Sourced from Forbes
Hiring new talent can be intimidating. You don’t want to make the wrong choice, but you also don’t want to spend weeks or even months sifting through resumes and conducting interviews.
To make the process more efficient and effective, it helps to make a list not only of the skills, but also of the traits a successful candidate must have. This is particularly important when you’re hiring for creative roles, where possessing characteristics like flexibility, empathy and the ability to accept feedback play a huge role in success.
We asked a panel of Forbes Agency Council experts about some lesser-known or even unexpected traits leaders should look for in creative team members, and why these characteristics are so crucial.
1. Entrepreneurial Spirit
Leaders should always be on the lookout for entrepreneurs — people who are curious risk-takers, inclined toward ingenuity. Entrepreneurs aren’t satisfied with the status quo, and they strive for innovation at all levels. Filling your organization — especially your creative team — with entrepreneurs means not just a better end product for clients, but a better culture overall. – Mimi Lettunich, Twenty Four 7
Thought leaders who bring honesty to a creative team help foster transparency in the workplace. A company culture that celebrates and inspires honesty as a value creates an atmosphere of trust, confidence and loyalty. Management must be open to hearing the truth from employees, and employees must be open to constructive feedback from team members for continued growth. – Lauren Shirreffs, 2Social | The Social Media Agency
3. Strong Creative Writing Skills
It is amazing how often this is overlooked, especially if writing skill is not your strong suit or a particular interest. However, content, captions, advertising and marketing strategy is benefited by someone who can not only put words together, but put them together in a way that draws the reader in and truly engages them. Anyone can write a piece of content, but not everyone can write it well. – Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs
4. Collaborative Fit
For creative hires, we try to balance talent with that all-important “cultural fit” — a personality-chemistry and communication style that will complement our current team. We’ve found that “fit” can be measured in the recruiting process through both testing and behavioral interviewing. We invite candidates to a short creative collaboration to see how they communicate and work through conflict. – Megan Cunningham, Magnet Media, Inc.
5. Team History
One of the traits I always look for in our team members is their history with team sports or group organizations. More than any other advertising and marketing discipline, experiential is truly a team effort, with no room for egos. Making sure people have a strong background in working with others to overcome challenges and celebrate successes helps foster a stronger team culture. – Jessica Reznick, We’re Magnetic
6. Good Time Management
A creative person’s ability to get into the “creative zone” and then switch into execution mode can greatly impact the bottom line. We ask a lot of questions about their time management skills and how they’ve developed them throughout the years. Having the ability to get into the “creative zone” quickly and still produce high-quality work is definitely a learned skill. – Danielle Sabrina, Tribe Builder Media
In today’s world empathy is an essential quality to understand the target audiences you are trying to reach and, at the same time, to build and nurture internal teams. Empathy is the ability to deeply understand the environment we are in. It can help us take better decisions, define better strategies and communicate more clearly. That’s why leaders should look for it in new hires. – Daniela Pavan, The Ad Store New York
8. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is something that is not out there very often. It is something that cannot be bought and that most people have no idea how to use or implement. It is one of those skills that is mission-critical to the success or failure of interactions with people and business. It is one of those things that must be learned by all members of management. – Jon James, Ignited Results
9. Improvisation Skills
To me, great idea and execution people are all amazing improvisers. They come up with the solution. Then the key performance indicator (KPI) changes and they flip the problem inside out to come up with something else. It’s always amazing to see it in action. The ability to think quickly and come up with more solutions based on moving targets is crucial, especially with how fast we work today. – Neal Sharma, DEG
10. Personality Fit
When it comes to hiring, of course look at an applicant’s portfolio and experience. However, since implementing the following question, we’ve seen a greater retention rate and better team dynamics. The question, “How would you smuggle an elephant up to the 20th floor of this building?” is silly, but it reveals both creative process and personality, and we are able to see if they will fit our team dynamics. – Jason Kulpa, UE.co
Introversion is not a weakness. When we think of creative types, we often think extrovert, loud, openly expressive. However, introverts are highly valuable to the creative process in their ability to tell a rich, creative story. Introverts may think deeper about the context surrounding creative projects than extroverted creatives. Consider the power of introverts and their creative capabilities. – Bernard May, National Positions
Consistency across personal presentation materials where the creative work is showcased is a must. From LinkedIn to Dribble, Behance and personal websites, different or disconnected portfolio examples, images, content and “about me’s” are a red flag. If a creative person can’t align their own brand impression to a potential employer, then how can the employer see them executing as a member of their team? – Eric Vardon, Arcane
13. An Eye On The Prize
One of the most important traits that we look for is the creative’s ability to put the outcome ahead of the process. They need to be able to not fall so in love with the creative process that they lose sight of the end goal — satisfying the customer and delivering quality on time. – A. Lee Judge, Content Monsta
14. The Ability To Learn From Mistakes
Hiring someone with a nicely designed resume is common. When hiring the best, look into the mistakes that your new player has made. Ask for three mistakes. If your candidate can come up with a mistake, it’s great. If they can list three mistakes and explain to you how they’ve overcome them and how it helped them progress, you’re in business. – Anthony Katz, iNexxus
In this fast, tech-driven era it’s important to find creatives who are adaptable rather than highly specialized in one aspect of creativity — someone who is flexible and excited about exploring new trends and technologies. Instead of focusing on past work achievements, find out what they know about industry trends and what they are hoping to try next. They will help push your company forward. – Hamid Ghanadan, Linus
Feature Image Credit: Members of Forbes Agency Council offer insights on must-have traits for creative professionals.Photos courtesy of the individual members.