Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I:CreativeRecruit - 4: Being Creative With Creatives

The question inevitably arises as to how one can be creative in interviewing creatives. Think the heavy weight agency creatives whose life force is bent towards innovation and creative idea generation.

Part of my response to this resides in investigating just 'what it is' that the client has not expressed in the position advertisement, but they still want to find in their chosen candidate.

I'm sure many of you would recognise the following type of request that is made person to person or over the phone:

"Obviously I need a brilliant designer, someone with cutting edge skills, but I don't want a drama queen who seems to think the whole studio revolves around their talents. I'm looking for brilliance of craft but also someone down to earth. Confident and classy maybe but showing they believe everyone else in the team is as special as they are."

Most people have an holistic vision of their desired employee and yet most positions vacant advertisements don't reflect this. Many of course try by saying 'seeking team player' or 'must enjoy working within a team' or similar, however unless the fulsome desire is carried into the interview process, that holistic vision can be lost and the advertising phrases ultimately used to more superficially determine whether the candidate meets 'desired' traits.

Too many interviews simply ask questions along the lines of:

"Tell me about the role you have played in team project situations"

These questions have their own value of course, but do allow a witty and articulate candidate to persuade when substance may be wanting.

This is where a consultancy service like mine can assist of course; helping the client to locate mechanisms that test claims through observable behaviour.

So, in looking at how to evaluate a creative, one looks at the situation in terms of holistic desires and profiles.

I recall being present during an interview for creatives, along with a psychologist who used sand play as a therapeutic and counseling technique. Whilst their engagement with the short listed candidates led to information creation of a certain type, my observation noted others. Two activities had occurred with the sand play, one involving the short listed candidates individually and one with them combined as a team.

As suggested, I noted different issues entirely to what the psychologist did and combined with portfolio and other information the client moved towards what wound up to be a very successful hire. This is an example of what is effectively triangulation. Using 3 or more different analytical approaches to draw a conclusion between them.

I have also watched activities at distance via a computer mounted camera in the interview room although candidates must be informed this is happening in such cases.

No comments: