How To Hire A Unicorn* For Your Organization
Leading a ragtag team of video warriors, scoundrels, and do-gooders has taught us that your organization is only as good as the people in it. And when not collaborating with your favorite agencies (like us!), you need to rely on an internal marketing team that knows their stuff. But how do you recruit such talent? Or "How do I hire a creative?"
IDENTIFY REQUIRED JOB SKILLS
Oftentimes, people hope to group multiple skills under one title. You need someone who can design a company brochure and manage the website. And write emails. And make weekly videos. With animation. And podcasts! This jack-of-all-trades mentality can result in an applicant who's good at a lot, but a master of none.
Let's do a quick exercise! Look through one of the current job openings that your organization is actively looking to fill and think about the most important skills that an ideal candidate would possess. Select all the required skills from the list below. You can add additional skills to this list, if necessary.
Scriptwriting Copy Editing Graphic Design Video Shooting
Web Design Project Management Video Animation Website Management
Video Editing Podcast Editing Video Producing Social Media Management
If you selected more than three required skills from the list above, you're looking for a *unicorn. Our suggestion? Stop it.
If you selected less than three required skills, you're ready to start the search for someone who's truly remarkable to join your organization. Or, at least, someone who's not set up to fail.
FIND THE APPLICANTS
When posting a new job description online, we typically prefer to share our job posting with small creative groups as opposed to large recruiting websites. Look to organizations that specialize in those skillsets that you are trying to find in a new employee. For example, find design groups for design-focused positions, and writing groups for writing-focused positions, etc. Or you can seek out individual creatives one-by-one. You should also choose a social platform or two and search for a local hashtags like #acreativeDC. Once you've located someone with an eye-catching portfolio, check out their website, and locate their contact information. You can then send them a personal message asking if they would be interested in meeting for a casual conversation. Don’t grill them with questions just yet. After all, you’re trying to woo them!
FIND THE HIRE
Once you have a strong lineup of applicants, here are a few important steps (more steps!) that we have found useful in seeking new team members that are a good fit for your team and organization—steps that deviate from the traditional hiring process.
5 STEPS TO HELP FIND UNICORN CANDIDATES
Here are our top five steps you can use to help find and hire a unicorn candidate to fill your open position and join your team and organization:
STEP #1: Get Rid Of Step One
Don't waste your time reading through all the resumes submitted for your open position. A creative's resume is simply a vehicle to deliver a link to a portfolio, demo reel video, or personal website. And maybe spark some interview chatter (but let’s not get ahead of ourselves).
STEP #2: The Proof Is In The Pudding
Think of what you want this position to create and make sure you see work examples that you could picture applying to your brand. We all run into the trap of seeing something super complicated and assume, “If they can do that, surely they can spice up our annual report." Sadly, raw creativity and application are two very different things.Think of what you want this position to create and make sure you see work examples that you could picture applying to your brand. We all run into the trap of seeing something super complicated and assume, “If they can do that, surely they can spice up our annual report." Sadly, raw creativity and application are two very different things.
STEP #3: The Proof Is In The Hustle
Chris Mechanic, the CEO and co-founder of WebMechanix, coined the term “Proof of Hustle”—evidence that your creative applicant is putting themselves out there. Beyond a portfolio, you are looking for consistent posts to Instagram, Vimeo, Dribble, Tumblr, Flickr, Trixstr, Yopplr, or Snooglr, etc. (OK, I made those last few up). You want your candidate to have a unique perspective and voice as well as the drive for creative expression in their free time. Maybe they’re big into cosplay? Knitting? Boat carving? Search for them on social media platforms. All of them. If you can't find them on the web, this may show a lack of hustle.
STEP #4: The Interview
Interviews are awkward and interviews with creatives can be even awkward…er. Mix things up and meet in a casual setting. And if they show up to your office wearing a pair of jeans (and your company is not a “jeans” company), don't write them off right away. Yes, I personally believe that people should dress up for job interviews, but creative people don't always. Get over it. And if they're weird and lack confidence, that’s OK, too.*
STEP #5: The Test
If you are considering a group of individuals for a specific open position, send them all the same creative challenge to solve. In the end, you should have a clear visual comparison of how your applicants stack up. If you just want to evaluate one or two applicants, offer them a paid freelance project that they can complete for you so you can see how they think and work to help you identify the most ideal person for your team.
Ultimately, you should always strive to hire someone who stands out from the crowd and brings something unique to your brand and organization. Give them the opportunity to do what they love every day, and, in the end, you will both be as a happy as a unicorn. And isn't that what really matters?
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