February 18, 2022

10 Tips on Hiring Designers

hiring designers

When recruiting and hiring designers, what do you consider? Learn how to hire a designer, what skills to look out for, how to make a good offer, and how to onboard them.

One of the key tasks in many companies is transforming the products, messages, and mantras into the appropriate visual language that speaks to the audience. This job is always delegated to the designer which means that having a superb one can make a huge difference in a company’s dynamics.

Because of the crucial role they play, you must have someone who has the right skills to meet your design needs and also the talent to provide aesthetics that interest the audience. But hiring designers who have these capabilities can be challenging.

Read along to get the best tips in hiring graphic designers that will be perfect for your team.  

Is it time to hire your first designer?

The approach in hiring designers must be guided by a couple of things, like your needs, budget, and the designer’s specialization, among many other considerations. It would help if you can answer the following questions first:

  • Do you have inconsistent marketing materials?
  • Are your graphics outdated?
  • Do you believe that professional graphics are important for your business?
  • Are you equipped with the tools needed to create professional-looking graphics?

Even a single “yes” answer to any of the above questions means that you seriously need to consider hiring a designer.

The first sign that you need a designer is when you struggle to build coherent and engaging imagery in your marketing materials. A designer will be a huge help in creating appealing graphics that convey a specific message that your company wishes to deliver to the audience.

Outdated graphics is also one of the many reasons why companies take designers seriously. It can mean that your company is unable to keep up with the evolving standards of the audience. Original and updated design from a talented designer would not only entice the audience but will also set you apart from the competition.

A bad image, on the other hand, can only mean bad business. If you want to succeed in the industry that you are in, you have to acknowledge that poorly-designed imagery can offend people, especially the target customers.

Finally, graphic design is not something that you can take the DIY route with unless you are a qualified graphic designer. Some think that it is enough to use smartphone apps or worse, word processing programs, to create their visuals. It will not only produce cheap-looking output but will also tarnish your reputation in the industry for not having the right tools to promote a supposedly legit business.

As you can imagine by now, there is really a huge gap that badly needs to be immediately filled when you are missing a designer in your team.

Now, that you’ve sorted out why hiring designers is important, the next question would be is

How do I find my first designer?

Most of the designer’s work is presented to the customers so it will bring a huge impact on their perceptions toward the brand. Once you have decided to hire graphic designers on your team, you have to make sure that you make the best hire possible, particularly on your first hire.

There are many graphic designers but you might need only one or two on your team. It is necessary to pick the ones who march with your company’s goals so that your message will be best conveyed to the audience.

Here are tips on how to hire designers that will be a gem to your company:

1. Realize that there are Different Types of Designers

A graphic designer is not a one size fits all person. You need to identify what type of designer you need for your company.

Would you require illustrations or do you need help with your typography? Is someone who specializes in web design important or do you need one that is also superb with social media content? Designers are creative but they also have their area of specialization. Understanding which skillsets you currently need will narrow the field significantly since you will be dealing with many applicants.

The rule of thumb is to consider the type of designer that has the exact skills that you need to help you realize your objectives.

2. Figure Out Your Design Needs

How many designers do you need to hire?

It is essential that you know the project specifics so that you will be able to identify how many designers you will need to work on it. This is important if you are working within a specific design budget. If you think that one designer can’t possibly do all the tasks for the project within a specified timeline, then hiring an agency is a viable option. This is actually a cost-efficient solution since you are going to pay less than what you would pay a single designer who works by the hour.

You must also consider how many times you will need a designer.  Will a designer still be necessary once your website is up or when a campaign is done? If not, then a freelancer who can be on an on-call basis will be much smarter since you will only pay for services that you’d require. Of course, you also need to consider your company’s growth. You might need to hire for a permanent position if you are going to need a designer in every marketing campaign. Especially now that social media marketing is in demand, a talented designer who is brilliant with illustrations will be your edge over other brands.

3. Formulate a Clear Job Description

Who is qualified for the job?

A thoughtful job description is key to finding the best graphic designer for your company. It should summarize all the roles that a designer must play to keep up with your team goals. A job description must show in full detail the duties and responsibilities that are expected from the designer. It must also list down the required and preferred skills and capabilities for the position. Consider it as a set of information that is necessary to classify the position.

Upon writing a graphic designer job description, you have to tailor it according to your needs. It should accurately reflect a realistic picture of the tasks that are needed to be done. For example, you must specify that the designer has to conceptualize visuals based on the requirements that you put up.

By clarifying the responsibilities, you can expect to have the best results that you can later on evaluate.

4. Source Out the Job on Designers Communities or Outsourcing Websites

Where to find the most qualified designer?

There are many recruiting strategies that you can do to find the right designer who is fit for your business. One of the most effective ways to do it is by searching from designer communities and outsourcing websites.

Many designers who are looking for jobs advertise themselves online. Designer communities are great because it is where they can also show examples of their work. You can check out their outputs right there and then see if they fit the criteria that you are after.

Outsourcing websites, on the other hand, is a good option if you are looking for freelancers. Upwork and Guru are some examples of these sites that are popular with graphic designers because posting a job there is free. These sites also have skill testing and other evaluations concerning the job postings. It is guaranteed that you will find one that can help your team as a full-time graphic designer or if you only need help with a one-time project. Either way, you are assured that you can rely on these sites to find amazing candidates for the job. 

