The Arland Group is a boutique creative agency. We want to ask you an important question. Would you rather work with people who want to work with you? Or, would you rather work with people, who work for people, who make them work with you?

#TAGBlog: A Chat with Director of Media and Strategy Gina Prestifilippo

by Alyssa Stahr

5 January, 2018

Our #TAGBlog series continues into 2018 with a look at the story of Gina Prestifilippo, The Arland Group’s director of media and strategy. Gina has gained a ton of experience in the past five years, working in full-cycle recruiting for both third party and corporate environments. Gina met our President and CEO Deb Andrychuk at a LinkedIn conference, and after Deb noticed Gina’s interest and excitement for recruitment marketing and employer branding, the ball got rolling for Gina to join the TAG Team.

Tell us the story about how you found TAG and the hiring process. What did we do right that other recruiters can learn from?

Deb and I were attending Stacy Donovan Zapar’s session at the LinkedIn conference. She inspired me to further my career development in employer branding. About six months later, she called to tell me about a position she had available and asked if I would be interested in hearing more. After a long conversation, she gave me the contact information for Stephanie (Silvey) and Jessy (Dyson). I reached out to both separately and discussed their roles within the agency, and I was able to ask open-ended questions about any concerns I may have. It gave me a real opportunity to understand how I would be contributing to the agency and how my work experience would add value to this new role. I knew right away this was an opportunity of a lifetime!

What’s the most rewarding thing about being in the talent acquisition field specifically?

I started in customer service, and knew I wanted more. When I transitioned into the talent acquisition industry, I highly enjoyed helping people find careers that suit them based on what was important to them personally. Now, to be able to help talent acquisition teams market their careers as a destination for job seekers, I’m able to reach a bigger audience and continue to help our industry grow. It’s rewarding to see our industry progress into more of a candidate’s world!

Can you take us through a typical day with TAG and what you do?

I work with clients to help enhance engagement on their recruitment marketing efforts for social media campaigns, web development needs, vendor relations, etc. On a daily basis, I network with new business opportunities to help companies expand their employer brand with our agency’s capabilities and creative services.

What’s been the biggest challenge in your job so far?

I’m lucky enough to work remote from Columbus, OH. However, the disadvantage is not being with my team in St. Louis on a daily basis. I’m an extremely social person, so missing out on getting to know everyone in the office on a personal level has been the biggest challenge for me, thus far. As I highly enjoy working out of the comfort of my own home, where my dog is my work BFF, I do look forward to seeing everyone in-person whenever I get the chance. Having a special bond with your coworkers has always been important to me. So, while I don’t see them every day, I love to shine my personality through emails, IMs and team calls!

What has been your best day at TAG?

I have a lot of ‘best’ days with TAG, I thrive on even the smallest of accomplishments! However, I do have a ‘most memorable’ day that I’d love to share! My first week with TAG, I was in St. Louis meeting the team and diving into my new position. Each night of the week, I was able to go out with a coworker and get to know each of them personally. My third day on the job, I went out to eat with Jessy, and as she was dropping me off at my hotel, I jumped out quickly so she could immediately get on the highway exit ramp. While getting out of the car, I somehow managed to slice my finger open. I knew right away that I would need stitches. Luckily, the valet attendant at my hotel rushed to my aid. After he helped carry my things to my room and attempt to bandage my wound, I told him I think it was best I go to the nearest urgent care. Fifteen miles later, I arrived by taxi to the closest urgent care that was closing 10 minutes later. Although I needed five stitches in my finger, everyone who helped me that night was so wonderful and nice. They were all very sweet to me as they knew I was only a visitor in town for the week. I truly will never forget that day! Ha! Sorry Jessy!

You work remotely, which has its pros and cons. What is your advice to both workers and companies who have a work from home policy? How do you stay self-driven since you aren’t in the traditional office every day?

I’m incredibly lucky to work from home, but would agree it does have its pros and cons. For me personally, being away from the team environment keeps me focused as I have the tendency to be quite social. Then again, I miss out on everyday conversations and/or things that happen in the office that is always fun to enjoy with coworkers.

Other than having a dog bark in the background, I appreciate listening to music when completing administrative tasks but I also enjoy the peace and quiet when trying to concentrate on creating strategy. As I am a visual person, I take a lot of notes to keep myself organized when completing personal tasks. Even though my commute is down my staircase, I still get up every morning at 6 a.m. and get ready for the work day.

