What is the Difference Between Retained Search and Contingent Search?

By Catherine Lang-Cline

Businesses have always struggled to find the perfect person to fill a role. This becomes especially difficult when the market switches to favor candidates. It seems like no one is looking for work and the ones that are looking are not a match for your role or culture. When it becomes dire you choose to engage an outside Recruiter to help you find that perfect fit. You speak to some companies that offer retained search and some that will do a contingent search, some will do both. What is the difference?

Let’s start with defining a retained search. If you are engaging in a retained search you are typically entering an agreement that gives your search firm exclusivity to finding you the right person. It is also typical for the search to be more specialized. You will have to agree to pay a hiring fee that is calculated from a percent of the starting salary of the role with half of that money being paid up front and nonrefundable. You should only receive a few candidates that are a perfect match for a role, as the Recruiter’s efforts should be rigorous and very fine-tuned on what is going to be a perfect addition to your company.  

A contingent search means that the recruiter only gets paid if you hire their candidate. Again, this fee is based on a percent of the starting salary for a role. Since it is a no-money-down, winner-take-all sort of search it typically means that the recruiter is potentially competing against an internal HR department, self-submitting candidates, job boards, as well as a few other recruiting firms. May the best person win. While a little more frenzied, having all of that input can get you a wide selection of candidates. Your biggest tasks would include making sure you keep track of where all of the candidates come from and possible a deeper dive in vetting those candidates.


Side Hustles: It's Not Just About the Money

By Kristen Harris

Nearly a third of workers have a side gig, according to recent research conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder(1). This statistic caught my eye because I know a lot of people who do extra work on the side in addition to their regular day job. It’s pretty common in the creative industry.

The research had other interesting findings, like more women than men have side hustles (35 percent vs. 28 percent), and those under 35 are more likely to have a side hustle than those over 35.

I don’t agree with the headline framing the motivation for this side work as purely economic. “Helping Bridge the Pay Gap, More Women Are Taking on Side Hustles Than Men”, they say.

That may be the case for some workers, especially at the lower end of the pay scale, but the study also found that 25 percent of workers making more than $75K and 19 percent of those making more than $100K currently have a gig outside of their full-time job. I don’t buy the premise that these people are doing side jobs purely for the money. Especially when other research has shown that about $75K is the “happiness plateau” where a higher household income doesn’t have much of an impact on emotional well-being(2). Interesting, huh?

Consider common roles cited as side gigs – babysitter, chef/baker, dog walker, blogger, DJ – along with less-common roles like face painter, soap maker, and rapper. Yes, some people may do these side jobs purely for the money, but these also sound the type of side work that people may choose to do because they like it. Side gigs can be a creative outlet, utilize a skill or fulfill an interest that isn’t used in the day job, or a hobby that starts earning money.

Creative people like what they do, and often do even more of it in their off hours. They may do freelance projects in the same field as their day job, or something totally different. Maybe a graphic designer also really likes photography does it as a side hustle, or an attorney is also a skilled writer who works on freelance articles and editing in her free time.

Creative people like variety and opportunities to flex their creative muscle or learn new skills, all of which they can gain with side gigs. Top that with the fact the 35-and-under generations also are quite entrepreneurial. They don’t believe that just one type of work, one occupation, or one field defines them. In general, they want the stability of a day job, but also find ways to weave other types of work into their life.

The statistics in this research are interesting, but I think they missed the boat with an overall conclusion that the only motivation for side gigs is to “close the pay gap.” That may be true for some, but people also have other motivations to take on side gigs or build their own side hustle.

What do you think? Are economic factors the reason so many people have side gigs? What motivated you to start a side hustle of your own?

  1. Helping Bridge the Pay Gap, More Women Are Taking on Side Hustles Than Men;          Aug. 10, 2017

  2. Do We Need $75,000 a Year to Be Happy?; September 6, 2010 


A Day in the Life: Q + A with Debbie Gillum


In the latest installment of our Columbus Creatives: A Day in the Life series, we talk with Debbie Gillum, a multi-talented Marketing Specialist, with two side hustles. Her love of writing, problem solving and all things social media help make her one heck of a talented lady. She's a leading example of the creativity we have in Columbus! 


