All posts by Angela Stairs

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Hiring Remote? Here’s How to Communicate Company Culture

We’ve all heard about the fun things companies like Google and Facebook do to create a positive and engaging culture in their offices. It’s easy to drum up excitement in new talent when you can show off a cereal wall or slide on the office tour.

But what about the companies that thrive on remote staff? While it can be more difficult to communicate and effectively promote company culture when hiring for remote positions, it’s not entirely out of reach. Consider the below strategies as you develop your remote hiring process.

Well-Written Job Posting

When seeking to hire new talent to your team, take care in writing an accurate and engaging job description for the role. This is the first interaction that will attract talent to your company, so make sure your brand personality and unique aspects of your culture are present in the posting.

When hiring for remote roles, be sure to include any special perks your company offers off-site employees. Some companies will offer bonuses like internet allowances, professional training packages, or subsidized private health care.

More unusual remote employee perks include coffee shop gift cards, gym membership allowances, vacation expense allowances, and even long-term sabbaticals offered over incremental periods with the company to prevent burnout.

Face-to-Face Remote Interviews

When conducting interviews for remote team members, incorporate face-to-face meetings into your process. Face-to-face meetings are as important for hiring remote staff as they are for in-house staff. Using tools like Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts, it’s easy to coordinate a meeting with candidates from anywhere across the globe.

Taking the time and effort to coordinate a face-to-face chat helps to personalize the meeting and allows both sides to gain a better understanding of one another. A lot is communicated through nonverbal cues, so this can be a great tactic to help you get a better feel for the candidate while providing them the opportunity to get a better feel for you as well.

People have different strengths in communication. Some may feel the most comfortable over email, others may prefer to speak over the phone, and some may find a face-to-face chat the most effective. In your interview process, try your best to incorporate all three methods of communication to give a fair opportunity for each type of communicator to shine.

Interviews With Various Team Members

Extending your interview process past the hiring manager and direct manager offers benefits for both sides. For the candidate, this gives an opportunity to get a feel for the different personalities on the team. For the company, it provides an opportunity to get an accurate idea of how this individual might fit into the team dynamic.

Setting up meetings between a candidate and team members is always a good idea. After all, these are the people the hire will need to communicate with on a regular basis. Getting a feel of what it would be like to work with colleagues makes a huge difference in a new hire’s understanding of company culture and can make or break the interview process.

Adding to that, it can be particularly beneficial to set up conversations with current remote team members for first-hand accounts of the remote workflow in your company and how your company culture specifically impacts remote employees.

Include Your Remote Team

If your remote company culture could use some love, prioritize these changes before you continue building remote teams. Treating remote team members like freelancers separate from in-office workers is dangerous for morale and retention.

There are many ways you can help build camaraderie and a sense of inclusion among your remote team members. This could include big on-location events like team meetups or even smaller, more commonplace gatherings like daily or weekly online hangouts between staff to catch up on project progress and speak with each other in a more relaxed setting.

Many successful remote companies hold annual or semi-annual gatherings to bring their staff together. For example, Buffer plans semi-annual trips with their whole team to have discussions and strategy sessions for the months ahead. Then, the team takes the evenings and weekends to enjoy the location and get to know each other better.

Promote whatever your company does to bring together remote workers physically or digitally. Include these experiences on the company blog and social media, and showcase these perks in the hiring process. Displaying this part of your culture shows remote talent that you take their contributions seriously and gets them excited to join the team.

Remain Open to the Changing Workplace

As workplace trends change, continue to create opportunities for remote team members to feel included in the inner workings of the company. This drastically enhances a company’s culture from the perspective of future remote employees and makes the hiring process smoother.

As the world becomes more and more connected globally, your remote workforce will become an increasingly important part of your team. Retaining this top talent around the world could be the key to your company’s success.


Expanding your remote team? Use Authentic Jobs to find your next hire.

Man uses smartphone

Social Media 101 for Job Hunting Graphic Designers

In the digital age, social media blurs the lines between our professional and personal selves. These networks provide a useful space for keeping in touch with friends and family, but they are also places to forge new connections.

