How to Help Someone Discover Work That Excites Them

By: Amy Jen Su for the Harvard Business Review

Much has been written on a leader’s role in motivating, engaging, and bringing out the best in others. Yet research suggests there is still much more that could be done. Frequently cited is the 2014 Deloitte study that found that “up to 87% of America’s workforce is not able to contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work.” This passion gap is important because “passionate workers are committed to continually achieving higher levels of performance.” Robert Kaplan, author of What You’re Really Meant to Do, states that “numerous studies of highly effective people point to a strong correlation between believing in the mission, enjoying the job, and performing at a high level.” If passion plays an important role in the potential and high performance of others, how does a leader develop others toward their passions?

Adopt a servant leader’s mindset. In the face of heavy workloads, it’s easy to have every interaction with your direct reports turn into a rushed conversation focused on getting stuff done or fixing problems. Developing others toward their passions requires a mindset shift. While many authors have written about the concept of servant leadership, one of the best definitions still comes from Robert Greenleaf, who originally coined the phrase in an essay published back in 1970. In it, Greenleaf writes, “The servant-leader is servant first…it begins with that natural feeling that one wants to serve. The best test, which is difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”

Help to unlock and discover people’s passions. You can help to explore what drives passion on the job for your employees by giving them a chance to pause and reflect. Choose natural points in the workflow to ask questions such as:

  • In advance of new experiences: What are you excited about for this upcoming project or initiative? What are ways you hope to develop, learn, or grow with this experience?
  • After key milestones: What’s something you felt great about or were especially proud of on that team or project? What was especially rewarding, meaningful, or inspiring coming out of that project, initiative, or event?
  • At annual performance reviews: What did you most enjoy working on this past year and why? What are the types of things you’d like to get more experience in next year?
  • In career development conversations: What is your career aspiration over the next three to five years? How do you see this role helping you get there? What inspires you now?

Prioritize work at the intersection of passion and contribution. With greater information in hand, you can help to better identify that sweet spot where your employee’s passion and contribution to your team or organization overlap. In January 2017 I wrote an HBR article about prioritizing those activities where passion and contribution intersect. While the article focused on how to prioritize your own work, you can apply the same framework to helping your direct reports prioritize theirs. This ensures that passion is included in the equation.

Be careful of assuming that throwing more opportunities or stretch assignments at your employee is the key to unlocking passion. At some point, this can lead to what Michael E. Kibler calls a “brownout” — a term used to describe part of the life cycle of a star. As Kibler says, these people “seem to be performing fine: putting in massive hours in meetings and calls across time zones, grinding out work while leading or contributing to global teams, and saying all the right things in meetings. However, these executives are often operating in a silent state of continual overwhelm, and the predictable consequence is disengagement.”

Know when it’s time to help someone move on. Practically, you aren’t always going to have work or opportunities that hit the “passion contribution” zone for your employees. The key is to recognize when a role has run its course. Don’t become the boss who keeps others “in a box” or gets locked into a view of someone from the past. Not allowing a protégé to move on or spread their wings can create a passion drain.

One of the things that most struck me in Sydney Finkelstein’s 2016 HBR article “Secrets of the Superbosses,” which was based on his review of thousands of articles and books as well as more than 200 interviews, was how superbosses “accept churn.” They recognize that “smart, creative, flexible people tend to have fast-paced careers. Even after someone moves out of their organization, superbosses continue to offer advice, personal introductions, and membership into their networks.”

Helping others to develop toward their passions can be a rewarding part of being a leader. By adopting a servant leader’s mindset, helping others to explore, prioritizing for passion contribution, and supporting others’ careers beyond their current role, you will not have only increased engagement but also be more likely to build long-lasting relationships.

WOW! We've been in business for more than 12 years. We love being in Columbus -- check out 12 reasons we're unique and make a difference in our community. We'd love to get to know you!

1. This business was started by two women, Catherine Lang-Cline and Kristen Harris, that graduated together from the LBrands bootcamp. 

2. We believe in serving the community, so we get involved. There are a number of boards that members of our team belong to, and have been for years. Such as, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Columbus Chamber of Commerce, American Marketing Association, Columbus Society of Communication Arts (and more!) 

