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Whether you’re looking for copywriters, graphic designers, photographers, or bloggers, identifying creative talent for your organization can be a challenge.  Beyond examining writing samples or portfolios, you have to assess if they have the business acumen to be successful within your organization.

Knowing the right interview questions to ask can be essential in making sure the person you hire can be successful in their new position.  We’ve identified and adapted some key questions that can provide guidance and get your creative juices flowing on what you should be asking creative talent in your next interview.

How does communication play a role in your day to day job?

Creativity that exists in a vacuum doesn’t work well in a business setting.  Identify candidates who understand how their contribution affects the great good of their team, know the value of communication, and can effectively exchange ideas and connect with team members and management.

Of your creative accomplishments big or small , at work or home, what gave you the most satisfaction?
What is the most interesting or inspired project you have worked on professionally?

Posing a question such as these will tell you what a candidate finds inspiring and motivating.  Make sure that their interests align well with the job assignments along with room for growth.  Ask yourself if they will find the work in the role suitable.  If you are unsure, it may be worth providing a few  project examples and getting their feedback on what they find interesting (or not) about the projects.

What are the ways by which the environment affects (your) creativity?

Culture, workspace, and peers can all have a direct effect on workplace productivity, especially for creative individuals who might need different accommodations to feed their output.  The better your candidate understands how they work best, the better you know if they will fit well within your workplace, or what adjustments might need to be made on either side if you feel there is a good fit.

What steps must be taken by a person to improve their creativity?
How does creativity and innovation differ?

It’s important when assessing creative talent that your team members know the difference between merely being creative and being innovative in their work as well as how they feed both to continue fueling new ideas.  Know what your organization’s needs are to be competitive and look for candidates who can address these needs, whether it’s out of the box thinking or testing the tried and true in their field.

What ideas did you contribute to your department/team in your last role? What were the results?

Just as with any position, it’s important to understand how a creative candidate contributed in their previous positions.  What did they bring to the table and how does that translate to what you can expect them to bring to the role with your company?  Don’t forget plug-in a few behavioral interviewing questions to gain a better comprehension of what they offer in terms of skills, experience, industry knowledge, and talent.

Describe a situation where you made a decision that backfired. If you had to do it over, what would you do differently?

Everyone fails and not every creative idea is going to go over well.  Take time to understand how your applicant handles rejection, failure, and the unexpected.  Ask questions that help you to assess their thought process and how they rebound from challenges in their work.

What would you hope to gain in this job?

A paycheck is not the only motivating factor for most employees, and this is especially true of creative talent.  Paying attention to what drives them and what their short and long-term goals are can help you determine if the job seeker is looking to grow with your organization or just looking for a launching pad to something else.  If there’s something that connects them to the work your organization does their work product will reflect it, so be sure to identify that connection.

Looking for more inspiration?  Tap into other qualities like resourcefulness, imagination, flexible thinking,  and influence by adapting some of the above questions with these attributes.  Find out what job seekers find encouraging or impactful about the work you do and vice-versa.

These questions are just a starting block, but don’t be afraid to mix it up to get more in depth with how a creative candidate analyzes their work and how they define success.  The more you both understand how they can fit into your organization the better informed decision you can make both in hiring and in orienting your new hire to your business.

What are some of your favorite questions to ask creative talent in the interview?

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