Social media presents a powerful opportunity to market yourself and your work to recruiters and potential colleagues. This is particularly true for graphic designers, given the overwhelming power of visuals and images on online platforms.

Take advantage of the professional potential of each platform using these tips.

Twitter

Hashtags

Hashtags are what make Twitter such a powerful networking tool for professional use. By including hashtags relevant to your medium, style and niche, you are more likely to come up in searches for these terms and to grow your follower base with individuals that are interested in your work and your professional insight.

Include hashtags in your bio and account description as well as your posts to hone the power of Twitter search. But be careful not to overuse hashtags — a good rule of thumb is that your hashtags shouldn’t outweigh your post itself. In most cases, limit yourself to one or two hashtags per post.

Some of the top trending hashtags for graphic designers include: #design, #art, #graphicdesign, #graphicart, #artoftheday, #artofinstagram, #branding, #brandidentity, #cartoon, #creative, #digitalart, #flatdesign, #typedesign, #typespire, #illustrator, #vector, #vectorart, #photoshop, #UX, #logo, #logodesign and more.

Engage With Other Accounts

A great way to build your professional network on Twitter is to engage with other designers. Showing your appreciation for others’ work is actually a way to boost interest and followers on your own account.

By tweeting interesting industry news or artwork and tagging your colleagues in relevant tweets, you are increasing your chances of getting retweets and likes, which then boosts your account’s reach to new audiences. Each interaction could be an opportunity for a recruiter or a potential colleague to see your work.

Check out Owen Gildersleeve on Twitter for inspiration on how to incorporate the promotion of your artwork, hashtags, social engagement, original posts and commentary — all in one powerful profile.

LinkedIn

Cover Photo and Profile Image

As a graphic designer, the aesthetic of all of your online profiles is a representation of your work and artistic abilities. While many designers’ first instinct is to take to Instagram to present their artistic talents, LinkedIn should also be a focus for any designer looking to build their professional reputation. Put your creative talents on display by creating an original cover photo and investing in a professional profile image that shows your personality and style.

Promote Your Work

LinkedIn is the prime social platform to be promoting your professional work, so don’t be shy. LinkedIn is essentially an online resume and its digital format provides even more opportunities to “sell” your experience, abilities and talents than a traditional resume or job application. Once your projects have been finalized and made public, post about them. Share images in an original way and take ownership of your hard work and creativity.

Facebook

Promoting Fun Work Projects and Office Life

Facebook is definitely a more casual platform; more of a tool to keep in touch with friends and family than to grow and nurture business relationships. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t also post about your professional life and your work from time to time. Just make sure there’s an appropriate balance.

Your friends and family likely don’t care to hear about every small detail of your work life or scroll through a full digital portfolio. However, posting fun, interesting things that happen in the office, big news about your latest completed projects or sharing professional milestones and accomplishments is perfectly acceptable. More importantly, these posts could be seen by recruiters or future colleagues through your friends’ interactions with your posts. Always be aware that your posts could be seen by anyone, so put your best foot forward.

Create a Company Page

If you are looking to boost the professional power of Facebook to help build your personal brand as a graphic designer, consider creating a company page. A company page is free and easy to set up and will give you a focused account to display your work and your abilities. Whether you are looking to freelance or you simply want to share your work, a company page allows you to market your Facebook presence to a more targeted audience, versus only your friends and family. This professional account also offers the opportunity to advertise and run “Like” campaigns to boost the followers on your account.

Instagram

Display Your Work

Instagram is a powerful visual medium, which makes it the perfect platform for graphic designers to present their work in an interesting way. But be sure that displaying your work makes sense in the context of your profile.

The most effective Instagram accounts have a clear and consistent focus. Whether you’re displaying art, fashion, food, travel, etc., you will gain the strongest and most meaningful follower base with a profile that has a dedicated focus. If you’re the type of person that also wants to post about your other daily dealings, consider creating two accounts; one for your personal friends and one for your professional network.

