Here's How to Win The Battle for Top Design Talent

It’s the middle of summer, it looks great outside and everyone is having fun except you. Why? Because you haven't met your quota for design recruitment and you just can't crack this nut. You can fill every other category effortlessly but just can't figure out design talent. You’re under a tremendous amount of pressure and fear that the summer will pass you by without even being able to enjoy it. Stressful isn’t it?

I know what you’re thinking...

“I don't get it! We have great legacy, a great brand, and phenomenal perks. People have been here for years. We have great opportunities where someone can own a category and make a difference. We’re as agile as a start-up but with all the backing. So why can’t we find the right talent and why doesn’t anybody bite? We’ve had some great offers, and then after going through all the hoops...the candidates say they can’t take the offer, but we’re not the reason.”

Talent is the human infrastructure for business success

Every business in every industry wants top design talent. Whether they realize it or not, talent is acutely aware of this fact and as a result it has become a talent’s market. You could have a solid business plan, successful products or services, and stakeholders willing to invest in your vision. But, if you don’t have the right talent to roll out this grand idea you’ll be treading water. You’ll be wondering “Why isn’t our plan taking shape? Or turning out the way we hoped?”

We’ve heard it all before - Hiring Managers and HR have said to us, “I’ve just lost an amazing candidate again. It makes no sense, we’re offering everything they want” or “A brilliant account came through our doors but I’ve got to let it go. We just can’t find the quality of talent needed for this kind of project.” These are just two of several reasons why companies have the need to hire. Some of the mistakes hiring teams make in the process are:

  • assume their commercial brand reputation will attract design talent
  • don’t show talent how they could potentially impact change in the company
  • don't considered the new hire’s potential growth path
  • not consider thoroughly how this new hire will impact their design team
  • lead the engagement with talent by dangling shallow innovation in front of them

Offer genuine value

Offering talent an innovation lab that only creates product for the company doesn’t cut it any longer. Neither do superfluous benefits. Top talent values companies that truly respect and value them in return. They want:

Quality of culture

Quality of life

Growth and expansion opportunities

Top compensation

Work they’re proud of

Top design talent want to truly impact change

Designers have the capability to change the world. They don’t want to waste their gifts on menial, superficial work, or products and services that have a negative impact on the world. They want to do purpose driven work, not create more things to add to the landfill. That said, designers are realist and know it’s not always possible. Still designers are attracted to companies that strive to have those values. We hear talent laud the best corporate environments they’ve been a part of for years on after they’ve left the company. That form of Industry Brand Reputation can’t be bought. Top companies that know how to attract design talent know to offer their designers the opportunity to change the company, their culture and their products.

Prepare your organization to attract, hire and retain great talent

In order for you to ensure progress after hiring, you need to identify where your organization may be lacking. Without a cohesive and comprehensive talent plan, even the brightest designers will not fare well once they join your team. Be honest about what your company doesn’t have or isn’t doing right. Design talent give their all and they expect the companies they work for to be conscientious and ethical. Even if they have never heard of your brand before they know how to tap the industry and find out your industry reputation within seconds. So don’t think you can sweep something under the rug.

It isn’t enough to promise a job with room to innovate. Design talent has the nose for bad culture and they can smell it a mile a way. They’ll look to you to know if you know it too, and if you’re willing to do something about it. Teams, collaborators and superiors need to be aware and willing to contribute to a healthy company culture.

Time and time again we find ourselves asking Hiring Managers and HR poignant questions about the state of their hiring process. For the first time, we are sharing some of the qualifying questions our clients need to ask themselves before they dive into the hiring process. How many can you answer YES to?

Schedule a Strategy Call with us and win the battle.