Hey, I’m Debbie and I’m the Marketing and Digital Communications Specialist at Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio. I currently live in downtown Cbus across the street from the North Market. I’m originally from Indianapolis but moved to Hilliard in middle school and have been in the Buckeye state ever since. I went to Denison University, a small private liberal-arts college and studied English and Communication. I was President of the Quidditch team and editor of the student newspaper. Now, I’m a Founding member of Women in Digital, a national group devoted to empowering women in digital careers.


I’m utterly addicted to coffee so I always consume an enormous amount of black coffee in the morning. I listen to the radio as I get ready because it helps me stay informed about what’s going on in the world. I’m a fan of making smoothies for breakfast. It’s a yummy way to sneak in a lot of healthy foods. On Fridays, I’ll treat myself and swing by Upper Cup Coffee for a muffin and an amazing large cup of Joe.


At work, I live and breathe social media. My favorite part of my job is interacting with fans who shop at Volunteers of America thrift stores. I love writing blog posts sharing the best thrifting tips and tricks. As a kid, I always enjoyed creative writing and as I got older, I liked strategic problem solving so it’s exciting to be in a career where I can do both for a living. I keep an on-going to-do list at work that helps me stay organized and gives me a rush of satisfaction when I can cross off a task. Seems like there’s always a future fundraising or open house event to plan for, so I’m often crafting email invitations, postcards, signs and event programs. I keep my beloved radio on in my office all day and it’s usually tuned to either NPR (big fan of All Sides with Ann Fisher), CD102.5 (love the variety and local music) or WNCI (Dave and Jimmy’s Morning Zoo).

My favorite place for an afternoon pick-me-up coffee is Cherbourg Bakery in downtown Bexley. They take such pride in their coffee and artfully craft each pourover.


In the evening, I take horseback riding lessons out in Canal Winchester. I grew up riding my own horse and have adored horses all my life. I love the thrill of jumping and the comforting nuzzle of horses. For dinner, I go to Houndogs in Clintonville with my boyfriend and friends for Wednesday PB&J (a pizza, pitcher of beer and shot of Jameson). I have two side hustles helping a trivia company and mobile low-cost veterinarian with their social media and blog posts. I love keeping busy!


Perfecting Your Craft: Does It Really Take 10,000 Hours?

By Kristen Harris

There is an oft-cited “rule” that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are needed to become world-class in any field. People have latched onto this 10,000 Hours Rule, especially after Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling Outliers, because it’s short, simple and easy to remember.

Does this mean you can’t be world-class in less than 10,000 hours? Or that you’re guaranteed to be world-class if you put in 10,000 hours of practice? No, and no. It’s more complex than this.

  1. What’s true about the 10,000 Hours Rule? The original research(1) shows that it requires a lot of effort and practice, over many years, to become accomplished in a field where there is a history of people working to become experts. The exact number of hours invested may vary, but it does take intense study and practice to become a master in any field. This is most obvious in areas that traditionally require study and practice, like music, chess, writing, or academic research. The real insight of this study is that you must be focused and dedicated to commit this amount of practice to fine tuning your craft. Most people are not willing to put in the time and effort; those that do have the opportunity to become world-class.

What’s wrong with the 10,000 Hour Rule? It’s much too simple. Just because you are willing to practice 10,000 hours, or whatever amount of time is required for someone to become world-class at a certain activity, does not mean you will become world-class. Natural ability is a key factor that can’t be ignored. No matter how hard or long I practice, I will never become good enough to play basketball or dance professionally. I simply do not have the physical attributes and innate talent required. Putting in the required amount of practice does not guarantee you can become world-class.

This brings up the issue of what exactly is meant by “deliberate practice”. The study seems to indicate that there is a difference between what is gained through performing vs creating. Someone can practice playing a piece of music over and over, and get quite good at performing it, but that does not help them build the skills required to write new creative music of their own. Creativity and fresh ideas can catapult someone to success, with or without the required hours of practice.

