We get how intimidating it can be to search for talent you don’t have experience with. Hiring a new type of candidate is a big investment not just for you and your team but for the company as a whole. We’ve helped hundreds of companies, startups, and consultancies around the country maneuver this very challenge. We have companies writing to us all time - here’s one hiring manager we worked with and helped just this year. This is the challenge they shared with us in their initial call.
“We’ve been searching for a full time Industrial Designer for over a year now. I cannot believe it’s taking our hiring department this long. Even when they do bring me a candidate, I have to admit, I don’t exactly know how to vet them. See we’re a sporting equipment company. I deal with engineers on a daily basis - they make up the majority of the team here. We’re taking our product lines to the next level of technology and we know we need a designer who’s strong on all of that and knows how to collaborate with engineering. This person being the first of this specialty in our company, they have to have the ability to lead us through this process. We’ve worked with outside agencies and consultants but they can only take design so far and then their designs are a miss at some point because they pass the ball to us and then there’s that knowledge gap. We know we need design in-house to ensure that design and innovation is integrated throughout all the other divisions of the company.
I’m struggling because I’m already putting myself on the line asking management for the budget to hire a full-time designer. What if I don’t choose the right person? It’s not easy getting the go-ahead to expand my team. It’s taken me so long to finally justify the req for the position and now that I have the go ahead I don’t know what I want. I’ve had to jump through so many hoops for the budget for this. I don’t want to get this hire wrong because it’s a huge commitment, and if we don’t hire the right person that could jeopardize my chance to hire more designers in the future and grow this capability. I’m so backlogged with projects it’s not even funny and we know we need design expertise to get us past these barriers. I’ve already spent so much time vetting designers when I could be working with outside consultants and getting at least part way there.
I interviewed so many candidates. I finally thought I found a candidate who worked, we interviewed him, introduced him to the team, even made sure the candidate thought this was right for him. We hired him, and then within a few months both the candidate, the team and I realized this wasn't working. We all thought we were sure.
Now I’m back at square one again. Searching for talent and on-boarding talent takes time and money and now we have to do it again, not to mention those innovation projects are now delayed even further. How do I find someone full-time, with the right combination of the design skills we need? The type of UX/UI expertise we’re looking for is different. Are they flexible in their design research methods, do they sketch but also see big picture? Would they understand design in consideration with branding, be able to not just pick up the engineering but know enough to push them, manage the projects? And then on top of all that can they give us design direction throughout the project, present to management, etc? Does this unicorn of unicorns exist?”
We first sat down with this client to help them understand they were throwing in everything plus the kitchen sink and how all of these varying capabilities rarely fit in one person - the unicorn of unicorns. We helped our client evaluate which design skills they really needed in house to meet their most critical objectives. We then showed them the type of designers that really did exist in the market place within their parameters.
There is a point for some companies where no matter how much discussion happens they need to work with designers first hand to see what that’s like. To see if their capabilities fit their needs, if they fit with the company culturally, work style, alignment on objectives, collaboration with other divisions within the company like engineering and marketing and so on… We could tell that the only way for our client to really understand the different types of designers and their capabilities was for them to test out working with various designers.
We recommended for this hiring manager to consider contracting talent. This would be better for them than working with an outside design firm or consultant where the burden of executing the concept was left on their doorstep. By us hand selecting the best contract designers that were interested in potential full-time opportunities, our client would be able to test out working with them, and could learn first hand what type of designer would bring the best skills and fit their company culture and operational style. With our expertise overseeing the different candidates they chose, we could calibrate what type of design talent they really needed.
In the end our client followed our recommendation and interviewed several candidates. Knowing there was not a huge leap of faith investment to make made it easier to hire. They chose one designer to work on contract. It went so well that within 3 months they were making such great strides that both employer and candidate came to us separately to say they enjoyed the arrangement and could see moving to a full-time arrangement if the other party was interested. This was an ideal scenario because we all know for a great hire to happen ideally all parties involved, the employer (and all of their employees) and the candidate, have to see this as being possible.
The candidate understood the work, took the results to the next level, and she connected with the team. She understood the company’s larger corporate initiatives and could align her work to fit those goals. All parties were excited about moving to this next stage.
After 2 years of realizing they needed design talent in-house to better deliver on their company objectives. They finally hired a phenomenal designer and she is so excited about joining a company she respects, and is bringing great value.
Hiring the best talent for your company can be challenging and time-consuming. If you’re able to prioritize and categorize your current needs, contract talent may just be the best option for you.
Wondering if contracting design might be the solution for your company? Yeh IDeology now offers contract design recruitment. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s see how contracting design can help you reach your business goals.