Then, think about creating a consistent look and feel for your account. Many Instagrammers will create this consistency through the colours, filters and different types of photography and imagery styles. Figure out what type of aesthetic best portrays and compliments your personality and artistic style and keep it consistent.

Check out the talented Steven Harrington on Instagram for inspiration on how to incorporate design posts as well as snapshots of daily life in an artistic way.

Long Beach. #lbc

A post shared by Steven Harrington (@s_harrington) on

Hashtags

Draw more people to your posts using relevant and trending hashtags in your posts. While it is definitely helpful to include the more general hashtags like #art, #designer, #graphicdesign, etc., it is also good to dig a bit deeper and tap into your niche and what you are presenting. For example, include more specialized hashtags like: #animation, #motiongraphics, #3D, #typography, #calligraphy, etc.

On Instagram, you have the ability to add your hashtags in a comment below your caption. This allows you to add more hashtags and gather more power from the search tool without distracting from your message or making your post look spammy.

Dribbble

Upload Portfolio

If you’re not already on Dribbble, create an account now and build a portfolio featuring your favorite creations.

Be sure to also include relevant tags on your uploaded pieces to make them show up in search. Tags could pertain to the style of your art, like “3D” or “sketch”, or they could pertain to the audience or potential clients you are looking to attract, like “logo” or “branding”.

Check out Creative Mints on Dribbble for an example of how to create a consistent and cohesive profile. This account is focused heavily around one artistic niche, however remains interesting throughout. You can see how an account like this would gather a strong and engaged following of individuals that are drawn to this style.

Engage With Your Peers’ Work

Once you’ve shared your own portfolio, take a look around to get inspired and share your thoughts. Feel free to ask questions if you see an artist using a new technique that you’d like to try in your own work. By leaving a comment or liking someone’s post, you are spreading awareness for your own profile and building an online community of like-minded professionals.

Social Media: Networking in a Digital World

Social media is not simply a casual, socializing tool anymore. In the digital world, social media is one of the leading ways recruiters discover new talent. It allows recruiters to learn more about you and get a feel for your consistency before reaching out.

You never know who could be watching, so be mindful of what you post online and how you present it. As a graphic designer, everything you post on these platforms can be used to promote yourself and your abilities, so be creative in your approach and make every post count.


Follow Authentic Jobs on Twitter for all of our latest job postings.

Designers: Get Noticed & Get A Dream Job

Designers: Get Noticed & Get A Dream Job

There’s no way around it: the job hunt can be tough. You might get lucky and find the right fit early in your search, but for the majority of job seekers this is a long and strenuous process of applications and interviews.

Do Your Research

Before sending your application for a new and exciting role, make sure to do your research on the company. Delve into their website, taking time to learn about each of their products, their current clients, and their team.

If the company already has a graphic designer or a full design team, take stock of their specific role(s) and specialities. Note how you could fit into their team and complement their current capacity in this department. For example, if their graphic designer specializes in web design and UX, perhaps you can highlight your strong skill set in print or illustration.

If the company has a blog or a news section, be sure to spend some time there as well. If you see any blog topics that pique your interest or perhaps the company has made headlines with a big announcement recently, these are great anecdotes to include in your cover letter. Highlighting details like this shows an employer that you care about working for them specifically, not just any company.

Customize Your Outreach

One of the biggest blunders you can commit on your job hunt is to send out impersonal, boilerplate cover letters and resumes en masse. While you may think sending out more applications will mean you get more responses, this could actually have the opposite effect.

With high competition for designer roles, it’s essential that your outreach be personalized and show a true understanding of what the company is looking for and how you can deliver on each element of the job description.

In each cover letter and resume, try to find a hook that shows why you have a genuine interest in this position specifically. For example, if the position is with a tech startup that provides software for the trades industry, draw a personal connection with your cover letter. Perhaps you have a close friend or family member that works in the trades and struggles with the issues this software helps solve—include this as an opening anecdote.

