The Recruiter Files: Q&A with Branch Director Vanessa Stern

What's it like working as a recruiter for The Creative Group or with TCG as a freelancer or hiring manager? Why are our staffing and recruiting professionals in the best position to help you find a job or creative talent?

To answer these questions and more, we bring you The Recruiter Files, a series profiling TCG team members. Our hope is that you'll better understand who we are, what we do, why we do it and how we can be a career or hiring resource to you.

This month, we spoke with Vanessa Stern, branch director of our Westwood, Calif., team.

How long have you worked at TCG?

"I was hired in October of 2009 at the end of the Great Recession. We had a two-person team and the job market was a mess. Today, hiring is up, unemployment is down and our team has grown to 15 people!"

What do you like most about your job?

"I love working in business and the arts – and with TCG, I get to do both. We interact with some of the most cutting-edge companies in the Los Angeles area and it's so fulfilling to help them build their creative teams. The staffing industry is very fast-paced, there's never a dull moment and I rarely look at the clock during the day. I enjoy being a coach and mentor to our candidates and still get a rush when we find them jobs they love!"

What trends are you seeing in the creative industry?

"E-commerce and mobile apps are replacing the way we shop and do business. I often suggest to designers that they take some classes in coding because a designer who can also develop is a hot commodity in the creative space."

What advice do you have for someone trying to break into the creative field?

"Find a mentor or someone who will show you the ropes. Intern with a creative company or do some pro bono work to build your portfolio. Keep up with emerging technologies and continue to build your skill set. Also, if you're going to do something, do it well, and if you want something, work for it!"

What's the biggest job search mistake you see people make?

"Applying to jobs online and not going the extra mile to establish a rapport with hiring managers. Find a way to network with them online and through social media. LinkedIn is a great tool that allows you to easily connect with key decision makers."

If you could have any other career, what would it be?

"Interior designer – I love helping people design their homes around their lifestyles. In fact, I started an interior design, fashion and lifestyle blog in 2008 called Vanessa & Valentine and contribute to other well-known design blogs from time to time."

Any other creative hobbies?

"I studied studio art and love painting large canvases with my kids. I also enjoy cooking because the more you do it, the better you become!"

Biggest guilty pleasure?

"Reality TV and Pinterest!"

What's the best career advice you've received?

"Someone once told me that I could have anything in life, I just couldn't have everything. That resonated with me when I became a mom and had to learn how to balance family and career."

View more posts from The Recruiter Files series.