How To Work With A Recruiter

Working with a recruiter/head hunter is kind of daunting at first. Who is this person? What do I talk to them about? What if I say something stupid and they blackball me? 

This post, written by Laura Bonetti should help break things down and make it a little easier. 

Laura is a creative recruiter/head hunter at Kay & Black. Agencies go to her and say “Here’s the type of person we want and the type of things we want them to do. Bring me that person.” 

She’s kind of like a match-maker.

Understanding what Laura does, how she does and how to best work with her – BEFORE – you even approach her (or people like her.) will be very valuable for your career.

I covered Things Recruiters Love/Hate a while back, now I’d like to share a How To/ Behind The Scenes/ Intro To post about
working with non-agency recruiters. (Agency recruiters only hire for their company, non-agency recruiters, like Laura, work with several different agencies.)

How to Work With A Recruiter

Laura and the man your man should smell like
Q: What is it exactly that you do?
I spend my days analyzing creative's and agency's portfolios of work, comparing the work one person produces as a part of our larger industry's output.

I look at copywriter's work like an English professor. With art directors and designers I’m an art historian. I cannot represent creatives whose work or thinking I don't like or understand.

Then I pitch the creatives who have the skill and thinking process that the agency values, showing how and why this person will be a contributor to the agency's portfolio of work.

Q: What do people think you do?
Often times, juniors will email me hoping that like Cinderella's fairy godmother. That I will take their portfolios and sprinkle them with fairy dust to make their work appealing to agencies with whom they have no access. 

Some think that I will manage their job search for them, and it will be a smooth service transaction, like getting your clothes dry cleaned or to get a haircut.  
Au contaire mon frere!  
Q: What magic can you do?
I can give feedback on a creative's portfolio, a spit shine to get your best foot forward to agencies.

However, I cannot do your thinking for you: I am not a creative myself, nor am I you.  
I represent creatives, so you're going to have to do the hard work of building a (strong!) portfolio, to show your thinking. 

Q: When is the best time to call you?
Please contact me when the bulk of your portfolio is complete, and you have a general sense of what you'd like to do to earn money in our industry. 
I prefer to be contacted via email, though social media like Linked In or Twitter is cool too. 

Q: What do I need to know before I call you? 
1. You should have started already figuring out the creative or ad person you'd like to be. 
2. You should have already committed to a job title (art director, copywriter, graphic designer, planner, strategist, etc)
3. You should already know how you'd like to get started earning money for your thinking and skills. 

Q: What will happen when we talk?
I will ask you a TON of questions about your skills applicable to this job title and its responsibilities.  

The best way for me to gauge your 'think big' skill set, is to poke your ideas, and to see how hard, big, and maturely you pitch me back. 
I ask you guys about your thinking process to produce spec campaigns, the choices you make on behalf of your speculative clients, why you executed an idea the way that you did.    

When you answer my questions, when you interact with me at all, I'm trying to assess your potential for greatness, if you will be a good citizen in the advertising industry.  

Q: What are you looking for?
I want to recruit David Ogilvy-style, Big Idea GREAT CREATIVES, into our industry and for our clients and agencies. That's the potential of the business we're in, and the unspoken intention of every brief given: to be BIG & GREAT. Neisha's spoke about how important it is to be hungry, inspired, hard working, nice, witty, and considerate to others. 
No assholes. No mediocrity. No pettiness. No narcissists either.  

Q: Any General Tips?
1.     If you have a general question about job searching, ask Google.  
2.     Reach out to me twice a month with updates. Please be specific, factual, and active in our communications. 
3.     Tell me a bit about yourself as we work together. I do want the creatives I rep to be real people!
4.     The best time of year to be looking is February - June and then late August - Thanksgiving. Hiring budgets run annually, so the summers & winters are slow. However, a slow period for jobs might be a great time for us to chat, to start our relationship.  
5.     I recommend working with one staffing agency and two headhunters at a time. How many relationships can you realistically maintain?
6.     And, be your own fairy godmother :)