Finally, the field in which one is striving to become world-class makes a difference.(2) Deliberate practice seems to be a higher predictor of success in fields that are stable, like tennis, chess or classical music. Everyone is following the same rules, so more practice helps you become more skilled. However, in fields that are less stable, like entrepreneurship, rock and roll, and creative design there are fewer rules. Rules are made to be broken, amirite? When the field has less restrictive rules or standards of measurement, a brilliant idea can trump years of practice.

So, does practice matter? Yes! It’s important to grasp the core message of the 10,000 Hour Rule...practice makes you better. When two people have equal talent and abilities, the one who practices more will generally achieve a higher standard of excellence. If you want to get really good at something, practice, practice, practice. Hone your skills and keep learning how to get better in your chosen field. To be world-class you must be willing to put in at least the same amount of work as those you are being compared to or competing with. Additional practice always improves performance; there is no top limit, the equation never maxes out.

But practice is not the only factor in your ability to become world-class. Physical traits, mental capability, innate talent, access to resources, and being in the right place at the right time all contribute to one’s ability to become world-class. Honestly assess your abilities and steer yourself in a direction where they can be put to the best use. Take advantage of available resources and opportunities, practice your craft, and keep developing yourself to become the best you can be in your field.

1 Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Copyright © 2016 by K. Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

2 Deliberate Practice and Performance in Music, Games, Sports, Education, and Professions. A Meta-Analysis / Research Article by Brooke N Macnamara, David Z. Hambrick, Fredierick L. Oswald. First published July 1, 2014.

A Day in the Life: Q + A with Keya Crenshaw

In the latest installment of our Columbus Creatives: A Day in the Life series, we talk with Keya Crenshaw, a Columbus native who balances her time between being a CEO and writer, as well as an actor and creative consultant. We admire the variety of creativity in her life, and dedication to make it all happen!

Hello everyone. I’m Keya Crenshaw, the thirty…something CEO of Black Chick Media, LLC, a local creative agency that educates, empowers and advocates for creatives. I was born in Columbus proper, but have called Reynoldsburg home since high school. I attended The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!), and am currently looking at graduate schools in New York and London. To know me is to understand that I have many creative outlets including writing (I currently have a play in the works), acting, and pretending to be a comedienne.


I hate alarm clocks, and endeavor never to have to use one. Of course, that’s not realistic. To get up and get going, I generally rock out to my Apple Music account with some Childish Gambino, Solange, or Kendrick Lamar (catch me in concert in my car!). Then, it’s time to navigate the endlessly backed up 70 West like a boss and head downtown. As with most creatives, I feel like I never live the same way twice. My mornings can vary whether I’m meeting with local creatives and grabbing a New Orleans iced coffee and egg sandwich (oh, go on then throw in a cinnamon roll too!) at Fox in the Snow, or heading over to Roosevelt Coffeehouse to set up shop and blog for the day.


I’m at my very best in the afternoons. If I’m not enjoying a nice cuppa (tea, that is), and macaroons at Pistacia Vera, I’m having lunch at Katzinger’s or First Watch. Then, I’ll most certainly have a meeting with a client, spend hours on social media chatting with far away friends, scoping out and promoting programming, and planning my next travel adventure. Yes, definitely planning my next trip, which is usually some glorious mix of business and pleasure. Is it almost 5pm? Oops, definitely time to head back East to avoid the horrific rush hour traffic (when oh when will Columbus figure out the traffic situation?).


So, if I started my day downtown, chances are I didn’t make it out by 5pm. Whew! To avoid said traffic, I’ll hop over to Marcella’s Short North for happy hour, or Bakersfield for the mahi tacos. If it’s time for some self-care (and let’s be honest, when isn’t it?) you can catch me at the W Nail Bar getting a mani/pedi, practicing yoga at Replenish: The Spa Co-Op, or getting fancy fresh at Nicole Revish Salon. Most of the time it’s theatre season for me, so I’ll probably be at rehearsals with PAST Productions Columbus or at home, practicing lines and writing my play with a glass of Watershed Four Peel gin in hand.

