Creative teams in agencies need individual members who display specific aptitudes, such as artistic vision, design expertise, awareness of trends, proficiency using required tools and an ability to meet strict deadlines. So it makes sense that most agency leaders seek out these necessary traits in job candidates for creative roles.
However, despite being crucial to their success, these aren’t the only characteristics to look for when hiring for creative roles. What other, lesser-known attributes are also strong predictors of success when it comes to assessing creative job applicants?
We asked the members of Forbes Agency Council to share their expert insights to help directors and managers of creative teams recognize “gems in the rough” among potential hires. Below, they share 12 unique factors to consider to find the best talent.
When hiring creative team members, companies should look for agility in candidates: the ability to adapt to rapid changes in creative industries and technologies. This requires eagerness to learn and think outside the box while remaining curious and exploring ways of doing things differently. – Elissar Hajj Zarwi, Comma Hub
I think the most important trait you can look for in a creative team member is ingenuity: the ability to collaborate to find ways to make things work and come together. Often, there isn’t the budget or time frame to deliver things the way you want to. So that ingenuity and resourcefulness can make a huge difference in how the team functions as well as its ability to deliver for clients and the business itself. – Dean Seddon, Maverrik
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One trait that sets great creatives apart is discernment: creative, moral and sociological. Candidates with a keen sense of discernment employ an internal decision-making tool that says when to turn certain skills on and off, how much of each to use, when to speak up, when to listen and when to perceive, judge and trust themselves to make strong creative decisions. – Russ Williams, Archer Malmo
When hiring creatives, it’s incredibly important that they exhibit strong traits of empathy. Creatives must get inside the heads and hearts of the end users to be able to deliver images, products, designs, copy, etc. that will truly resonate. – Danielle Sabrina, Tribe Builder Media
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Being prepared is key. We usually look for focus, grit and self-motivation, but I always look for someone who comes prepared. Whenever we screen candidates for our company, the ones that stand out are those who come prepared with research to the first meeting. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
6. Storytelling Versatility
Look for a creative storyteller. Someone who can think, write and create like the brand, not themselves. Many creatives are brilliant in the way they express themselves; but expressing oneself is far different than taking on the voice, goals, value set and tone of the brand they’re looking to promote. You need a creative chameleon who can adapt to each client. – Bernard May, National Positions
7. Collaborative Spirit
I always ask questions to demonstrate whether the potential candidate has an eagerness to learn and grow. Great collaborators understand the importance of working together to find creative solutions. The best client work comes out of creative collaboration and building off of each other’s ideas. Skills and process can always be learned if there are any gaps, but ego is hard to overcome. – Keri Witman, Clever Lucy
8. High Emotional Intelligence
A curious creative with a high EQ is an unstoppable force. Imagine a brainstorm session where the self-aware top creative is a model of empathy. While coaching in an “idea safe zone” and providing inspirational leadership, he or she asks the right questions to facilitate the most creative, hardworking marketing solutions. – Patrick Nycz, NewPoint Marketing
9. Quietly Confident Humility
An important trait to consider is humility mixed with quiet confidence. When looking for new team members to add to our digital marketing agency, the objective is to find individuals who are not only humble enough to learn more and improve, but also confident enough to lead clients to the right decision. Creativity is a critical ability in what we do. It’s vital to be able to reflect and move on quickly without suffering a devastating blow to the ego. – Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media
10. Diversity Beyond Paper
Look for diversity beyond paper. It’s not just about reporting metrics; it’s about points of view: From first-generation immigrants and geographic background to college students and income disparity, if you’re looking to generate creative for everyone, then you need to represent everyone and go beyond the typical diversity stats. – Craig Greiwe, Rogers & Cowan
11. Ability To Weather Adversity
I look for individuals who show an ability to weather adversity. Creative work is challenging work, filled with uncertainty, twists and turns. You want people on your team who will be able to swim when the waters get choppier. – Nathan Miller, Miller Ink, Inc.
12. Creative Problem-Solving In Real Time
When hiring for creativity, I often provide a few creative assets such as photos and videos to the candidates and ask them to create something in an hour that achieves a specific objective. This allows me to visually gauge their creative abilities along with how they approach solving for specific objectives. It also removes any illusions about group work that they may be taking credit for on their résumé. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint
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Author: Expert Panel®, Forbes Councils Member