A recruiter’s advice for designers and creatives

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Article by Horizontal Team
Dec 28, 2022
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Reader’s note: This is a partial transcription from the first episode of the 10-Minute Talent Show. To hear the full episodes (it’s only about 10 minutes), click the podcast embed above.

Horizontal Talent Recruiter Kaitlin Enriquez is an expert when it comes to placing designers and creatives. On one of the latest episodes of the 10-Minute Talent Show podcast, Kaitlin discusses creative recruiting, candidate relationships, advice for job seekers, hockey and the Spice Girls.

What does design and creative recruiting entail?

There is a lot to design. There’s digital design, print design, UX design, UI design, product design and generalist roles where you need a little bit of everything. A lot of designers can do it all. As a recruiter, I have to put the pieces together and communicate with the hiring manager about what’s going to make them happy and what’s going to fit in with their team already, whether it’s a portfolio, agency experience or an in-house corporate experience. It’s about putting a candidate’s background with the role and talking to them about what is really going to pique their interest.

How do you approach recruiting?

Recruiting is very competitive. Recruiters can face burnout, and it takes a lot of balance to remain positive in the face of competition. It really comes down to having grit and being self-motivated. I’m the kind of girl that is going to reach that goal, if it takes 2 days or 2 years. It’s not easy! You are placing people into the right roles for themselves, and as a recruiter, there is unlimited earning potential. You create that for yourself. I could go out and fill 10 roles or fill 2 roles, so that takes a lot of self-motivation.

How do you build candidate relationships?

It’s important to screen a bunch of candidates. If I’m searching for one specific design role, I have to find 30 awesome designers who have similar backgrounds and experience. One might be a good fit, but let’s say I get 4 other roles this week, I could then send 5 other designers that role. I’m constantly building my pipeline, talking to candidates, pre-screening them and saying, “Okay, what are your top things you are looking for in a role? What do I need to get you to be interested in a company, industry, money and the role?” Then I do my work and find a role that will be a good fit. If I send a candidate a role that is way out of their wheelhouse, we will keep moving on.

What’s your advice when talking to creatives?

If you consider yourself a generalist that is awesome, but a lot of hiring managers don’t necessarily like that. They want to see a specific section of design that you’re good at and enjoy, and they want you to tweak your resume to fit the job description. Any information that you can give me that correlates directly to the job definitely helps. The first thing that 75% of hiring managers do is look at your portfolio. Keep up with your portfolio and add your recent work. For writers, the number one thing people want is samples.

Do designers and creatives prefer full time or contract work?

I would say it’s a mixture of both. When I’m talking to someone, initially they may say they would love a direct hire role for the full family benefits or job security. But, on the flip side, there are so many pros to a contract opportunity as well. A contract opportunity is a quicker hiring process and you’re working on a project and making money right away. A direct hire role could take up to a month or two. Overall, anything is a stepping stone to build your resume.

What advice do you have for job seekers?

Know what you want in your next role. If there are must-haves, be upfront with your recruiter. Be honest about your desired salary. Being direct makes the process smoother, quicker and more efficient. In the words of the Spice Girls, “tell me what you want what you really really want”.

What about hockey?

My 4 brothers and I played competitive hockey growing up! My parents have a sport court in their backyard. My dad would freeze the court in the winters and my mom would set up small boards to practice. We would throw our skates on and just play hockey every winter. Playing hockey and having brothers taught me to stand my ground!

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