Best Interview Questions for Hiring Creative Professionals

By Kelly McMahon on July 5, 2016 in Creative Hiring


As we mentioned in a previous post, when it comes to hiring creative professionals, it’s arguably more important to look for soft skills such as creativity rather than technical skills. Which is all well and good. But what type of questions are best to ask when interviewing creative professionals?

We’ve done some research, as well as looking at our own success when it comes to sourcing and interviewing creative and digital professionals for our clients, and have come up with some of the best interview questions for hiring creative professionals. Check them out below.

Ask the Usual, but Get Creative

Of course you’re going to ask candidates the typical interview questions, such as the creative project of which they are most proud, what they think their greatest weaknesses and strengths are, how they approach a project, how much experience they have in your creative field, the technical tools they prefer, and so on.

But if you really want to see how a creative professional thinks, ask inventive questions yourself. Here are some of the best interview questions for hiring creative professionals is:

What do you think of our company’s current designs/marketing strategies/copywriting?

This question shows a couple of things:

1. It shows that the candidate has actually looked at the work your firm produces – or not. Be wary of anyone who doesn’t take at least a bit of time to check you out and learn about your firm and the type of clients you serve.

2. It would be nice if the candidate really likes your work, but don’t be afraid if she critiques your product. For this kind of question, you’re looking for a thoughtful, reasoned answer as to why the candidate likes – or doesn’t like – your work.

Would You Return to Your Previous Employer? Why or Why Not?

The answer to this question will give you a lot of insight into how the candidate looks at employers. If she badmouths the employer considerably, you can bet she will be talking the same about you some day. If she gushes about the employer, dig deeper: if she loves the company, why is she leaving/did she leave? If she hates the employer, why?

You’re really looking for a more nuanced answer, something along the lines of the candidate feels she’s done all she could do there and it’s time for greater challenges.

Why Should I Hire You and Not Someone Else?

This question lets you see into a candidate’s mindset – how does she view herself? She’ll more than likely answer with what she believes are her best and biggest strengths.

Along the same lines, but a tad meatier, you instead could ask: “You’re lacking in XYZ skill/experience. Why should I hire you over someone who has this skill/experience?” This will really make the candidate think – creatively! – as she figures out how her skills in one area outweigh her lack in another.

What Would You Do in the Case of a Problematic Business Scenario?

An imaginary problem could be that deadlines are not met, client disapproval of the design/content, someone quits in the middle of big project, the client makes the project late because it didn’t provide necessary background information or edits in time, etc. – and ask the candidate what she would do in this scenario.

There’s no right answer: you’re looking for a reply that shows the candidate takes responsibility for fixing the problem and taking note of how she goes about doing so.

How Will You Impact My Company?

This one should really make the candidate think. This question requires an answer that is more than just about a candidate’s skills and background, but reveals how she looks at her role within your agency or department. Is she there to be “creative,” or is she there to use her creativity to further your clients’ goals?

Give Me an Example of a Time You Disagreed with a Client’s Desires and How You Handled It?

Clients have their own ideas and they often aren’t nearly as good or effective as your strategists’. A candidate who automatically answers “I went right along with the client’s wishes,” may think she’s giving the right answer – after all, the client is always right, right?

But clients aren’t always right and sometimes their ideas could actually hurt their results. So you want an answer that shows that the candidate understands this and was able to keep the client happy while still executing effective strategy or deliverable.

Interview Questions for Hiring Creative Professionals

Bonus Tip: Testing for technical skills is critical to ensure the professionals you interview can actually fulfill your job requirements. Creative interview questions are important, so make sure you follow up with practical skills testing. At KORE1, we’ve developed comprehensive testing to assess a candidate’s skills in print production, web design, web production, graphic design and web development.

At the end of the day, when hiring creative professionals, it’s time to get creative. Asking better interview questions will help ensure that you’re definitely hiring the right people.

Need a hand in recruiting the best creatives? Reach out to KORE1 today.