Portfolio Creative

Time Hop: The Evolution of the Staffing Industry

By Kristen Harris

A relatively new industry, the current concept of “staffing” has only been around for several decades. Even so, it’s evolved over that time.

Let’s jump in the way back machine…

The first temporary staffing firms started just after World War II, tapping into a growing market for part-time help. These early firms mostly focused on filling part-time or intermittent needs, especially in offices and secretarial pools. A combination of a few national firms and lots of local firms providing these services continued to grow throughout the 1950s and 60s. This type of work was especially appealing to women, allowing them to work outside of the home on their terms. In 1959, of the 150,000 people per year who found work through the top five firms, 85% were women

By the late 1960s and into the 70s “temporary help firms” were placing people with a broader range of talents and skills beyond the traditional office or clerical roles. Engineers, executives, financial controllers, and other professionals liked having more control over their work opportunities and schedule. This became especially attractive to people who were retiring but wanted to continue to work in some capacity.

In response to attempts at regulation of this new and growing industry, The Institute of Temporary Services was formed in 1966 to defend and advance the interests of their members. Now called The American Staffing Association, this industry organization continues to be the leader in support and advocacy for the staffing and recruiting industry.

Today American staffing companies employ more than three million people in an average week, adding up to nearly 17 million people per year. No longer just focused on office or clerical roles, there are staffing and recruiting firms to serve virtually any occupation and fill roles at any level. While there are plenty of firms that accept requests for any type of role, there are many firms (like ours) that have expertise in a niche. Instead of all jobs for all people, niche firms focus on specific jobs for specialized people.

Candidates who work with a staffing or recruiting firm gain access to more short-term, long-term, or full-time opportunities, based on their career interests and personal needs. Schedule flexibility is still a top reason people choose to work with staffing firms. However, half of the staffing employees see it as a route to a permanent position, with 9 out of 10 saying they felt their staffing assignment made them more employable.

As the needs of business and employees evolve, the staffing industry continues to evolve as well. Acting as hiring experts and consultants, firms partner with their clients to solve workforce needs and are often seen as a critical piece of a company’s hiring strategy. 

Want to know more about the staffing industry? Check out the American Staffing Association’s online timeline and historical archive.


Want to know more about the creative hiring specialists at Portfolio Creative? Connect with our team at portfoliocreative.com/contactus

People Like Us

Why We Started a Business

By Catherine Lang-Cline

Two graphic designers start a business, but it’s not a graphic design business. That is, we don’t design anything. The people we work with are the creatives and we just decided to help everyone find each other.

People like us, in the creative industry, know the challenges of finding great help. We also know the challenges of finding a place where we are happy to do our craft. Speaking for myself, I started out in a production role. Then did graphic design, then I designed gift wrap, then I worked at an ad agency, then another one, then I got into two retail marketing departments after freelancing for them and freelancing for a few other companies in between all of that. Creative roles needed to keep me interested and I moved around often. I am guessing that the majority of the people in creative roles operate in a very similar way.

People like us struggle where our creativity can’t be free, be challenged, be made to blossom. We know that we might be the misfits of an organization because we think differently and do our work with the opposite side of our brain than everyone else. We think in color. If we are lucky, we also can fire up the entire brain and think logically. People like us were told to write with our right hands, pay attention and stop doodling, and quite often were discouraged to be good at math.

That is why we wanted to help people like us. We understand what it is like to be the client looking for a candidate that will come in and “get it.” One that won’t have to be trained on the software and can bring a specialized talent to the table. We also understand what it is like to be a talented person just wanting to be a part of the creative process and really want to “wow” the team. We help them by knowing them. We help them by connecting them. We help them by being a part of their career and their creative process by finding the people that we would want to work on our projects. 

In order to do all of this properly, we needed to make this a business. It was a full-time job. Sure, it might look like a staffing company but it really is about connecting people like us. It is about understanding our clients' projects and understanding who is the best person for the task. It’s about partnership and pride and making creative things, and we love that we have created a business that brings together people like us.

Let’s all be creative together.


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 boot camp. 

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. 

