KIM EASLEY: WHAT IT TAKES
TO GET HIRED AT VML
We recently caught up with Kimberly Easley, Managing Director of Talent Acquisition at VML, who shared what she loves most about her job, VML's culture of giving back, and VML's success in remaining "flexible and media agnostic." Kim also let us in on what she looks for in a creative hire: "I like to see what makes a person interesting or what they are passionate about aside from the work. While the work is what gets you in the door, it’s your passion projects, your blogs and your travel experiences that really show us who you are as a person."
Stay tuned for our interview with Debbi Vandeven, VML's Global Chief Creative Officer, next week.
Describe VML in 3 words.
Transformational, innovative, collaborative
What about the culture of VML makes it an ideal place to work?
Our leadership is transformational – providing a foundation and vision that permeates throughout the organization, driving a centralized sense of culture, and inspiring innovative thinking and creativity. And even though we’ve grown, there’s still a deep appreciation for entrepreneurial thinking here at VML. The work itself is challenging and dynamic, and when you couple that with our heritage of giving back (the VML Foundation is our very own nonprofit) and a collaborative and fun work environment, you’ve got yourself an amazing and unbeatable culture. We hear people say all the time, “It just feels different than other agencies,” – and they’re right. From the moment you walk in the door, you know there’s something special going on here at VML.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
There are so many parts I love. VML has experienced such tremendous growth in the US since joining in 2012. It’s been amazing to be part of that journey, to go from being an AdAge Standout shop in 2012 to landing a spot on the 2016 AdAge A-List. As our talent team has grown, we’ve also been able to focus more on VML’s talent brand and how we position VML in the talent marketplace. That’s been extremely rewarding. Aside from being part of a great agency, it’s also a tremendous feeling when someone joins and they find great success.
What are you looking for in a creative portfolio that's unique to VML?
Each new role is independent of the other. VML has been extremely successful in being flexible and media agnostic. We cover almost every category – CPG, car, fast food, sports, tourism, telecom, tech, financial – from digital AOR to AOR to platform & experience. I like to see what makes a person interesting or what they are passionate about aside from the work. While the work is what gets you in the door, it’s your passion projects, your blogs, your travel experiences, etc. that really show us who you are as a person.
Tell us a bit about your background and your career journey.
Definitely not a typical path. I was a social work assistant in the foster care system in Santa Cruz, CA and then ran fundraising for a non-profit. I was looking to move back to the East Coast at the time and found a posting for a “Staffing Counselor” – aka “Recruiter”. I thought I would be finding jobs for people who were down on their luck! When in fact, I began placing freelance creative and production talent at agencies. I worked the staffing side for ten years before entering the agency world directly in 2010. First at Publicis Modem and now VML.
How did you end up at VML?
Through networking of course ☺. It was a brand new role within the agency at the time. We’ve since built up our recruiting team from 2 to 6 recruiters nationally with 70% growth over the past four years.
What’s your creative outlet?
Photography, interior design, gardening
What qualities are most important in a prospective freelancer?
Being gifted at your craft, responsible, collaborative, and invested.
Which social networks do you prefer for stalking people, creative or otherwise?
How much time do you spend on each portfolio? And how long before you make a gut reaction on the portfolio?
You can usually determine in the first few seconds whether or not they pass muster. You can spend a quality ten minutes on someone’s portfolio that is truly great.
What do you judge first?
Does it look good? Does the layout make sense? Is it easy to navigate? Is it work I recognize? What’s their background/experience? Did I like the first project I clicked on?
What kind of talent makes you warm inside?
Creatives that really know how to evoke emotion of any kind using whatever media makes the most sense – and in the end, you remember the brand. And on the flip side, if it’s a product I would actually use or could see being useful to others…one that makes perfect sense.
What portfolio trends do you wish would good out of style? What do you love seeing?
It drives me crazy when someone doesn’t include their contact information on their site. It happens more than you’d think. I love reading bios and reviewing anything additional such as a blog, your photography, Instagram feeds – if it gives me greater insight into what drives you creatively, I’m interested. And remember, keep it simple and show the good stuff. More is not always better.