3. Our clients are always given very customized service. Mostly because creative is unique and we recognize that. 

4. Our talent never pays anything to work with us. 

5. We do direct hire, both contingent and retained

6. From day one, we've been solely focused in the creative industry. That's our niche.

7. We can offer workforce solutions

8. We believe in philanthropic efforts, so much so, that we have an internal team committee (Life Values) to focus on our ongoing outreach efforts to give back. 

9. Everyone that works for us shares our values. 

10. Did you know that we represent an exclusive list of artists?

11. We're experts. We understand the competitiveness in the creative marketplace. Our talent and clients trust us to bring the unique needs of both parties together, making the ideal match happen.

12. Our clients are not dollar signs, our talent is never a number. We are not just filling seats. Not now, not ever. We are all personally invested in making sure that this creative community thrives. 

How Leading Companies Build the Workforces They Need to Stay Ahead

By: Michael Mankins for the Harvard Business Review

The strategic underpinnings of most companies’ workforce plans should change dramatically as a result of technological innovation. Digital transformation, the industrial internet, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, and a plethora of other innovations are fundamentally changing the nature of work. Machine learning, for example, may not eliminate many jobs in their entirety. But it will impact the way many jobs are performed, requiring new skills and making many existing skills less valuable. The World Economic Forum predicts that “by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today.”

Beyond the skills required to perform specific jobs, technology will also determine which jobs matter most in the years to come. New innovations will change the basis of competition in many markets and alter the sources of advantage for most companies. Business-critical roles — that is, the jobs that are central to differentiating a company from its competitors and successfully executing its strategy — will also change. And companies will be forced to rethink the talent they will need to play these business-critical roles in the future.

Take insurance, for example. In years past, an important source of competitive advantage for insurers was the ability to price risk better than rivals. Armies of actuaries worked tirelessly to estimate the cost of underwriting certain risks (or risk pools). In the future, much of this work will be done by machines. In this world, insurance companies will require fewer actuaries and more data scientists — individuals with the ability to mine data to tailor insurance offers to specific market segments or even individuals. It may be possible to retool some actuaries as data scientists, but the vast majority of these roles will probably need to be filled with new talent.

Most companies have been slow to react. In part, this is because the impact of technology will be felt over time, and not overnight. This creates the illusion of having time to react. Also, with technological innovation, there will always be a high degree of uncertainty regarding the kind of talent your company will need in the future. This makes it challenging for leaders to plan ahead and place bets early.

But building a winning workforce for tomorrow starts today. The best-performing companies are already taking steps to attract new talent and widen their lead over rivals. Here are three lessons every organization should learn from what the leading companies are doing:

Delineate the skills and capabilities that will be required to win in the future, based on your company’s strategy

When Bain & Company examined the talent management practices of more than 300 large companies worldwide, we discovered that the most productive and best-performing organizations cluster their star talent in a few business-critical roles. This “intentionally nonegalitarian” model ensures that scarce difference-making talent is put in roles where it will have the biggest effect.

But the roles most companies specify as business-critical will need to change as technology changes. Advanced analytics, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and other innovations are making it possible for companies to compete in new and very different ways. This should lead to new strategies and, with them, new business-critical roles.

John Deere is a case in point. The company has always focused on providing farmers with the tools they need to feed the world’s growing population. But new sources of crop, weather, and other data have created new opportunities to boost farm productivity. John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group has turned real-time data, crowdsourced from thousands of the company’s customers, into services enabled by Big Data. As Deere’s strategy has shifted, so have the business-critical roles at the company—from traditional manufacturing positions to analytics and services roles. Attracting workers skilled in advanced analytics will become increasingly important for the company (as will the technology and processes required to translate these skills into real sources of advantage); industrial engineering and plant management skills will become less critical to fueling the company’s long-term growth.

Objectively assess the current skills and capabilities of your workforce to identify gaps

Once your organization understands the roles that will be most critical to winning, as well as the skills and capabilities required to be a star in these roles, it is important to examine the current skills and capabilities of your workforce. How many employees are capable of being stars in the business-critical roles of tomorrow? Does your company have a sufficient supply of star talent to win? The best companies audit the current skills and capabilities of their workforces carefully in order to identify any gaps they may face.

