There’s a quiet revolution underway in the creative world. I believe traditional recruitment isn’t just broken — it’s becoming irrelevant, and the "super-connected community" is the future.
Typical recruiters have relied heavily on technology and data to find talent for companies in creative industries like advertising, fashion, beauty and media — matching one conventional job with one person skilled to do it. But today’s communications landscape isn’t conventional at all — and I've found typical recruitment methods to be way out of touch.
Advertising, marketing and publishing are merging, marketing budgets are getting tighter, side hustles are multiplying, and brands are seeking content and community engagement to drive revenue. Companies desperately need creative people with multiple talents to help them navigate these latest trends and opportunities. What’s more, these "hybrid" creatives (who might be both social media manager and art director or a strategist/writer, for example) don’t want to be pigeonholed into traditional jobs anyway.
The creative industry’s ecosystem is transforming rapidly — yet I believe recruiters are lagging behind with an outdated, linear business model based on resumes and search algorithms. This transformation is driving an entirely new way of connecting companies and creative talent that I call the "super-connected community."
Rather than wait for recruiters to make connections, companies (from brand and agency leaders to private equity firms and venture capitalists) and the creatives looking for opportunities can find organic ways to connect, stimulate and inspire each other. If traditional recruitment is about making a one-to-one match to fill a job, the super-connected community is about encouraging "many-to-many" organic relationships to crack the opportunities and solve the business problems that conventional skillsets and approaches can’t. In short, it’s facilitating creative alchemy.
Curated Experiences And Hybrid Skills Are Key
In my experience, intimate, low-key and deliberately curated events are one of the best ways to build your own super-connected community. When there’s a comfortable vibe and people understand that everyone there shares a connection and is of a certain caliber, they’re more likely to get to know each other naturally, striking up meaningful, eclectic collaborations and partnerships that can lead to dynamic work.
One of the best ways to find and take part in events like these is through your existing network. Get to know the most progressive companies and professionals in your field, develop your own skills, experience and brand, and stay up-to-speed with what’s happening in the industry. Whether you want to be tapped for lucrative, interesting projects — or find creatives for roles you are seeking — when attending these events, my advice is to let go of any agenda. Be open to meeting unexpected people who may help you reach your goals in unconventional ways.
In fact, I've witnessed that unconventional opportunities and independent, “hybrid” talent are in demand. However, this talent can also be tough to find and connect with. While social media — Instagram especially — has transformed direct access to these creatives, typical recruiters usually don’t know who they are, what they’re up to or how to reach them. As a result, agencies and brands often find themselves competing for the same small pool of classic A-listers through similar agents and networks. This is why it can be helpful to consider a new approach to bringing people together and brokering relationships — not the "single person for a single job" model.
For Greater Access, Look To Talent Curators Or 'Super Connectors'
Of course, creatives have been working in communities for a while now — essentially curating themselves by partnering with others who do complementary things, bypassing recruiters and pitching businesses directly.
Some are really successful. But plenty struggle to win enough work, or high-profile work, because they don’t have visibility, connections or enough credibility. Not many big brands or agencies are willing to take a risk on talent that hasn’t been "preapproved" or vetted by sources they trust — yet they still want and need their genius. And given traditional recruiters work for the companies paying their commissions to "fill jobs" — not cultivate talent — creatives risk falling through the cracks.
Without a doubt, I believewhether you’re an individual, startup or established brand or agency, it’s critical to be super-connected to a tribe that can feed you. Having a talent curator or "super connector" at the heart makes a big difference. This is that person in your network who knows everyone, intuitively sees where there’s compatibility, chemistry and mutual need, and acts as a bridge, pairing people in the community together or creating places they can meet.
If you need a talent curator to help grow your tribe, I recommend looking to your network for someone who has inside access to influential people and companies, and a deep knowledge of the creative landscape and its unique characteristics. The best talent curators are just as interested in getting to know your company culture, or what drives you personally, as they are in your portfolio or job description.
I see two things very clearlyin today’s new environment: Traditional recruitment is dead. More importantly, failing to embrace a more connected, equal and modern way of working will be just as fatal for our business results and creative output. The greatest returns often come from quiet revolutions.
Author: Amanda Mintz