I’m very happy to introduce my new recruiting partner, Jeremy Spink. He has been working with me for the past few months and we’ve found that we have the same desire to help creatives find not just any job, but the one that truly fits them best. We’re mostly focused in NYC, but hope to expand in to the LA area in the coming year.
So please enjoy my interview with him so that you can get to know him too.
Anne: You have been a photographer for many years and are now a recruiter. Could you tell us what made you want to start recruiting?
Jeremy: That’s a great question. How does one get from commercial photographer to creative recruiter? I believe the seed was planted many years ago with the client friend of mine who was talking about the industry and her job while we were working on a photo shoot.
My friend was unhappy with her current position and unhappy with the industry itself and we talked and talked and talked because photo shoots sometimes last for weeks. I listened to her and tried to give my best advice and never really thought much of it. Until about a month later when she sent me an email thanking me for the insight and advice. At the bottom of the email she said “you’re really good at this you should be a life coach or something.” Needless to say, she left her job and went on to become one of New York City’s best flower designers and she still, to this day, credits me with helping her realize her dreams. That story has stuck with me for many years. I just remember how good it made me feel to have helped advise someone looking to make a life change.
As for photography, I’ve achieved many, if not all of the goals I set for myself when I started out. Pages in Vogue and having the privilege of working with some of the biggest fashion houses in NYC has provided me with a wonderful and fulfilling career. But now it’s time for me to try something new and to utilize new skill sets.
For me, looking at books and portfolios is a great joy and challenge. I believe that is one of the greatest assets I bring to recruitment. 15 years of working to build my own portfolio and talking to art directors, creative directors and fashion designers has honed my skills for evaluating not only a creative’s work, but also the needs of the client. A good recruiter has to not only evaluate the candidates’ needs, but also the needs of the client. I believe this comes from a deep understanding of how the creative process works. Whether the client is a startup or large ad agency an understanding of this process is the key to finding great talent that will succeed and flourish in their needed roles.
I believe that careers and life are an ever evolving road of self discovery. Robert Frost said it best: “two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”. Perhaps this is a little cliché, but if we really look at some of the most important decisions we make in our lives and careers, I think you’ll find an enormous amount of truth in that quote. I hope to bring this kind of energy and foresight to helping creatives “find their path less traveled”.
Anne: We talk to a lot of people who aren’t happy in their jobs. What do you see as the most common reason for people’s dissatisfaction?
Jeremy: I think one of the most common reasons why people are dissatisfied with their current job or position is boredom. It’s important to remember that some of the most successful people in the world are seldom bored. I believe this happens for two reasons: one – the person outgrows the position they’re in and the company doesn’t recognize this. Two – the person sold themselves short in the first place.
I think as creatives it’s important to feel that we are growing and being challenged. Some might argue that money and titles are what motivate, but many of the people I speak with tell me they “would take less money for a job they really believed in.” Finding a job or career that you really truly believe in is the best way to find happiness.
Anne: I completely agree. I too find that creatives are most interested in the juicy projects and the places that are driven by creativity and innovation.
You look at a lot of portfolios in a day. What are the most common mistakes people make?
Jeremy: One of the biggest mistakes I think people make with their portfolios or websites is trying to make them too complicated. Simple and concise are the keys to a great portfolio.
Here’s a list of common mistakes in porfolios:
*Descriptions. I think it’s very important when you show a particular project or set of work to give a description about the creative process and your role. It is extremely important.
*Small, hard to see images. As a creative you want your work to speak for itself so don’t make it hard to see.
*Navigation. Try and make the site as easy to navigate as possible.
*Clutter and background. Try to keep your site is clean and consistent as possible changes in background color or patterns can be distracting to the work.
*Updating. If you’re actively looking for a new job, the first step you need to take is to update your portfolio or website.
*Contact information. Believe it or not, I run across more websites and portfolio pages that are lacking common contact info. Sometimes I really love the work and can’t find a way to contact the person.
It’s important to remember when building a portfolio that the person looking at it doesn’t know you or the work. Many times as creatives we become too close to the work. It’s good to step back and look at it from the perspective of someone who has no idea who you are or what you do. I think the general rule with portfolios and websites should be “keep it simple, stupid.”
Anne: Yes I agree on all of these and would also add that Copywriters should always make sure they’re copy is legible. You’d be surprised how many don’t do that.
What do you need to see in a portfolio to make you want to help someone find a job?
Jeremy: This is a hard question to answer as it also depends on the particular role I’m trying to fill. I find myself many times being drawn to portfolios that are simple and sophisticated. It’s the work and the projects that really matter. The portfolio or website is the vessel that you use to show it. Let the work speak for itself don’t mess it up by having a complex or over designed website or portfolio.
Anne: That’s such a good point. I find now that Flash is out of fashion, I don’t see the amped up portfolios as much as I used to. The most important thing is the work itself and that the site is easy to use. Navigation is key. Ease of use.
On a personal note, you and I are both dog lovers and I know you do some volunteer work with shelters. Could you tell us about that?
Jeremy: Yes, I help the Humane Shelters with marketing and photography. Having grown up on a farm in central New York animals have always been a part of my life. To this end I am constantly working with shelters and rescue groups providing photography and other marketing materials. To this day I’ve been credited with helping hundreds of dogs and cats find forever homes.
Anne: That makes me even happier that we work together. Well, what better way to end this interview than to see some of your photos of dogs. Could you share some with us?
Thank you everybody for reading and if you would like to get in touch with Jeremy, he can be reached at: jeremy (at) annehubben (dot) com.