If there are any companies that are weary on allowing associates to work from home, I would suggest allowing at least one day a week. It’s important for people to have a day where they feel they can escape the office to focus and accomplish work goals. Sometimes, your day could be full of meetings and/or phone calls, that find yourself working from home later that evening. If associates were able to block out one day a week just to check items off their list, I’d say it’s not only good for a person’s work performance but for their stress level as well.

What are your career goals/goals for TAG in 2018?

I am just beginning my career with The Arland Group. I have so much more to learn from my team and my mentors in the office, as well as within the industry alone, that I plan to continue educating myself and continuously improving my strategy to ultimately increase our client’s engagement with their prospective audience. Every client is different, every company’s story is different and every candidate experience is different. That is the beauty of my job and what makes every day exciting and filled with new opportunities and challenges.


How to Set Goals That Stick in the New Year

by Alyssa Stahr

25 December, 2017

Oh January, how we love you and your empty promises, otherwise known as “resolutions.” The gym is packed, the refrigerator is full of vegetables, and we have finally dumped that potential significant other who should have been less than significant from the start. January holds so much promise. We’ve turned the page on a fresh new start; we know how to make goals; and we know exactly how we want to succeed.

And — then February happens. Winter has really set in, and the excitement of goal-setting has lost its fizzle. Spring seems forever away, and we lose our verve. So, how do we make sure the goals we have set at the beginning of the year are achieved?

Develop a Year-Long Strategic Calendar
Writing the end goal down is wonderful, but let’s take this a step further. Using the example of getting a new job by the end of 2018, there are steps one should take for success. Write each of those down in your calendar, effectively creating deadlines. Revamping your resume and cover letter; updating your LinkedIn profile; applying to at least 10 jobs a week; setting up five appointments with a recruiter; going to 20 networking events this year — all of these are concrete items on a no longer virtual to-do list that can be created throughout the year.

Hone Your Craft Each and Every Day
Continuing education for any type of field is key. Think back to the cell phone you had in college. If that has aged, it is possible that your education may already need a brushing up in this rapidly-changing digital world. Take a look at the year-long calendar of classes in your area (in person or online) and write a few down that strike your fancy (see tip No. 1).

Additionally, if writing or artistic ability is in your wheelhouse, don’t forget to do something to hone that craft each and every day. Keep a journal; work on something you love. If you miss a day, that could turn into two, three, a week, a month, and then the end goal is lost.

Make Friends Within Your Field
The buzzword on this topic is networking, but we sub headlined this one “make friends” for a reason. Yes, networking events and schmoozing with people in your field is a great way to exchange business cards. However, chances are one 10-minute conversation won’t get you very far. Let’s also take this one a step further. Invite your newfound connection to lunch, a game night, a holiday get-together, etc. Getting to know people on a more personal level will showcase who you really are. And, in a time where fitting into a company’s culture is cited as an aspect recruiters are looking for in 2018, your personality, not just your resume’s credentials, may make all the difference.

Make the Work-Life Balance Count
Take the vacation — for real. Turn off the electronics for a week and see how amazing that feels. The first few days may leave you reaching for your phone, but after a few days it’s freeing. Burnout is a real thing; even Oprah has been spotted on the beach, so you can do it too. Those who punch a 9 to 5 time clock have the luxury of checking out at the end of the day. But, chances are many of us are workaholics who are checking our email late at night or making those last revisions when we can’t sleep at 2 a.m. More companies than ever are relaxing their work-from-home policies, which has its pros and cons. When working from home, sometimes the hours never end and we become chained to our electronic devices. Be cognizant of this and really keep track of the hours you are working — 40 can turn into 70 before you know it, and a burned-out employee helps no one.

Wake Up Early
Mark Wahlberg recently spoke at an event in the Midwest, and whether you love him or hate him, he had one piece of advice that stuck. During the question and answer portion of the talk, someone asked what is the one piece of advice he could give of how he stays successful. Wahlberg said, “Wake up early.” Wahlberg typically goes to bed at around 7:30 p.m. and wakes up at around 4 a.m. to start his day. By the time his kids are ready to go to wake up for school, Wahlberg has already read scripts, went to the gym and retreated to his meditation room for at least 10 minutes of quiet time to himself.

While this may be an extreme example, studies have shown that getting a good night’s sleep and rising early are keys to having a more productive day. And, with 365 of those coming in 2018, we have the potential to make any goal we set a reality.





