5 Tips on the Art of Writing Job Descriptions

by The Creative Group

There’s a lot of variety when it comes to job descriptions, from the overly casual to the dense, dry and daunting. Ideally, there’s a balance. Let’s find out how to strike it. Check out our tips on writing job descriptions.

Are your job descriptions too laid back? Certain job descriptions scream “super-fun workplace” by leading with the company’s informal culture (Shoes? What shoes?) and ample perks (Did we mention there’s a dog park? And a nap room? Yeah, they’re just beyond the foosball tables). This type of job description’s tone is casual but job seekers may walk away not understanding the ins and outs of the position. (What does a “social media maven” actually do, anyway?)

On the other side of the spectrum, there are the more traditional corporations that tend to be business in the front and in the back. Often, these job descriptions are laden with company-specific jargon and idealistic dream lists of required skills. In addition, larger organizations can run the risk of creating job descriptions that feel more mass-produced than personalized, making it difficult for some candidates to connect with the company. Focusing strictly on “work” while neglecting “play” can make job descriptions — and companies — seem a little dull.

The key is for creative hiring managers to write job descriptions that are both informative and inspiring. Remember, if the job you’re describing doesn’t intrigue, you won’t likely get the type of applicants you’re seeking.

Writing job descriptions that strike a balance

“A well-written job description can mean the difference between a trickle or a flurry of qualified applicants,” says Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Conversely, a poorly written job description can significantly expand the quantity of unqualified applicants. Writing a good job description requires an ability to prioritize essential skills and qualities while also ‘selling’ your company to job seekers.”

In other words, hiring managers must walk a line when writing job descriptions — they must understand not only how to describe the position and its necessary skills, but also sell both the position and the workplace culture to qualified candidates.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when writing job descriptions for creative jobs:

1. Think of the job description as a blueprint. If you put time and thought into writing a job description, the rest of the hiring process should move along more easily. These are the key elements of a well-written job description:

  • The job or position title (and job code number, if applicable)
  • The department within the organization in which the position exists
  • The reporting structure for the position, both up and/or down, as applicable
  • A brief summary of the position and its overarching responsibility or function or role within the organization
  • A list of the position’s essential duties
  • The specific knowledge, skills, work history, or other experiences, training, language, or aptitudes required for the job
  • The educational requirements for the job, such as degrees and certifications
  • Qualities or attributes that contribute to superior performance in the position

2. Update, update, update. Many creative jobs are far different from what they were a few years ago. As technology evolves and the lines between creative and technology roles continue to blur, some job descriptions may need to be updated more frequently. Job descriptions, therefore, should take into account the expanded skill sets now required. Think about what the job should entail based on your company’s current needs and long-term objectives. Viewing the job description as a benchmark for performance of the successful candidate will help you determine if the description is accurate and thorough enough.

3. Get your priorities in order. Don’t scare off a potential top candidate by overdoing the “must-haves.” A laundry list of duties gives little insight into what is most important, and it can make good people shy away. Focus on the five or six crucial responsibilities of the position. Consider consulting high-performing employees in the same role for help developing the list of core duties and requisite skills.

4. Don’t hunt for unicorns. You may want a rock-star-of-all-trades, but settling only for this will hold you back. Make sure your job description is realistic for the role — seeking a creative director who can also write press releases and sell advertising will greatly limit your pool of qualified applicants, especially given the competition for top creative talent today.

5. Be you. Show some personality! While you want to use clear and concise language, you also should give applicants a sense of your company’s culture (read: fun side). The right position at the wrong company can make a new hire walk right back out the door, which will cost you time and money. So tell a story or paint a picture about what it’s truly like to work for your company.

As with any type of writing, one of the best ways to ensure that you’ve hit the mark is to run your job description by a fellow manager or an employee in the position you’re hiring for and incorporate their feedback. You might even turn to a professional copywriter if you need help choosing the right words, or simply follow these copywriting tips. Although you may be in a hurry to fill a position, taking some extra time to shine a favorable light on te job and the company is a worthy investment.

Hiring creative professionals? Not sure where to start? The Creative Group can help.

More talk on this subject will be happen during SF Design Week at the re:think design conference on June 9 in San Francisco. Join us!

