Questions to ask a graphic designer in a job interview
A few years back, we hired a Visual Marketer, someone who crossed over from design to marketing and brought the two disciplines together. This was an enormous success but that is not always the case. Recruiting and hiring graphic designers and other creatives has it own set of challenges. They are very different from marketers and quite often you can see this in their portfolio. When someone sends a portfolio that is too creative or often too dark, we know that they haven't thought too much about the business we work in and the types of designs that work best in our business.
Creatives also need to fit into the culture of an organisation. This isn't too hard in a marketing agency, but when bigger corporations hire graphic designers, they often are disappointed that they are not as outgoing and integrated into the culture as they would have hoped.
Here are 10 interview questions to ask a graphic designer in a job interview:
1. What are you passionate about?Every person has a passion and if they don't, then they often lack purpose. Graphic designers are often passionate about art or something creative and it shows in what they do in their free time. Why this a good question in a job interview is due to the fact that someone who is passionate about their field of work and has purpose is more likely to succeed.
2. What work environment do you flourish in?Most graphic designers are freelancers these days, unable to get a full-time gig. They often work two or three different jobs just to make ends meet. Due to the various platforms like 99Designs.com and Freelancer.com, many graphic designers have made a healthy income just by sitting at home on their Mac. The problem is that you most probably need them in the office and would like them to play an important part in your culture. It is very important to find out upfront if your company environment is one that will bring out the best in the graphic designer you are about to employ.
3. What are your career dreams?This is very important to know because the job you are offering needs to be able to take them where they want to go. Quite often graphic designers are seeking just a short-term fix to their money woes, and any job will do. Their dreams might be to own their own studio or a cafe. Whatever they are, you need to be able to ascertain whether or not the job you have available will help them get there.
4. What is your most successful piece of creative work? What made it successful?It's important to not only be successful but know what success looks like. When you know what success looks like then you typically want it again, so you will continue to strive to achieve that level of success or more in your next opportunity.
5. What will keep you in this role and not looking around for another?This is a great question and can be quite confronting, but graphic designers are renowned for having freelance projects on the side and once they have stashed a few extra dollars, are quite quick to move on. Find out upfront what you need to do to keep them interested in their role and the company.
6. What social media platforms do you use?If a graphic designer today is not on Pinterest and Instagram, they are not across what is relevant and what is not. In the role of graphic designer, you need someone who is interested in the field and the work they will be doing. They need to be exposed to what others are doing to use that inspiration in their own work.
7. Have you ever worked directly with clients?It's important in a marketing consulting firm such as Marketing Eye, to have worked with clients. Clients give positive and negative feedback and it's how people handle this feedback that counts. They also need to know how to navigate the various requirements of clients and manage the process of a client going off-track or off-brand.
8. What is your understanding of brand?This is a tricky one as many marketers, let alone graphic designers do not know how to answer this one. In a marketing agency it is important that a graphic designer is well-versed on brand, brand story, brand identity and brand values.
9. What industry blogs/portfolios/websites do you frequent?If a graphic designer doesn't have a list of favourite websites that they read, check out or live on - then there a problem. This graphic designer is sitting under a rock. If they are not interested in their job, they won't be good at it.
10. How can we make you successful and happy?I always find that if you are focused on making your employee happy and they in return have your back, then it's a nice place to work. As an employer, I know how important it is to help young people realise their dreams and be successful by their own definition. We all only live once, so it is important to make the most of it. Happiness is closely tied into people achieving their personal and professional goals.
Of course there are questions during a job interview about deadlines, technical skills, ability to communicate effectively what you have designed and why it is the best solution for the company you are presenting it to. However, during the recruitment phase, it is also critical to understand the person and build-out a program in which you can help your new recruit achieve their goals and at the same time, achieve that of the company's.