Recruiting Strategy Planning for 2014

by Ryan Stene

17 September, 2013

RyanSteneBlogPhotoCan you believe it? It’s that time of year, where budget planning and strategic road mapping for next year takes place. This is my favorite time of the year, even though it means longer hours and more meetings, but I really enjoy the discussion of helping companies plan and shape their recruiting strategy for years to come.

Let’s look ahead at five things to consider as you build your budget and plan for 2014.

1.    Employment Branding & Candidate Experience – it is crucial that you get it right the first time, and this piece of strategy typically is the most time consuming but also the most rewarding. Employment branding ties into key areas such as attraction, retention and candidate engagement. There are a few key areas to focus on to ensure you develop an employer brand strategy that will assist in achieving your objectives. First, what image are you portraying to your internal employees? I would suggest doing focus groups and surveys to gather this data. Secondly, do you have engagement from senior level management? Third, is there a relationship and defined ownership between HR, marketing and communications within your organization? Lastly, ensure you have a communication plan. There is an overabundance of offline and online channels that tie to your employment brand and experience. Is the messaging and branding consistent across all channels? The secret is to test these channels and arrive at a strategy that provides the highest impact and proficiency for minimum investment. If you don’t have the bandwidth or internal experts, The Arland Group can assist you and complete a “Website Evaluation Impact Report (WEIR)” that can give you the playbook to effectively deploy your career site implementation.

2.    Mobile – This is a crucial part of the strategy, considering the changes to how search engines rank your site and pages based on if you have a mobile optimized site. We have seen top-ranking clients drop several pages because they don’t have a mobile site. But, having a mobile site is only part of the process. With more than 35% of career site traffic coming from a mobile device it is crucial to give candidates a way to apply or connect as well. In a recent SimplyHired survey, 86% of candidates said they would apply via mobile if it is easy, but only 32% apply because it is so difficult. Only 13% of Fortune 500 companies have a mobile optimized career section and 97.8% don’t have a mobile optimized application process. One of our strategic partners, MoBolt, provides an end-to-end application process that requires no IT support. It’s completely customizable, affordable, and best of all it can work with almost any applicant tracking system. MoBolt also offers a mobile employee referral app and a talent capture for event recruiting. Because of our partnership, we are able to help facilitate a demo and get preferred pricing.

3. Social Media – In my conversations with customers, I’ve learned that their social recruiting budgets are projected to grow based on the effectiveness and increased hiring from social media. In a recent survey by, one in three job seekers are using social media as their primary tool for job searching, and 50% of job seekers spend more than six hours per week using social media to find jobs. It also appears that these companies are continuing to add on to their strategies in the coming months. Two out of three respondents to the TweetMyJobs survey said they will expand recruiting initiatives in 2014. Are you looking to add a social strategy in 2014 or finish strong in 2013? We have several success stories and resources that can help you.

4. Video –  ComScore recently reported that 105.1 million Americans are watching videos everyday, and 56% of those people are watching them from a mobile device at least once a month. Recruiting departments should take advantage of this medium because of rapid growth, the ability to tell your message easier, and it helps shorten the hiring process. TAG has found that deploying multiple videos that are shorter (30-34 seconds) and more an infographic style vs. the typical talking heads is more effective. It also a great way to enhance your social media strategy. A stat that I find amazing and shows there is a gap in this strategy is that only about 24% of national brands are using online video. What are you doing to bridge that gap, increase your time to hire and retain the talent that you are targeting?

5. SEO & PPC – When I say those two acronyms, I bet you’re thinking that you already do that with certain providers or vendors. Search for your postings on LinkedIn or Indeed to ensure your jobs have the right keywords. Are you spending your pay-per-click budget effectively down to job level or just allocating a monthly budget and spending it until it is gone? When researching or benchmarking my clients’ postings, about 75% of the time their jobs are not appearing because the job titles are way off or they don’t have the correct keywords in the posting. When is the last time you effectively rewrote your job postings to be marketing ads vs. using the “HR” templates? Can your recruiters effectively write a marketing job ad? Do your postings provoke emotion or speak to a candidate? Do they make you want to take action and apply? Do you articulate the apply process and what is needed from the candidate? When it comes to PPC, I truly believe that aggregators like Indeed, SimplyHired or even JuJu are providing great organic and paid clicks. But, the problem with their models is that they are extremely time- consuming to manage, especially if you are sponsoring multiple requisitions. You then blow your monthly budget on paying for more candidates than what you actually need in the pipeline. We have found a few vendors to support these challenges and offer a variety of options to support your needs.