8 Powerful Interview Questions to Ask Designers

Designers are an important asset for your company.  Whether you choose to hire in-house or outsource, they are responsible for your business brand.  It’s important that you pick one with the skills to do the work you need, and one that just gets you.

You don’t have to have a good eye for design to find the right fit for you… especially once I arm you with these 8 powerful questions to ask your design in your interview.

#1 What information do you need from me when you’re starting a project?

This will give you insight into how organized they are. During the course of your relationship with them, they could be creating everything from you company logo to business cards to ads to merchandise, and so much more. That’s a lot of work and a lot of files and revisions of files to keep up with.

If they are organized, they should have developed a process for kicking off a project that includes what questions they’ll need to ask you as well as what information they’ll need you to provide so they can do a good job.

#2 Tell me about time when a client didn’t like your work?

How they handled this situation will tell you a lot about what you can expect from them. It’s entirely likely that you’ll be presented with designs at some point that you sort of like and need some tweaks on. Or you’ll get something from them that you just hate altogether.

Speaking as a designer myself - we can be a touchy bunch when we create something that we like ourselves. Hearing that it’s basically trash after hours behind a screen creating it can hurt. But it’s important that we stay focused on what you want from our work.

You’re the one that has to live with it after all, so it’s important that you like it. For that to happen, you need to feel completely 100% comfortable asking for changes. And if they try to push you to like their work instead of changing it - that won’t happen.

#3 How do you organize all the files and artwork?

Again, this comes back to how organized they are. You will potentially have 100’s of files, stock photos, and other graphics flying around.

Meanwhile, you have a business to run. If your designer keeps coming back to you asking for files you’ve already provided, then it’s going to eat into your time.

So ideally, they have a system in place for organizing everything you provide and that they design so you can both work efficiently.

#4 How do you manage your priorities?

This one varies a little based on if you’re outsourcing or hiring. If you’re hiring, then they are solely focused on project for you and you only. However, you will likely have more than one project at a time for them work on, and the priority of those projects will most likely change over time and your business goals shift.

If you’re outsourcing, you still have that same demand on a designer, but you’re not the only one pushing for her time. She might be juggling anywhere from 2-3 clients or as many as 30-50 at any one time. All of those clients have the same shifting deadlines in their companies too.

So it’s really important that your designer is able to quickly reprioritize items so you can get the work you need, when you need it.

For an in-house designer, if you use a Project Management System in-house, then you can ask them if they are familiar with it or other similar systems. For outsourced talent, you can ask if they use a Project Management System to stay organized. We use one here at Sparkitive to track all the work for all our clients and implementing it year ago was the smartest move we ever made.

#5 How do you get unstuck when you’re struggling for ideas?

You’re probably familiar with writer’s block… well it’s the same for designers and pretty much all creatives out there.

There will inevitably be times where they are just stuck when it comes to pulling inspiration for your project. Meanwhile, your project still has a deadline to meet. You don’t want them half-***ing something in the eleventh hour because they couldn’t get an idea.

So you want to know that they have strategies that work for them in place to help overcome their block and get a quality design out on time.

#6 Are you comfortable working in vector?

You may already have this on your list, but if not, it’s an important one. When you’re developing graphics for a company, you have no idea where all they might need to be used later.

Vector graphics are scalable to any size without getting pixelated or fuzzy. So, for example, if they design a business card for you and you really love the design of it and want to use it on a billboard, they can just resize it and you’re done.

If they create it in traditional raster graphics, then they have to redraw the whole thing at the new size. Which, as I’m sure you can guess, is a huge waste of time.

So ideally you want someone that is experienced in creating vector graphics as well as raster graphics.

#7 What is your favorite project that you’ve ever done?

This is a great one to ask while you’re reviewing their portfolio so you can look at the project yourself. If it’s their favorite, then it should be in there.

This should naturally spawn a few more follow-up questions such as:
Why did you like that project best?
Was the client fun to work with, or was it just the work itself that you found enjoyable?

#8 Tell me about a time that you were able to save you client money and how?

A lot of designers can get so absorbed in the creative process that it’s hard for them to come back to down to earth and snip the wings off their idea to fit your budget. And it’s even harder to take it further than that and actually save money too.

You need someone that’s capable of producing amazing designs while be considerate of your finances. If they demonstrate a lot of pride in their frugal skills, that’s a good sign.

Did you find any of these helpful?

If you know of any other questions that I should be asking please let me know in the comments!

Ashley Burnett

Web Ninja

One of my first jobs was running a cash register in my grandmothers diner. My job was to talk to customers and and to keep everything in my area neat and organized. Now years later those lessons I learned help me in managing client files and projects. Making sure our team is working to help our clients reach their business goals is what drives me everyday.

I am a strong believer that to succeed in life you have to work hard and never let roadblocks stand in your way. You have to read and study but you also have to experience life and all that it can teach you.

My mission is to help clients and our team have the materials and knowledge they need to make every project a success, while making sure to spread some of the information I learn around for others to enjoy.