8 Staffing Agencies That Love Creatives

As you well know, I’ve been struggling lately with how, exactly, to find the perfect balance between my freelance work and more regular income sources. The state of the economy hasn’t been helping, and so I’ve been considering other options, including the utilization of staffing agencies.

My previous experiences with staffing agencies were as a college student, looking for temp work during my breaks. I worked with one temp agency down in Central New Jersey, which was able to find me fairly regular work within the nonprofit sector. The other agency — much closer to where I’m living now — didn’t often have much to offer. Which is why I hadn’t seriously considered such avenues when the New York Sun first folded.

Now, having come closest to paying work with the help of two such agencies, I’ve been forced to reconsider their effectiveness.

After the jump, eight staffing agencies that specialize in the creative industries:

1. Adecco:

Adecco is a global staffing agency with “7,000 offices in 60 countries.” While they work within a number of industries, one of the categories one can search in is Creative. You can also sign up to receive job notifications and access articles, career advice, and more. Plus, you can apparently build your network by joining their Facebook group.

2. Aquent:

Aquent is an agency I’ve been working with recently. They’ve called me several times in an effort to pinpoint what I want, how much I want, etc. and, thus far, I’ve felt as if I’m in good hands. It’s too soon to report on how effective this partnership will eventually be, so I’ll just mention that they’re a talent agency working primarily with designers and marketers. They do, however, dabble in other creative areas.

3. Artisan:

Artisan represents “the best of the best creative, marketing, and production talent in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.” You can search jobs through their site, and also register via a form that allows you to express yourself in a number of essay-style responses.

4. Atrium:

Atrium is a women-owned staffing agency operating primarily within New York, New Jersey, and Boston (my three favorite places!). A lot of the jobs up on the site seem to be office support-related, but they are also involved in the creative arena.

5. Career Blazers:

Career Blazers has locations in New York, New Jersey, D.C., and Rockville, MD. As far as creative positions go, it looks like graphics is it (::sob::).

6. The Creative Group:

The Career Group is geared toward marketing and advertising professionals. In addition to helping you find projects, they also provide a benefits package, even if you’re not working a full-time gig. One can also put up a portfolio on the agency’s site, and sign up for group’s e-zine. Color me impressed.

7. The Hired Guns:

The Hired Guns is another agency I started working with recently. A friend/colleague of mine got a sweet job through them, and I also recently got interviews for two editorial gigs. Sign up on the site and then receive targeted e-mails with the newest job opportunities.

8. Lynne Palmer:

Lynne Palmer places professionals within book publishing, magazine publishing, new media, and more. A quick perusal of the available positions on the site is encouraging. You can also register with the agency by sending a cover letter and resume in via e-mail.

Anyone here have any experience with these agencies, positive or negative? Anyone awesome that I’m missing? Weigh in with a comment!

Related: How to Make it Big While Working for Free


  1. Steph, I had some creative staffing firms to share with you, but then I realized they don’t do business in your area (for instance, Digital People, Hollister, and Professional Staffing Group). I’ll have to look into Atrium Staffing, since they have a Boston office. I’ve met with people at several creative staffing firms, but so far nothing has been the right fit. You should set up a profile on CreativeHotList.com. It skews towards web designers and the like, but I’ve gotten headhunted by a few staffing firms through CHL.

  2. Hi Steph –

    Thanks for the nice mention! Lots of freelance professionals work through staffing firms like Aquent – and we even offer benefits like medical, dental and vision insurance, paid holidays, 401k, etc.

    Things are slow right now in the creative field everywhere in the country, understandably so since creative is often tied with marketing and advertising, both areas that get put on hold during a recession. But we’re confident that after the new year things will be hopping again!


    Judi Wunderlich
    Director – Strategic Initiatives
    A Q U E N T
    500 W. Madison St., Suite 2600
    Chicago, IL 60661
    Main Phone: 312-869-3000
    Direct Line: 312-869-3004

    Join me on:
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/judiwunderlich
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Judi_Wunderlich/833415084
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/JudiWunderlich
    Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-Interactive-Design-Development
    Chicago New Media Summit: http://chicagonewmediasummit.ning.com/profile­/JudiWunderlich

    Refer a candidate to Aquent and get more than a “thank you.”
    Visit http://www.aquent.com/referralprogram to learn more.

  3. Hi Steph,

    Thank you for mentioning Artisan on your blog. I like the posts you’ve contributed to Modern Materialist! I’m proud to have our agency referenced among this list of agencies you mention. You’re a great writer and as a writer myself, I think it’s awesome that you’ve “survived” a year freelancing 🙂 If you are ever looking for additional representation, I’d love to work with you! Despite the “slow” economy, I’m proud to say that Artisan is doing great and now is a wonderful time for freelancers to start getting affiliated with agencies, preparing and updating their portfolios, and getting relationships established. I do hope to hear from you!
    Sharon Potsch
    Talent Representative, Artisan

  4. Hello there Sharon! Thank you for the kind words. I’d love to see some of what you’re working on yourself when you’re not helping the rest of us find jobs. 🙂

    Funnily enough, I just received an e-mail from one of your associates just last night, and may be coming in at some point this week to discuss open positions. I’d love to meet you as well if you’re around and available.

  5. Hi Steph,

    Oh great! I’m so glad that you’re coming in to get registered with us. In addition to writing Artisan’s marketing collateral (brochure copy and website copy), I am also our blog director so I write many of Artisan’s blog posts, etc., it’s a great creative outlet for me. Outside of work, I am a contributing writer to a car club publication called “Roundel” (I know, it’s my goofy fascination with BMWs), and I’m working on a book for new mothers as I’m the proud mother of an 11-month old daughter. So, I keep very busy writing 🙂 I’ll stop and say hi when you come in to see us!

  6. @Sharon: You keep very busy in general!

    Looks like I’ll be seeing you tomorrow! Until then…

  7. I worked with Aquent for three years. They have good benefits, for a creative agency, and I was treated well. I would work with them again.

  8. Interesting article. Does anyone know any agencies that use remote workers? I’m based in the UK but experienced dealing with UK and US English and have a client base over the two countries. Is there a call for people like me within agencies? Thanks for any input you might have!

  9. Hey there Liz – From what I’ve seen, most agencies use a mix of on-site and remote workers (though most of the gigs Artisan has contacted me for were on-site). Have you considered becoming a virtual assistant? I know that some of the VA sites out there are looking for people who can do copywriting and the like.

  10. Great list Steph! I’d also do a quick internet search to check agencies local to the area. In Hawaii, where I’m at, contacting people via phone versus email seems to be better.

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