Recruiting a Recruiter

Take the time to identify the recruiter who will present your credentials and career objectives most effectively. When considering a recruiter, it’s a good idea to interview that person or company the same way you would a prospective employee. And, always be open about your career objectives, compensation, and timing.


Key questions to ask:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you specialize in my industry?
  • What types/levels of jobs do you work on?
  • What is your track record for repeat business?
  • What is your geographic reach?

Questions to ask about the opportunities presented:

  • Where is my resume going?
  • What’s the job’s title?
  • What are the key responsibilities?
  • Why are they looking outside the company?
  • What is the company’s financial position?
  • Why is the position open?
  • To whom would I report?
  • How many people are there in the company?
  • What sort of benefits package does the company offer?


How works: is a contingency search firm, meaning companies approach us to find applicants with a specific skill set/background/level of expertise that will meet their staffing needs. All referral fees are paid by the company who contracts with us, and never by the candidates.


Because companies contract our services to target candidates with specific skill sets for a given position, we must be very selective in choosing which candidates to represent for a particular position. If they had the time and inclination to weed through 60 resumes, they would typically place an ad in the newspaper instead. A company approaches a recruiter to prescreen candidates, and send along 3 to 5 candidates who best fill their requirements. Given this, we must be very selective in choosing which candidates to work with actively on a given position.


While we cannot assist everyone who contacts us, we make every effort to establish an honest and respectful professional relationship with all candidates. Although we may not have a specific position that accommodates the immediate objectives and skill sets of all candidates who approach us, that is not to say that things won’t change in future. Sometimes, sooner than one might expect.


We will never send your resume to any company unless we specifically tell you to which company or companies it is being sent. We hold resumes in complete confidence and present them to companies only with the express approval of the candidate. Discretion and confidentiality are important criteria to consider in evaluating search firms. We do not post resumes and we encourage any job seeker to avoid search firms that transmit resumes indiscriminately or attempt to represent you to a company without your prior knowledge and express approval.

How to Prepare a New Media Resume/Job Hunt

To be honest, I detest the term ‘New Media.’ The truth is, it’s not that new any more, and the term itself is getting old fast. ‘Digital Media’ is a possibility ‘The Industry Formerly Known As New’ could be a good interim choice.

Right now, there is a shakedown in the industry. True innate, instinctive talent is at a premium, and what companies really want to see is your work (past and present, interactive or not), your ideas (not New Media or Wired Magazine’s, or the latest and greatest you just picked up at a trade show and incorporated into your litany). Companies want to talk to people who understand media, mass or micro, ‘new’ or otherwise).

If you come from advertising or broadcasting and want to be a Digital Media producer, show me (your generic potential employer) what you know about production as a process and a concept, and show me how you can apply what you’ve learned to digital media production (web-based or otherwise). Don’t waste my time telling me that you sort of assisted a team of amateurs to develop your buddy’s band’s site and that you are “really passionate about new media.” That beatific look on your face won’t help. Do you want to end up in a garbage can, or in an interview?

This industry is about ideas and execution. Can you convey your understanding of the fact that there is more to digital media production than software, a screen and interface design in a one to three page resume? If you had the money, could you build a business around one of your ideas, if you had to? Could you articulate how?

If you’re a suit and want to convince me that you’re ‘hip’ and ‘cool,’ (hey, I’ve seen both words used on resumes, and in job postings. Along with ‘casual,’ ‘laid back,’ ‘bleeding edge,’ and my all-time favorite, ‘silicon alley’: hey, we are not working in some backwater somewhere – this is New York City, okay?) but that you’re also as creative as the next guy or gal, don’t forget to tell me that you were/are a Wall Street lawyer or an analyst for five years before catching New Media Fever. That’s okay. I might really need someone like you. But you’d also better tell me how you intend to apply your skills to this industry, and what you’re bringing to the table, or you’ll be tossed aside like just so much more detritus.

  • Identify your objective.
    What do you want and why are you capable of achieving it? Do try to phrase it in a way that makes who you are shine through. Remember: you’re not the only fish in the sea, or resume in the pile. If you’re a designer, it’s important to show it in the visual/typographic format of your resume, even if it’s ASCII. If you’re not a designer, don’t even try to fake it.


