Recruiting creative talent. Get it right, and it’s like oxygen to your sales. This guide shows how to get it right and benefit from the most fantastic creatives.
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The Definitive Guide to Recruiting Creative Talent

Hire Creatives with These Executable Tips

You need a creative hire. A designer, writer, artist, etc. An employee who will help you develop your brand and sell your services, doing creative work that you have never mastered. But something is holding you back. You find the idea of hiring creative talent more than a little daunting. You won’t find them in your usual networks. They speak a different language. How do you critique their work when it’s not in your sphere of expertise?

7 Tips for hiring creative talent

Whether you need a copywriter to develop marketing material, a content writer to make your website pop, or a designer to create eye-catching websites (plus a host of other needs), hiring the wrong person could be disastrous and costly. 

When you hire the right people, each hire is like oxygen to your team’s creativity. These 7 tips will help you hire the creative you need

1. Understand creatives

When you’re hiring creative people, you must understand the work they will be doing. No one expects you to be an expert in their field of focus, but you should understand their language and the challenges they must overcome. A great way to achieve this level of understanding is to attend workshops or webinars or take a short course. It’s also crucial to have creatives involved in the hiring process. They will understand the language used by your candidates – and you’ll find that creatives respect creatives.

2. Understand the connection between creativity and critical thinking

As well as being creative, your hires should also be problem solvers. They’ll need to be able to analyze problems to find solutions. You’ll discover this during the hiring process via:

  • Effective review of resumes
  • Phone screening
  • Requesting work samples
  • Interview

I discuss how to do this in my eBook, ‘4 Foolproof Steps to Make Your Hiring Process More Successful’.

3. Put your candidates first

This is where many hiring managers make their biggest mistake. They make the recruiting process all about them and little about the candidate. Don’t forget that the candidate is sizing you up, too. 

Your hiring process must be rigorous and designed to ensure you hire the best candidate. The one who is going to bring real benefit to your business. However, you must sell yourself and your company to the candidate. If you don’t, they will never accept an offer.

In my experience, I’ve found that creative people desire challenge and growth above all else. They want to see other creatives thriving and doing great work.  They’ll want to know that you want the same and that you help your team achieve its potential by keeping up to date with trends and technology.

4. Your Job Post – Get Specific

When hiring creative talent, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is advertising with a run-of-the-mill, generic job post. Your job post must be specific, targeting the person you want to hire.

When you write the job description, think about all the daily tasks and responsibilities of the role. Then think about the creative side of the job. Write all this down before using this opportunity to sell your company and the job.

To avoid time wasters, I recommend that you sell and unsell in the job post:

  • Tell why your company is great to work for, and then detail the biggest challenges. This will screen out those who don’t have the creative juice to overcome those challenges.
  • Describe the huge emotional payback of the role, then detail the required and nice-to-have skills. This will screen out those who aren’t qualified for the job.

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No matter whether your hire works in your workplace or remotely, it’s important that they fit in with your culture. Remember, you are building a team.

Your first real opportunity to assess this is the phone screen that I recommend you conduct as part of the second step of the four foolproof steps to hiring an employee. Again, I’ve developed a great resource to help you – the phone screening script.

You should also test a candidate’s personality by asking them to take an online personality test – this will help you discover areas to explore when you interview them.

When it comes to the interview, follow an interview guide to ensure you treat all candidates equally and resist the temptation to make a ‘gut instinct’ hire. Make sure that you ask out-of-the-box interview questions – these are the ones that will help you assess cultural fit.

6. Discuss the role in depth

In the interview, make sure that you discuss the role in depth. Refer to your job description when doing this, and be sure to delineate between the tasks that must be done and the opportunities to be creative.

Creative people understand that there will be ‘mundane’ tasks to do as part of their job, but they won’t want their day overloaded with them. You’re hiring them for their creative thinking and innovative capacity. 

You’ll find that creative spark hits haphazardly, so be prepared for candidates who want more flexibility in their day rather than a rigidly structured timetable.

When interviewing a candidate, discuss the creative aspects of the role and the type of project that they will be working on. Talk about the opportunity to be creative in the way they do things, to be innovative in the processes they use, and the opportunity they will have to build things better.

Look for the spark. The way their eyes light up when discussing creative capacity. Listen to their voice, their intonation, and their excitement. Do they share ideas? Do they become enthusiastic? Does the interview move from question and answer to a passionate conversation? These are the kind of signs you should be watching for when hiring creatives.

7. In-depth portfolio review

It’s essential that you review the candidate’s portfolio, but it is not only the work they have produced that is important. You must look beyond an attractive-looking piece of work. You need to know how they develop their ideas and then put these on paper.

Ask questions that will help you understand their unique work process. As you review the projects they have produced, learn how closely they worked with their client, boss, and team. Learn about the resources they will need to support their work and how much input they will need to do the work you wish of them.

Expect lots of questions, too. Creatives want to be challenged and work on projects that they find exciting. You’ll need to be honest about the work they will be doing and ensure that you are open about your portfolio, too!

Recruiting creative talent – daunting doesn’t have to be difficult

The seven tips I’ve discussed in this article will help you be the business that creative people want to join and ensure that your hiring process delivers the best of these.

Without a rigorous and engaging hiring process, you can never be sure of the candidate you hire. It takes a lot of effort and time to hire people for creative jobs (an average of 27 working days, according to this survey by Workable).

If you try to go too fast when hiring, you risk inadequate screening and bad hires. My foolproof hiring process works in four steps:

  • Preparing the details of the job role
  • Creating the application process
  • Conducting the interview
  • Making the final decision to hire

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