September 3, 2013 Philip J.W. Smith & Co.

Recruiting for a Change: Maximizing Creativity

Now more than ever, candidates engaging in the job search or recruitment process are expected to be creative.

There are likely a number of reasons why creativity is in such high demand. For one, it allows a candidate to stand out from the rest. No longer does having a bachelor degree or even a masters degree set you a part from others on the short-list. It’s likely even your experience is comparable to that of the other candidates in the process. Perhaps you hope your skills would prove to give you an edge, but you probably all have the typical 3-5 years of experience in something; a working knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite; and have mastered punctuality. So, what’s the secret to standing out among the rest in a job search process?


Despite most people’s assumptions, creativity is not a defined skill set which some people have and others don’t have. Hugh MacLeod, the author of Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity, perhaps says it best:

Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.’

Being able to reveal your creative side tells a potential employer that you:

  • can take measurable risks;
  • have broken out of learned conformity;
  • can think for yourself;
  • are an idea generator; and
  • are not intimidated by change.

Don’t believe me? Well, put yourself in my shoes for a minute. Pretend that you are the Toronto, not-for-profit recruiter. Next, look at these 10 Creative Social Media Resumes and see what you can glean about each potential candidate’s personality, skills, and work ethics. Surely these resumes give you better insight into each candidate than a simple paper resume would?!

Nonetheless, the real problem I see now has very little to do with the candidates in the recruitment process. Instead the foreseeable problem relates back to our Recruiting for a Change blog series which emphasizes how the demands and expectations concerning what a candidate brings to the recruiting process have changed, yet recruiters are still doing the same old thing they did 15 years ago, except they’ve exchanged their Rolodex for a LinkedIn pro membership. Why aren’t candidate’s expecting more from their recruiters, particularly in the area of creativity?

In an attempt to answer this question before it is even asked, we at Philip J.W. Smith & Co. are now creating a visual representation of our Opportunity Profiles. We have yet to come up with an official name for these “visual representations”, and are hoping that you’ll cast your vote in the comments section as to what you think we should call them. So far, we’ve come up with the following possible ideas:

  • Pro-mercial (Get it? Like a “Profile Commercial”?!)
  • Visual Profile
  • Promideo (“Profile” +”Media” + “Video”)

When it comes to helping us choose a term for this new recruiting initiative, I bet it’ll help get your own creative juice flowing if you can get a sense as to what these visual representations of our Opportunity Profiles look like. Without further ado, I introduce to you the visual representation of one of our current roles for which we are hiring, that is the role of Regional Director of Philanthropy for ON for Opportunity International Canada. Enjoy! (And don’t forget to help us choose a term for this type of “thing” by commenting on this post!)

Related Posts:

Recruiting for a Change: Google Says GPA’s Don’t Matter
Recruiting for a Change: Scratching the Job Search Itch
Recruiting for a Change:

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Comments (3)

  1. Blaine Maryniuk

    I dropped by your website and have to say I really like the concept of a “visual representation” of your job opportunities. It gets past the “blah, blah, blah” formatting of most position postings and zeros in to the core items. Its fresh and innovative.

    Also appreciate your comments on creativity. I consider this one of the key things I am looking for in a new job – being able to use my creativity. I wonder, however, how many organizations really want true creativity. To me, true creativity is letting someone use the crayons to color outside the lines and not just within the pages. Many not for profit senior management and particularly boards are actually afraid of this. They may say they want creativity but when it comes down to it, do they really embrace it.

    Just some thoughts….and in the words of a famous U2 song…”I still haven’t found what I’m lookin for…” Still looking for the right job!

    Blaine Maryniuk

    p.s. my submission for a name to your concept is VOPmedia…Visual Opportunity Profile Media

    • Philip J.W. Smith & Co.

      Thank you for the feedback Blaine. You raise a very valid point – many organizations “say” they’re looking for candidates with creativity, but as you say – don’t really embrace it.

      I suppose this is where a candidate’s personal research on an organization may come in handy. If an organization truly values creativity from its employees, I would expect that they would prove that through the content available on their own website, promotional materials, social media platform, and video creation. I’m so glad that you brought that point up, Blaine!

      And Thank you for your submission of VOPmedia! Great idea!

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