How can professionals be intentional about their skillset when searching for new career opportunities? Tiasha Stevenson, Vice President, Director of Creative and Agency Resourcing, Golin, shares insights on how to successfully land a new role within your own organization or with a new employer. Tiasha also offers advice for hiring managers to look for candidates who would be a “culture add” rather than a culture fit.
Watch part 2 here.
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About the Host:
HOST: DOUG SIMON
GUEST: TIASHA STEVENSON
DOUG: Tiasha, your job is really about the people that you’re building as part of the workforce.
TIASHA: Absolutely. So, I’m the Director of Creative and Agency Resourcing at Golin. On the creative side of things, I make sure that there are systems in place and tools in place to allow the team to do award-winning work. And then when we think about on the agency side, I apply really that same rigor to finding and creating systems to allow the agency to be staffed properly and to develop our team. At Golin we say that we’re doing the best work of our lives, and for me and my role the operative word there is life. I want people to come to work, do the best they can do, and still have time for their lives and their families after work, and that’s how I managed it.
DOUG: Yeah, this is such a timely topic, with so much in the news about the Great Resignation, even finding the right opportunity where you can fully express yourself and contribute. So, we’re actually dividing this into two separate segments. For this one let’s look at people who are both looking for jobs and those that are trying to attract them, which you have experience in both. What’s your advice for people who are looking for opportunities in their own career, what should they be doing?
TIASHA: Yeah, I think that looking for a new career path or for your next opportunity really starts with self-exploration. Knowing that you want to leave I think is not enough to leave. And so, I’m in a position where I’m always open to new opportunities, and there’re some questions that I ask myself. What do I like to do, what am I good at, and what will people pay me to do? And you start to put together a list or a Venn diagram and see, are there any synergies with these things? And then you keep your eyes open for those types of opportunities. Another piece of advice I have is to put together an elevator speech for what you want to be doing. In my latest role I said that I really get a lot of energy from connecting people to opportunities, whether that’s internally, which is resourcing and staffing people with different clients, or externally, looking out to talent and recruiting, and repeating that message over and over again is what opened up the opportunity that I currently have.
DOUG: Yeah, and new opportunity doesn’t mean that you have to leave the organization you’re with. We put a big emphasis on trying to find out if people wanted a different role within our organization that they can grow and be compatible for. Any advice for people who really like being part of the organization there with but want to experience something different? How can they go about that? And then we’ll switch to sort of the managerial side of that.
TIASHA: Absolutely. So, companies want to keep people in the company or in the network, and they want people who are happy. And so, I think it’s important to one, know what you want to do or have some inkling, and then be honest with the team, talk to HR, talk to your manager, talk to people who do the job you think you want to do, see if you can shadow them or ask them questions. See if you can help on a project. So many times people need help, and they maybe don’t have the budget for 100% of the person doing resourcing, or doing media relations, or doing something, but you can help stretch a little bit of your skill set by just testing it out within your organization.
DOUG: Yeah, and you like to talk about being intentional when you seek out those opportunities and when you talk with decision makers, whether they’re in a new company or at your current place of employment.
TIASHA: Absolutely, I think letting people know, hey, I love it here, but here are kind of things I want to be doing, and careers are long. So, the opportunity to let people know what you want to do, you may have to leave the company, and then a lot of people boomerang back. I’m a boomerang back to IPG, it just was a really good fit for me. But being honest about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do with all of the key players really set that up so that I could come back when I was ready.
DOUG: Yeah, it’s also about creating your own opportunity or your own path for a job that might not exist based on your skill set and how you can effectively communicate that when you see this and need at an organization. You’ve done that yourself in your own career. Any advice for people trying to take that approach?
TIASHA: I think I applied for a creative recruiting position and that position was already filled, but based on my resume, I went through my resume and crossed out everything I didn’t want to be doing, even if it was something in my background, and really had a resume that looked forward to what I wanted to do, and the team was open to speaking with me, even though the role I initially applied for was closed. Five conversations later, and they were able to build something that was good for me, what my skill set was, as well as meeting the needs of the organization, both on the creative team and in agency resourcing. And so, it comes back to knowing what you want to do and repeating it over and over again to every person you meet with, to every interview, every informational interview and just repeating those things and the opportunity can be shaped around what you’re good at.
DOUG: Yeah, that’s such great advice and advice I’ve never really heard anyone share that really to sort of take the cutting pen to your own resumé and get rid of stuff that, even though it may make you seem cool, doesn’t really fit with the path that you want to be on moving forward, because what’s the point of having it there? And that will really help focus on the opportunity, that’s such great advice. Now in your role and in other roles that you know of, when they’re looking for employees, what are some things managers hiring managers need to be thinking about to really make sure they make the best decisions in this current marketplace?
TIASHA: Yeah, I think in today’s marketplace one thing that everyone is talking about is how can you get diversity on your team. For so many times we’re looking for “culture fit” when we should be looking for “culture add”. And so, I think for managers you should be looking for who can add to your team and not who has the same skill set as everyone on your team. And that’s one thing right now we’re looking out into the marketplace, we’re looking for people who can bring something different to the table as well as learning the skill set that we all are already experts at.
DOUG: So, what are some of the specific skills that managers are looking for in prospective employees, and is the ability to have proven you’ve worked well in a diverse workforce an important characteristic?
TIASHA: It’s a very important characteristic to show that you’ve worked well on diverse teams. When we think about our industry, in particular public relations and earned first creative, we’re reaching out to an American population that’s more diverse than it’s ever been before. And so, it’s important to show that you can work on a team with people who are different from you that you can reach out to target markets, that you’re good at talking to the masses, but also in zeroing in on very specific segments of the population and showing skill and willingness to do that kind of work. I think that’s something that hiring managers are definitely looking for right now.
DOUG: Well, this has been fantastic, and I look forward to part two of the conversation when we’re talking about successful on boarding both from an employee and employer perspective. Thanks so much for sharing your really great insights.
TIASHA: Thank you, thank you for having me.