Hiring Trends in the 2023 Creative Talent Market

March 20, 2023
Hiring Trends

Changes are underway in the talent market.

Without making any sweeping predictions about where we land, what's clear to us is that companies are moving through the hiring process at a slower pace — mainly owing to new budget developments or clients pausing their projects.

Most talent who needed greater persuasion to change jobs last year are more willing to discuss new opportunities this year.

However, strong candidates, though willing to consider roles and companies outside their usual sphere, still expect some degree of being sold to to win their enthusiasm.

Read on to unpack the latest hiring trends to get you ready to bring on the most skilled and collaborative creative and operations pros on the market!


Your mid-to-senior talent know what to look for in an agency or in-house operation and the compensation they need.

For many creatives, smaller shops = more hats to wear

Agencies are fast-paced, while in-house creative is desired for its better work-life balance.

These are the perceptions creative and operations professionals have that you’ll want to keep in mind when designing your job and its description.

It presents a stellar opportunity for you to differentiate your employer brand.

Your employer brand is more than your Glassdoor reviews and reputation — though these things matter.

Can you mention something in the job description that tells prospective applicants how you help your employees avoid or mitigate burnout?

Do you do something for your employees that applicants would consider rare or unusual in the industry?

If so, emphasize it!

Share aspects of your company’s culture that would appeal to high-caliber professionals, but speak their language.

Avoid statements that will turn applicants away like:

• Must handle stress well (or Must be comfortable in stressful environments)

• Do not apply to this job if you...

• Must have flexible hours

Mid-to-senior level candidates know how to read between the lines.

Attracting these folks requires demonstrating how you invest in and respect the employee-employer contract.


Speaking of reputations and employer brands, setting interview expectations from the jump is one of the best ways to protect yours.

Professionals are more connected than at any point in the past. Ghosting is a near-universal experience that candidates are fed up with.

Most of us are sensitive to ghosting — an act that has no place in hiring as a candidate's well-being and that of their dependents could be on the line.

At the same time, candidates disappearing in the hiring process is also frustrating.

The best way to respect a candidate's time and your team’s?

Clearly communicate the steps in the interview process, outline the timeline you expect and make yourself available for candidates' questions about the process upfront.

Something else candidates are weary of: assignments.

It's not the assignments themselves, though some are apprehensive about investing more than an hour of work for a prospective employer, but how you handle them.

Allowing candidates to put their watermark on the assignments they complete for you assuages their concerns that their work will be repurposed for your internal operations.


Most people we've worked with in New York City and other areas where salary transparency laws have taken effect appreciate having salary range information.

They feel it removes the guesswork involved in negotiations and anxieties about overshooting or undershooting what your compensation range is.

Aim for your ranges to be as realistic and accurate as possible. Excessive ranges, such as $70,000 - 170,000, are very unpopular.


One creative professional recently referred to a well-known, top-performing agency as a 'hypebeast country club', claiming that the agency only hires through referrals.

We don't necessarily agree with the characterization but agree that culture fit has been a central consideration when hiring in the creative industry.

How about hiring for culture add?

Looking for culture additions creates space for people who would have otherwise been passed over to contribute to your growth.

The soft skills that genuinely matter in creative professionals are collaborativeness, empathy and a willingness to communicate. Non-work-related interests, introversion and extraversion, what people wear, how they speak and so forth have little to no bearing on their ability to perform.

We recommend giving at least equal consideration to culture fit vs. culture add.


Since higher education is out of reach for many creative and would-be creative professionals, alternative paths like certification programs and apprenticeships give these candidates a launch point in the creative industry.

Many mid-to-senior roles still require professionals to have a degree despite their on-the-job experience typically being a better indicator of ability.

A recent study from Bain & Company, OneTen and Grads of Life finds — importantly — that incorporating skills-based hiring into your talent acquisition strategy helps attract more Black candidates.

As more companies familiarize themselves with credentialing programs or drop education requirements from job postings, they gain a competitive edge by opening their talent pools to more well-qualified candidates.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity. We can assist you with this by way of a talent search or guidance.


If you notice a theme in salary transparency, selling your employer brand and setting interview expectations, we're right there with you. Those trends emanate from creative professionals' reassessment of the employee-employer dynamic that we think reached new highs these past three years.

Meanwhile, skills-based hiring and evaluating talent by culture add are about nurturing a more inclusive, creative and equitable workplace.

The talent market is changing, but so are creative professionals' expectations of what the hiring process should look like in 2023.

The economy will improve, eventually, and creative talent will remember how some companies interacted with them in a tougher market.

Listening and responding to talents' feelings and expectations about hiring is crucial. Doing so is part of our expertise.

Since 2014, our team at Elysian Staffing has connected large and small companies with top creative talent. We introduce you to candidates specified to your needs while protecting your employer brand and reputation.

You can focus on running your business while we ensure you have a curated bench of talent who power your growth.

Connect with us below to see if we are a match for you!

Warm regards,
The Elysian Team