How to Hire a Great Art Director, Part II

4 minute read

Upland Admin

In Part I of this interview, we asked Joe Baz, founder and CEO of Above the Fold, and Peter Brown, creative director at Brown Creative and Atlas Advertising, why a content marketing team might need an art director and what a typical art director does.

In Part II, our experts share some tips on where to find the talent and what questions to ask during the hiring process.

Joe Baz for The Content Marketeer

Joe Baz

Marketeer: Where do you look for great art directors?

Baz: During a recent search, we used Twitter, posting with hash tags like #WorkWednesday and #Jobs, and Facebook, asking our friends and followers to share and re-tweet. But we didn’t find the right candidate through those channels.

We also posted to Dribbble’s free job board (and got some great responses) and a few other job boards. Overall, though, the responses were not as high quality is they could have been. Job boards are the bottom of the food chain.

Then we started actively recruiting through LinkedIn, looking at people who were recently laid off from comparable companies that might be downsizing, or reaching out to employed folks with solid skills and asking if they were happy in their current positions.

Finally, we resorted to a recruiter. We weren’t happy with our first recruiter, but the second did a great job and found the perfect match.

Peter Brown for The Content Marketeer

Peter Brown

Brown: I think it’s important to look outside your network. It’s so easy to rely on who you know, have worked with in the past, or are connected to in a social media setting. But you might be missing a great candidate. That being said, my network is always where I start and often where I end my searches.

Marketeer: Tell us about your interview process.

Baz: Our interview and hiring process works in stages:

In stage one, we look at the portfolio, looking for that creative eye.

In stage two, we have the candidates video their responses to some questions and send over the video. We ask things like “What are you looking for in a design agency?” And we feel out their personalities from there.

In stage three, the candidate takes a test. We give him or her two UX design problems based on past work. They tell us what kind of time they need to get it done, and then it’s all problem solving. It’s not about visual appeal at this point; it’s about asking the right questions and presenting a well-thought-out solution. They bring their solutions to the interview and we critique them.

If everything goes well, we then put the candidate on a contract for a project for a couple months before signing them on full time. That way we can see if everything we believe is true. This has been a great tool for weeding people out.

Brown: I only use set questions as a base to start the process. I think the best interviews are the ones that turn into a conversation. I’d rather have an open dialogue and see where it goes. We’re trying to build a potential relationship, not take a test.

Also, I make sure to ask questions or lead the conversation in a direction that helps me figure out if the candidate will be a good culture fit. Agency work is hard, but fun. I want to know if this candidate has a sense of humor, if they are candid, and if they understand how to work outside their silo with an active team.

Marketeer: Anything else you’d like to add?

Baz: We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to our job page. We have pictures of the team going white water rafting. We talk about the culture. And then we link to the job descriptions. Our job descriptions are less about responsibilities and more about who we’re looking for, who we are, and what the position is.

Have a hiring tip or trick you’d like to add to the mix? Leave it in the comments below.

Find Joe Baz on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Find Peter Brown on LinkedIn.

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