Hiring Creative Talent: Tips for Recruiting the Best Designers

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This is a guest post from Carl Alviani, who blogs over at Corfolot’s Creative Seeds — a blog for designers and HR professionals who hire creative people. Carl provides advice on creative recruiting and his blog often showcases work from job seekers who are looking for work through Coroflot’s job board.

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I’ve had the fortune of viewing the creative hiring process from several vantage points: as a young graduate from design school, as an interviewer in search of freelance help, and more recently as the Editorial Director for a large portfolio-hosting website called Coroflot.

Coroflot is the largest and longest-established platform for publicizing and hiring creative professionals, and our client list includes a wide range of companies. While many of these companies’ searches are being conducted by design directors with creative backgrounds themselves, the fastest growing segment of job posters come from organizations and HR professionals who are less familiar with the creative disciplines.

Human Resources professionals and Corporate Recruiters who are tasked with hiring creative professionals can find themselves faced with new responsibilities. Here is some advice and guidance to help you with this process.

  1. A resume is not enough. Most job-seeking professionals have resumes or CVs, and there are some pretty clear rules about what constitutes a good one. It’s nearly impossible, though, to learn about a creative professional’s suitability for your position based solely on a list of educational and employment history: outstanding art and design schools can turn out mediocre designers, and brilliant creatives emerge from unlikely backgrounds, to a far greater degree than in other fields. This is why experienced design professionals give an applicant’s portfolio far more attention than his or her resume. A portfolio, after all, is a designed document — sometimes obsessively so — and the quality of the document itself can offer useful clues into its creator’s abilities. Look for a diversity of work, clear explanations of each project’s goals and process, and a layout or interface that is both original and intuitive. If your company has a standardized application system, make sure it can handle more than just Word documents, or you’ll be missing out on the most pertinent information from your best candidates.
    2. Look at the whole picture, not just the finished product. There’s an art to portfolio review, and a big part of it is developing an eye for process. Beautiful final renderings or page layouts are good to see, of course, but it’s important to make sure it’s the right rendering or layout. A solid portfolio will tell a story with every project, from the initial requirements and concepts, to intermediate proposals, dead ends, and multiple rounds of refinement. You should get to the end of a review with some idea of what it would be like to work with the applicant –

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