General Electric has been particularly forward-thinking regarding the new skills it will need to be successful over the long term. The company’s embrace of the industrial Internet has greatly affected many of its core businesses. Sensors on locomotive and jet engines, for example, generate data that can be used to predict the degradation of parts — saving GE customers billions on maintenance and lost operating hours. Harnessing this data requires new skills and capabilities. In 2012, when Jeff Immelt first introduced GE’s push into the industrial Internet, the company had 50,000 engineers in its workforce — mostly aeronautical, electrical, and other traditional engineers. The company had very few software engineers. Yet software engineering skills are key to GE’s future. By recognizing this critical gap early, GE has been able to develop strategies to close it systematically, over time.

Develop and acquire the talent you need to close any gaps, starting today

A client recently remarked: “Assembling a talented workforce is very much like making scotch—unless you cellar something today, it will be very hard to have something worth drinking seven years from now.” The best companies work hard to match their hiring and talent development strategies with their future workforce needs.

At Ford Motor Company, building world-class software engineering capabilities has become a strategic imperative. Car manufacturers are facing new competitive threats from the likes of Google, Uber, Tesla and dozens of start-ups. And a new ecosystem of finance, insurance, energy, infotainment and maintenance services has emerged based on the data-driven, app economy. In response, Ford established an entirely new business unit—Ford Smart Mobility—where most of the company’s software engineers reside.

Building world-class software is not a core competence for most automakers. Accordingly, Ford Smart Mobility has partnered with Microsoft and Pivotal (a Dell Technologies portfolio company) to bring new digital skills to the company. And Ford has located its Smart Mobility unit in Palo Alto, California—just minutes away from Stanford University—in order to have better access to software engineering talent. These steps (and others) are all part of the company’s plan to “quickly add new state-of-the-art software engineering capabilities across the Ford enterprise.”

Difference-making talent is a company’s scarcest resource. Innovative new technologies are changing the nature of work, as well as the skills and capabilities required to win in the future. Given the time it takes to attract and develop star talent, it is critical that companies start building the workforce they will need. There is no better time to start than today.


What Martech Means to Us

By Brad Middleton

If you are reading this you probably already have a basic idea of what we do here at Portfolio Creative. If you do not, simply put, we help connect our clients with the right creative talent; so when a term like Martech comes up it in relation to our niche in the workforce it may provide a brief pause. What does this word mean? Why is a “techie” word being associated with a creative-focused company?

Martech Today, a marketing technology website, defines the term as, “…the blending of marketing and technology.” They go even further to explain that, “Virtually anyone involved with digital marketing is dealing with Martech, since digital by its very nature is technology-based.”  This comes as no surprise to marketing professionals these days, as they are closely dependent on a slew of varying technologies to stay current and get their jobs done.

Where these two worlds collide is where we at Portfolio Creative are uniquely qualified to help both our clients and potential candidates. Clients today need extremely creative individuals who can provide opportunities for their customers to feel like they have a genuine one-on-one relationship. Brands that are able to immediately resonate with their existing and potential client base are doing so through extremely complicated technical channels that from the outside look very simple. The “art” existing in things like predictive advertising, user experience, software-as-a-service, and even artificial intelligence provides us the opportunity to introduce talented individuals to clients who really need their help.

Our candidates love the fact that we approach these situations from a creative point of view. We understand that deep down that the solutions our clients are looking for will come from this marriage of Creative thinking and a thorough understanding of the technical tools at their disposal. The funny thing is we’ve been working in this space for years, now there is just a new name or branding for these two converging worlds.

If you are a client needing help with creative problem solving with user experience, user interface, interaction design, mobile application development, application design, and even full-stack development we can introduce you to the talent you are looking for. If you are looking for design or development opportunities and want to work with people who appreciate the creative approach of your craft we can partner to provide exciting engagements.


"What is Martech? The Marketing Technology Landscape, Explained." Martech Today; n.d. Web 3 October 2017.

When to Use a Retained Search Versus a Contingent Search

By Catherine Lang-Cline

If you are in a position to hire a person and feel that you need to engage a recruiting company, there are a couple of things you will want to know when you are connecting with that recruiting team. Based on the type of company you are using and the level of search, you could be offered the option of a retained search or a contingent search. If you are not sure about the definitions of either, you can catch up by reading my post, “What is the Difference Between Retained Search and Contingent Search?

Since you know the difference between the two, let’s talk about when it is the best time to use each of these options. Let’s start with a retained search.

