August 18, 2011

Every company wants that stellar mobile app developer or insightful UI designer, but can your company truly compete when these candidates are being wooed by so many agencies and fast-growing tech companies? Definitely! Just follow our M-O-S-T D-E-F tips for attracting in-demand interactive talent. (We even created a little acronym to help you remember!)

Money. First, check out market rates to help you get a sense of what would be competitive pay for in-demand creative talent. (Hint, hint: Your Vitamin T agent is a great resource for this data.) If you find that you can’t compete on rates, think about what other options you have to appeal to desirable candidates. You might consider other incentives like flexibility in hours - or free food (everyone has to eat). 

Incentives don’t have to cost a bundle. The MathWorks, for example, bakes fresh cookies for employees each afternoon, while Google has a free on-site laundry service, and REI offers free kayak and ski rentals.

Opportunities. Interactive talent crave new challenges. Give them opportunities to expand their skills and set them up for career advancement. Even when projects are very straightforward, consider letting them create an “out of the box” version that incorporates their own design vision or new technologies, when time allows, to keep them engaged. You might also like that version better, and you may find that your staff has skills you didn’t realize!

Soft skills match. It’s easy to focus on the technical skills interactive  designers and developers need to get the job done, but how well will they fit in with your team? During the interview, present them with situations that commonly occur in your environment and ask how they’d handle them (without using your staff names, of course!). Ask them what their pet peeve is in a work environment and how they react when faced with that situation. This one question will tell you lots about what they value and how they resolve issues that are personal to them.

Transportation.People’s job satisfaction is surprisingly sensitive to daily hassles,” says researcher Jeremy Dean of PsyBlog. Case in point: Nothing depletes your creative juices like sitting in gridlock traffic trying to get to work. If you’re choosing new office space, seek options that are easily accessible by public transit. If not, ease transportation angst by allowing flex hours or telecommuting. Or maybe offer perks for those who carpool or bike to work.

Direction. Tell your freelance talent who will be providing direction for them and the details of your project workflow. Giving your freelancers clear direction on projects, tactics, and strategy will help them get off and running successful. Even better, provide them with a list of internal resources (both people and technology) so they can find answers to their own questions as they arise.

Environment. Everybody knows a good office environment makes people happy to come to work each day and excited to take on new projects and challenges. The importance of resolving staff issues quickly, getting regular feedback from your team, and providing outlets for blowing off steam and bonding with coworkers can’t be overstated. But if your office can’t overcome itself, check out this article for a few ideas on adding a bit of fun to your workspace.

Flexibility. Creative people don’t like to be boxed in. The 9-to-5 grind in cube-world is not appealing. Give interactive talent opportunities for non-traditional work scenarios. This could be anything from encouraging job sharing, to sending employees out for recess once in awhile. We’ve said it a few times already, but flexible work time is often one of the most appealing perks in today’s world of work, so when you can afford it, do your best to offer flexibility to your creatives.

What other steps have you found helpful for attracting and keeping the best talent? Please do share!

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