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10 Tips for Hiring the Right Creative by Chief Creative Officer Edu Pou

10 Tips for Hiring ...

So you have a killer portfolio, the perfect interview wardrobe and 500+ LinkedIn connections. You’re set, right? You might be scoring a 11/10 in preparation, however it’s just as important to step into the shoes of the hiree. That’s where we come in. Webby Connect taps into the mind of Edu Pou, Chief Creative Officer at The Barbarian Group. With almost 20 years as a leading force in the creative industry, Edu shares some insight on the process of hiring the perfect addition to his team.


Look far and wide

Sometimes, when you’re about to hire somebody it’s already too late. You’re rushed, and you end up looking for a box-ticker that fills the current gap you have in your team. Instead, if you define where the agency is headed, and keep an open-door policy, you can identify talent you never thought you would need and that may make a huge positive impact in your culture.

Go on second dates

First dates are often awkward, and you basically start to get to know each other. That’s why, once the ice is broken, a second interview is essential to move on from introductions and dig deeper into specifics. A spec assignment sent after the first meeting is often a great way to assess the problem-solving aptitude of the candidate and to guide the conversation in that crucial second date.

May the best gut win

Chemistry with a candidate is key. Make sure the chemistry is right with all the members of your team, unless the interviewee is only gonna work with you. Which is unlikely. And even if that’s the case, get your team involved and share all your gut feelings.

Deconstructed portfolios taste better

Spec work and projects involving large teams proliferate these days. And that’s fine. However, I appreciate when the candidates are forthcoming and candidly share the backstory of the projects and what role they played on them. Only then are we on the same page, and can focus on the important stuff: ideas and craft.

An interview isn’t an interrogation

Adding extra tension isn’t necessary. It’s not my way, anyway. A relaxed atmosphere is much more conducive to getting to know someone. And since I want to work with people I could hang out with, I want to create the right environment where we all feel comfortable from the get go.

Peep behind the curtains

What didn’t make the cut in a candidate’s portfolio? What’s the project that they worked on that they wish they hadn’t? Why? Mistakes define us as much as successes.

This is not poker

There’s no need for guessing and doing blind bets. I’ll check references, and use my networks to weed out imposters and conflictive people. Old-fashioned? Maybe, but making such an important decision based only on face value is irresponsible.

Hablas tech?

How did you first get into computers? What’s your latest invention? What beta toys are you playing with at the moment? Are you able to hand-code HTML and CSS? How often are you on github? Expect tech questions from a tech-centric creative agency.

Is this the job you want the most?

Only if this is the case, the process makes sense. Otherwise, let’s save time and move on.

Make it work

When you hire somebody, you’re also on test. How well can you set up expectations and enable their success? That’s on you. And it starts the day after you shake hands.

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