Since a retained search is a money-down and typically exclusive to one company agreement, it will work best when:

  1. The search is for a higher-level, executive role.

  2. The search is for a hard to find skill set. 

  3. Your search is highly specialized and you need a firm that really understands your role and/or your company’s needs and culture.  

Contingent search is a better fit when:

  1. The role is not an executive or director level. 

  2. You have exhausted all of your options and personal resources.

  3. You need to tap into as many other resources as possible, i.e: job boards, HR specialists, a various number of staffing and recruiting firms.

One reason you would choose a retained search is to get a more focused, rigorous search. The recruiter is going to reach far beyond even their own database to get you a perfect fit. It will be a search that may include people that are not currently looking for work. These candidates are great and they already have a job and a fantastic recruiter can convince them to at least consider your opportunity. You will be presented with fewer candidates because they have been thoroughly vetted, all are perfect in skill set, location, and salary, and they are very interested in the role if it were to be offered to them. Since this is an exclusive arrangement, the process is simpler and much more personalized to your and your company.

Contingent search works if the search is not going to be as difficult or as specialized. It may be a more common role, but one that you have had a difficult time filling. A contingent search gives you access to other companies databases without a money-up-front commitment. Bear in mind, you will receive an invoice if someone is hired, but if it is the right candidate, the time you save in getting that person is completely worth it. Your arrangement gives you access and with luck, they have the exact person you need.

A Day in the Life: Q + A with Tonnisha English


In the latest installment of our Columbus Creatives: A Day in the Life series, we talk with Tonnisha English, a multitasking Momma who is a digital content specialist and founded her own communications company. We commend you Tonnisha, you are a great example of all the hardworking creative SuperMom's we have in Columbus! 

 Hi Columbus! My name is Tonnisha J. English and I am the Founder of TJE Communications; a digital marketing agency specializing in social media, email marketing, and branding for small, women-owned business. I was born and raised right here in Columbus, OH and currently live east in Pine Hills.


respect the hustle event.jpg

My mornings are hectic and unpredictable. If my 15 months old baby girl is in a bad mood, I get the brunt of it. I usually wake up before her and turn on iHeart Radio to listen to my favorite morning show, The Breakfast Club. I l listen, laugh, and chime in (as if they can hear me) while I drink coffee and do my makeup at the same time. While I’m getting ready, the little one is sitting in my bed with a bottle of warm milk watching her favorite cartoons. Once I’m dressed, I dress her, pack our bags for the day and we’re out the door. During our drive to my grandparents’ house where she stays during the day, The Breakfast Club is still blaring. If I’m still in the house by the time the Donkey of the Day is playing then I know I am LATE! Once she’s dropped off, I head to my day job as a Digital Content Specialist at The Shipyard.


Typically in the afternoon I am working through lunch. I use this time to focus on my business. Responding to emails, working on the next event, or creating a blog post. And usually by this time I’m on my second cup of coffee. When I can get away, I spend this time picking up groceries, or running errands.


After work, I pick up my baby girl and we head home. I cook dinner, give her a bath, and on a good day, she’s in bed and sleep by midnight. During this time I am back on the grind! Working on my business and trying to think of the next steps. I’m also a sucker for reality television and record all of my favorite shows and binge watch them in the evening while I’m working. I usually shut it down by 2am. Before I go to sleep I thank God for everything, and prepare to do it all again tomorrow.


Part Two: How Does Creative Workforce Planning Help? Interview with Catherine Lang-Cline and Kristen Harris

We recently sat down with the founders of Portfolio Creative to talk about their Workforce Planning service. We had questions, they had answers.

In Part Two of this two-part interview, we learn who Workforce Planning is for and how it works. For more background, check out Part One: What is Creative Workforce Planning?

What type of companies is this geared towards?

C: Workforce Planning is all about building a team, not just finding a person. It could be a small-to-medium company or a corporate department. They have to be big enough to have a marketing function, to already have at least one marketing person, or be ready to build a marketing team.

K: We’ve found that different-sized companies have different needs. For corporate departments, it could be analyzing the team they have and how they can re-skill some of their people as company requirements shift. We can help the department reconfigure, retrain, and work with the team they already have to get to where they need to be. With a small-to-medium company, it’s helping them build their team strategically over time. With budget limitations, they have to be thoughtful about which position they add next; and then in six months when they can afford someone else, who should that be? We’re helping them stage out how they should build their team. It’s both of these audiences, but different solutions that each of them needs.

