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 Review of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’

by Sharon Lynch

12 January, 2018

A habit is considered a routine, often unconscious, behavior. Steven Covey, the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” defined a habit as “a higher level of thinking that allows humans to reach a new level of happiness and prosperity.”

A higher level of thinking starts from inside, and private victories precede public victories. If you want to have good neighbors, then be a good neighbor. If you want more freedom at work then be a more helpful employee. Here are three principles that spoke to me the most when reading this book:

Be Proactive.
Proactive people are driven by values, while reactive people are influenced by their surrounding environment, circumstances, etc. Proactive people choose how they are going to feel, regardless of their environment, and they don’t allow negativity to influence them. They demonstrate integrity, and very importantly, they develop solutions. “I can’t” becomes “I choose to” and “I must” becomes “I prefer.” “If only” becomes “I will.”

Begin with The End in Mind.
Does each part of your life and your behaviors reflect what is truly important to you? Ideally, they should. Considering, imagining and crystalizing definite goals is paramount to leading a productive and peaceful life. We actually create things twice: once in our mind and secondly “on paper” or in some physical way.

Put First Things First.
Planning and organizing our time is key. Covey shows us four quadrants in a matrix of urgent and important versus non-urgent and non-important.



The goal is to spend most time on important, non-urgent activities to achieve goals. If we spend too much time in important + urgent, we are constantly putting out fires, which leads to burnout. With proactive planning, delegating work and properly training people to do great work, an organization or group of any kind can reach its peak.

These three principles are all “Private Victories” and lay the groundwork for the remaining “Public Victory Principles.” They address our personal vision, leadership and management.

At The Arland Group, these principles have guided us. We continue to achieve great growth as we assist our clients in attracting and hiring their ideal employees. In my eight years at TAG, we have grown from eight to more than 20 employees, helped millions of applications reach recruiters and thousands of people find careers.

We build strategies from the bottom up and chart a clear course on how to get there. By way of size, we are considered a small company. But by way of our branding, social, and media strategy accomplishments, our creative solutions lead to “big” results. Clients choose us over competitors five times our size for creativity, highly effective and results-producing work plans, outstanding ROI, and white glove service, which is born from our passion for solving client problems and creating best-in-class solutions in talent acquisition.

If you are interested in reading more on Steven Covey and/or perfecting your time-management, goals and personal vision for 2018, his work can be found online and in book stores.

For more information about a transformation in your corporate talent acquisition strategy, please call TAG for 2018 trend information, including the advantages of programmatic ad campaigns, Google AdWords through our certified team of Google experts, employment branding, social content and vendor management.

Happy New Year! Cheers to an exciting path ahead of personal growth from the inside out!

#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.





A Focus on Employee Happiness

by Alyssa Stahr

13 December, 2017

A recent survey conducted by Mental Health America and the Faas Foundation found that an astounding 71 percent of the 17,000 U.S. workers in 19 industries were unhappy in their jobs. In fact, they were so unhappy that they were looking for jobs elsewhere. reported on the story, which gave two main reasons as to why these employees were unhappy, according to a report published by The Ladders. The first was all about recognition. Forty-five percent of the survey’s respondents said they “rarely or never” got what they thought was their deserved pay, while 44 percent said they were “always or often” overlooked. Sixty-four percent weighed in on their supervisors, saying they don’t get enough support. The second aspect dealt with stress, with almost two-thirds of respondents saying that their job is having “a significant impact on their mental and behavioral health.” Sixty-three percent said that they have “always, often or sometimes” taken part “in unhealthy behaviors such as drinking or crying regularly.”

While changing jobs may be an immediate fix, with this large number of respondents who are unhappy, we suggest four ways to employers that may be able to help with long-term satisfaction in the workplace.

Feeling Appreciated
A little love goes a long way. Jessy Dyson, TAG account management team lead, says that she can’t think of a week that has gone by where her coworkers haven’t said a genuine thank you or gone out of their way to make sure she knew she was a valued team member. “I try to return the favor too, because I know what it means to me!”

Giving Regular Feedback
While official performance reviews are a great thing, Alyssa Runge, TAG graphic designer, loves the regular feedback she receives not only from the TAG group, but clients. “I love hearing back from the client about what they think of an image. Even a little input — positive or negative — really helps me create my next project for them. Hopefully then I will be able to nail the design in one try.”

Creating Your Own Destiny
Sometimes workplace satisfaction isn’t all about the employer. Taking matters into your own hands with a positive attitude can go a long way. Kimberly Birkhead, TAG account manager, says what makes her the happiest in any workplace is being able to help with internal processes and events. “I love being able to help my peers have a happy workplace as well.”

Caring About Your Coworkers
Fostering a positive workplace with those around you instead of resenting them (which also factored into the survey) can definitely help with internal stress levels. Knowing you have a team supporting your day-to-day life is key. Ali Ishman, TAG social media specialist, says that she loves the fact that everyone at TAG actually cares about each other. “They care if something is going on, and they genuinely want to help out in any way they can, from helping with workload or just letting you take a day to breathe.”






#TAGBlog 2.0 Begins With Thought Leadership

by Alyssa Stahr

30 November, 2017

The Arland Group is excited to announce the resurgence of our blog series. We’re getting a head start on 2018 by bringing to you a little TAG flavor in an effort to be closer with our readers and to provide you with an inside track on what is happening both inside our doors and our industry.

First up is a discussion on thought leadership. What exactly is a “thought leader?” At first thought (no pun intended), we look to the people who have blazed a trail in his or her respective industry to the point where people listen. Martha Stewart could be seen as a thought leader not only in the kitchen, but she has branched out to include home décor, television and media. Oprah has expanded her Harpo brand to include print publications, talk shows and acting. When Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos speak, people listen — at least I do because these thought leaders are incredibly rich. They must be doing something right.

Forbes says that a thought leader doesn’t necessarily have to be a single person. It can also be a firm that “prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.” The key takeaway here is that when this person or entity talks, it doesn’t fall on deaf ears. The entity has gained or earned the respect of its peers.

The second part of Forbes’ definition is that the thought leader profits from being a thought leader in and of itself. After all, these people or businesses don’t work for free, therefore why would they share their expertise and all they have learned for nothing? Thought leadership books, magazines, public appearances and even posts on LinkedIn all lead right back to the person’s brand. Basically, the person or company is happy to share knowledge — for a price. How did Jeff Bezos become the world’s richest person? It wasn’t by sharing his secrets or offering Amazon’s products for free.

So, can anyone who has made a buck and has something to say be a thought leader? We see the term thrown around pretty loosely these days, and while a thought leader can be any age, ethnicity, gender and come from almost any background, there needs to be some level of expertise and commitment to his or her brand. Thought Leadership Lab has simplified what it takes down to seven steps, ranging from building your influence to increasing credibility. In any event, thought leadership takes commitment, time and dedication to the respective industry in order to build trust with the masses.

We loved Forbes’ final thought on the subject: “Becoming a thought leader is about making money and making history.”