calls, but if you’re applying for jobs it’s important you are contactable. If you miss the call, don’t stress, but make sure to check your voicemail regularly and give them a call back as soon as you can.
Think about your expectations before you apply so that you’re ready to answer these kinds of questions. You don’t have to be set on an exact salary, but they will need to know if you’re roughly in the ballpark.
Be honest. You’re wasting your own (and their) time if you hide key bits of info at this stage, so make sure all your cards are on the table.
But you’re far from done yet! The next article includes important steps from interviewing all the way through to signing the contract so keep an eye out for the next posts.
Part two: getting to know you
This article follows on from part one - reaching out, which covers the initial stages of the recruitment process from the perspective of a candidate, so head on over to read that first if you haven’t already.
So, you’ve made it past the first hurdle, but how do you really secure yourself as the top pick for your dream role? Here are some handy hints on what to expect and how to put your best foot forward.
Meet the recruiter
The part you’ve been waiting for! If there’s any time to boast and talk yourself up, it’s during an interview. It is likely to be around 30 - 45 minutes and it might be online, or a throwback to 2019 with a real-life face-to-face meeting! This is your chance to connect with them as a person, and really demonstrate why you’re right for the role.
Refer back to the honesty policy. Whilst it’s important to emphasise your skills and impact, make sure you are accurately portraying your experience by acknowledging when other team members contributed.
PrePARation is key: you can take a look at our ‘Project, Action, Result’ formula to ensure you really nail your examples. Also do your research on the role and company to make sure you can tailor your answers to them.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions - it shows that you’re engaged, interested and thinking about what this role might look like.
If you tick all of the boxes, the recruiter will put you in touch with their client, and set up a time for you to meet. Again this may be online or face-to-face depending on the company. If you’ve gotten this far then take confidence in the fact that they saw potential in you! It’s time to swallow those nerves and make your first impression with your potential new employer.
If the recruiter hasn’t already given you feedback on how to nail the interview then either a) celebrate because you’re perfect, or b) ask them if they have any personalised tips or areas you could improve on.
Follow the tips above in step 3.
A short sample task is quite a common element of the recruitment process these days, especially in creative fields. Yes, you may have an amazing folio and a star-studded CV, but don’t be surprised if they want to throw a task your way to see how your skills would be applied in their context. It’s not an undermining of your skills, but a check to see if you both align.
Before accepting the task, read through the full creative brief and ensure you understand it and can deliver the expected work within the timeframe.
Best practice is for a task to only take 1-2 hours unless it is paid.
Know that they cannot use your unpaid/ sample task work commercially.
You’ve done the hard yards now, so it’s time to seal the deal! The final part of this series will be posted soon, so happy scrolling in the meantime.
Part three: sealing the deal
This article follows on from part one - reaching out, and part two - getting to know you which cover the initial stages of the recruitment process from the perspective of a candidate, so head on over to read both of those first if you haven’t already.
You might have thought the process was pretty much over by the time you’ve completed your interviews and potentially a selection task, but the truth is there is quite an art in managing the final few steps of recruitment. Even the top creative talent can get stumped here, so if you’re hoping to sign a contract any time soon, you might want to read on. The team at Creative Recruiters would always guide you through this individually, but so that you know what to expect and how to prepare, here are a few pointers:
Ah yes, the dreaded reference check! These may be done quickly as a final step to ensure everything lines up, or if they’re being really thorough they may do a reference check earlier on in the process and really have a good chat to your referee, so be prepared for either.
Choose wisely: make sure you have at least two referees ready to go who are professional, who were at your level or above when you worked with them (no roping in junior employees), and who genuinely have great things to say about you.
Warn them! No one likes to find out their employee is leaving via a reference check call, so make sure to chat to your referees beforehand. This also ensures they are expecting the call and are more likely to pick up.
Follow up: check in with your referees to make sure they have done their part, and aren’t holding things up.
Other checks that may be conducted at this stage include a police check, working with children check, security clearance or verification of qualifications. These checks are more common in the government space or in regulated industries, but your recruiter should always keep you informed as to what is needed. Make sure you have all of your ID documents ready to go, should you get to this stage.
Seal the deal
Congratulations on the job offer! This is the exciting part of the process, but it’s not over until you sign on the dotted line. You will likely receive a verbal offer first, then potentially a written offer/ letter, with the contract to follow. Sometimes contracts need to be checked off by legal or generated by another team, so you may need to practice some patience at the pointy end.
Stay in touch and communicate clearly. Recruiters always appreciate transparency, so as long as you keep us updated along the way and are honest about whether you are looking to accept the offer, or have doubts, you will likely be able to maintain a positive relationship no matter the outcome.
Check your emails and calls regularly - they may need details such as your date of birth, address or legal name so the more promptly you provide them, the quicker you will have your contract in hand.
Read all (yes all) the details. A recruiter can help guide you on whether the contract has any surprises, but at the end of the day you need to know what you are agreeing to, so it is really important you read each and every word.
Wooohoooo, you’re about to start your next challenge! Don’t let the boring technicalities of the contract and pre-employment checks dampen the excitement and celebration that should be happening at this stage. Whether it’s a big step up, a shift into a new industry, or moving to a team who will truly value you, each and every job change is big and worthy of your party of choice (my personal favorite is champagne and pizza but to each their own!).