If you can’t find a connection that’s quite this direct, find another way to personally relate to the subject matter and include this in your cover letter. Showing a genuine interest and connection with the company’s pursuit and passions will help you move to the top of the candidate list.

Demonstrate Your Skills

Make every aspect of your application a demonstration of your skills. For example, if you’re applying for a graphic design position, put extra effort into creating a unique original presentation for your cover letter and resume. Whenever possible, include examples of your work with your application to show the company what you’re capable of and how they could put your skills to work as part of their team.

A mailing tube & t-shirt as a resume is a sure way to stand out.

[hyperlink images with source: http://www.howdesign.com/editors-picks/10-eye-catching-graphic-designer-resumes/]

As a graphic designer, employers are going to expect you to get creative. To set yourself apart, take time to think of different ways you can present your cover letter and resume information using your creativity.

This includes making sure your online portfolio is updated with your best work, but you can also take it a step further. Think of your cover letter and resume like a project you would be creating if you got the job: what kind of new, fresh ideas would you bring to their marketing collateral? Bring it to life with your application and they’ll have no choice but to get you working for their team.

Follow-Up

If you have applied to a position and have not heard back within a week or two, picking up the phone and making a call to check on the status of your application is completely within reason. In fact, many employers will be impressed that you took the initiative to follow-up with them directly. However, make sure the company did not detail “No phone calls” on their job description. In this case, a polite follow-up email is perfectly acceptable.

You may also consider looking through your network to find a connection that could provide a more personalized introduction. LinkedIn is a helpful tool for this research. Search the company to find the most appropriate employees such as the HR team members and the director or manager you would be reporting to directly.

If you have any “Mutual Connections” that you think would be willing and able to provide you with a sparkling reference, ask for an introduction. As long as you’re polite and humble in your approach, the worst they’ll say is that they are no longer in contact with that person.

In the job hunt, positivity is key

No matter how many rejections you may receive, remain steadfast on your search. While the job hunt can be difficult and stressful at times, it is equally rewarding when you finally secure a dream role.

Remain persistent and open to new opportunities as they present themselves. You never know where your job search could lead you.


Looking for your next design gig? We’ve got lots of those at Authentic Jobs.

How to Define a New Role at a Startup

How to Define a New Role at a Startup

As a startup founder or team lead, you already have a lot on your plate. Growing the business and keeping it running on the day-to-day is hard enough without throwing hiring into the mix.

When it does come time to hire, it can be difficult to gauge what your team needs. This is made even harder when a startup is young or lacks a defined company structure.

Defining a new role is the first step to making a great hire. Wrapping your head around the required skills, personality, and experience of a new employee will save you time and sanity in the long run.

Required Skills

Start by thinking of the tasks and responsibilities that the new role will be responsible for. Then, make a list of skills a person will realistically need to accomplish these tasks successfully.
Let’s take a graphic designer as an example. The new hire might be responsible for designing for a variety of formats, building out your brand, and managing web design. To do these things, the designer will probably need skills in the Adobe Creative Suite and HTML & CSS.

Now, take it a step further and envision how this person will fit in with your team’s current skillset. If there are gaps with your current team, a new hire might be able to fill them. For example, the graphic designer might also need illustration skills or have experience building teams. Think of any skills that might not be explicitly implied in an average description for the title, and add them to your posting.

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at job descriptions for similar roles. If you have other employees, ask them to draft a description what the new hire’s day-to-day should look like and any skills they feel would round out the team. This gives you a candid peek into how your team thinks a new employee could contribute to overall goals.

Personality and Characteristics

When the team is small, finding a personality that fits in with your organization’s culture and vision is just as important as finding the right skillset. Before interviewing people, think about your company culture and what a person needs to excel within your team.

Start by considering your industry. If you build software for the non-profit sector, a genuine interest or passion in the area you serve could be fundamental to the role.

Also consider the team you already have and their personalities and working style. What would a person need to fit within this structure? Do you need a flexible person that’s ready and willing to take direction, or do you need a confident go-getter that will proactively seek out work instead of waiting to be directed?

