Interviewing is tricky business. Interviewing creative candidates, such as designers and copywriters, now that’s an art form. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that judging a creative candidate by their portfolio alone is sufficient. Well, it isn’t.
Below we’ve outlined a handful of reasons why it is necessary to go beyond the book when interviewing creative candidates, as well as a few example interview questions that can help you dig deeper to ensure you are finding the perfect match.
Why go beyond the book?
- Without asking additional questions about a candidate’s portfolio, it can be impossible to tell what is truly their work vs. collaboration with a larger team. Many creative teams work cohesively, so the final product is often a combination of efforts.
- As important as quality work is, gaining insight into the candidate’s creative process is just as important.
- The candidate’s creative process can also give you insight into future opportunities for the individual. Do they present well? Imagine the candidate as a future art/creative director pitching clients… Now was that frightening or promising?
- When you ask pointed questions about a candidate’s portfolio, you will also be able to gather valuable insight into their personality and how they may react in your environment. Do they seem ego driven or more open to feedback?
- Because “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, meaning you are interviewing not just a designer, copywriter or marketer, but a human being! Not digging in and asking additional questions means you are missing out on some of the variables that make the greats, well, GREAT.
How can I do this?
Below are a few example interview questions that will allow you to dive deeper into a candidate’s potential:
What portion of this work did you complete and what was collaboration?
- Pay attention to how they answer this, as it will give you insight into how they talk about their team as well as their level of pride/ego in their work. Perhaps challenge them – if merited – with a compliment on the creative piece of work; do they eagerly accept all accolades as their own, or give credit where credit is due?
Walk me through your creative process here, A to Z.
- This is used to both see how self-aware (and detailed) they are, as well as how well they can describe processes.
What challenges did you encounter while working on this project/campaign?
- How do they talk about their team? Or the creative process within the organization? Do they speak directly to people, product or process challenges?
What technologies/programs did you use here and how did you use them?
- This is a seemingly basic question, but listening to how well they speak to the tools of their craft, as well as how much detail they go into, can be telling.
What project/campaign would you consider your greatest career accomplishment?
- This let’s you know a bit about their focus i.e. business, brand, conceptual, team focused, etc.
What do you like about OUR branding/content/marketing, and what would you change?
- This question puts the candidate on the spot a bit, which is why we love it! Listen to how they share their ideas, how they approach the brand and on a basic level how much research they have done!
How do you stay up to date on industry changes?
- This is again to see how passionate and serious they are about the industry, as well as how motivated they are to grow and evolve.
Now this is just a short list of questions to get you thinking outside of the book. What other questions do you ask when interviewing creative candidates?
Nick is a former Creative Circle Account Executive. His background is in recruiting, sales, PR and marketing.