menu

Jill Nussbaum: How To Hire The Best Design Talent

Jill Nussbaum: How To Hire The Best Design Talent
Advertising

Tried and true ways to woo, vet and inspire today's young creatives.

Jill Nussbaum, The Barbarian Group
  • 5 may 2013

As design becomes more important in nearly every industry, recruiting great designers is becoming increasingly tough. Establishing the process behind hiring and vetting candidates is critical.

Getting the right candidates in the door can be half the battle. Interviewers should not underestimate how time-consuming this process can be, particularly if the candidate is meeting multiple people within your organization. Every minute is valuable, and you don’t want to spend time with a candidate who doesn’t fit your company’s pace, culture and background.

So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Most designers have an online portfolio. If not, then ask for some work samples. If you’re not a designer yourself, a few easy ways to judge the work is by considering style, content and professional background. Look for examples of a visual style that’s similar to your brand or the brands that your work for. Experience in relevant subject matter or business sectors is also helpful. And don’t underestimate culture; it’s always important to consider where the candidate has worked previously. If you work at an agency, does the candidate have agency experience? Can he or she keep pace with the pace of a startup?

Once your candidate has been vetted, they should be met with at least three times before making an offer. The first interview should be focused on simply getting to know each other. Spend time looking at the candidate’s portfolio or resume, and ask them about their process to gain insight into how they approach work (and how well they will work with you). The interview process is not unlike dating, so also be prepared to answer questions about yourself and your organization — details on the role, a typical day, company structure, where you see the industry going. In highly competitive markets, your candidate will be interviewing you as well.

The second interview is an opportunity to dig deeper into a certain aspects of the candidates work, process, and problem-solving abilities. Many interviewers ask candidates to complete a creative or design exercise. Often the candidate will be tasked with solving an imaginary problem similar to a typical client request. This can be a good way to judge aptitude, especially if the candidate doesn’t have much experience in the area in which you are hiring.

Looking for a creative problem-solver? Issue a meaty design challenge like rethinking online education. Need a hot shit branding designer? Have them design a few posters for an imaginary product. Hoping to find a detail-oriented interface designer? Ask to see a redesign of a popular interface like iTunes. This also serves to weed out the casual candidates or those who are just fishing for a competitive offer.

The third interview is an opportunity to introduce your candidate to more of your colleagues. This helps to ensure that you and your co-workers, as well as the the candidate, feel they will be successful both professionally and socially at your organization.

If all goes well you will be at the offer stage, but your job isn’t done yet. There are often many reasons that an offer won’t be accepted. Your perfect candidate might receive a more lucrative opportunity, they may get cold feet, or they may have just been using your offer to negotiate a higher salary at their current gig. It is important to stay on top of the process to insure that the prospect you want gets placed.

If your desired candidate accepts, then email him or her immediately with your congratulations. On their first day, make them feel welcome and introduce them to as many people as you can. Spend some one-on-one time over lunch or coffee to catch up on any questions they may have and to provide any “insider” tips on where to find good takeout or who to ask for office supplies. Anything you can do to help make your new employee feel part of the team and company culture will help kickstart their success.

The most crucial element of successful hiring is to not simply trust your gut or make a decision based on other people’s recommendations. Much like the rest of your job, you’ve got to put the work in for it to work out.

Jill Nussbaum is Executive Director of Product and Interaction Design at creative agency The Barbarian Group. She works with TBG’s clients to develop long-term product strategies and experiences while overseeing the Interaction Design group.

Advertising
Trending

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Work
Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Today

Airport Mural Puts Passengers In The Clouds

The installation in an Amsterdam terminal lets travelers float through a series of billowing 3D digital shapes

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Automotive Today

DevBot Is An Intelligent, Driverless, Electric Car

The unmanned test vehicle from RoboRace is a preview of upcoming AI race models

Fitness / Sport Today

Turn Any Wearable Into A Mental Health Tracker

Cognition Kit is a software platform that lets people track and better understand their cognitive states

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Danah Boyd

Data, Advocacy, Privacy

Augmented / Virtual Reality Today

AR Ski Goggles Make Racing Down The Slopes Even More Immersive

Israeli startup RideOn weaves digital overlays into the thrill of skiing with an unconventional pair of protective eyewear

Advertising Today

Japan Wants To Make 2020 Olympic Medals From Recycled Electronic Waste

The Tokyo Games could showcase the first-ever gold, silver and bronze awards made from discarded phones and computers

Culture Today

This Small Town Has Become A Hide-and-Seek World Championship Destination

An old abandoned village in Northern Italy has become a massive playground for over one hundred competitive players

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 24, 2016

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs Today

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Design Today

Garmin’s New Smartwatch Is Challenging The Luxury Market

The brand adds a premium version of its popular multi-sport trainer to its accessories collection

Syndicated Yesterday

What Could The Highway Of The Future Look Like?

As technology for automated vehicles improves, there’s a sharper focus on building a ‘smarter’ infrastructure where they can thrive

Design Yesterday

Plastic Wind Trees Are Bringing Sustainable Power To Residential Homes

These French-made turbines are offering a small, aesthetically pleasing approach to affordable personal energy

Home Yesterday

Dyson’s Wi-Fi Connected Fan Purifies, Cools & Heats The Air

The new luxury home appliance aims to be an all-in-one device for the connected home

Education Yesterday

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Advertising Yesterday

Brewing Company Turns Car Emissions Into Ink

Tiger Beer has created a sustainable process to transform air pollution into supplies for street art

Design Yesterday

Space-Saving Sofa Has Extra Furniture Hidden Inside

Living in an apartment with limited space? This three-in-one bed transforms based on your needs

Culture Yesterday

Browser Extension Blocks Any Pages That Make You Unhappy

The software can detect your facial movements and prevent content that brings up negative emotions

No search results found.