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Branding & Marketing

Directives, Part II: Make Yourself Indispensable

After making it through the interview, the hiring process may feel like you've traded one set of hurdles for another.

After making it through the interview, the hiring process may feel like you’ve traded one set of hurdles for another. After all, now that you’ve been hired, there’s work to be done, right? You’ve already demonstrated your capabilities and that you have the potential to be an invaluable member of the team…but how do you actually cross the line from expendable to indispensable? The common answer amongst creative recruiters and directors we surveyed is pretty simple: you need to cultivate and develop the spirit which got you hired in the first place.

Creatives, at their cores, are visionaries. It can be hard to adapt to being part of a team, especially when you’re surrounded by similar personalities. At POKE, Tom Ajello explains the intense importance of understanding team
dynamics and motivations. “There isn’t room here for team members with alternate agendas. We’re just a bunch of great people trying to make the web better. Truly. We’re not just interested in doing creative things for the sake of it. We’re motivated by inventing creative ways to use all of this interactivity to do things better. Better for businesses and better for people who use the things we make. The most indispensable trait a team member can have is a the sense of responsibility we have to make beautiful, valuable interactive that works, and isn’t just a Art Director’s creative orgy.”

Getting hired is a direct result of someone seeing your potential. Pushing yourself to continue that fervor will ensure you don’t fall into problematic complacency. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners’ Zach Canfield looks for reaction within himself to gauge the value of a team member. “When I secretly get jealous of their ideas and would love to work with them on a project, that’s when I know they’ll be a good fit here. Those are the people who usually bring an indispensable energy with  them to the agency.”

Canfield also believes that passions for projects outside of work provide an invaluable asset to a creative team. “The most important thing to me is passion. People who have a great desire and enthusiasm to create exceptional projects in their life — not just in advertising — are the creatives I go after. It is the single biggest deciding factor for me….that passion they  bring with them, and the energy they contribute to the agency.”

Gone are the days of the moody, temperamental creative – diva attitudes won’t (and don’t) fly in today’s workplace. Robbie Vitrano at Trumpet finds those with good attitudes and a willingness to be open are also the most successful. “They are prolific, focused and optimistic. Everyone fails, but the best people pout less. And again, emotional maturity [is key]. It’s important that a creative person understands their shifting role on the team so they can initiate, build on or expand upon a thread.”

Doug Jaeger of thehappycorp explains his requirements quite simply, but profoundly. “Ideas. Ideas are often what save he day. Ideas can stop time.”

It’s not just about being and getting your work done every day, which is a given. It’s about making sure you stay  assionate and continue to exhibit the traits that got you hired in your interview. Whether that’s maintaining side projects, arranging a hybrid work schedule which allows you the flexibility of working both on-site and remotely, or doing pro-bono work that feeds your soul, figure out what’s important to you beyond your employment, and you’ll see a vast difference in both worlds.


Zach Canfield is a Creative Recruiter and Manager at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, California, whose vast client list includes Hewlett-Packard, Adobe and Hyundai.

Tom Ajello is the Founder and Creative Director of POKE New York. He’s an interactive design specialist, developing interactive marketing strategies since 1996. He aims to use Creativity and Value over Intrusiveness to implement experiences that start lasting conversations for honest brands.

Doug Jaeger is the erstwhile digital creative guru of JWT and TBWAChiatDay and currently finds himself the founder of thehappycorp global. There, his team delivers brand design, websites, & experiences to their varied client base, and organizes secret NYC events through an off-shoot project, LVHRD.

Robbie Vitrano is the President and Director of Brand Design at Trumpet, which is a thriving example of how the world-renowned creative culture of New Orleans is being leveraged in the communications, innovation, media and technology field.

Comments (1)
  • I.L

    Thank you for this article. I’ve been in my probation period at work and this has gotten me motivated to keep working at being indispensable to the company.

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