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Why Are Ad Agencies So Poor At Appointing Their Creative Leaders?

Ad agencies have a dreadful record in appointing new creative leadership.

by Michael Lee for Forbes

Agencies proudly announce a new star hiring, that is a “great creative and cultural fit with the agency,” only to announce 18 months later that person has decided to “pursue other opportunities” but, they have uncovered another “star” who is really going to turn the agency work around this time and lead them to the promised land.

There’s a reason Agency Spy has a section called Revolving Door.

The Creative Director, Executive Creative Director, Chief Creative Officer, call it what you will, is the heart and soul of an agency, basically the sexiest job in the agency.

It’s also the most volatile. Probably up there with the tenure of a CMO.

It’s the job everyone in the creative department wants, although I have a theory that deep down they don’t actually want the job, but they sure as heck don’t want anyone else to have it.

Most agencies assume that if you are a very good creative, you will make a very good creative leader. Wrong. It’s a different job, different skill sets, different needs and abilities.

Very few great creative people make good creative directors.

So I thought it would be interesting to chat with friends at Wieden + Kennedy who seem to get these appointments right more often than not, and see if we can pick up a few pointers.

I spoke with Karl Lieberman, who has recently moved from Wieden + Kennedy in Portland to assume the role of Executive Creative Director in the Wieden + Kennedy’s New York office.

Karl and his partner Neal Arthur (WKNY’s Managing Director) run the 200 people WKNY office together, reporting back to Colleen DeCourcy, Global Executive Creative Director and Dave Luhr, President. Their client roster includes Bud Light, ESPN, Delta, the Jordan Brand, Equinox, Sprite and Spotify.

Karl was one of the originators of the Dos XX “Most interesting Man in the World” campaign… (no really, many people have attached their name to that campaign, but Karl was one of the original team who came up with it) and has been with W+K Portland since 2007 where he was recently running KFC, Yoplait, the P&G Olympics “Thank You, Mom” brand work and Travel Oregon.

I hired Karl to work on Volvo when I was ECD at EURO/RSCG. Some people you feel are not only going to have stellar creative careers, but have the personality and focus to become a great creative leader.

Karl, I believed even then, was one of the latter.

As we’re in a political year, I thought it would be worth a chat and see how his first 100 days were going as a freshly minted Executive Creative Director.

Michael Lee: You’ve been ECD now for about four months, is it different than expected?

Karl Lieberman: I’ve actually found that the jump from CD to ECD is not too dissimilar from the jump from being a creative to being a CD.

When you’re a creative, you’re basically trying to drive a 2007 Buick LeSabre that’s on fire down a winding mountain road in a blinding hailstorm.

When you’re a creative director, you’re trying to do the same, but you’re in the passenger seat and you’re not supposed to touch the steering wheel.

And when you’re an ECD, you’re still trying to do the same thing, but now you’re in the trunk and everyone keeps texting you.

This article originally appeared in Forbes.

MichaelLee  Michael Lee writes about creativity in marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

Join us for more creative talk at re:think design conference, June 9 in San Francisco.map-location2

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The Pros, Cons, and Future of Flat Design

We came across this article by Janie Kliever which seemed timely and relevant. Hope you’ll agree.

What is flat design, anyway?

You’ve likely heard its praises sung on blogs and in lists of design trends. This visually simplistic style has its roots in minimalism and can take a variety of forms, but is better defined by what it isn’t.

It isn’t 3D. The style’s name comes from its two-dimensional qualities, including flat shapes and the absence of details that create depth and dimension — such as shadows, highlights, and textures.

It isn’t skeuomorphic. Flat design started as reaction against skeuomorphism, an embellished style intended to suggest or resemble real-world objects or processes. Skeuomorphism makes generous use of effects like drop shadows, realistic textures, reflections, beveling and embossing, etc.
Flat Design’s Popularity Spikes

Flat design really started becoming a recognizable style in 2012 and 2013. Those were the years this trend became highly visible (and easier to emulate) thanks to the release of Windows 8 and iOS 7.

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Upper, used with permission from Microsoft
Lower, ios 7iOS 7 (left) vs. iOS 6 (right). Via OS X Daily

From Windows’ modular layout with vivid blocks of color to Apple’s use of clean shapes and simplified icons, you can see some of the influences that shaped development of flat design and the evolution of the trend that followed suit.