5. Set a Competitive Salary/Compensation

A great designer deserves and will expect reasonable compensation. You need to be mindful of your budget since the salary range of designers varies a lot. Before posting a job, consider checking how much it would cost you to hire a full-time or a freelancer in your location. The average salaries for designers in the United States, for example, earn an average of $51,719 per year or $19.17 per hour. (https://www.indeed.com/career/graphic-designer/salaries) But, of course, this also changes depending on the specific kind of designer. UX designers can earn more up to $85,000 and graphic designers can get as much as $53,000.

You have to research carefully about how much you should pay your designer because it is your responsibility as the employer to pay for the hours that are put in for work. A good quality design is an asset for your business but it comes with a price. 

6. Set Up Job Interviews

What questions should be asked to candidates?

Interviews are very essential in the hiring process because they can help you identify which candidates are better suited for the job. It also allows you to see what type of designer they are. When you interview designers, it will be a good time to observe how they communicate with other people. Communication is fundamental in any team and it would largely affect achieving goals. It would be a huge disaster if you hire someone who finds it difficult to work with other people.

You may also discuss a variety of topics related to qualities of a good designer, like knowledge of current design trends and techniques, individual creative thought processes, prioritizing tasks, and others.

There are no roles in conducting interviews but the ultimate goal should be is that you should be able to see whether the candidate is capable or not for the job and if you can potentially see the designer as someone who can contribute to the company’s success.

7. Consider Smaller Projects as Paid Trial

One way to assess the capabilities of those aspiring for a job is by asking them to do sample work, preferably something that you can also use later on. It is unlike looking at portfolios where the designer has already prepared designs to showcase possible employers. Ask them if they are willing to take on a small project so you will have an idea of what they are capable of. You need to pay them accordingly, though, as it will be unfair for them to spend their time working on a design for free. You can decide afterward if the candidate has what it takes to help the company for the better.

8. Hire Slow, Fire Fast

While it can be convenient to have someone to help during deadlines, you need to consider looking at the bigger picture and see how your decision can affect the business as a whole. There are many good designers but only those that best match your company can be of use in the long run. Spend time to discover which candidate can convey the company message better and can communicate well with the team.

On the same note, you should not hesitate to fire a designer if he cannot live up to the job description or if with an attitude that negatively impacts the team. It is only with proper skills and excellent dynamics between team members that will make everyone effective at what they do.

9. Make an Offer to the Most Qualified Candidate

Upon finishing all the interviews and tests to their capabilities, you need to decide who among them the one for your company is. You may be stuck between two or three qualified candidates. One way to decide is to consider which candidate is more in line with what you want or the company’s ideals. After choosing the most promising candidate, be straightforward and make an offer. Writing a job offer letter is the most logical thing to do as it is formal and will give a good impression as an employer. It also formalizes everything that was discussed during the hiring process. Both parties will then be confident to move forward and start working towards the same goals.  

10. Onboarding the New Hire

Once your preferred candidate accepts the job offer, the next step is to onboard the new hire into your company.

Getting off to a smooth start will ensure that the new hire will ease into the team positively. You can help by giving an orientation about how everything goes in your organization. This may include some administrative matters, like payroll and benefits. You can also introduce him to the rest of the design team or other people in the company. It is also important to help the new designer set up his own creative space to ensure that he will be comfortable working in the new environment.

Taking into consideration those who are going to work remotely, the same onboarding process can also be done virtually. You can set up an online meeting with all the relevant team and company people or have a virtual orientation.

Top 5 Websites to Hire The Designers You Need

There are simply too many designers in the world and with the work from home setup being considered as the new normal, it is possible to hire only the best in the industry, no matter which continent he or she may be. For this reason, having a clear idea of where to look for designers that will join your team is an advantage.

Here are the top websites where you can look for designers that will fill the spot:

1. 99designs.com 

Perhaps the easiest way to see how capable applicants are is by asking them to submit their best designs. 99designs allow recruiters to hold design contests and hire on the spot based on the submitted entries.

2.  Dribble 

If you prefer a portfolio style, then Dribble is the best place to search for and evaluate highly-talented designers.

3. Upwork 

As one of the most popular online freelance marketplace, Upwork provides access to thousands of qualified designers all over. The massive number of freelancers on this site allows you to choose according to your preferences and a set budget.

4.  Behance 

This network has over 5 million creative members. You can post job offers on the job board or check out profiles based on creative fields, specializations, schools, and other keywords.

5. Designjobsboard 

This website is designed to connect designers who are looking for jobs to people who are in need of the best designers.

The main challenge of hiring designers is that those who are the best at what they do are already employed. This means that the real struggle is finding a new talent who has the skills and the potential to grow in and with your company.

The perfectly qualified candidates are hard to come by but having a large pool of candidates will make it easier to find someone that is a good fit for your company.

Final thoughts...

Hiring the wrong designer can potentially hurt your business in the sense that customers may be put off by the unappealing look and feel of your brand’s marketing materials. It is like damaging your brand’s credibility on purpose. You can avoid this mistake by ensuring that you take hiring designers on your team as a serious responsibility.

As was discussed earlier, a designer who has the talent, skills, and tools is not enough. You need to hire someone who understands the fundamental design principles and who has values that align with your company’s.

Hiring people to join your company can bring you hundreds of resumes. It is essential that you put in place a proper hiring process to separate qualified candidates from those who aren’t equipped with the necessary skills to be successful in the job.

Do not rush in hiring designers. Take your sweet time to check their skills, discover their talents, and see whether that designer is a perfect match with your team.

What must be considered when recruiting and hiring designers? Source and attract possible designers and onboard the top candidate for your team.