Art may come in all shapes and forms, but graphic design is one of the most commonly used types in business. Graphic Designers use art and technology to communicate ideas through engaging images and design. And if you're looking to hire a Graphic Designer for your company, it's essential to ask questions that will help you gauge their creativity, technical skills and work experience.
Here are some Graphic Designer interview questions to ask candidate during the hiring process, plus check out what answers you should be listening for when vetting candidates.
<div class="inpage-callout-container"><p class="inpage-banner-text">💡 Remember: You may be interviewing your Graphic Designer candidate for the job but your candidate is also interviewing you. They’ll want to assess whether your values overlap and if they can see themselves growing their career on your team—just for starters. Be ready to answer candidates’ questions and share information that’d get them excited about joining your team.</p></div>
Top 3 essential Graphic Designer interview questions to ask:
📣 Capture the right Graphic Designer candidates with the right job application questions
This question will give you a better understanding of what the candidate's day-to-day life looks like. As artists, their days may be spent mostly creating or working on designs, but it's important to know if they also spend time meeting with clients, managing projects or doing other administrative tasks.
Listen for: A well-rounded answer that covers both the creative and administrative aspects of their job. They should be organized and efficient in their work but also have a creative lifestyle that allows them to explore new ideas and think outside the box.
Graphic design is a field that requires both creative and technical skills. This question will help you understand what the candidate has learned from their previous experience and if they have the skill set required for the job. If they don't have much experience, you can ask them what they've learned from their education or other projects they've worked on.
Listen for: Their ability to take criticism, if they work well under pressure and what they do to make sure they meet deadlines. The candidate should also be able to adapt their designs based on the needs of the client or project.
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The field of graphic design is always changing with new technologies and trends. Asking this will help you understand how the candidate keeps their skills up-to-date and if they're able to adapt to change. A good Graphic Designer should be able to show you that they're always learning and keeping up with the latest trends.
Listen for: A willingness to learn new things and stay current with the latest trends. They might mention taking online courses, attending workshops or conferences, reading design blogs and magazines or following well-known designers online.
This next question will help you understand the type of work that motivates the candidate. It’ll give you a better idea of their design style and aesthetic, beyond what you’ve seen in their portfolio. Their answer will also provide you with insight into their creative process and how they approach projects.
Listen for: Enthusiasm and pride in their work. They should be able to describe the project in detail and explain what they enjoyed about it. Be sure to ask follow-up questions about the project to get a more well-rounded understanding of their involvement.
Here's another question that will help you gauge the candidate's ability to think ahead and anticipate change. A good response will show that the candidate is keeping up with changes in the field and understands where the industry is headed. Their response will also give you some insight into their thoughts on current trends and where they see the industry going.
Listen for: A well-informed answer would cover the latest trends and technologies in graphic design. They should be able to explain how these changes will impact the field and what designers need to do to stay ahead of the curve.
Next, you want to understand how the candidate reacts to feedback, both positive and negative. As Graphic Designers, they’ll need to accept feedback from clients and coworkers in order to improve their designs. We know—hearing criticism is hard! 😣 But ideally, the candidate can accept criticism gracefully and use it to improve their work.
Listen for: A positive attitude towards criticism. You may want to avoid candidates who become overly defensive or argue when given criticism. They should be able to take constructive feedback, provide sound argumentation for their choices and use it to improve their work.
Inspiration is key for any artist, and understanding their inspiration will help you understand their design style. Their answer will also give you some insight into their creative process and how they approach projects.
Listen for: An array of sources that they draw inspiration from such as books, magazines, art galleries, nature and everyday objects. A proficient designer should see value in looking inside and outside the field of graphic design for their inspiration.
Depending on the type of graphic design work you need, the candidate may need to be proficient in specific software programs. This question will help you understand which software programs the candidate is familiar with and how comfortable they are using them. For example, if you need a candidate for web design, you'll want to ensure they also know how to use HTML and CSS.
Listen for: A list of software programs relevant to the position you're hiring for. The candidate should be able to explain how they use each program and what types of designs they can create with it. A word of warning here: keep in mind that technical skills, like how to use a certain software, can be learned. We’d recommend keeping an open mind with a question like this.
A good candidate should be able to walk you through their design process from start to finish. They should understand the different steps involved in designing a project, from research to concept development to stakeholder management and then to execution. They should also be able to explain how they approach each step and why they take that particular approach.
Listen for: A clear and concise explanation of the design process. The candidate's answer should show that they understand the importance of each step and how it impacts the final product. Across multiple projects, you should see a consistent design process.
