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The 7 Soft Skills Your Creative Candidates Should Have

By: Aquent

LAST UPDATED: April 7, 2023

When hiring for a creative team, managers tend to focus on tangible skills such as a degree, software proficiency, digital technologies expertise and a strong portfolio. Though extremely important, these aren't always enough on their own. They need to be supplemented with critical soft skills in order for a candidate to be a well-rounded and productive member of your team.

Here are the seven top soft skills you need to look for.

Skill #1: Communication

It's said so often that it sounds cliché, but good communication skills actually are one of the most important traits in a candidate for any position. Poor communication leads to missed information and misunderstanding. It's important to remember that exceptional communication leads to excellent work. Better ideas, more efficient approaches, effective use of time – all of these things happen when team members communicate well with one another.

Skill #2: Time Management

Nobody who loves doing creative work likes deadlines, but you can't keep the workflow going without them. Consistently meeting deadlines shows your clients that you care about their time and can be trusted to meet their needs. To meet these deadlines as a team, each person needs to have solid personal time management skills. Don’t be afraid to ask directly what tools they use to manage their time or for an example of a time when they missed a deadline. Hearing how they handle their current work will help you see how they’ll handle yours.

Skill #3: Cooperation

Each member of your team needs to be able to collaborate, compromise and handle feedback in a mature and respectful way. This will result in a happier team, a healthier environment and some fantastic collaborative work. Equally important, any creative who is interacting with clients at any level should be able to cooperate with external team members. To drill down for this skill, ask about the most difficult person they’ve worked with and listen for their takeaways.

Skill #4: Adaptability

Part of what makes any creative person great at what they do is their confidence in putting forward their own unique ideas. However, there will be occasions when they have to adapt to someone else's vision. It's important that candidates demonstrate their flexibility before coming on board, so be sure to ask questions about times they’ve had to deliver work in a way they didn’t personally agree with or had to work in an environment that required frequent change.

Skill #5: Problem Solving

In any job, it’s inevitable that problems will arise. Though you can't predict the nature of the problems you'll encounter in the future, you can prepare by hiring employees who are comfortable solving problems. So, when assessing candidates, look for opportunities to talk about not just the work they’ve done but the issues they solved in each example.

Skill #6: Organisation

Sometimes when you're working with creative employees, a certain amount of chaos can come with the territory. However, there is a difference between a messy desk and an inability to answer an email on time. Your business will suffer if disorganisation creeps into your project communications and timelines. Ask questions about how candidates stay on top of projects and how they organise their time.

Soft Skill #7: Storytelling

Whether getting buy-in from an internal team, helping land a new client or simply presenting a new idea, the best creative Talent know how to tell a good story. In fact, for digital projects that require design, content, UX and development, the ability to tell a story is critical to creating truly compelling work that meets user needs. Listen carefully to how the candidate presents their work and ask questions about the user stories they worked with to create great digital experiences.

Need some more hiring advice? We’ve created a ‘how to’ guide on all you could ever want to know when looking to source, build and maintain your creative team. From deciding which roles your team needs, to conducting the perfect interview, to keeping your team inspired – and everything in between. And if that’s not amazing enough, it’s also free! Download it here.