EPISODE #6 || Rafi Kugler, Director of Recruiting at barrettSF


Rafi Kugler has spent the last eight years recruiting at amazing shops like Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Pereira & O'Dell, and now barrettSF as its Director of Recruiting. He shares some inspiring ways to think about your career, as well as super practical advice on applying for a job—all from the perspective of someone who looks at talent every day.

Heads up: Last week's Minisode didn't release due to some extreme jet lag after getting back from Singapore. Look out for it this Friday!

Topics Discussed

  • Why the role you start out in may not be the one you end up in, thanks to the industry’s willingness to let you try different things.
  • Finding agencies where you can make your mark.
  • Answers to the most frequently asked questions about applying for a job, including cover letters, resumes, and cold emails.
  • Why connecting with a human is much more effective than applying to a job through the general careers email.
  • Rethinking the mentality of doing anything to get your foot in the door.
  • Talent, work ethic, experience, and culture fit—ranked. 

Mic Drops

“This is a creative industry. I think you can be creative or different in almost everything you do. From your subject in an email line, to your resume, to what you might include on your site. The last thing you want to do is appear ordinary. Ordinary isn't interesting, and we want to hire interesting people. We want to be around interesting people, because that’s where the best ideas come from.” 

“Timing is everything. If you reach out to someone and you don’t hear back, don’t take it as a rejection of you weren’t good enough. Take it as a thought of, well, there’s a number of factors. Maybe they filled the position already. Maybe they’re just not hiring. Maybe they don’t have a need for someone like me right now. So you move on. But if you keep at it and you hustle, then sooner or later, the timing is going to work out. And you’re going to be right there at the right time.”

“If you can connect with a human, that’s the way you should push. Whether that’s connecting with somebody on LinkedIn, or often times you can figure out the agency email configuration. On a lot of agency websites, it’ll list a new business person, and then you know exactly how that email configuration goes. It’s doing a little detective work, but it’s all there. […] People apply cold to these sites and they think that somebody is really carefully sifting through emails and resumes that come in that way, and I can tell you first hand, I do my best to go through all of those emails. But I’ll be honest—I’m going to give a lot more weight to the people that connect with me, because they’ve done their digging, they’ve done their homework. ”

Resources Mentioned

Keep in Touch

About Rafi

Rafi began his career in advertising as an assistant media planner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. After 5 years working in media and a down economy, Rafi wanted to get closer to the creative work itself, and started over as a creative intern. From there an opportunity opened up to work with Jamie Barrett, who was a partner and Executive Creative Director at GS&P. Eventually, Jamie encouraged Rafi to try his talents at recruiting, and so he did. Rafi learned to recruit with multi-year runs at FCB, and Pereira & O’Dell.

When Jamie reached back out to Rafi to help him recruit and build for barrettSF, it was an exciting opportunity to get the band back together. Rafi creates strong relationships with students and alumni from schools such as VCU Brandcenter, Creative Circus, and Miami Ad school, Academy of Art among others. He loves representing barrettSF and has even gotten involved in the agency PR side of the business.

Beyond advertising, Rafi is a proud father of two, and tries to get out to play soccer and run whenever his life, or his wife, lets him.