How does Workforce Planning help larger companies and their teams?

C: The speed of change is a factor, especially for larger companies that have always done things a certain way. With planning they can get people the proper training or development, while also adding in new or temporary people with the skills needed today. Since we started Portfolio Creative we have seen such a revolution in job description changes...I can only imagine what it is going to be like in the next ten years!

K: This may sound like it could be unkind, like we’re saying someone on the team doesn’t fit the company’s future, but really we want people to be thinking ahead about their team. If we see that a current team member doesn’t fit the future needs, then we can figure out how to work with them and help them get there. As opposed to the company getting to that future state without addressing it, and having that person be totally left behind.For a more established department with a bunch of legacy people, going through this process could be very kind. It gives people the opportunity to grow to where the company needs them to be.

C: It is easy to get complacent, we saw that a lot in 2008. We saw people at leadership levels that had not developed any computer skills, they could only direct others but not do any of the work themselves. How could they be in that position? How could their company allow that to happen? We want to help companies avoid this type of situation.

Why is the creative industry ready for Workforce Planning?

C: This work has always existed on some sort of level, but it is not something that has been strong in the creative industry. General consulting companies may do planning work, but not specifically for this niche. I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people where they are saying they don’t know if they need to be on Facebook or Snapchat, or what. They need someone to sit down and help figure out what they really need.

K: Workforce Planning is a known service that companies provide, but not on a very specialized level. Clients ask us to do this work because of the reputation we’ve built. After thirteen years of hiring creatives and building creative teams, it makes sense that we would know the type of roles a company would need, what the new skills are, and what’s coming next.

What type of job titles or roles do you typically see reach out for assistance in workforce planning?

K: For a small-to-medium company it’s typically someone at the Owner or President level. For larger companies and corporate departments, it’s whoever leads the creative or marketing team; it may be a Creative Director, Marketing Director, Marketing VP. Regardless of the title, we need to be working with the team leader and decision maker.

Would you say the best course of action is to start with Workforce Planning, then continue with staffing or recruiting following that?

C: Ideally yes!

K: The short answer is yes, although the answer is also “it depends.” We do have clients who have a good enough strategic understanding that they already know what they need so we can jump straight to helping them find it. However, a lot of companies don’t, and sometimes they think they need X, but we start talking to them and realize that is not what they need at all. Maybe they need two different people, or they need someone to do X just as a short-term project, but Y is actually a full-time position they need. Ideally any company would start with some form of planning first before they jump in and hire.

What is your ultimate goal in implementing this new service?

C: The ultimate goal is that everybody uses this service before they hire anyone. We want every client saying “I think I want this, can you help me write the job description?” We want to train our clients to think things through before they hire somebody. Granted, there are clients that know exactly what they need, maybe it is a replacement for someone who left, but maybe it is not that easy. Maybe someone left and they want to “up the ante” on that role, so what do they need now? What is cutting edge that we might want to look for? It would be great if people were really thoughtful every time they tried to hire someone.

K: Yes, we would love it if everyone did this work to some extent before they hired anyone, because when companies have an opening often they just turn around and look for another of the same. This is the perfect opportunity to pause and think about what you really need, or what you’re going to need. When you have someone already sitting in that seat it’s really hard to decide to make a change. Once the seat is empty that’s when you figure out the next step, next level, next person you need. Do you elevate the role? Do you need slightly different skills than you had before? It’s such a good opportunity and I don’t think people take advantage of it. They just pull out the old job description for the person that left and ask for another one of those. Which sometimes is what they need, but not always.

Part One: What is Creative Workforce Planning? Interview with Catherine Lang-Cline and Kristen Harris

We recently sat down with the founders of Portfolio Creative to talk about their Workforce Planning service. We had questions, they had answers.

In Part One of this two-part interview, we learn what Workforce Planning is and why it’s important for companies and businesses as they grow.

What is Workforce Planning?

K: Simply put, it’s helping a company figure out their creative team. Identifying the roles and skills they’re going to need, not just now but in the future. Understanding where they’re trying to go and their strategy, defining the team they’re going to need to get there, comparing that to the team or resources they already have, and putting a plan in place to get from A to B.

