A creative team, as we like to say, “makes magic and bring the ideas to life.” They are just as important as your salespeople, marketing strategists, etc.
If you have never gone through the process of hiring a designer or a developer for your team, you may ask yourself what should I look for when I am reviewing/interviewing these applicants?
Looking at Dribbble or other communities, the market is flooded with talent, but you need to make sure you find someone that understands your industry, can apply what they know how to do strategically, and is a good cultural fit.
With that being said, I talked with our creative team, as well as past and current Creative Directos, Tom DiScipio and Vin Gaeta, to find the qualities we all look for when hiring a designer or a developer.
Yes, they look great on paper, but now what? Take a step back and see if they will fit in with your company and its values.
Ask yourself: Does this person embody your core values? Is this person passionate about your company’s mission? Will this person work well with your team?
Someone can be immensely talented and have all of the qualifications you’re looking for, but if they don’t understand or agree with your company culture, it won’t be a strong partnership long-term. To get a better idea of how important culture is, check out IMPACT’s culture code below:
In inbound marketing, your goal is to attract visitors and get them to convert. If a potential hire doesn’t understand the concepts of user journey and user experience, it’s likely their work will reflect this and they won’t be able to help your clients and their organizations succeed.
3. Open to Coaching
Your potential designer and developer must be willing to be taught on how they can be doing better at what they are supposed to do.
No matter how talented you are, everyone has room to grow and hone their skills. If they aren’t willing to be coached by others than they likely aren’t going to be open to adapting to other changes or skills needed. .
4. Industry Trend Awareness
The world of web design and development is always changing. Your new creative should actively stay on top of these changes and be able to bring new trends / software and user experience to the table to help your company be competitive.
5. Ability to Adapt
Speaking of trends and industry developments, your designer/developer needs to be able to adapt quickly, whether it is in response to a new trend or company process.
Any reluctance could trip up the entire team’s transition.
6. Great Communication Skills
Communication is key. Not only is communicating with other creatives important, but so is with the team they will be working with as well with clients.
Your designer/developer needs to be able to talk about the work they did and justify it with logical reasoning -- not just say just because I thought it was cool.
They should also be able to practically discuss timelines, criticisms, and suggestions. If this quality isn’t there, you could risk your team not being happy, work not being completed, goals not being hit, etc.
Once your new creative is trained and understands the ins and outs of the company, they need to have the ability to take control and get things done on their own. They shouldn’t have to be told exactly what to do.
Here at IMPACT, we have the freedom to come up with processes, tools, etc to help the company become more efficient. For bigger ideas, we’re also encouraged to present to leadership and they come with open arms, working with us to see how we can implement within the company.
Being able to work independently builds trust and helps you know that work will get done on time and at the stand you expect, without your management team having to hover.
Design is a labor of love. Not only should your designer or developer have passion for their daily job but they should have passion to do stuff outside of work.
For designers, this might be nurturing hobbies like photography, painting, or illustration. For developers, this could be creating their own app, working on their personal website, and even learning a new language.
Whatever it is, these “extracurricular activities” show an enjoyment for their industry outside of the typical nine-to-five and is extremely valuable in potential hires.
9. Cross-Functional Knowledge
Regardless if their title is designer or developer, they should have knowledge of both fields as well as an understanding of marketing and conversion rate optimization. Having this knowledge will not only aid communication and collaboration, but it will help designers and developers participate in brainstorm meetings and give new perspective.
10. Craves Feedback and Criticism
The best designers thrive on knowing how their artwork can be better. They can “let go” of their pride with a specific design and modify for the betterment of the final product.
At IMPACT, clients almost always have opinions on our designs or visions for what they’d like to see. A skilled designer knows how to wield this kind of constructive criticism and take it into consideration without taking it personally.
11. Gets Revisions and Builds Upon Them to Make it Better
Going along with the above statement. Designers can take revisions back from clients and build upon their feedback and make it even better than what the client was expecting.
12. Can Demonstrate Function Over Form
Sometimes this comes very hard for designers, but being able to prioritize performance and messaging over beauty is a great quality. Sometimes the prettiest design isn’t the best performing. Being able to put personal feelings aside in these situations and do what is best for the client and their company is a must.
A good designer can create beautiful pieces of work but a great designer needs to be able to problem solve. Not only do they know the ins and outs of design and the latest trends but they are able to look at a site, spot issues, and solve them.
You should also be able to approach them with an issue (i.e. poor navigation, poor conversion, UX, etc.) and have them take steps in their design to solve them.
14. Constantly Looking for Efficiencies
A good developer looks for ways to help the company grow and reduce time or cost. This could be anything from templatizing code as needed or building internal tools to streamline processes like a new framework.
15. Excellent Interpretation
Last, but not least it is important for a developer to be able to look at a design and visualize exactly how that will look when in code, especially on mobile. They should be able to give feedback right away to the designer on if it is doable or not.
Can You Make an IMPACT?
So there you have it! While these 15 qualities made our list, there are likely dozens more than your organization will find essential, so use this as a jumping off point.
I hope this helps your narrow down your pipeline and get the ball rolling on finding the next great creative. (P.S. If you’re looking for a marketer, this article may come in handy.)
And remembering, if these qualities sound like you or a friend, check out one of our open positions. We’re currently looking for a great designer to join our team!
Think you can make an IMPACT? We’re Hiring!
We’re always looking for passionate, helpful, and dependable talent to join our team. Think you’d be a good fit?
Melissa is a Senior Web Developer at IMPACT and has been in love with everything computers since she could walk. She has been building websites for about 10 years and enjoys working with the internal creative team to help create unique web experiences for our clients. Outside of work you can find Melissa at the bowling alley, taking photos of her brother's baseball team, or watching/listening to any Pittsburgh sports.