To make a good hire for a designer position, you need a highly creative person who can work in a team, respond to criticism constructively, and use specific computer programs in the event of unique requirements. When evaluating a new employee for a designer position, employers are tempted to look at their artistic ability and nothing else.
Before getting into the five best ways to conduct an evaluation, this guide will define the concept of employee evaluation. This is where the hiring manager and/or recruiter sets goals and reviews progress at regular intervals. Usually, this goes with screening employment candidates. A free background check online can be very helpful in sifting through your vast applicant pool.
Considering the specifics of a designer position, a post-hire evaluation is ideally a meeting to discuss the work performed over a past period of employment, like a year, what has been achieved and what hasn’t. The manager reviews things like skillsets, teamwork, productivity, and others that were looked at pre-hire. From the designer’s point of view, the issue of how their work impacts their ability to get a raise or promotion is often the main one. For instance, Adobe found that almost 60% of employees surveyed were in agreement that performance reviews didn’t affect how they did their job.
1. Meeting Deadlines
Typically, designers work alongside production specialists, writers, and other professionals. In order for a project to go well, all parties involved have to meet stringent deadlines. A designer needs a keen sense of timeliness. They need to be well organized and able to work well under pressure. When evaluating someone, you should inquire into their ability to cope with deadlines and the extent to which they are flexible. Flexibility is an important trait of any employee who will need to work under deadlines and make adjustments as necessary without throwing the schedule off.
2. Understanding Expectations
A quality designer will understand what the client expects of the work he has commissioned. The issue of whether the client is internal and external is irrelevant. The designer must know how to interpret clients’ instructions and achieve the goals stated. During the interview, it’s a good idea to inquire into any unpleasant experiences the candidate has had with clients in the past, especially in terms of misaligned expectations. While any project can involve some tweaks, a history of failing to produce work as expected is a red flag.
3. Evaluating Relevant Skillsets
Broadly speaking, you should look at three types of skills: core skills, peripheral skills, and soft skills. Core skills include technical strengths and capabilities. Peripheral skills are the areas in which the designer is able to make the best contribution. Specialties, interests, and focus can shift over the course of time. For immediate evaluation purposes, the recruiters have already stated their focus. Experts recommend bringing up potential growth areas in the designer’s core discipline as well as peripheral areas of expertise.
Finally, a focus on soft skills involves a list of characteristics a designer typically needs to develop. Some of these contradict others, while others overlap. Usually, managers and recruiters look at how the designer comes up with ideas and communicates them and the processing of attaining common objectives. This area is completely separate from core and peripheral skills. While this guide will look at teamwork skills separately, these can overlap with soft skills to a degree.
In hindsight, many experienced and competent designers state they started out (or should have) by focusing on how best to communicate with their team by improving their collaboration skills. Design work can be very solitary, but it doesn’t have to be. Designers can begin building abilities as consultants as they get more and more comfortable “in their skin” and confident knowing their work is increasing value for their organization. With time, they yield greater and greater influence over their teams rather than doing all the work on design creation and implementation.
4. Responding to Criticism
Designers are in the category of artists and can be sensitive to criticism. In a collaborative environment, this can lead to issues. Even the best and most considerate designer won’t always fulfill client expectations the first time around. It even happens that a whole project needs to be scrapped, and everyone has to start over.
It’s important to evaluate a potential employee’s ability to respond to criticism constructively. Ask them about a time they were on the receiving end of criticism and how they handled it. Be wary of responses like, “I’ve never been criticized.” That isn’t true for anybody. Perhaps they simply tend to ignore criticism. You don’t need someone who’s going to take criticism personally and painfully every time.
5. Being Part of a Team
Any evaluation should factor in a designer’s teamwork skills since designers tend to be part of bigger teams. If the team decides to do the project a different way or change the approach halfway through, the designer will need to be flexible enough to reassess their strategy. This can happen because clients’ needs change. Moreover, a reliable employee will need to multitask and cope with changing deadlines.
The Risks of a Poor Evaluation
Gallup found that more than a fifth of employees who stated they wanted to change their jobs didn’t feel recognized. Their recent announcement that US worker engagement has increased to 33% was seen as good news. On second thought, that leaves two-thirds of employees disengaged. About a quarter of all employees said they would think about quitting their jobs if their supervisors consistently failed to provide reliable performance feedback. Finally, the engagement rate of employees whose supervisors emphasized their weaknesses was 26% lower than those who felt supported.
Your Responsibility as an Employer
Without a clear and understandable description of the designer position you’re hiring for, you’ll face great challenges in evaluating candidates. When working on the evaluation, keep your description handy. Write a new one if the job description changes. You don’t have to create a screed. Start by determining the main responsibilities, from long-term projects to consistent requirements. It’s your position, so make sure you establish or review its salient features even if the title is shared by others. Although the evaluation may not require this, you should do it. Without that, you can’t expect the evaluation to be effective or reliable.
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