The staff at UXPin, writing for Fast Co. Design, points out that “The ‘sweet spot’ in the evolution of flat design is somewhere between the original trend and the skeuomorphic ideals that were abandoned.”

But since flat design has been around for several years now and is still going strong, it’s likely more than just a passing trend. So let’s look at its pros and cons and where it might be headed in the future.

The Pros

Compatibility With Responsive Design

Since Microsoft and Apple jumped on board with flat design, the style was quickly adopted as a fresh approach to user experience. It was and continues to be popular for web and mobile design — and for good reason.

Flat design’s principles can be applied to other design categories, but its grid-based layouts and simple graphics are particularly suited to web and mobile design since they’re easily able to be resized or rearranged to display on different devices and screen sizes.

This example from Sergey Valiukh shows an example of simplifying and rearranging a design to provide a consistent experience between web and mobile:

flat2web and mobile Sergey Valiukh

On the other hand, skeuomorphism’s highly detailed style with lots of shadows and textures, along with fixed-size imagery, often doesn’t translate well when shrunk down or enlarged to fit various viewing methods.

As Ryan Allen at design agency Dapper Gentlemen puts it in his article titled Flat 2.0,

“Flat design can be built to dynamically scale to a content-appropriate size much simpler than a pixel-perfect design.”

Flexible Framework

Call it what you like — a grid, cards, modules, or blocks — many designs going for the flat look tend to have compositions organized by uniform geometric shapes. This type of layout, where every design element has its place, is easy to scan and navigate quickly.

Grids are also a flexible framework that can be shaped into many configurations. This allows designers to create an arrangement that best suits and showcases their content, rather than squeezing content into a limiting pre-determined layout.

For example, this grid-based brochure design by the Bureau of Betterment features different sized squares and rectangles to highlight various design elements such as typography and icons. The blocks of uniform color and simple illustrations add to the flat effect.

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grid Bureau of Betterment

This website, on the other hands, uses grids in a variety of ways, from the menu to the staff photos to the list of services:

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Clean, Readable Typography

Flat qualities also extend to designers’ approach to typesetting, which often results in larger, more streamlined typography. The absence of shadows and other effects makes text easier to read.

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There is much more to this article – including the “Cons”. Check out it’s original publication here at Canva. And join us June 9th for more design discussions at re:think design conference in San Francisco during SF Design Week.

 

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The Eyes Have It

If you aren’t reading The Daily Heller you are missing some fascinating glimpses into the design of the past and inspirations for the future.

By: |

It would be hard, even for those of us who lived through it, to recall when in the early and mid-’50s and even ’60s TV networks did elegance. I mean when the on-air promotions and series title cards were simple, smart and subtle, as opposed to today’s computer-generated noise. At CBS, design director William Golden was a master of elegance and dash. In addition to applying the CBS Eye as the most trusted logo in television, he oversaw an art department that gave the brand its authority. He hired the best and brightest, especially for on-air work.

“In 1945, before Jackie Robinson played Major League baseball, or Marian Anderson sang at the Metropolitan Opera,” wrote Julie Lasky for AIGA, “Georg Olden, the grandson of a slave, took a job with CBS. There, as head of the network’s division of on-air promotions at the dawn of television, Olden pioneered the field of broadcast graphics. Working under CBS’ art director, William Golden, he supervised the identities of programs such as I Love Lucy, Lassie and Gunsmoke; helped produce the vote-tallying scoreboard for the first televised presidential election returns (the 1952 race between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adlai E. Stevenson)”; and more.

Nicky Lindeman, an art director at Spotco in New York, was recently given a gift (and what a gift) of glass slides used on camera as promos for CBS series and specials from the golden age of the network. Presented here are a handful of what may include work by Georg Olden that makes one long for that era of typographic restraint. And just look at how smartly the logo is used when bells and whistles were squelched. Sometimes it seems like we’ve technologized graphic design into the muck of complexity.

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This is just a tease. You should check out many more images that Steve posted here.

We will be exploring the differences and similarities of the old and new (although maybe not quite this old) at the re:think design conference on June 9th in San Francisco. Why not join us?