10 Rules for Hiring Creatives For Your Organization

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The rules when working with creatives are a little bit different than working with everyone else. As the leader of a media strategy and production team, I have learned a lot about working with other creatives, as I have gone about the process of working with a number of them.

Here are 10 rules that you should take into account when considering hiring a creative for your organization:

#1: Creatives want to produce great work

Especially early on in their careers, they are eager to prove themselves and get to where they want to be. They strive to constantly improve their creative game and produce work that pushes them to the next project.  Understanding this first rule is key, because it shapes every other rule on this list.

#2: Creatives don’t care about money... initially

With the trend being to delay the whole “settling down thing,” creatives today often aren’t as worried about initially building a nest egg, but are more concerned about producing great work.  And if they can get one step closer to their goals, they’ll be okay with a lower starting salary.

#3: Experience trumps all

There is a general shift towards valuing experiences over stuff.  This is apparent with a shift towards minimalism. What this means is that if you can offer a creative person an experience that is cool, exciting, or involves travel, they may be willing to take that in lieu of having a higher salary.

#4: If they work remote, make them a contractor, not an employee

I learned this one the hard way early on.  With more and more creatives doing freelance work, it’s important to not make a remote creative a full time employee.  It’s important to understand that part of what appeals to creatives is the hussle of continually having to push yourself to find a better project.  

If you take that away and they aren’t working with people in person on a regular basis, that level of freedom could easily backfire.  I strongly recommend making remote workers contractors who bill on a per project basis or at fixed intervals whether hourly or day rates.  This is the best way to provide flexibility and freedom while keeping everyone happy.

#5: They value flexibility

Creative people really value the flexibility of being able to work remotely and have flexible hours.  However with that, there need to be clear expectations of what work they will deliver.

#6: They love to be challenged in their work

If they are being creative and producing work that they are proud of, they will love to be challenged to continually get better.  Don’t worry about pushing hard for their best work, because they will be happy to keep going if they have a good amount of creative freedom and see the purpose of their work.

#7: Encourage teamwork instead of working solo

Creatives enjoy working with others.  This doesn’t mean they won’t work alone, but means that they will enjoy working with others even more. If they will be working remote, consider using online tools like Trello and Slack to foster a collaborative environment.

#8: Clearly communicate project budgets

When working on a project, make sure you clearly communicate how much time people can spend on the project.  There is inherently a conflict. If a worker is invested in the project, it is in their best interest to make that project as good as possible, because that project could open up a new project for them.  However if the project manager financially responsible for the project, they won’t want it to go over budget because they will start losing money. There will be a balancing act here, and always try to over communicate if there is ambiguity.

#9: The work needs to have a purpose

For creatives, the whole concept of punching in to work and then punching out to go back to your real life is a bit foreign.  When you love your work, you will be invested in it. That’s why it’s important to communicate the purpose behind the work they are doing.  If work starts to get boring or meaningless, you can be sure they will be looking for something else to do.

#10: Creatives want to be proud of their work

Above all, creatives want to produce work that they would be excited to post on their social media accounts.  Not everything they do has to be good enough to post to social media, but if they don’t regularly have something they feel proud of, eventually they will get burned out and need to do something new.

There you go!  I should also say that creatives don’t want to be put in a box, so none of these rules will apply to everyone, but if you understand these principles you will be in a much better spot when it comes to managing a creative team!  

Collin Belt