Each year, companies lose thousands of dollars (if not more) by hiring the wrong people. While these numbers usually pertain to full-time employees, hiring the wrong freelancer can be just as costly.
With that being said, when you’re thinking of hiring a graphic designer, you need to ask the right interview questions to ensure the person is a good fit. Even if you’re only hiring for a short-term project, the designs created can have a huge impact on your business for years to come. They will be creating brand assets that represent your company.
The right questions will help you gauge a candidate’s fit for your brand, hard skills, design style, and experience. Below are the graphic design interview questions that you need to ask before committing to working with any graphic designer.
This is a general question to ask any hire because it builds rapport and helps you find out what kind of person you’re hiring. The candidate’s experiences might come up as well, which is good to know. More importantly, you want to know how they have played into their life, like how they got to where they are now, and their future goals.
These are important because they speak to the candidate’s mindset and prospects. As you ask this question, listen for connections to what you are looking for in someone that you want working with your business.
As artists, designers will have their own particular styles. It’s crucial that you find one who can understand your style and bring your brand message to life.
Follow-up interview questions on design style will both build more rapport to make the candidate speak more openly and give you a better idea of whether or not they’re a fit.
Tweak this graphic design interview question so it’s relevant to your specific project. Then you’ll get more insight into the candidate’s character, preferences, and artistic tastes.
Pay attention to any use of technical jargon or particular aspects of a design, which indicates greater knowledge and skill.
This follow-up dives deeper into their character and encourages an open response. It aims to reveal the designer’s motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. The more they say, the more they know and are excited about your project.
Most freelance designers work remotely, so you need to ask if you want someone close by. If you don’t, you still need to know when their work times are so you can coordinate with them. You also want to make sure that they are available for your project. Not every applicant will be available for work right away.
You must ask graphic design interview questions specific to the project you are hiring for. Not all designers can design anything — one may do websites well, but be poor at email headers and newsletter layouts.
Another may do flyers and brochures and social media images, but not logos. You need to make sure that a candidate is actually qualified to do what you’re asking.
This question is important if you have existing files that you want a designer to work with, or a specific software program that you have. At the very least, a designer should have experience with Illustrator, InDesign or Photoshop, the most common ones.
Note that designers at the lower end of the pay scale may not have these higher-end tools.
A talented and experienced freelance designer can charge from $20-$200 per hour, depending on where they’re located and how good they really are. Don’t discount the high value of soft skills, either — dependability and integrity are priceless.
If you feel that a candidate is a good fit, don’t lowball them. You want quality, and good design is a great investment.
If you’re talking fixed-price for a project, don’t forget to get on the same page about your specific requirements, like output file types and design versions.
Many clients prefer this so they can budget for the project, but end up paying more because they ask for things outside the original scope.
This is one of the graphic design interview questions that clients miss most often. It’s an important one because you want a designer who understands and follows the latest trends. Outdated graphics can cause potential customers to lose interest and do business with your competitors instead.
Hiring a new team member needs to be a good fit for everyone involved. In many ways, the candidate will be interviewing you just as much as you are them.
This question will tell you a lot about the candidate’s mindset and better help you see if they are a good fit. Listen closely for their pet peeves or deal-breakers, working process and management style, as well as payment methods and communication preferences.
Let other team members weigh in here, and focus on hiring based on your company culture. If the candidate is going to work with others, especially if long-term or even intermittently, they need to fit in so that the team can work together as efficiently as possible.
With this question, you want to see how well a candidate accepts criticism or handles disagreements with clients. A good freelancer can defend their decisions when under fire, but remain respectful and professional. It’s a delicate middle ground that only the most highly experienced and ethical freelancers can maintain.
You’ll want to know how the designer will go about your project, including their communication style and how much experience they have. Tune in to how thoughtful their answer is and how it meshes with your goals.
Note that each design solves a problem, and that designer has their own process for solving problems. This is their secret formula that makes them special, so don’t expect too much detail — just see that they have a solid process in place.
This should be the first thing you look at, but bring it up again so you can ask vital follow-up graphic design interview questions. Anexperienced designer will only have a selection of their best work on their website. You can ask for additional, specific samples to see if they have what you’re looking for.
While looking through a portfolio, ask questions like what the thought process was for a specific piece, what its objective was, where revisions and critiques were incorporated into the plan, and how much time it took. Also, ask which design they’re most proud of, and why, so you can get an idea of whether they value commercial success above client satisfaction or creative artistry above design goals.
It’s never easy to estimate project completion times, especially without very specific details and guidelines. What you’re looking for here is a general time frame that will tell you whether a candidate will focus on your project or not. The correct answer is the one that meets your needs.
Many designers work on several projects at once because there can be a lot of back and forth for feedback and revisions. Things will go a lot more smoothly when you understand and respect this. Things don’t always go as planned, so clarify as well what they do when a project takes longer than expected or expands beyond the original scope.
Before you end an interview, ask if the designer has anything else to share or ask you. If not, then ask what else they think you should know about them or the way they work. Open-ended questions like this can tell you a lot more than structured ones if you pay attention to what they choose to talk about.
These graphic design interview questions can’t guarantee that you will find the perfect designer on your first try, but they will definitely increase your odds.
Trust your gut as you go through the interview process and don’t hire until you’re confident and excited to begin working with the candidate. Now that you’re prepared for the interview process, it’s time to take the first step towards hiring a graphic designer.
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