Creative technologists, designers and writers are critical to innovation. They’re also in limited supply. How recruiters connect that talent with the employers who need to hire them was the focus on a session this morning at #SXSW by Lionel Carreon, director of creative recruiting at Deutsch Los Angeles; Jami Hoffman, senior design recruiter with Playdom/Disney; Winston Binch, chief digital officer at Deutsch LA; Ben Fisher, a New York City-based interaction designer + hacker; and Barbara Tejada, Creative Recruiting Manager at Ogilvy.
Among the highlights of their discussion:
- There’s a fundamental tension between what agencies need and what the talent needs. One of the challenges of recruiting people to work in advertising agencies is people don’t own their own ideas, Carreon noted. There’s an opportunity cost that recruiters have to address.
- The ideal worker at a startup is “T-shaped” – they have both broad perspective and a specific area of expertise, said Fisher. At a proper startup, you can’t anticipate what type of person you’ll need, he argued. Only as a company grows can the roles can become more delineated.
- “Digital” is normal now. Digital is everybody’s job, noted Binch. “It’s not just a channel.”
- Referrals drive hiring. People we talk to first are the ones who are referred to us, Carreon said. Your employees are your best advertisers, Hoffman added. Another increasingly important resource: social media networks.
- Freelancing can help both employers and workers find the right long-term fit. You don’t want to this be about tricking people, Fisher said. “You want to de-risk it.”
- Respect is what creative workers crave most at work. People want to know that they are going to work in an environment where their ideas are respected and they are part of the culture, Binch said.