Finding Jod

Written by Susanna Leighton on December 15, 2011

Like many large ad agencies, we have a person dedicated to recruiting creative talent in addition to managing our creative services. We also have a talent recruiter who is responsible to recruit for all the other positions in the agency.


Finding the perfect match for specialized positions like the Director of Experience Design (xD) required that our two recruiters work together.


We are using this post to explain how and why we work together:


Susanna Leighton

I’m the Director of Creative Services and I’m responsible for many things – one of which is recruiting for the creative department. I’ve been at Team One for 4-1/2 years in this position. I work closely with our CCO and Creative Directors to acquire and manage talent. If you would like more details about me, please see my bio.


When the xD Director position opened up in the beginning of spring, I immediately started a search. There was quite a bit of anxiety surrounding this within the agency. While xD or the more common UX discipline is robust within the start up world, it is relativity new to advertising. This posed an interesting challenge for us; we have to sell advertising as a career path/accelerator to people who might not have considered it.


The pressure was on to fill this position fast (as our digital workload continued and continues to increase) and with an extraordinary talent; someone who could bridge the gap between creative, planning, account and production. Finding prospective candidates proved to be difficult which is when I turned to Stephanie.


Stephanie Silvera 

I joined Team One in March as the agency Talent Recruiter. Prior to my arrival at Team One, I ran my own external recruiting company specializing in Entertainment and commercial real estate/hospitality. (Here’s my bio.) When we partnered to recruit for this position we discovered we made an amazing team.


Just like all of my searches, I use my contacts and experience; I scour the internet linking in to potential candidates, cold calling and passing along portfolios to Susanna, who has a very keen eye on innovative, ground-breaking talent. After several months of connecting with and interviewing various potential candidates, I came across an Experience Lead working at a very creative shop in L.A. I thought I would give him a ring. We connected instantly. His well-rounded background that includes a unification of xD, journalism, psychology and content strategy brought forth a wit and passion that had yet to be seen in other candidates. His vision for where he wanted to take this department was inspiring and clear.


You know how you just know when you have found the perfect match? Good things come to those who wait? Susanna, with her impeccable level of taste along with the entirety of the team finally felt we found our creative leader.


Jod Kaftan

At my previous job, I would often receive messages on Linked In about UX opportunities. Most of the time, I tuned them out—many recruiters seemed to just see “ux” in your profile and were writing about jobs that either were too junior for me or were not relevant to my background. With Stephanie’s message I could tell she took the time to read my profile; that she knew where I was working and what it meant and that it would take a special opportunity for me to consider leaving my current role.


Once I spoke with Stephanie over the phone, things moved really fast. I met the team at Team One and really liked the quality of the people I spoke with as well as the agency’s perspective on a dynamic future. When it came time to making a decision, I felt that Stephanie was genuinely understanding of the gravity of my choice (as it turned out, my company chose to counter, which made the decision to leave especially hard). Both Susanna and Stephanie were very real with me—No B.S.—and supportive during this time. At the end of the day, I felt that Team One really wanted me to join them, not just for my qualifications, but also because of who I am. And that’s the highest compliment you can pay any organization that recruits you.


In Jod We Trust! – Susanna & Stephanie