10 common mistakes made when hiring creative staff


Hiring any staff member can be a difficult process which always carries risk, especially when hiring for a position which demands creativity and artistry. Making mistakes when hiring such staff can not only be incredibly time consuming but also extremely expensive, so it’s important to get things right the first time around.

Most employers new to hiring creatives tend to make the same mistakes, with some smaller companies and those which don’t require a large number of creative personnel often making those same mistakes over and over. To help you learn the easy way, here is our list of 10 common mistakes made when hiring creative staff:

Failing to write a job description

It may seem strange to some of you but some companies fail to write a proper job description when hiring creative staff. You could say that not writing a proper job description for any role is a failure, but when seeking creative team members it really is crucial you do so.

For example, advertising that you are looking for a graphic designer is too vague to target the employee you really need. Graphic designers, like most design staff, are extremely unique and varied in their personality and approach to work, by giving a more detail job description and information on the role and company you are immediately cutting down the number of applications, while getting a higher percentage of better suited applicants.


Writing Effective Job Descriptions  &  Job descriptions templates

Hiring friends

shutterstock_202717402-WEBHiring friends can be a mistake for a number of reasons none more so than the fact it blurs the lines between professional and social relationships. Creative staff can often be a challenge to manage and an employer needs to work out when to be firm and when to be delicate with such staff, adding an existing relationship can make it a whole lot harder.

Even if you have a friend who you feel would be a good fit for the role continue to advertise the vacancy and go through the correct recruiting process, adding your friend to the short list but taking the above warning into consideration.


Trying to hire cheaply

radin-webIt’s not easy to work out the cost and value of creative staff, often it needs to be done on an individual basis and with some flexibility. Trying to hire cheaply or sticking to a rigid budget will hamper the recruitment process and often cause you to miss out on some candidates with strong creative skills.

Going into the hiring process with a more flexible budget will help you find the best possible employee by attracting a higher caliber of candidates. You don’t want to miss out on any unique talent that walks through your doors.


Placing experience over potential

Experience should always be high on your priority list when hiring quality staff, but while it should be an important factor when searching for creative staff it shouldn’t necessarily over shadow raw talent and potential.

Unlike most office and IT skills, creative talent can only be taught to a certain extent, and the best creative staff will bring with them a level of vision and an artistry which cannot be learned or even gained through experience.

Make sure to look beyond an applicant’s work experience and take into consideration the quality of their portfolio.


Ignoring personality and character

As we said earlier, creative staff can often be a little harder to manage and personality and character will play a big part in how they fit into your business. You may be impressed by a creative candidate’s artistic skills and talents but if they are not a team player or have poor communication skills then they may find it difficult to work with other staff and even disrupt an already successful team.

Try to use some scenario questions during the interview process and get a feel for your candidates’ personality and character, and most importantly, how well they will interact within a team of creative and non creative personnel.


100 Potential Interview Questions


Hiring like-minded staff

Many inexperienced employers tend to be attracted to creative staff who are similar to existing staff, being tempted by the potential for strong relationships rather than seeing the advantages of having different approaches and alternative vision.

We are not suggesting you should hire creative staff with radical ideas or approaches that contradict you own methods, instead you should aim to find those with different skills which would actually complement your current team and company.




Rushing the recruitment process

Rushing the recruitment process is a big ‘no no’ when hiring any kind of staff, even more so when looking to fill a position which requires creative talent. There are obvious reasons why not to rush your recruitment process and hiring someone who is a bad fit to the role will cost you a lot more time and money in the long run.

Creative talent can be a harder to find and often require a longer and more detailed filtering and interviewing process. If you are in desperate need for a creative staff member considering using a temp agency or hiring freelancer to fill the gap while you take your time with recruitment.


Failing to check references

shutterstock_178355114-WEBOne of the ways employers rush the recruitment process is by failing to make checks on references, and this is another mistake which could be costly. You don’t have to make a reference check on every candidate you interview but you should at least check references for your final short list, and never hire someone without doing a full reference check.

When checking references don’t just listen to what they say but also how they say it. If their tone lacks enthusiasm or seems generic you should question the validity of the reference and consider asking for further references.


Badly prepared and conducted interviews

Conducting an interview for a creative position can be another tricky one, and something which requires plenty of preparation. Spending too much time talking about your own company and over analyzing your candidate’s resume and education isn’t the best use of the interview.

Don’t spend too much time asking creative candidates generic interview questions or clarifying details in their resume, instead try to think outside the box and use situational questions.  Study their portfolio and ask them about the work they are most proud of and the challenges they faced. The key to a good interview for a creative position is to get a feel for their character and personality, how well they can communicate and interact within a team, and discover their passion and enthusiasm.


Hiring someone unnecessarily

One mistake many employers make is hiring someone in the first place. Do you really need a full time creative staff member when you could hire someone part time or on a freelance basis?

The beauty of using freelance creative staff is that it immediately cuts down the risk and speeds up the recruitment process. Even if you do prefer having a full time creative employee, why not start by hiring them on a freelance basis before offering them the position full time.