Creative Recruiter Opening at Portfolio

Portfolio Creative is hiring. The Assistant Creative Recruiter will be focused on supporting associate and client relationships for our staffing and recruiting agency. This role requires an outgoing personality, excellent written and verbal communication skills, strong attention to detail, and a passion for working with creative people. Marketing, advertising or design industry experience and/or knowledge are a major plus. What we do: Portfolio Creative specializes in connecting clients with the finest creative talent. We offer short-term staffing, long-term contract work, full-time recruiting, payroll and other services. Our clients are advertising agencies, design firms and corporate creative departments. Talent ranges from graphic designers to copywriters, interactive designers and developers, creative project managers, and marketing specialists. Our environment is fun and friendly, a creative entrepreneurial atmosphere. What we need you to do: - Manage initial incoming talent communications responding to basic questions from candidates via email and phone - Keep all talent information up-to-date in database; includes manually inputting information about a particular individuals skills and other relevant information and updating info as it changes (marketing, advertising or design industry knowledge beneficial) - Identify talent for current projects, working with and learning from senior recruiters - Understand, identify and call attention to high-value talent well teach you what that means to us - Build and maintain relationships with talent, following a regular contact schedule to keep information current and updated - Assist in the management of lead generation for new business - Assist in the hiring process by distributing and collecting employment paperwork - Represent Portfolio Creative at community and industry events. What we’re looking for: - Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, with a clear friendly style - A passion for working with people and building long-term relationships - Efficient, organized, reliable, self-sufficient, good time management skills - Strong computer skills: Word, email systems and a general aptitude for picking up new computer programs (well train you on our specific internal systems) -Experience working in or with creative industry is a plus an interest in the creative industry is key - Ability and desire to be part of a team, doing what it takes to figure out a project or get the job done - This is a junior-level position, reporting to Director of Client and Associate Services, with room for advancement - Hours and schedule have some flexibility; our office hours are 9-6, but will consider schedules of less than 40 hours per week within that timeframe Interested? Email your current resume along with any additional details to Kristen Harris.

Portfolio Creative Staffing to Rebrand

Portfolio Creative has issued the following press release:

Portfolio Creative Staffing to Rebrand

(COLUMBUS, OH) – Portfolio Creative Staffing, the nation’s 326th fastest growing company as ranked by Inc. magazine, will change its name to Portfolio Creative as of September 1, 2009.  The name change will be accompanied by a new logo as part of a rebrand strategy aimed at better communicating the firm’s evolving services. “While our focus will continue to be on temporary staffing of creative professionals, we also offer things like direct hire services, recruiting and payroll,” said Catherine Lang-Cline, co-owner and founder.  “It made sense for us to evolve our brand more broadly as we’ve grown, to reflect a wider range of workforce services.” “We’ve grown over 740% over the past three years, and placed over 750 people in creative positions of all types,” added Kristen Harris, co-owner and founder.  “This rebrand sets the stage to continue our momentum.” Portfolio Creative’s new logo has scripted black type.  While the distinctive Portfolio blue color will still be used, the firm’s former daisy image will change to a stylized asterisk, to convey energy, spark and creativity.  This fall they’ll unveil a new website at www.portfolioiscreative.com. Portfolio Creative is a workforce innovation leader founded in 2005.  It was named the fifth fastest growing company in Columbus by Business First in 2008, and was recently named a finalist for the 2009 Visionary Awards by the Columbus Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.  The firm helps companies streamline and innovate their creative work to save time, energy and money.  Portfolio Creative is based at 3763 N. High Street in Columbus, OH.  Clients and creative talent can call (614) 839-4897.

The Columbus Dispatch shares Portfolio Creative news

Portfolio Creative is in the news. Check out today's Columbus Dispatch Business section (pages A10-11) for a feature story entitled, "Moving Fast". The article reveals five Columbus based companies that made the Inc. 500 list of the nation's 500 fastest-growing companies. We're proud to hold the 326th spot and keep company with some really great local businesses that are growing and creating jobs.

Portfolio Creative featured in Business First

Check out last Friday's Business First of Columbus for an exclusive report on Portfolio Creative. The article shares our future plans for growth and new services that we'll be offering the creative community here in Columbus and possibly other cities nationwide. Big things are happening for us, and we thank Business First for reporting our exciting changes to their loyal and business savvy readers!

Whirlwind at Portfolio Creative

It's been a whirlwind day week at Portfolio Creative! Yes, Portfolio Creative. We're in the midst of a brand update, including a refresh of our name and logo. To be seen on High Street and at a website near you very, very soon. Meanwhile, since Portfolio Creative made the Inc.500 list we've caught the attention of some local media. Apparently this wonderful creative industry that we think is so interesting is interesting to others as well. It's fun to get to talk about our work, our people, our clients and why we love what we do. We couldn't possibly do any of it without all of you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Look for us in The Daily Reporter/SoureNews online, C-Magazine, Business First and The Columbus Dispatch. When links are ready, you'll see them here.