Q&A: Purple Consultancy
Continuing our Question-and-answer sessions with those in the know when it comes to recruitment, we speak to ANDREW DOBBS, A DIGITAL CREATIVE CONSULTANT at Purple..
Continuing our Question-and-answer sessions with those in the know when it comes to recruitment, we speak to ANDREW DOBBS, A DIGITAL CREATIVE CONSULTANT at Purple…
With an educational background in new media, Andrew cut his teeth in recruitment with Manpower, the world’s second largest commercial recruitment company. This was followed by a highly successful stint in IT recruitment, specialising first in cutting-edge telecoms and subsequently in new media and design. After several years as head of new media with IDP, Andrew joined Purple in 2008 to specialise in digital creative recruitment, providing top-flight digital agencies with the cream of London-based digital creatives.
WD: To start off, what is it that really defines or sets Purple apart as a recruitment agency within the digital sector?
AD: For me, it is the time and effort taken to truly understand both client and candidate objectives, with a view to not only satisfying a brief but to make that all-important cultural fit between employer and employee. Whether it is a graduate looking for their first job or a seasoned creative director looking for a new challenge, Purple takes the time to truly understand what makes people tick, what factors are important to them and what qualities they are looking for in a new employer. Conversely, Purple works closely with clients not only as a trusted consultative source of high-quality candidates, but as an industry knowledge resource. Understanding the marketplace, the idiosyncrasies of each agency and the wants and needs of each candidate are core to our business model and approach.
WD: What observations could you make about the state of the web design and new-media industry from a recruitment perspective?
AD: Despite a prevalent sense of unease and anxiety in the economic marketplace, I have yet to see any knock-on effect in the creative marketplace. We work with a wide cross-section of top agencies, and across the board these agencies are still hiring, still winning pitches and high-profile clients, and still expending financial resource to push the boundaries of advertising, marketing and creative. If anything, the state of the economy has influenced clients to spend more and build their advertising presence with a view to reaching as many consumers as possible.
WD: Do you have any inside tips on what might be sought-after in the near future?
AD: Within digital creative, the hard-to-find skill is still definitely Flash – not just timeline animation, but a knowledge of ActionScript is fast becoming a prerequisite for many leading digital agencies. Top agencies are very selective when it comes to hiring, but a portfolio that demonstrates not only excellent use of Flash and ActionScript, but also those all-important ‘graphic design sensibilities’ will always impress.
WD: What kind of agencies do you work with to find suitable recruits, and have you had any recent success stories in terms of the people who have found work at top agencies?
AD: We work with a ‘who’s who’ of top digital, integrated and through-the-line agencies. Success stories occur every week! I recently placed a hungry young designer with arguably the top creative agency in London. Although joining at a junior level, his potential quickly became apparent to his employer, and in the three months since he started, he has gone from executing and implementing the concepts of more senior individuals to presenting his own ideas and concepts to a certain well-known trainer brand, where they have been received very warmly indeed! The personal work in his portfolio showed him to be a truly talented artist, a trait that was recognised and cultivated by his employer to great effect!
WD: Are there any key points or golden rules that candidates should follow if they intend to pursue work in such an employment arena? Can you offer some quick advice maybe for those looking to impress on a potential employer?
AD: First of all, keep the portfolio itself simple and let your work speak for itself. Clients want to see at a glance what you can do. Don’t overcomplicate things with unwieldy Flash presentations or a complex user journey. Keep it simple and let the work do the talking.
Second of all, get your own personal projects in there. As mentioned before, clients want to see what appeals to you in terms of aesthetic. Whether you paint, graft or sculpt in your spare time, if you have private work you are proud of and shows off your creativity and execution, get it in there.
Next, whether you call it ‘media neutrality’, through the line or ‘360 degrees’, there is a real move towards a fully integrated model. If you have experience with offline work as well as digital, get it in your folio. More and more agencies look for creatives who generate concepts that work in any channel or medium, so if you have a concept that translates to integrated, outdoor, ambient and digital, then make sure you get it on there. The industry is moving towards this media neutral model, and top-flight creatives understand that their ideas must work across media, and not just be limited to web, print or TV.
And finally, with each piece of work in there, write a short description of your personal involvement in the project – make it clear what your contribution was, whether it was your concept or someone else’s, what parts of the execution you were responsible for and how it satisfied the brief. Beautiful creative work is always good, but remember that your clients are in the business of making money, and a good campaign should satisfy the brief creatively and financially. What was the result of the campaign? Did it increase revenue, click-throughs or sign-ups? Simply put, did it do what it was supposed to? The most beautiful piece of work is inherently useless if it does not satisfy the initial brief!