Hiring: Plan Ahead, Ideal Fit Takes Time

By Kristen Harris

“Never make a decision until you have to.” – Randy Pausch

As hiring managers and job candidates, we’re all looking for an Ideal Fit. Whatever term you use to describe it, we all want to find someone who is a good fit for our team, or a work opportunity that feels “just right”. If you’re not sure how to assess an Ideal Fit, check out our article Hiring: What’s an “Ideal Fit”?

Finding the Ideal Fit takes time. It’s not something you can rush through, yet we’re often pressured to make quick decisions. Hiring managers need to quickly assess whether a candidate is the right fit for their team and realize that candidate is probably talking to other companies too. When you find the right person, you feel pressured to make an offer before someone else does.

On the other side, with all of the options and opportunities, candidates are getting offered roles more quickly and feel pressured to accept. They may get multiple offers and need to make the right choice for themselves and their career.

Finding the Ideal Fit takes time, but with all the pressure to make a quick decision, we don’t have time. How to resolve this seemingly impossible conundrum? By putting in our time beforehand, so we’re prepared to make a quick decision when the clock is ticking.

Never make a decision until you have to, but be prepared to make a decision when you need to. When you’ve spent time getting clear on what the Ideal Fit is for you, then it’s much easier to make that quick decision when the pressure is on.

For hiring managers, it’s important to be very clear on what matters to you, your company, and your team. Identify the must-haves vs nice-to-haves for any role you’re trying to fill. What is required for success in this role? What skills, experience or background are necessary? What type of personality traits or soft skills are you looking for? What’s important to your company? What is your culture like? Make a list of everything you’re looking for, ranked from most important to least.

For individuals seeking a new role, project, or work opportunity, you need to know what matters the most to you (and what doesn’t). Are you looking for higher pay? More interesting projects? The opportunity to learn new skills or grow the breadth of your work? To work with a particular person or for a certain company? Is flexibility or a specific work schedule important to you? Stability and predictability, or new exciting challenges every day? What kind of culture do you thrive in? Write it all down, in order of priority.

A prioritized list of what matters the most gives you a base to compare against when making decisions. Let’s be honest, no person or job is completely, 100% perfect. There will always be compromises. You need to know what matters most, your deal-breakers vs nice-to-haves.

When you’re clear on what’s most important, making decisions becomes easier, even under pressure. Compare every candidate or opportunity to your list. How does the person or role measure up against your must-haves? If all those boxes are checked, then look at the nice-to-haves. Those probably won’t all be covered, so decide where you’re willing to compromise. You’ve already set your priorities; you decided that the items lower on your list are less important to you. Now, take a breath, listen to your gut, and make your decision.

Finding the Ideal Fit takes time that we don’t have in the heat of the moment. By spending time beforehand to identify what’s most important, we can quickly make a better decision when the pressure is on.

A Day in the Life: Q + A with Zach Gerber

In the latest installment of our Columbus Creatives: A Day in the Life series, we talk with Zach Gerber, an incredibly creative, energetic and active Marketing Director who has no plans of slowing down! 

Hi, I’m Zach Gerber--avid skateboarder turned marketing strategist. I learned early on the importance of falling down and getting back up in both my professional and personal life.

Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, I’ve been in some sort of creative endeavor since graduating from The Ohio State University. I began my career in healthcare advertising, starting as an intern and working my way up. Eventually that led into overseeing social media, partnering with some awesome local and national clients. I’ve sort of run the gamut of agency functions and I love the fast-paced nature of all the work I’ve been able to be a part of.

Currently, I am the Director of Marketing at Mindstream Interactive, a Columbus-based customer experience agency. At Mindstream, I bring together business and marketing strategy in order to pair the agency with clients who want to build meaningful experiences worth talking about.

5-year plan: Make Mindstream an even bigger part of the Columbus vernacular, start my own skateboarding-focused non-profit, and not acquire any more cats.