Take stock of your current employees’ strengths and weaknesses and think about how an ideal candidate’s personality traits would fit in and complement them. By doing so, you’ll be bringing your company to the next level with each additional team member.

Experience Level and Company Structure

One of the most important factors in finding the right candidate for your organization is to find the right experience level for your needs and budget allowance. Would you like a hungry entry-level employee that’s ready to roll up their sleeves and learn, or do you need a more seasoned professional that can help lead the team when you’re offsite?

Many startup founders and team leads wear many hats, but juggling responsibilities can lead to inefficient and overwhelmed management. If you already have several employees reporting to you, it could be a good time to bring in a more senior employee to manage teams.

On the other hand, if you already have a solid team of senior employees ready to take on more responsibility, this could be a good time to bring in a more junior member to take on production.

Growth Strategy

Thinking about how each hire affects overall growth is an important thing to keep in mind. Depending on your product, you may require talent upfront to bring your product to launch, or you could keep things lean until the product is ready to enter market.

Also consider how this role fits into your startup’s needs in the short and long term. It’s natural to need evolving skillsets as a company grows—generalists are usually fundamental at the beginning while specialists are more helpful when the team reaches larger sizes.

Of course, budget should also be top of mind. As you define a new role, consider your reason for hiring and how your needs balance with what you can afford. If you’re short-handed after signing a big contract, consider the stability and longevity of the role before hiring full-time employees. If the demand is beginning to grow but your profit isn’t stable, consider freelance or contract talent. This will help you fulfill your current requirements without overextending budgets.

Defining Roles Sets You Up For Success

Building a team from scratch is one of the hardest things founders and leads have to do. Taking time to define the role before digging in can set you up for success in the long term. It helps set expectations for you and the new hire and gives everyone a framework to work from.

At the end of the day, don’t forget to trust your gut. In a lot of cases, personality outweighs skills that can be taught over time. Sometimes assembling the right group of people is more important than meeting the responsibilities set on paper.


Find your next new teammate by posting on Authentic Jobs.

But Will You Be Happy? 5 Things That Make a Job Fulfilling

But Will You Be Happy? 5 Things That Make a Job Fulfilling

When you are on the hunt for a new job, there are a variety of factors to weigh in your decision. What will my responsibilities be in this role? Is it a growing company with opportunities for advancement? What kind of compensation and benefit packages does the company offer their employees?

All of these questions are important and will help you make decisions as you take the next step in your career. The real dilemma occurs when you have to decide what questions are the most important for you. Some job seekers may be driven heavily by salary, while others may be more interested in working for with a cause they’re truly passionate about.

This is a personal decision that everyone must make for themselves in their career. As you get older, your priorities may change and this will also have an impact on your career aspirations and trajectory. Wherever you find yourself in your journey, consider the five factors below as you move forward in your the quest for that dream job.

Flexibility

The opportunity for flexibility in your workday is often one of the most celebrated workplace perks as it allows the job to fit into your life (as opposed to the other way around). With greater flexibility in your schedule, you’re better able to complete all of your priorities in a day and reserve your downtime for activities that recharge your body and mind.

Depending on your industry, many workplaces are coming to understand the value of this flexibility. A happy employee means better work and productivity in the long run. If your workplace does not currently offer flex work schedules, it might not be completely off the table. This could be worth a discussion with your manager. When approaching this conversation, be sure to be explicit and compelling in your motivation, but also make it clear that you’re open to compromise and a formal review after a trial period.

When asking for a more flexible schedule, it can also be helpful to have several options for discussion. Perhaps working from home one day a week, working a compressed four-day week, or even having the option to take an extended lunch break on certain days of the week to fit in an afternoon exercise class. With multiple options on the table, you’re more apt to have one of your requests granted or at least considered.

Work-Life Balance

Not every job is going to have the ability for flexible hours and remote work, but there are many other factors that contribute to a healthy and satisfying work-life balance. The hard part is figuring out which factors are a deal-breaker and which can be reorganized or better prioritized both at work and at home for the betterment of your overall lifestyle.

