Q&A Sessions: Jessica Ozrek, Creative Recruiter

About Jessica Ozrek

Jessica Ozrek, originally from Manassas, Virginia, is a Creative & Marketing Staffing Professional and founder at Elysian Staffing. Having worked on both the recruiting and account management sides, she has a proven eye for identifying A-level talent to meet clients’ hiring needs for creative and marketing positions. Having worked in Northern NJ and NYC, she has experience servicing high-profile clients in companies who specialize in Entertainment/Media, Finance, Publishing, Fashion, Architecture and Telecommunications, as well as, Advertising and Design Agencies.

About Elysian Staffing

Our mission is to bring creative back to creative staffing. Provide expertise to our talent and employers through staffing solutions for their hiring challenges, whether that’s finding a job, or looking to hire.

We partner with talent and employers to provide staffing solutions for temporary, temp-to-perm, and permanent placement of creative and marketing professionals. We value creativity, relationships, and teamwork to provide quality service to our partners: our talent and our employers.

Jessica Ozrek, Creative & Marketing Staffing Professional

numb1Who was key to influencing you to get into staffing?

When I was preparing to graduate, I went through my university’s career center to find a job.  There, I interviewed for a variety of opportunites that were available for myself, a Communication major.  At the center, I interviewed with Dave Wheeler, also a JMU grad and now President of TSource LLC, for a Junior Recruiter role at his IT staffing agency.  During our interview, we just clicked and I liked the idea of working for a start-up.  I knew nothing about IT recruiting at the time but was happy to learn and loved my first job out of school. 


What made you decide to start your own business?

I have wanted to start my own business for a long time.  I’ve taken a couple stabs at it before including a Fine Arts Gift Card company where I interviewed artists to illustrate my poetry.  I printed Fine Art Gift Cards and sold them at local Art & Craft Fairs.  I also tried a baking venture as I love to bake cookies, banana bread and apple pies.  The common factor in my business ventures is creating a company that inspires and provides quality whether that’s purchasing a high-end gift card, eating organic baked goods, or hiring a creative professional for your next freelance assignment.


You mention Elysian Staffing values creativity, relationships, and teamwork, how do you realize the potential employee has those qualities?

Through conversation.  I always like to meet everyone I represent.  I find that through the interview process, I gather a lot of  information.  The first component in determining if I should meet someone is through their resume;  the company’s they’ve worked for, the evolution of their career, etc.  Beyond experience and skills is their personality: How do they talk to me?  Do they make themselves available for a phone call or interview?  Do they show up on time to a meeting?  Are they prepared by providing the information I requested ahead of time?  Each layer of the interview process reveals more and more about a person.  I am flexible, and I don’t expect everyone to do it perfectly, but I’ve been recruiting long enough to know that my gut response to the person’s actions is a reliable source in feeling out a potential employee.


What do you look for in someone’s resume and portfolio? What makes them stick out?

Elysian Staffing works with some of the best agencies and companies throughout New York City.  Our clients hold high standards and so do we.  First, is the resume – the companies and types of positions the person held and how he/she progressed through his/her career.  With technology changing ever so rapidly, the talent should have an online portfolio that is nicely laid out, preferably a personalized one but behance or coroflot works, too, and the online portfolio should show really good work.  And by good work, I mean the latest and greatest and only projects that you are proud of.  Work with big brands, whether mainstream or organic, always helps.

numb5What are some qualities a potential candidate should look for in a recruiter?

A recruiter must be your advocate.  You’re not going to get a job through every recruiter that you meet with but, did they provide you with some value?  Value can come through guiding you with your resume, portfolio, providing you with valuable insight for interviewing, or even informing you of a networking event or job searching tips.  Also, a recruiter must have your best interest in mind.  Recruiters essentially work for free until a placement is made, but I don’t like to force a square peg into a round hole – it won’t benefit any of the parties involved.


Do you check the potential employee’s social media accounts? If so, what do you look for?

Linkedin is a favorite tool of mine, but beyond that, I don’t look to Facebook or Twitter to gather information about a potential employee.

numb7What are common mistakes people make when they are interviewing? (or a bit of advice for the reader)

Most talent I meet are wonderful in the interview and I really enjoy meeting them.  A few mistakes that I have encountered stem from not taking the interview seriously.  This can come in the form of not being prepared, talking negatively about former employments without expressing the silver lining, and disclosing too much personal information.  An interview with a recruiter can be more open than with the direct company because we are here to guide and advise a job seeker, that said, it is still an interview and if someone is complaining about an ex-girlfriend or former boss, I wonder “How are they going to represent themselves to my client?”


What is your process when choosing a potential employee for the job?

I would tell you, but I’d have to kill you.


When someone is new to freelance, what are the steps to get the job?

If you are in a full-time job and want to move to freelance, you most likely will have to take the leap.  Most employers don’t feel comfortable pulling someone out of a full-time job for a freelance position.  That said, prepare, prepare, prepare.  Make sure  you have an updated resume and portfolio (preferably online).  Network with everyone you know.  Update your Linkedin profile and make sure it screams, “I’m a freelancer available for work”, then meet with recruiters and get ready to start working.  I’m not a life coach but I imagine having a hefty savings for downtimes and while getting ramped up could help ease the anxiety.


The majority of recruiters are women, why do you think that is?

Communication is a huge part of recruiting.  Some qualities tend to be more masculine or feminine and communication is just that – a more feminine quality.  That said, I’ve met many men in the recruiting industry who are excellent and some of the best.

numb11Where do you see the future of creative staffing?

Wow!  That’s a big question.  I’ve seen creative staffing evolve in NYC over the past 10 years.  Considering advertising, marketing and design are industries that are ever changing, it allows for a lot of opportunity for staffing on the freelance and full-time sides.  Even with Linkedin and Facebook, recruiting is a full-time job and we work hard to find the right people for open positions.  The industry is more competitive now than it has ever been and with new staffing agencies and independent recruiters entering the market all the time, it only challenges us at Elysian Staffing to pick up our game and provide the best service we can.  Survival of the fittest.


LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner Says These Are The 3 Qualities Of A Great Employee
Read more: http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/linkedin-ceo-the-3-qualities-that-make-someone-great-to-work-with.html#ixzz3D38wxBpp


One thought on “Q&A Sessions: Jessica Ozrek, Creative Recruiter

  1. Pingback: Q&A 2014 Wrap Up | Bott & Co.

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