Congratulations! You have grown your small business enough to hire a creative person for your design/artwork/marketing!The only problem: how do you hire the right person for the job? That can be tricky especially if you do not have experience with design – which is probably why you are hiring someone. One major questions to answer: are you hiring someone to do full-time work for your clients, or can you afford to hire a contractor for the time being?
This interview is going to take some research on your part, as well. Design tools have changed dramatically over the last two decades and especially over the last decade. A designer with Adobe Flash experience would have great even a couple years ago, but Adobe is end-lifing Flash, so that experience is no longer relevant. Adobe Illustrator, inDesign, Vivaldi, Sketch, and many more tools are now in use. Things are also changing all the time – so put in some time to figure out what tools are relevant to your industry before you hire someone with irrelevant experience.
Make sure that they have a good portfolio of designs, art, and relevant work that contains things you would want for your own company because they are going to be putting their skills to use for you. Their portfolio should contain complete story lines about the problem, their creative process, and the eventual solution as well as the results of their solution. Look for someone who is not afraid to admit that they made a mistake and who can tell you how they corrected that mistake.
You are going to be working with this person, it might be your first hire, it might be your 10th, either way you are going to have to be able to communicate with your designer. Furthermore, you are going to have to make sure that your designer can communicate with your clients. If they can’t communicate, then you are truly up a creek.
It’s true, experience is a huge help, but the type of experience a designer has can be massively important. Did they just come from a small firm or is their experience at a larger company? A smaller firm necessitates a bit more flexibility, a bit more non-design related creativity, and a certain moxie that working for a larger company or in a specific vertical doesn’t necessarily allow.