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Interview Tips for Landing a Creative Job

Interview Tips for Landing a Creative Job

Thad Peterson /

Dan Garriott chuckles as he recounts the time he met a man who has since become a good friend, and they got to talking about their vocations. He’s a big-time tech recruiter, says Garriot. I met him at a party, and he introduced himself as a ‘flesh merchant.’

But Garriott, who eight months ago founded Right Brain Resource, a small creative-staffing agency in Portland, Oregon, hardly takes the flesh-merchant approach to his job of recruiting and placing creative talent.

"When you deal with creative professionals, you have to really empathize with their situation," Garriott says. "You have to treat them with a lot of respect. The work they do is unique and valuable. They are not cattle; they are human beings.

But Garriott is quick to add that creative types need to be just as careful about the way they treat people as do those hiring them. “You have to keep in mind with a niche market, everybody knows each other,” he warns. As a creative person, your reputation in terms of work style and integrity will precede you.

“If you meet someone and leave them with a bad taste in their mouth, they’re going to share that with other people,” Garriott explains.

For many years, Garriott worked as a graphic designer. In fact, he claims he “could probably walk from one end of the city to the other touching buildings that I’ve temped in for creative-staffing agencies.”

As a result of his years in their shoes, he empathizes with creative workers. I’m very passionate about helping creative people find work, because I’ve been one, he says. I’ve been on the other side of the desk, saying ‘I need a job so I can pay my rent.’

But for the past few years, he’s been on the other end of the business — the end that does the hiring. Having worn both pairs of shoes in the dance that is the hiring process, Garriott has unusual insight.

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