C: What a company thinks they need may not always be what they really need. This process is about dissecting what the company actually needs.

K: It is really a version of problem-solving. The company has a problem of “I need marketing and I don’t know who I need to make it happen” or “I’m trying to grow my team, I have some people, but I don’t know if they have the skills the company needs.” Portfolio Creative can help solve those problems.

How is this different from what Portfolio Creative has done in the past?

C: It really isn’t different from what we have done in the past. We have always been consultative and helped our clients in this way. We help them identify the roles and talent they need, from one person to an entire team.

How is Workforce Planning related to recruiting and staffing?

K: This is the step that needs to be addressed before you hire. Often companies and hiring managers come to us wanting to hire for a certain role, but they haven’t really thought about the bigger picture–how that person fits into the team they already have, or what they’re going to need a couple of years from now. They’re just replacing someone who left instead of thinking in a bigger picture way about where their company is going, what they need to accomplish, and then hiring for that.

C: It is also understanding where the industry is going. The hiring manager is often only looking at the next day by replacing the person who left. We want them to think about how the person who left could have been even better? What did they not have that you thought they needed? Are there things you wished they knew? We sit down and talk through all of this with the client because they may not be planning for tomorrow, they are just solving their problem for today.

Why do you think Workforce Planning is important for companies?

C: It will save time, money, and frustration in the long run. In fact, the biggest payoff may be in saving frustration. You can hire people and get some work done, but if you are not hiring for the right skill set or aligned with the direction things are going, it gets really frustrating. Having everything thought out before you bring someone in will save a lot of time.

K: We are really addressing the difference between hiring what you need right now and what you will need in the future. We look at the client’s 3-5 year strategic plan because that’s what they should be hiring towards. Companies tend to hire who they need today. We’re helping them avoid making short-term decisions. We want our clients to be sure they’re hiring people who can do what they need today, but also people who can grow with the company. We know there is a lot of value here.

C: It is reducing the stress and pressure of a company trying to figure this out on their own. We have been in “the field” so we know how a creative team functions. If someone asked me to set up an accounting department I would know some general titles, but I would not be confident. We help alleviate this vagueness and knowledge gap by applying our expertise with creative roles and teams.

K: The companies we’ve worked with have found a lot of value in the foresight. They want to hire marketing people to execute a business plan, but don’t always understand what kind of marketing people they need to execute their plan. Which brings us back to saving time, money, and frustration.

C: Especially now that creative, social, online, retail and marketing has become so complex–people don’t even know what they need. It is important for someone to sit down and talk through it, to really figure out what they need. Because of the complexity and fast change that is going on right now, it is just going to keep getting more complex.

What are some common hiring mistakes Workforce Planning can help avoid?

C: Knowing what you need and for how long is important. If you know who is needed on your team consistently, then you can bring in additional people with certain skills or specializations for one-off or multiple projects. For example, if you update your website once a year, you probably don’t need a full-time Web Developer.

K: By planning ahead you’ll know if there is more work that person can take on or morph into. If it’s really just a short-term need, you can bring someone in to do that project and not add an employee to your team.

C: Another issue we see is job descriptions where the role is a mash-up of several different skill sets and needs. By identifying how much each of those skills is needed you can figure out who you should be part of your internal team, and hire the rest as-needed for projects. It is figuring out what the company needs day-to-day as opposed to trying to find a jack-of-all-trades and relieving the frustration of trying to find this hybrid person that does not exist.

K: We also see companies who are using a lot of outside resources. As they grow they often want to start doing more of their marketing and execution work internally, perhaps reserving outside firms or consultants for strategy or larger projects. But they’re not experts in creative hiring and don’t know which roles or skills they need for an internal team.

What makes Portfolio Creative an expert on Workforce Planning?

K: Why us? This really ties back to all our years of experience. We’ve been helping people fill creative roles and build creative teams for 13+ years now. This is just another way to utilize all of the experience we have. We have a respected level of expertise in the creative space that other companies don’t have, and we can bring that to people.

C: Back to what we said before...we have always done this work with our clients. We have always been more than a firm that just puts a person in a seat. We want to have a discussion about it, get the right person in there, and make sure it is someone who is going to be helpful to you in the future too, not just today.

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