The Unique Challenges of Hiring Creative Professionals

Everyone knows how tight today’s labor market is but those in the creative and marketing field know it’s even tighter when looking for design professionals. HR departments are getting leaner due to retirement and cost-cutting. Job boards are both a help and a hindrance. They cast a wide net and fill inboxes with candidates that aren’t the right fit, making more work for HR professionals who have to sift through hundreds of resumes. All of this increases time to fill and frustrates hiring managers who are using themselves and their team to pick up the slack. 

The cost of a bad hire also looms. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that hiring the wrong person can cost up to 30% of their salary. Consider the time and money that goes into the hiring process: recruiting and interviewing, onboarding, technology equipment, training, time taken away from management to complete training, time spent away from business tasks – and the time to find a new person to fill the role if it doesn’t work out. 

Why is it so hard to find the right creative and marketing professionals?

Like other highly specialized fields, the creative, marketing, and design space is a different landscape, visually driven and with its own language. Hiring a customer representative is one thing; hiring a creative director is another thing altogether. The candidate may need to show experience in a specific industry like fashion or consumer products. Someone who isn’t as familiar with these fields may look at a portfolio and think it’s good. But an experienced recruiter knows whether it has the qualities that the hiring manager wants. Staffing professionals who know this space can partner with internal HR and present talent that meets the expectations of the hiring managers the first time around.

Time is of the essence too. Turnover is high among creative and marketing employees and they are frequently approached by headhunters.

Partner with an experienced professional

Because the design job market is so difficult, consider partnering with an external recruiter who specializes in these types of positions. Here’s how these professionals can improve and speed up the process:

Help create a realistic and effective job description. If you don’t hire for this field often, writing a job description that will find the right candidate fast can be tricky. An external recruiter can help meld the hiring manager’s needs and expectations into a job posting that is realistic. Sometimes too much gets thrown into a job description (a.k.a. the purple squirrel). A partner that has real time knowledge of the design labor market can shape a reasonable job posting that speaks the right language and is more likely to find the right person.

Keep the pipeline full of vetted candidates. Staffing agencies that focus only on creative and marketing proactively recruit, creating a bench of candidates that they can reach out to when an opportunity arises. They know who has the experience and who is open to considering a new job. All of this can save tremendous time for HR.

Advocate for your company. An external recruiter not only helps identify good candidates; they advocate for your company. By working with internal HR and the hiring manager, they can sell the opportunity and answer a potential candidate’s questions. This results in better candidates who are truly interested in the position, saving time for HR and the hiring manager. 

Prep the candidate. Even the best candidate can have a poor interview. Prepping them beforehand, asking questions and practicing can make a huge difference. People don’t always know how to present themselves and their qualities. This preparation makes interviews more effective. Hiring managers find out what they need to know which can greatly shorten the hiring timeline.

Check-ins after hire. Above all, an external recruiter wants a good “match” – one that meets everyone’s needs including the candidate, hiring manager and HR. That’s why good staffing professionals consistently check in with new hires and hiring managers after the hire. They want to resolve any issues before they become big problems. Maybe the hiring manager says they’re not happy with the new hire’s work. When speaking with the new hire, you discover that they don’t feel they’re getting enough direction and training. This intel gives HR a chance to remedy the situation. 

Always ready to find the next candidate. In the marketing and creative space, we know within 90-120 days if the hire is going to work out. That’s because creative professionals have to make an impact quickly, whether that's creating a piece of collateral, a marketing campaign or as an account manager. If the new hire is not working out, an external recruiter can get the wheels moving to find a new person.

Strategic recruiting

The time to consider working with an external recruiter is before you need one. When budgeting and planning for the coming year, identify areas where it makes sense to recruit with internal HR versus using external recruiting experts. By thinking strategically, you can develop relationships with external staffing professionals before you need to post a job. Spend time up front to vet the recruiter and build a working relationship so that you’ll know who to call when you’re in a crunch. 

The design field is constantly changing and evolving. AI and other emerging technologies are fast becoming important tools for creative and marketing professionals. Finding the right people with the right skills is getting harder. Consider using a staffing agency that specializes in design and has their finger on the pulse of the profession and on the current labor market. They can help you use your budget effectively and efficiently.  

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Written by
Lizzy Vela
Learn More ArrowArrow