When I meet someone, I look into their eyes, smile, and shake their hand firmly. At some point in the conversation, I may make a joke (I’m a bit goofy like that). I like to make a good first impression. Doesn’t everyone? Here at Creative Circle, understanding who someone is in person is important. We see stunning resumes and portfolios every day, but they don’t necessarily convey your personality. The reason for that isn’t because we’re considering inviting you to our latest happy hour; we need to know how you’ll get along in an environment with our clients for that oh-so-important cultural fit.
The clients we work with, much like the candidates, are all different when it comes to not only the work they’re doing but also the personalities they bring to the table. We like to get a well-rounded idea of what personality types will succeed in an environment when we’re doing a search for our clients. We’re paying attention to how our candidates communicate via email, over the phone, and how they carry themselves in person. Why is this important? Because the work is important. And the more comfortable you are being yourself in an environment, the better work you’ll do. We don’t want to place someone in an environment that isn’t right for them.
So why should you care? Isn’t that our job? Well, yes. But it’s also your job to know what you want. Whether or not you’re actively a Creative Circle candidate, knowing what you want in your everyday work/life balance is important. The more you know and are able to communicate to us, the better of an advocate we can be for you, and the better advocate you can be for yourself.
Here are some things you should be considering when thinking about the type of environment you want to work in next.
A Glance into the Past
If you’ve worked anywhere in the past, use that as a base point. What did you like about the past office you worked in and the group of colleagues you collaborated with? What didn’t you like? What worked well? What would you change? Make a list of these things (seriously).
*You don’t have to be moving forward to look into the past. If you’re in a fulltime role now and you’re not over-the-moon about the work that comes across your desk every day, it’s okay to make that list now. Whether or not you’re thinking about moving forward yet, we always encourage being aware of what is and isn’t working.
How do you do your best work? Do you work best in a quiet space or a space where there is bustling noise? Have you worked in a lively, loud office before and found it motivates you or deters you from being as productive as you could be? Of course, we realize that this isn’t necessarily something you control, but it is important to understand what environment you’ll get your best work done in.
With the fantastic world wide web, it’s much easier to explore office space than it used to be. You don’t need to see it in person to get an idea of what an office space is like. Some companies will have photos on their website of the office space. Some reviews (such as the kind you’d find on Glassdoor) might mention the environment. Another place you can look to get a sense of what an office environment is like without doing an in-person interview? Social Media! Head to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (okay, especially Instagram) to see what the company and different employees post.
The Team Structure
What was your last team like? Was it a flat structure where everyone was more or less in the same role? Who did you report to and what was the flow of work that came across your desk. This is extremely important. Some clients come to us wanting people that enjoy keeping their head down and executing work given to them, while others stress that collaboration is extremely important. Of course, the ability to work with a team is typically expected of everyone that we introduce our clients to for a role, but the preferred style of teamwork does differ. It’s good for you to know what type of team you want to be a part of and in which kind you think you’ll do the best work.
Where you do your best work when you begin in a position will be important to consider and so will be where you’ll eventually end up. Let us know what type of culture you think will best promote your career path and where you want to be. If you’re a graphic designer now but want to one day be a creative director, let us know about the type of culture you like working within; if you’re a copywriter that wants to end up as a strategist, tell us what types of colleagues you like working alongside.
It’s important to point out, that even when considering a freelance position that isn’t for the long term, consider why you’re interested in the role. How will it contribute to your career? Will it help fulfill your goals and propel you forward? Each job you take as a freelancer helps you grow your skillset and is a puzzle piece to a larger picture—remember to keep that in mind.
The fun thing about a job hunt is that it holds nearly limitless possibilities. If you have a wishlist of companies you’d love to work with—tell us! Of course, there is a lot that goes into a job search, and we’re happy to help you where we can along the way. The more information you’re able to give us during your search, the better; this really does work so well when it’s a team effort. Close your eyes and picture what it looks like to work in your dream job, and then let us know what it looks like. We’ll do our best to put our best foot forward on your behalf before you even have to shake anyone’s hand.
Allison is a former Creative Circle Account Executive, with a background in creative writing, content writing/strategy, publishing, and business development. Her world revolves around words and the relationships and interactions they inspire.