I too was disappointed to hear some of the opinions of the recruiters in the webinar today- in particular, from Todd.
A self described “old school garmento” he went on to express his opinions which epitomized much of what is old, and dated, in the fashion industry.
First is the inability to visualize what a remote- or even what semi-remote- role would look like, and how adopting new technologies can actually increase productivity and communication across departments. Yes- we are PRODUCT people- and we do need to see, touch and collaborate in person. BUT… we also need “Heads Down Time” (ie: no meetings, just deep focused work) and often this can be done remotely part of the time. Tools like Slack, Videochat, and Messenging programs are great way to bridge the disconnect. So no, Todd… your idea of “Butts In Seats” is an outdated view, and many younger people (and Gen Xer’s like me) are embracing this as a opportunity to cut down on commute time and instead work in a productive, no water-cooler-chat method.
Another thing that Todd mentioned was that he would never consider representing someone who only stayed at each company for 2 years. Ummm, hello- I don’t know who these people are that are lucky enough to stay at each company for 6-8 years, but every single person I have met in the industry has had something called LIFE happen to them. Companies close, or have a Re-Org. Start ups fail, or get sold. Companies move or downsize. Your own life happens- maybe you move, or have a baby, or God forbid, you decide to take on a new challenge. But mostly, I think people work at a company, learn as much as they can, and then realize- after seeing the way the company operates- that they will most likely never get a promotion or pay increase unless they move on. I spent most of my career in Design… and let me tell you, I’m sure XXXX company would have been happy to keep me on for years as a design asst and pay me my $25,000 salary. But I wanted to do more, and it took moving on to command increasingly higher titles and pay. That’s just the way it works.
In fact, whenever I find someone in DESIGN who has been in the same position for 8, 10, 12 years, it immediately makes me suspicious. It makes me think that perhaps their designs are stale, and that they are a “one-trick pony” who only knows how to work in that one product category, and will regurgitate the same designs for me. Moving companies can get you new ideas, new methods of working, reduce burn out and increase creativity.
In addition, I find these outdated methods of staying years at a company increasingly ridiculous, as so many companies are hiring Temps and freelance roles. You only want to hire people with long loyal stays… but yet you don’t want the commitment of hiring a Full Time tech designer, so you patchwork the role with freelancers? Freelancers can be great… but just know that within many freelancers there is person, needing work, and often they want full time work, but they take freelance roles FOR NOW to pay the bills. I’ve freelanced in downtimes- between jobs- but I always wanted something full time & steady. By freelancing, I’ve been able to pay my rent, stay current in my industry, meet new people-- but it can make my “resume” look patchwork.(And yes, I do weed out these phases on my resume, and eliminate gaps-- but hey, sometimes you have to do what you gotta do).
Other than the advice which we should already know by now-- “Update Your Resume & Portfolio! Tailor your resume and portfolio to the role! Have an online portfolio! Don’t use an AOL email!” I didn’t really hear anything I didn’t already know before. From Todd and Janice, it was a very old school, NY garmento mentality, with a focus on getting back to the old ways of doing business. I was hoping for something a little more visionary; a little more excitement about embracing new ways of working and job hunting. Instead this seminar was much of the same old, same old. I guess in the case of Todd and Janice, sometimes you can’t teach a old dog new tricks. And while I respect their industry expertise, I feel like having them act as recruitment “gatekeepers” is what is keeping this industry stale and unable to adapt to new ways of thinking, as they are funneling out job-seekers who don’t prescribe to their antiquated ideals.
I’d love to hear a webinar about new and potentially exciting new changes that may be coming about due to covid- about how retail might pivot; rise of e-com; start ups and their mentality, etc. This is a whole new world out there- we might as well embrace it!