As a resident of the Battleship Building next to the North Market, I’m fortunate enough to take a quick walk to work in the Arena District. That walk is contingent on both a sock and shoe addiction that can sometimes take some extra decisiveness in the morning to get it just right. Headphones are a must for this brief, yet energizing walk. And they are either blaring The National, Kendrick Lamar, or something in between that isn’t country.


In my role, I am integrated into every single team at Mindstream. Some days you can find me collaborating with our strategy teams and others I’m working on big picture agency vision projects. A great afternoon is chasing a big opportunity or celebrating a new client partnership. Weekend afternoons are spent at the movies or exploring new restaurants with my girlfriend.


Evenings are never the same. I might be skateboarding, preparing for the rest of the week, plotting ideas on my closet’s whiteboard wall, reading the latest Seth Godin book, or learning about scotch at my monthly scotch club. I enjoy being on the move, with zero plans of slowing down anytime soon.

Your Career: Five Common Job Search Mistakes

By Kristen Harris

Looking for work might seem like a fairly straightforward process but, in fact, it’s quite complex.

There are several steps, a series of interactions, and multiple people involved in your search. Each stage of the process is filled with nuance and details. One false move can take you out of the running, and you may not even know it. The job search process is challenging and stressful enough without putting barriers in your own way.

Check yourself...are you making any of these five common job search mistakes? Be honest, or ask someone you trust for feedback. Sometimes we’re so close to a problem that it’s hard to have perspective. Once you’re aware of an issue, it’s much easier to correct and avoid that mistake in the future.

  1. A Mismatch between your skills and the role. It’s important to really know yourself. What are your strengths? Skills? Experience level? Interests? What stage are you at in your career? What you do you want from your next role? Once you’re clear on these things for yourself, then compare your answers to every role in which you’re interested. Do your strengths and skills align with what the company needs? Are you at the right career stage for the role? Does it align with what you want, personally and professionally? Do you like the company? Are you interested in what they do? No job is perfect, but if there is a significant mismatch in several areas, move on to the next opportunity. This is not “the one”.

  2. Cookie-cutter communications. We live in a customized world; don’t send the same message to every contact or in response to every job opportunity. Customize your resume to highlight the exact skills and experiences the company is looking for. Highlight how you’re a great fit for that specific role and company in your cover letter or introductory email. Technology means every communication can be specialized to the recipient, yet people rarely receive truly personalized messages. Make the person on the other end feel as though you’re speaking directly to them and their needs.

  3. Typos in your resume. Typos and bad grammar reflect poorly on you and your work. Resume reviewers will immediately make judgements, and often it’s a shortcut to the trash bin. Not everyone is a great writer or speller, I get it. But, even if you are, find someone to proofread everything for you...your brain often fills in the gaps, it’s easier for someone else to find your mistakes.

  4. Not being prepared for the interview. As an interviewer, there are few things more painful than trying to connect with someone who is clearly not prepared for your conversation. Research the company before your interview (actually, before you apply...otherwise, how do you know you want to work there?). You’ll know what to wear (if you’re still not sure, ask the person scheduling the interview), and you can ask about something they’re working on or a project that was recently announced. Have questions prepared; this is a two-way conversation, and you need to know if it’s a good fit for you too. Be interested and engaged, do your part to make it a good conversation.

  5. Not using your network. Go beyond searching job boards, it’s important to utilize your network. Start with people you already know, personally and professionally, in your community or school, through alumni associations or industry groups. Connect with people online through platforms like LinkedIn. Attend events where people in your industry would be, catch up with people you know and ask them to introduce you to someone new. Then follow the cardinal rule of giving before asking. Even though you want someone’s help, first ask what you can do to help them. By giving first, you’ll establish trust and truly build a relationship; people are much more likely to help or recommend people they know and trust.

Whether looking for your first job, next job, or dream job, eliminating these five mistakes will help you get out of the way of your own success.


