The process of recruiting the perfect job candidate with Sarah Murkett, founder of Murk & Co.

by leslierankowfinearts

Recruiting for the Art World

THE CLARION LIST, A COMPREHENSIVE VETTED ONLINE DIRECTORY FOR ART WORLD SERVICES, FOUNDED BY FORMER CHRISTIE’S EXECUTIVES, JESSICA PAINDIRIS AND GAIA BANOVICH, INTERVIEWED HERE AT THE LRFA BLOG IN 2018, POSTED AN INFORMATIVE ARTICLE ON ART MARKET RECRUITERS IN JULY 2019, MATCHMAKERS: HOW ART MARKET RECRUITERS FIND THE PERFECT FIT.

IT STATES:

In January 2018, the American Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median employee tenure was 4.3 years. This means that Americans change jobs, on average, every 4.3 years, which works out to more than 12 moves over a 50-year career. There is also early evidence that shows a trend towards an even shorter median tenure. Gone are the days of spending an entire career with one company. Today’s job market is all about making smart transitions.

Whether you are a job-hunter seeking your next position, or a hiring manager looking to fill a vacancy on your team, a recruiter can provide a wider range of options and help you make the right choices. 

https://www.clarionlist.com/blog/matchmakers-how-art-market-recruiters-find-the-perfect-fit.html

THE ART WORLD IS UNDERGOING RADICAL CHANGES DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS, A CATALYST IN TRANSFORMING THE WAY IN WHICH WE VIEW, PRESENT AND MARKET ART. THE SHIFT FROM THE BRICKS AND MORTAR WORLD TO THE DIGITAL ONE BECAME A REQUISITE, NOT JUST A CHOICE OR AN ADDITIONAL MARKETING VEHICLE AS ALL THE GALLERIES, ART FAIRS, MUSEUMS, AND PRIVATE DEALERS HAVE HAD TO SHUT THEIR DOORS FOR THE DURATION.

SPECIALISTS IN  IT, MARKETING, CURATING, AND CREATING ART-TECH INITIATIVES,  A VIRTUAL PLATFORM FOR THE ART WORLD , ARE IN INCREASING DEMAND. LATER THIS MONTH, FOR EXAMPLE, HAUSER & WIRTH IS LAUNCHING ARTLAB AT ITS MENORCA LOCATION, A NEW INITIATIVE EMPLOYING HWVR, A NEW VIRTUAL REALITY THAT CREATES  3-DIMENSIONAL ENVIRONMENTS FOR THEIR VIRTUAL EXHIBITIONS.

Hauser & Wirth, Menorca
ArtLab

HAVING VAST EXPERIENCE IN DIFFERENT PROFESSIONAL ROLES IN THE ART WORLD, IT WAS A NATURAL SEGUE FOR SARAH MURKETT, FOUNDER AND OWNER OF MURK & CO., TO OPEN A RECRUITING AGENCY  FOR ART INSTITUTIONS AND GALLERIES.

THE LRFA BLOG IS PLEASED TO WELCOME SARAH BACK TO ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE STRUCTURE AND POLICIES OF MURK & CO.

HOW DOES THE SEARCH WORK?

My client’s needs are the beginning of any search.  The first step is getting to know my client, their culture and the particulars regarding the open position.  I go to my network of registered candidates first, then look at new applicants that come in through job postings.  And finally I do new research and outreach for passive candidates that are currently in jobs that I am not in touch with that might be good for the role.

Even if I know them, I speak to interested candidates about the role to determine suitability (hard skills, soft skills, culture fit, geography, work status, salary requirements).  When a suitable candidate is identified and is interested in the role then I put them forward.  I then await feedback from my client.  If my client is interested in a particular candidate then we arrange for a 1st interview.  I recommend at least three interviews with the candidate meeting various members of the team. 

