Senior Creative Recruiter & Creative Team Lead, Synergis Creative
Karissa’s job is to find the best candidates that uniquely match what her clients’ specific needs are. When new jobs come in, she makes sure they’re qualified and prioritized by a recruiter on her team. Karissa works with candidates nationwide, getting to know who they are, what their experience is, and what they’re looking for in their career, and then describing the different openings she’s working on that could be a fit for them.
Karissa started today by washing her face with cold water to wake up, followed by a full morning routine. She checked the weather, got dressed, and then fed her cat and dog. After completing these tasks, she would usually spend some time packing a lunch, but today was special. It was the Annual Synergis Thanksgiving Potluck! So, Karissa grabbed her crockpot full of mashed potatoes, double-checked that her laptop and headset were in her purse, and then hit the road to get to work.
Karissa shared with us that her commute usually takes about 25-40 minutes each day. Today, she had a 35-minute commute, to go the 13 miles from her home to the office. As she drove, Karissa worked through a mental to-do list for the day.
Karissa works in an office park. Upon arrival, she walked through the lobby, past the elevators, and used her badge to get into her office on the first floor. The office can be described as open and welcoming. Karissa described several welcoming features of the space, including the large white front desk, glass conference room, and kitchen that she passes on her way to get to her desk. The office is decorated with many brightly colored chairs, couches, and booths. Behind the common area, the space opens up into an open-office environment of low-wall cubes, motorized sitting/standing desks, glass whiteboard walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the man-made lake behind the building.
The first thing Karissa did when she arrived at the office was to make a cup of coffee with an extra shot of espresso. While she was waiting for it to finish, Karissa got a call from one of the Account Executives on her team. A candidate they had submitted for a UX Designer position was being made an offer! This was a quick turn-around in regards to the interview and offer process. Only two weeks from start to finish! In her experience, Karissa had seen candidates hired on the same day or it can take up to three to four weeks to obtain an offer. While on the call, Karissa discussed details like salary, start date, next steps as she headed back to her desk.
After completing this call, Karissa read through and answered various emails. She checked her calendar for the day’s scheduled calls/meetings and sent follow-up emails to candidates that needed to submit resumes, portfolios, or questionnaires. Some clients preferred to use online job management tools to work with staffing agencies, so Karissa checked through updates as well.
Synergis uses an applicant tracking system, like Salesforce, to compile all of the data gathered by recruiters. So, once she had the relevant information, Karissa made updates on candidate profiles, logged where she’d emailed individuals, and updated her notes/progress on jobs. Finally, she looked at a collection of internal reports to assess which open jobs needed her attention that day, in order to set her priorities.
By now, Karissa was ready to call the candidate who interviewed last week to discuss the offer that had just been proposed. While on the phone, Karissa talked with the candidate about her other opportunities, discussed the offer, and explained next steps to take moving forward. The candidate chose to accept the offer, so Karissa emailed the Account Executive to let her know that they would be moving forward. The next step in the process would be to get the candidate paperwork from the client and submit that for hiring. Karissa logged her notes from the call with the candidate in ATS, the candidate tracking system, and got ready for the next event of the day.
Next on the agenda for Karissa was a daily call with a remote recruiter/mentee on her team. Karissa and her mentee chatted and caught up about their weekend activities, and then discussed the mentee’s progress on assignments from Friday. They talked about what coverage/submittals she had completed on these projects, different search strings that she could use for a Quantitative UX Researcher role, and what the mentee’s work priorities should be for that day.
After getting off her phone call, Karissa headed to the weekly office-wide meeting, held every Monday. The meeting included announcements from the HR team, the Learning and Development department, Consultant Advocates, President, etc. After the announcements were finished, Karissa began a conversation on the priorities of the week, by facilitating a discussion around each Account Executive’s open jobs, updates on interviews, and feedback from submittals. The discussion concluded with establishing each recruiter’s daily priorities for both the creative and IT teams. With Karissa’s guidance, each recruiter now had clearly established goals for the day and the week.
After the meeting wrapped up, Karissa left the office to head off site for a client meeting.
The client meeting began around 9:45. Karissa met with an Account Executive to tour a potential client’s offices and meet their staff. For the next thirty minutes, Karissa met with members of the team and spoke with them so that she could better understand their current UX opening. During this discussion, Karissa asked questions to explore their need for creatives. For example, asking what would be the structure of the UX candidate’s day to day job expectations, as well as what kind of portfolio and experience would the client like to see from the prospective candidate.
Karissa wrapped this meeting up by around 10:15 and left to travel back to the office.
Once she arrived back at the office, Karissa set up her laptop and began working on her first priority for the day, working on a UX Researcher position. She started by checking applications from where she’d had it posted online over the weekend. This process involves reviewing resumes and portfolios (if supplied) and reaching out to qualified candidates to schedule a time to speak further.
After gathering several new candidates, Karissa considered individuals found via active sourcing—searching within the ATS database. In many cases, this meant reaching out to people she’d spoken with in the past. Lastly, Karissa would search for prospective candidates through platforms like Indeed and LinkedIn, to see if there were new individuals who were interested and qualified for the role.
