Where to find great creatives and how to hold onto them

Written by: Design Week
Published on: 11 Sep 2017

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Consultancy Equator looks at where to find new creative recruits in a climate where less young people are studying design.


Creativity is at the core of everything we do in this market, and it can be the difference between the success and failure of your business. Recruiting the right creative staff, that also fit in with your company, is necessary for growth and success.

It is suggested that creative staff have transferable skills unlike any other. They’re great problem solvers, communicators, lateral thinkers and of course the strongest creative minds.

However, businesses may be at risk of losing these employees as more students begin to move away from creative subjects and lean towards more science, technology, engineering and maths, (STEM) subjects due to the unpredictability of  creative job prospects which are less vocational.

So, to tackle the loss of creative applicants, here are some tips on how to encourage and recruit the best of the best creative minds for your business:

  • Be proactive! Head hunting apps can be really useful. They allow you to see who is up and coming before advertising a role. This can allow you to get to know a person through their online presence and view their previous work/portfolio before inviting them in to meet with you. A number of our existing team do lots of creative work outside their 9-5 role, we have illustrators and photographers involved in lots of stuff, which is often posted online. This sort of thing certainly attracts our interest when we’re on a recruitment drive! Currently we’re looking for people for both our Manchester and Nottingham studios, so we’ll certainly be using this tactic to locate talent in and around the area.
  • Be thorough! Look beyond an applicant’s CV – personality and dedication are invaluable to a business – they are an indication of someone’s potential and work ethic. Ensure an applicant fits in with your agency and likewise that your agency is the right fit for them, by inviting them in for half day to get to know the business and meet their possible future team. This can tell you a lot more about a person than an hour long interview can. At Equator we always ensure we get the right fit of person for the type of work we look to produce. Being an award winning agency, we’re keen to attract the best people out there. The key thing is to ensure the fit is right for both parties.
  • Be competitive! As creative design applicants can be hard to come by, your company must be ahead of the crowd. If you promote your company’s working environment, where all contributions are valued, then an applicant can feel more at ease that they will be a valued asset. Although it is important, motivation is not just based on salary, a fair and valued environment is key to attracting and retaining a great team. We value our staff immensely, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t produce the work we do.
  • Be transparent! Put forward any positive staff reviews from past or current staff. This may mean bringing someone into the initial meeting with an applicant – they can discuss the business and their experience from an employee’s prospective and not management.  If you decide to bring someone in for half a day, this could be covered then.
  • Create a culture! Ensure your company has a culture that is fun and fair if you want recruits and current staff to flourish. A lot of creative juices flow when there is fun and relaxed approach taken. Whether this means doing a light hearted exercise in groups, company days out or just a relaxed environment as a whole, put this across to an applicant. This will stick in their mind and could be the difference between them accepting a role, or declining. We always aim to do some fun stuff across all of our studios, it might be a familiarisation trip to a European city to help deliver a brief, a band playing at one of our sites, brewing our own beer or a communal breakfast!

Using these tools could help your business stay at the forefront – successful and growing.  Recruiting the best and right creative staff for your business means you can develop your offering and be one, or even two, steps ahead of the industry.