How Long-Tail Hiring Platforms Make It Easier to Search For and Find Creative Talent

How Long-Tail Hiring Platforms Make It Easier to Search For and Find Creative Talent


In the days of social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we often find ourselves seeking some small corner to call our own. We follow the people whose work we like, whose thoughts resonate with us, or whose perspective adds something to our own. With (probably too much) time and scrolling, we carve out a space that we mostly enjoy.

But even then, our circles can feel diluted. As a result, we’re seeing more focused, exclusive groups crop up in niche corners of the internet. If you’re a cinematographer, for example, it makes sense to find a platform where you can swap tips, stories, and strategies with other dedicated cinematographers rather than trying to find and follow the right people on Tumblr, Instagram, and other large platforms.

This phenomenon of seeking the niche space rather than platforms designed for the masses has a name: the long tail.

The Long Tail (coined by Wired’s Chris Anderson) is a reflection on how the areas at either end of a bell curve trail off into infinity, never quite reaching zero. Previously used to describe organic search keywords (like “acrylic pour art supplies” or “paid ad reporting software for marketers”), the concept is growing in social media and other platforms.

Consider creative hiring on LinkedIn. Which would you rather do: sift through over half a billion creatives on LinkedIn or review select profiles of the very best creative talent, all gathered in one place? 

We prefer the latter experience. That’s why we built Working Not Working to be that long-tail platform for hiring creative talent. In this post, we’ll explore what it’s like to find the right creative talent for your job on LinkedIn vs. Working Not Working, where essential search filters such as availability and rate — plus easy viewing of visual work — make creative recruiting a lot more efficient.

If you’re already familiar with the LinkedIn experience, click here to skip to an example of using Working Not Working to find the right creative talent for your team.

Note: Are you looking for top-notch creative talent to join your team or elevate your next project? Get access to the 70,000 creatives on WorkingWorking today.


Searching for High-End Creatives: The LinkedIn Experience

So what’s it like to find top talent on LinkedIn? As an example, let’s say you’re a marketing director at a VC-funded startup that’s disrupting the storage industry. 

You want a freelance graphic designer, someone who has worked with brands renowned for their striking graphic design. Here’s what you’ll see if you head over to LinkedIn to begin your search. 

Screenshot of a LinkedIn search for "graphic designer".

When you type “Graphic Designer” into the search bar, you can qualify the results a bit using “All Filters.” For “Past companies,” let’s select Nike, Facebook, and Pinterest. For “Industries,” you’ll want to select graphic design. When we did this search, it yielded 621 results. 

A sample of a search in LinkedIn for "graphic designer" with the filters: "past companies" to include "Pinterest", "Facebook", and "Nike".

That’s where the fun stops. You’re able to find designers with prior experience at the brands you admire, but there is no indication of who in this group of people is available, or what their working rate is. For the most part, specifics about projects they worked on at a given company are thin. And there’s no way to know for sure that people have done what they say they’ve done.

And there are still more obstacles to overcome:

  • You want to know what they contributed to each project they’ve listed, but there’s no way to get that from most portfolios. 

  • You want to see their actual work, but to view their portfolio, you have to visit the creative’s website (and more candidates than you’d expect don’t even list a link to their website, forcing you to Google their names to try to find it). 

  • When you do find a candidate you’re interested in, you have to send them a message to see if they’re available to take on the project. 

  • You have no idea if they’re in your price range without messaging back and forth.

All said and done, it can take weeks — if not months — to find someone of a high enough caliber. And that’s assuming you don’t get frustrated and settle for whomever is actually available.

As you can probably tell by now, we know from experience how frustrating it is to find creative talent on LinkedIn. That’s why we built a curated community of top creative talent on Working Not Working. We tried to address some of the search difficulties as well — see for yourself in the section below.


In the Long Tail: Find Creative Talent on Working Not Working

Let’s say you’re the same marketing director for a storage startup from the example above, but this time, you’re searching for a full-time motion designer. They’re less ubiquitous than graphic designers, and picking the right one will have a significant impact on your project.

Out of the gate, Working Not Working has a critical advantage — a curated community of top talent in every creative field. So when you search for “motion designers” and start filtering down from the 2,000+ motion designers on Working Not Working, you’re narrowing the pool from the best motion designers to the best motion designers based on your preferences.

Working Not Working: It's far easier to find creative talent when you can see their availability, location, companies worked for, 'vetted' status, and more.

If you’re like most of us, you want someone who is either available now, or will be available soon. Using the filter bar (pictured above), you can select anyone who is currently available or about to be free.

Using the “Companies” filter, you can choose a few brands whose motion work you admire and think would be a good fit style-wise for your company. Anyone who pops up in the results will have worked for all of the brands you select. For the example, we chose HBO, Samsung, and Red Bull.

Using the "Companies" filter in Working Not Working allows you to find someone matching specific criteria of previous clients/brands that they've already done work for.

If you apply that filter, there is a single motion designer on Working Not Working that is a direct match to all your specifications. He’s available now, has been vouched for by respected creatives in his field (“Vetted” status), and has done work for not just one, but all three of the companies whose work you admire.

After browsing through his work samples and portfolio (which we think he has displayed beautifully) and viewing the details about projects he has worked on, you may have just found your motion designer.

But if you go back and broaden your search, it’s easy to find some other strong candidates, too. If you go back to the “Companies” search filter and deselect Red Bull and HBO, you’ll get updated results showing 70+ creatives to choose from. 

Thanks to the Working Not Working search filters, you can easily find several Creatives for any type of project.

We try to make key information available at a glance. So when you check out each profile, you can quickly find their:

  • Rate

  • Work History

  • Industries

  • Mediums

  • Work Samples 

  • Link to Portfolio.

After browsing for less than an hour through work samples and portfolios, you can send direct messages to your top choices to request meetings. 

In other words, with only three out of the deep suite of search filters (“Title,” “Companies,” and “Status”) used, you could find promising leads for your media project with minimal effort and time. 


The Top Reason Savvy Creative Recruiters Use Working Not Working: Talent Curation

We built quality and curation into the Working Not Working culture from the very beginning. The platform was invite only up until about three years ago. And when we opened up our platform globally so anyone could make a profile, we created a member-based vetting system to sustain curation as we grow. 

How does it work? We have a membership board made up of the most experienced, credible members in our community, and they review each and every profile that is submitted for vetting. Only about 15% of all candidates receive “vetted” status (indicated in user profiles). They’re the best of the best, so searching for them gives you an instant head start on finding the highest quality creatives.

So if you’re looking for an easier, more efficient way to identify and evaluate candidates for your projects and open positions, maybe it’s time to come join us out on the long tail.

We believe our extensive search filters, creatives’ profiles, and the cultural expectation of transparency about project roles makes hiring creatives with us far more enjoyable (and faster!) than hiring on LinkedIn.


Are you looking for top-notch creative talent to join your team or elevate your next project? Get access to the 70,000 creatives on Working Working today.