  • Highlight the companies you’ve worked for, the duration and your title(s).
    Make it easy for the potential employer to get a sense of your progression at a glance.


  • Do remember to highlight your education and special miscellaneous skills, if any.
    In the world of multimedia, it’s the ‘misc.’-es that are often more important than you might possibly imagine. Be careful about which trade organizations to which you admit to belonging. Some are dumber and more specious than others.


  • Emphasize your freelance work.
    If you’ve freelanced a lot and are suddenly pining for the comforts of a steady gig, don’t assume your freelance experience will hold less weight than your (perhaps limited) full-time experience. Good freelancers who can slip in and out of a resident team and leave behind an indelible but unmistakable mark should be proud. Accentuate your position, with whom you worked on the team, then give a brief and specific outline of exactly what function you performed. Don’t try to pretend you have done/can do more than you really can. And don’t listen to some absurd new media how to book or bad headhunter who tells you to do that. More often than not, if you can manage to bullshit your way through the interview with some potential new employer who happens to be your future boss, be worried: that person probably knows less than you do, and then what will you do? And what are you going to learn?


  • Be very careful not to stretch the truth.
    Very, very important. Right now, digital media is one of the easiest areas in which to exaggerate when it comes to selling yourself. The portfolio is becoming suspect. Most employers don’t make you sit down and test your actual ability to ‘program’ html (and they often refer to them as html programmers like html isn’t simply a markup language), or test your ability to script a simple Java rollover, or deconstruct a web site or ROM to identify your exact contribution to it, or code in lingo or animate in Director, or make you describe how you would build a database driven site that could handle a sudden exponential rise in traffic.


Special Note:
It’s okay if you haven’t done it all and become all things to all people. Specialization has at long last hit the industry. Love finds Andy Hardy. Yes, there was a time when, even if you were a project manager, you were expected to have design skills as well (hello?), or it was the webmaster (another loathsome term – can we just say web developer? Or web programmer? Can we at least pretend to start differentiating?) who wrote the copy for the site. Project Managers manage projects. Designers design. Programmers write code, not copy. The term ‘industry’ implies there’s room for specialization, and there is. Most companies want team players, not people who think they can do it all. Maybe you can, for the most part, but you really don’t have to. More often than not, Jacks of All Trades confuse potential employers: is this person a project manager, a designer, or what? Do they understand the job description, or is this another one we’re going to have to (gasp!) train. See how these things can work against you? Be specific. And tell the truth.

  • Always clear your references before submitting them.
    Write to them. Tell them you’re looking. See if they still like you. Make sure they really did like you and aren’t going to jeopardize your chances for getting this job. Never assume. Remember, too: this industry is really pretty small, and everyone more or less knows everyone, or knows someone who is/was at a company where you might at least have claimed to have worked. Another reason why it’s important to be honest.


  • Do include a cover letter.
    And make it a good one. Don’t regurgitate some hype you just read in some trendoid industry zine. Show the employer that you know the company you are applying to and their products, and that you are capable of performing a critical analysis of any product, company or concept – especially your own.


  • Don’t blow the interview by not dressing professionally.
    Even if you’re ‘just’ going to see a recruiter. Hint: companies bring in recruiters to prescreen for them. That meeting, no matter how informal, is an interview. And don’t forget it. Contrary to popular misconception, the ‘new’ media dress code is not jeans and a tee shirt. Nor is it a power suit. Rule of thumb: your work will speak for you, but don’t let your clothes speak against you. If your work is good, no one will care if you’re in a suit. But they will think that you may be unsuitable for meeting with clients if you’re dressed like you just spent the last six months hitchhiking through Europe, just got off the plane, and didn’t have time to change. The person who’s interviewing you may look comfy, but you’ve got to dress the part. Why? Well, that person might be interested in hiring you, but you’ve got to impress the suit upstairs, too. Who may well be wearing nothing more than jeans and a tee shirt, mind you, but it’s his/her company.

What it comes down to is this: there are a few basic tenets of resume writing/job hunting, and as obvious as they may seem, it’s the obvious that so often seems to escape one.