These days, you need graphic design for a wide range of assets. For your sales materials to your print advertising to your social media graphics, you need designers to help communicate your business to your audience.
As graphic designers groan under this increased workload, it’s likely a good idea to take some things off their plate. Thankfully, there are countless freelance designers who can help you out, whether on a one-time or recurring basis.
Unfortunately, hiring someone who can jump in and produce something usable can be challenging. If you’ve never worked with a freelancer, they don’t know your business, your brand, your needs, your work style, your project management system — the list goes on.
Hiring someone can be challenging. Here are the questions to ask to ensure that you get someone who both is qualiﬁed and will work well with your company.
Can you take me through your portfolio?
This is a great question because it allows the freelancer to show you what they believe is their best work, but it also gives you insights into what they think of their work. Pay attention for red ﬂags such as the freelancer discounting their work or sharing stories of displeased clients. Prod the candidate for more information about how they developed their favorite projects.
For example, you might see good work that the designer admits was based on someone else’s design, or they used a template to make it.
How do you collaborate with others?
Even if the freelancer will be working solo, they’ll still need to collaborate with members of your team. Asking this question helps you evaluate the candidate’s work style.
Can they accept feedback, especially constructive criticism? How do they take client input into consideration?
Are they familiar with brand guides and typography kits? It’s also helpful to see if the freelancer is familiar and comfortable with your preferred means of communication and chosen project management system.
While it’s not always a deal-breaker, you’ll likely have better success if you don’t also have to teach the freelancer how to use Trello or Asana.
Who is your favorite designer or brand?
This question is a professional question disguised as a personal one. It does give the candidate a chance to talk about their passion, which can help you get to know them. It’s also a way of assessing the designers and marketers who have an impact on them. Typically, designers emulate the look and feel of their icons. If you’re looking for a sleek, modern style but the freelancer’s favorite brand is a famously funky one, they might not be a good ﬁt. By asking this question, you can also get the candidate to start talking about what makes good design. Sometimes, you’ll hear some things that are out of touch with current standards and best practices, and this can be a warning that the good stuff in their portfolio might have been largely created by a collaborator.
There’s no shame in taking your time to ﬁnd a freelance designer who best matches your company’s style and way of working. If the freelancer isn’t in vogue with the way you do things, it will just be a frustrating experience for both of you. Asking these questions in the interview process can help both you and the freelancer get best matched for an ideal creative outcome