Confidence is important for any job, but it's especially important for a creative field like graphic design. The right candidate is aware of their strengths and can use them to their advantage. This question will help you assess the candidate's confidence in their abilities and what they see as their strengths.
Listen for: A list of their top strengths that are relevant to the position. The candidate should be able to support their claims with examples from their work. Avoid candidates who seem arrogant or overconfident in their abilities. A bit of humility is important!
Nobody is perfect, and it's important to understand the candidate's perspective on improvement. If they can't name a single area they'd like to improve in, that may be a red flag. This question will help you understand what the candidate is working on and how self-aware they are. It also gives you a preview of the candidate's honesty and coachable attitude.
Listen for: An area the candidate is actively working on improving. This should be relevant to the position and not too general.
Graphic designers often have to make revisions to their work, whether it's at the request of a client or due to feedback from a team member. As it’s the nature of their job, this is a pretty important Graphic Designer interview question to ask.
Listen for: Whether they can incorporate notes and changes gracefully, without getting too attached to their original vision. A positive attitude towards revisions is a bonus. They should also be able to manage multiple revision requests at once without getting overwhelmed.
Graphic design is a field where a lot of work is done independently. You might provide the candidate with a design brief, but they'll have to develop the concepts and execution independently. This question will help you understand how well the candidate works on their own.
Listen for: If they’ve had to work independently before—most Graphic Designers do! This can include freelancing, working remotely or taking on additional responsibilities at their current or previous job. They should also be able to explain how they stay focused and motivated when working on projects alone.
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Many artists prefer the lone wolf approach, but even though it’s common, that's not always possible in the real world. This question will help you understand if the candidate can work on team projects. Their answer should show that the candidate is able to take direction from others while still contributing their own ideas to the project.
Listen for: Evidence of teamwork in the candidate's previous projects. Their answer should show that the candidate is able to take direction from others while still contributing their own ideas to the project.
If you're looking for a candidate to lead a team of designers, this is the question to ask. The answer will show whether the candidate has any experience leading a team and how they handled that responsibility.
Listen for: Positive stories about the candidate's experience leading a team. You want a manager who can motivate, inspire and teach their team while still getting the work done.
Let's say you're hiring a Photoshop expert, but you also want someone who is willing to learn new design software. A good answer will show that the candidate is open to new experiences and is willing to learn new skills.
Listen for: No hesitation towards doing things differently. The candidate should also be able to give an example of a time when they stepped out of their comfort zone and what the end result was.
In other words: What is your dream job? Not everybody is a good fit for your company, and that's okay. But you want a candidate who is excited about the opportunity to work for you. Their answer should show that they're looking for more than just a paycheck. They might be looking for laid-back company culture, or they might be looking for a company that emphasizes career growth. Either way, you'll know right away if you can offer them what they're looking for.
Listen for: Qualities that match the culture and values of your business. For example, if you're a small startup with a laid-back environment, you don't want a candidate who is looking for a big, formal, corporate setting.
Demanding clients are a reality of working as a Graphic Designer. They may know nothing about design, or they may be micromanagers who want to have a say in every single detail of the project. A great answer to this question would revolve around the candidate taking the time to understand the client's needs and finding common ground.
Listen for: How the candidate handled the situation. Did they maintain a professional attitude? Did they find a way to meet the client's needs while still staying true to their own vision? These skills are important for a Graphic Designer and future team member.
You’re looking for a candidate who can prioritize and manage their time efficiently. They should also be able to stay calm under pressure and not let the deadline stress them out. The end result should not be compromised just to meet the deadline.
Listen for: A stellar answer to this Graphic Designer interview question will show that the candidate was able to prioritize and manage their time in order to meet deadlines—without sacrificing quality.
A desirable candidate is able to work well with others, even if they don't see eye to eye on everything. Working with other designers can be a great way to bounce ideas off of each other and get feedback. However, it's not always easy to find co-workers that you click with.
Listen for: How the candidate handled the situation. Did they try to find a way to work together? Or did they just go their own way and do their own thing? You want a candidate who is open to collaboration and puts effort into making things work.
Creative blocks are a reality for any artist. Here is where your candidate's problem-solving skills will come in. They should know how to find inspiration even when feeling stuck.
Listen for: Unique or proven ways to find inspiration and overcome creative blocks. They should have a few different methods for getting past creative blocks, such as taking a break, going for a walk or listening to music.
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