For many, time spent commuting is one of the biggest deal-breakers. If you’re going to be facing a lengthy commute each day before and after work and you don’t have much flexibility in working around rush hour, this will have a significant impact on your daily life. If it takes you one hour to get to and from the office, that is two hours you’re losing each day that could be better spent doing all of the other things on your list.

To help maintain a better balance when factors like this are out of your control, look for ways you can work around it in order to maximize your time. For example, go to the gym close to your office in the morning or at lunch so that you get all the benefits of your workout before you get home. You can also maximize your time by doing meal prep once or twice a week so that you’re not rushing to make lunches each morning and dinners will be ready to go as soon as you get home from work.

There are many options to consider that will help you boost the effectiveness of your downtime for a satisfying lifestyle.

Fair Compensation

While a cozy salary shouldn’t be your only consideration on your job hunt, let’s be honest—it certainly helps. Everyone deserves to be fairly compensated for their work and you should strive to work with a company that understands that and is willing to invest in their employees.

To get a better grasp for what is considered “fair” compensation for your industry and level of experience and expertise, consult job postings and pay scales for your industry and your region. Authentic Jobs offers a variety of tech-centric job postings from which you can compare your job and salary aspirations to similar roles in comparable cities. This will help you set realistic salary expectations so you’re prepared for this discussion with a prospective employer.

That being said, no matter how great a generous salary may seem, it isn’t going to keep you motivated and happy in a toxic environment, so make sure the company and the role is a good fit first.

Aspirational Goals

Any fulfilling job will offer goals to aspire towards. Your goals could be within the company itself, like the opportunity for advancement or greater responsibility, but they can also include your greater career path. If you know you would enjoy this role and also gain skills and experience that would help you take the next step in your career in the future, it is worth exploring the opportunity.

If you’re currently in a position and lacking the goal-driven motivation you crave, ask yourself how you want to grow. Once you’ve defined your goals, prepare some ideas on how you could work towards these goals in your position and discuss them with your manager.

More often than not, management will be more than willing to provide opportunities for internal training or accommodation for training or participation in events that will help you grow your skill set. After all, the company will also benefit from your ever-expanding expertise.

Respect and Recognition

Finding a position where you’ll be respected and recognized for your hard work is a huge factor in job happiness. If you’re working in an environment where you feel your hard work is being overlooked, you’ll inevitably begin to feel unmotivated and resentful in your workplace. Healthy and productive work environments give credit where credit is due.

If your company isn’t quick to give recognition, don’t jump to conclusions. It may not be that your superiors are not supportive, it could simply be that there is no real organizational process or structure in place for this type of acknowledgment. Many smaller organizations and startups may run into this problem given that senior leadership is busy working right alongside you and there is often a lack of designated HR and admin support.

To help promote more of a culture of open recognition in your office, take a proactive approach and show consistent, informal recognition to others for their professional victories. As this practice spreads throughout the team culture, you can bet your accomplishments will have their time in the spotlight soon enough.

For a more direct approach, it can be helpful to stop by your boss’s office for a quick update on your projects every so often—don’t wait for a quarterly or annual review. This can be completely informal but gives you the opportunity to make sure your boss is aware of your hard work and achievements. Do be sure to be a team player and also mention any colleagues that played a part in the victory as well.

Weigh the pros and cons to make an informed decision

Do your research on any company you are aspiring to work with. Look at how they’ve branded their company, what they share on social media, what kinds of community events and initiatives they support, and what they are presenting with their mission and values.

Get a more personal account by referring to your network to see if you know anyone that has worked for the company (past or present), or if someone you know may have a connection that has worked at the company. If possible, ask around to see what the work environment is really like for the employees. Companies can market themselves however they want, but ultimately it is the employees that will be able to tell you about the true culture from experience.

If everything you’ve learned about the company seems to be a good fit for you and your career aspirations, reach out. Companies are always on the hunt for other like-minded individuals to join their team and you could be just the person they’re looking for.


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