Running the gamut of the art industry with recruiting expert, Sarah Murkett
In an ideal world, we’d succeed based on our actual skills and performance. But in the real world, subtle perceptions and stereotypes color others’ perception.The result might be that our hard work isn’t noticed or appreciated, our effort doesn’t lead to proportional rewards, and our good ideas aren’t taken seriously. Success is about knowing who you are and using that knowledge strategically and unapologetically.
Laura Huang, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, author of EDGE , writes brilliantly about turning adversity into advantage. As Huang writes, “Your work matters. But it is your job to help the world see how it matters”. Creating an edge is the key to succeeding within an imperfect system.
A SECRET WEAPON IN FINDING THE JOB OF YOUR DREAMS IN THE ART WORLD IS WITH THE LRFA BLOG TODAY.
SARAH MURKETT, FOUNDER AND OWNER AT MURK & CO. SINCE 2017, PROVIDES EXECUTIVE SEARCH AND STAFFING SOLUTIONS FOR THE ART WORLD. WITH OVER 20 YEARS IN THE ART WORLD, SARAH OFFERS HER CLIENTS AND CANDIDATES STRATEGIC ADIVCE ABOUT STAFFING ACROSS THE FIELD.
SARAH, WELCOME BACK! WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO FORM MURK & CO.?
Murk & Co started as an art dealership and advisory.I had been working freelance for so many years without need for a formalized company. But when I decided to go out on my own as a dealer, purchasing work and taking it on consignment, I felt the need to incorporate for personal protection from legal and financial liability should, heaven forbid, anything go wrong, even by accident, which it never did.But private art dealing is a risky business, and it is not for the faint of heart.
And as my next move, I decided to pivot to recruiting.
WHAT RECRUITING SERVICES EXISTED AT THE TIME YOU FOUNDED MURK & CO. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH THIS BUSINESS?
I wanted to move away from sales and do something that would take advantage of my network and put to use the knowledge I had of the different sectors of the art world. I had also done a lot of hiring for my clients/employers, so I knew I liked recruiting and believed myself to have a successful track record in that arena.
WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF SERVICES MURK & CO PROVIDES?
Right now I am focused on talent acquisition. There are different levels of partnership that are offered depending on the needs of the client. Some searches are more straight forward and I have candidates at the ready to put forward immediately, but often I am being brought in for much more complicated searches that require a deeper collaboration.
WHO ARE THE CANDIDATES THAT AVAIL THEMSELVES OF THE EXPERTISE MURK & CO CAN PROVIDE?
Really, anyone with art world experience that is looking for a job. And while my relationships with my candidates are the lifeblood of my business, and I have made it a goal to make the application process as humane as possible, with a high level of communication throughout the process, it should be made clear that recruiters work on behalf of the businesses who are looking for staff, rather than for the people who are looking for jobs.
ARE YOU PRIMARILY FOCUSED ON EXECUTIVE SEARCHES AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST DOMINANT JOB DESCRIPTIONS THAT ARE REQUESTED?
“Executive Search” really just means recruitment at the senior level. Being engaged to work in partnership with an organization to fill these key positions is very exciting work. I also work on a wide range of positions at varying levels.
I read a statistic that recruiters are mainly hired for help with sales and operations related positions, both of which are critical to the running of a business, and I would say that, in general, I find that to hold true for my own recruiting business.
WHO ARE YOUR CLIENTS? IS IT LIMITED TO GALLERIES OR DOES IT COVER A BROADER RANGE OF ART RELATED BUSINESSES
It runs the gamut across the industry including auction houses, advisories, artist studios, art fairs, publications, communications firms, museums, foundations, art tech, art shipping and handling companies and much, much more.
TO WHAT AREAS OF THE COUNTRY DO YOU PROVIDE YOUR SCOPE OF SERVICES?
Anywhere that I am needed.
WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY REQUISITES THAT YOU LOOK FOR IN POTENTIAL CANDIDATES AND IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU VET THEM? DO POTENTIAL CANDIDATES FILL OUT QUESTIONNAIRES? HOW DO THEY APPLY?
Every vacancy has its own particular requirements, and I won’t work on a search unless there is a thoughtful job description, including both the requisite hard and soft skills. The search process isn’t about what I am looking for, but rather an effort is made to understand what my clients are looking for, and then sifting through registered candidates, applicants, and research into potential passive candidates that might be a good fit.
I meet prospective candidates in person, whenever I am able, to get a sense of their energy, personality and personal presentation, and when schedules or geography get in the way, then I start with a phone call.
I advertise positions on my own website (https://murkandco.com/) and on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/murk-&-co.), and candidates are instructed on how to apply. They can also request to be registered in my database generally.
HOW MANY JOBS ARE AVAILABLE AT APPROXIMATELY THE SAME TIME ON YOUR SITE?
DO YOU INTERVIEW THE CANDIDATES PERSONALLY PRIOR TO HAVING THEM CONTACT THE POTENTIAL EMPLOYEE?
Yes. And I am available to both the candidates and clients through the whole process, helping to schedule interviews, provide and discuss feedback and assistance with contract negotiations.
IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, WE WILL POST SOME RECENT OPEN POSITIONS AT MURK & CO. THAT SHOW THE RANGE OF OPPORTUNITIES TO WORK IN VARIOUS SECTORS OF THE ART WORLD.
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