Eventually a winning candidate is identified and then the real work begins with my client making an offer, followed by contract negotiations, with common concerns being, salary, health care, 401K, paid time off, with work-life balance issues becoming increasingly important to candidates.

Art Table Talk
Photo by Imogen Fairbairn.

 

WHAT ARE THE REASONS A COMPANY/GALLERY/MUSEUM WOULD BENEFIT FROM WORKING WITH A RECRUITING FIRM RATHER THAN ATTEMPTING A SEARCH BY THEMSELVES OR VIA, PERHAPS, LINKEDIN OR SOME OTHER COMPARABLE SITE?

I recently gave a talk on recruiting to ArtTable members as part of their Professional Empowerment Series and specifically addressed this question.  Here are five reasons why an employer would want to use a recruiter:

  1. Small business syndrome – Art world business are often small and might not have the man-power and in-house know-how to conduct a thorough search and so it makes sense to hire an outside consultant, such as a recruiter for their expert help
  2. The search for highly skilled labor – Today companies are not training employees up and promoting from within and are instead looking to hire people who are already trained and so need help to recruit this highly skilled labor
  3. Passive candidates – Recruiters have a network of talented candidates who are currently in jobs, as well as the ability to earn the title “head-hunter” when they approach potential candidates who may not be actively looking
  4. Partnership – When you engage a recruiter you should be shopping for a business partner that will be given access behind the curtain, which will empower them to offer guidance and advice like an insider every step of the way, helping to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that the best match is found
  5. Diversity – A large number of people get hired through an internal network.  Unless you are starting with a diverse workforce to begin with, then referred candidates are likely to be like those that referred them.  A recruiter can help break this cycle and introduce people from outside of existing networks

HOW HAS THE INDUSTRY CHANGED SINCE YOU FIRST ENTERED THE ART WORLD AND WHAT ARE THE WAYS IN WHICH MURK & CO ARE PARTICULARLY RESPONSIVE TO THESE CHANGES?

There are sooooo many things.  It’s hard for even me to believe but I graduated from college 24-years ago.  The most significant evolution that Murk & Co hopes to positively contribute to is the continual professionalization of the industry.  The art world is full of businesses that started as passion projects, and I like to say that you do not know how to do something in the best way, unless you are taught.  Essentially these small business owners need guidance about best practices when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent.  This is precisely where Murk & Co can step in to help.  The field is becoming increasingly competitive in every sector and so companies that feel like their employees are just lucky to have a job are going to be left behind. 

WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS TO CANDIDATES IN ORDER TO RETAIN THE EMPLOYMENT YOU HAVE FOUND FOR THEM?

Like any relationship, employment is a two-way street.  I find that the employer is often as much a part of the reason why a particular candidate does not work out, as anything that the candidate might be responsible for.  Part of my job is to try and lay out the position, with all of its perks and challenges, to candidates, and to be honest with my clients about the particular strengths and weaknesses of the candidates I am putting forward.  But teams in the art world are very small and success often comes down to chemistry.  So, despite best intensions, it is still an imperfect process.

WHAT IS THE GENERAL ARRANGEMENT BETWEEN MURK & CO AND THE CANDIDATE AND THE COMPANY HIRING?  WHAT HAPPENS IF IT DOESN’T WORK OUT AFTER A SHORT TIME OR ISN’T THERE A TRIAL PERIOD?

There is usually a rebate period to the client if the candidate does not work out within a specified period, but sometimes it might just be conducting another search to find a replacement candidate.  Outside of the specific reasons for why the engagement did not work out and how that reflects on the candidate’s reputation, this has no impact on the candidate.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA POST, SARAH WILL SHARE HER  FUTURE PLANS FOR MURK & CO.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT CANDIDATE, OR RESTAFFING AFTER THE LOCKDOWN OF COVID-19 IS FINALLY OVER, CONTACT SARAH TO PROVIDE HER EXPERT HELP IN RECRUITING FOR THE ART WORLD.

https://murkandco.com/