Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Graphic Designer For Your Staff

Some time ago when I was just starting as a graphic design manager, I needed to hire a good graphic design assistant. So, I placed an ad, and quickly got about 50 resumes the first week. That's when the problems began.

  1. Where your place your ad matters.

    When the first pool of resumes arrived, I wasn't getting what I expected. I later realized that the HR folks had put the ad under the heading of desktop publisher. I quickly had them place it under the heading of graphic designer, and the pool quickly improved.
  2. Asking for specific skill sets in your ad is not enough. Describe the type of work you expect to see.

    After adjusting where the ad appeared another problem arose when I started getting resumes with skill levels that were not what I expected. Although I asked for specific level's of experience, I didn't get the kind of experience I wanted. Many people had the education levels and graphic design experience I'd asked for. But when I interviewed them I realized that their work was not very professional looking.

    I learned that specific skill sets, education levels, and experience are just not enough. I needed to express my expectations more clearly in the type of experience that mattered to me.
  3. Look for character in interviews, not just their portfolios.

    Quite honestly, since that was the first time I ever tried to hire someone, I had no clue what to ask for in an interview, other than seeing their portfolio. I created a set of similar questions for every applicant, which was tedious. (But I recommend is worth the effort.) The only thing I had missing were questions that revealed aspects about a person's character. It wasn't until I hired someone that I understood the importance of that.

    The person showed up to work late, didn't want to do what I asked of them, and eventually didn't show up to work at all one day. They said they were not feeling like it. So, I had to go through the terrible process of firing them. But, I learned a valuable lesson the next time I went through the process. I asked questions of character. And I got a great assistant in return.

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