It was time for the Annual Synergis Thanksgiving Potluck! The staff took a break and gathered in the kitchen. The President, Doug Ross, said a few words of thanks, and everyone dug in to eat some amazing Thanksgiving foods and enjoy some time together. At the end of the potluck, the staff passed around a box and drew names out—almost like a Secret Santa. However, in the version of the game at Synergis, after selecting a name, each staff member had to purchase a toy that reminded them of the person whose name they drew. These toys will then be presented at the Holiday luncheon. The rest of the company will guess whose name was drawn. Afterward, all the toys are donated to Toys for Tots.
After lunch wrapped up, a new role came in that needed to be prioritized. Karissa cleaned and edited the job posting—in order to make it more attractive to candidates—and posted it on several job boards. Next, Karissa started sourcing through the list of candidates situated close to the job location, with relevant portfolios, and backgrounds. Once she established this information, she began cold calling/leaving voicemails, emailing, and texting these individuals about the role.
Karissa took a break to have a call with a candidate who had been actively interviewing with one of her clients. Karissa talked with the candidate about how her interview went last week, what her other opportunities looked like, and if the timeline for this role would work for her. While on the call, Karissa worked with the candidate to schedule her availability for interviews moving forward. After getting off the call, Karissa emailed the client to schedule an onsite meeting for this particular candidate to have a secondary interview. She made a note to add this individual’s name to a to-do list for the next day, as this task likely wouldn’t be completed today.
At this point in the day, Karissa pulled up the profile in the Synergis database for the candidate that had accepted an offer that morning. Her next task involved completing the required documentation to inform the front office (aka recruiting, sales, and leadership teams) and accounting team that they’d made a successful candidate placement.
An interview request came in for another candidate. Karissa called and emailed to schedule the upcoming interview, confirming with the client for an on-site interview the next day. Once this had been scheduled, Karissa continued sourcing on the hot new role that had come in that afternoon. Sourcing is a term used to describe the process of emailing and cold calling potential candidates for a job.
Karissa was pulled into a meeting with one of the Account Executives and a Sales Director, to discuss a potential position with a new hiring manager.
The three of them strategized what types of candidates to send, portfolio types and backgrounds, and two to three people already in the pipeline that they could recommend for the job. The team set a deadline of Wednesday to get the specific candidates written up and submitted to the AE and to do a live review with the hiring manager.
After this meeting, Karissa went back to her desk to do work. At this point, two junior recruiters from her team came by with questions about a specific client’s rates and work agreement. As Team Lead/Mentor, Karissa coached them on how to pitch an idea to a candidate and what further information was needed from the client moving forward. She ended the discussion with next steps for them to complete and follow-up on with the internal team.
Karissa completed another candidate call. While on the phone, Karissa talked with the candidate about the UX market in Atlanta, the candidate’s background, and relevant experiences. On each and every call, Karissa asks candidates what they are looking for in a position and career. After some consideration, Karissa pitched opportunities with two different clients for the candidate based on what the candidate’s skill set looked like and what the client was looking for.
While on the phone, Karissa talked about the candidate’s portfolio and made recommendations for some resume edits. They ended the call by setting expectations on interview timelines, walking through what it’s like working with Synergis, and explaining what the steps would be moving forward.
Not long after that was completed, a client from earlier in the day responded with potential interview times for a few prospective candidates. Karissa confirmed interviews for two of the candidates, sent prep emails, and documented the details in the ATS.
At around 3:45 PM, Karissa followed up with two consultants to document the hours that they worked last week. Consultants are people who are working on a contract basis through Synergis, that a recruiter, like Karissa, has placed. Once this was completed, Karissa went back to working on sourcing for the urgent role that had been identified earlier that afternoon – sending emails and scheduling calls for tomorrow.
At this point in the day it was time for Karissa to go home. Her commute home was usually 30-45 minutes. On that day it was about 50 minutes. To pass the time, she called her parents on the way home.
Once home, Karissa let her dog out and followed up on a few emails to get calls scheduled for tomorrow. Once these were confirmed, she logged back in to complete a write up and submittal of the candidate whose resume she had just received, and completed the required documentation in ATS.
Sometimes Karissa has to sit on a late supplier call (to qualify a role with a manager) or make an evening call with a potential candidate who isn’t available during the day. She added that frequently she will juggle work tasks while also doing household chores like washing dishes, cooking dinner, or feeding her cat and dog. Karissa usually checks emails and responds to important work things until about 6:30 or 7:00 PM, and then officially closes her laptop.
After this point, Karissa enjoys spending time watching TV with her husband or reading a book. The day after this interview she had the chance to work from home so as the evening wrapped up she took time to set up her computer, headset, mouse, and keyboard in her home office. Karissa did one final check of her email around 9:00 or 9:30 PM to respond to anything urgent. Then, after completing her nightly bedtime routine, she read in bed for 30 minutes to an hour.
Karissa got into recruiting as a result of a temp position that she obtained through a staffing agency. At the end of her first contract, a rival staffing agency offered her a role as an administrative assistant. Karissa interviewed for the position and asked if there would be an opportunity to transition into recruiting with the company in the future. The company agreed, and after three months as an administrative assistant, Karissa transitioned to a recruiting role.
Her first job with this firm, ironically, was to recruit a replacement for the administrative assistant position she had just vacated. After a year in this job, Karissa began to think about her career goals, and her desire to focus more on creative recruitment. She researched various recruitment and staffing agencies before she found Synergis. She interviewed for a position as a Creative Recruiter and was quickly hired. In the four years that she has been with Synergis, Karissa was promoted three times and was made Team Lead within two years of starting.
What advice do you have for prospective recruiters?
“You get out of it as much as you put into it.”