Creative Events Round-Up: July

In between fireworks shows and summer concerts, your favorite creative organizations are playing host to some pretty cool events throughout July. Here's our latest creative events round-up:

AMA Summer Networking Bash

Thursday, July 20 at Grandview Cafe

AMA Columbus is teaming up with our local Legal Marketing Association chapter to bring you a night of networking, giveaways and general good times at the newly renovated Grandview Cafe. A ticket will get you two drinks and appetizers— what's not to like about all of that?? Learn more at amacolumbus.org

CSCA Presents: Meg Lewis

Thursday, July 20 at Gateway film center

The next CSCA speaker event will feature designer and founder of Ghostly Ferns, Meg Lewis. Within 5 seconds of looking at her website, we fell in love with Meg's energy and outlook on life. We can only imagine how fun her presentation is going to be! Learn more about CSCA and their upcoming event at cscarts.org

AAF AdFun at Makeway

Thursday, July 27 at Makeway 

If you are in the advertising industry here locally or are looking to break in, AAF Columbus AdFuns need to be your summer networking priority. You'll get to experience an inside look at some of the awesome agencies throughout the city and meet the brightest in the industry (for free!!). July's AdFun will be held at Makeway, a newer agency to the Columbus, with offices in Rochester, NY. The Makeway team has a beautiful rooftop patio that overlooks Downtown— just another reason why you should add this one to your calendar now. So... we'll see you there?

Making Midwest Fest

To cap off the month, the first-ever two day festival for creatives in Columbus, Making Midwest Fest, will make it's debut for a weekend centered around creative collisions. There will be more than 40 presenters, talking on topics ranging from poetry to higher education and the headliner, renown designer Aaron Draplin, will close it out Sunday evening. Tickets are going fast and we know this is a weekend you'd regret missing. Learn more at makingmidwest.com.  

That's not all Columbus has to offer this month— click to check out our full calendar of events.

A Day in the Life: Q+A with Ansley Phillips

In the latest installment of our Columbus Creatives: A Day in the Life series, we talk with Ansley Phillips, a killer creative director and Tennessee native, making moves and shaking things up in the 614.

My name is Ansley Phillips, phonetically pronounced “annzlee”, and no it’s not a family name. My college roommate always told people Ansley’s a normal name in the south, where I grew up, but that’s not really true. I moved to Ohio in 2006 for CCAD’s Advertising & Graphic Design program, then moved to Fort Lauderdale after graduation. But somehow I keep finding my way back to Columbus. Currently, I’m a proud resident of Weinland Park. RIP Natalia’s Carryout.

I am an Associate Creative Director at WD Partners, a Dublin-based agency focused on retail design and marketing. I’m a strategic thinker and a “big ideas” person, meaning that I’m very structured in my mind but my desk and home screen are a mess.

Ansley's highly organized iPhone home screen.

Ansley's highly organized iPhone home screen.


My morning routine usually consists of hitting snooze, followed by a coffee quest. Sometimes Starbucks, sometimes french press. My favorite brew lately is a smooth morning blend aged in Chattanooga Whiskey barrels for an extra sweet and smoky flavor. I highly recommend it, and while the coffee obviously has no alcohol content, I’ll warn you that your morning coffee will smell like whiskey and your coworkers will give you funny looks.


A “typical” afternoon doesn’t really exist in my world. At WD Partners, we design experiences for brands and retailers. On any day, I could be designing an experiential marketing concept for Intel, co-leading a client work session with Aramark, or reimagining a category within Target. Check out my site to see some things I’ve been doing lately.

Chimichurri aka Argentina's "ranch dressing".

Chimichurri aka Argentina's "ranch dressing".


As indicated by my morning routine, I’m an evening person. I’m a total nerd for networking, so you can frequently find me at an AAF event or happy houring with someone talented and inspiring. I love spending time with my girlfriend (now fiancé) and our two fluffy dogs. I also love to cook and try new recipes. Okay, I never ever follow the recipe, but I do love making new things. I recently made chimichurri for the first time, which is basically Argentina’s equivalent of ranch dressing. It tasted almost as good as the real stuff in Miami. I’m admittedly also a pretty passionate tv show watcher, and if anyone understands Hulu’s new interface for the Apple TV app, please reach out.