Talking to people is a vital part of almost any business, and your creative talent is no exception. But creative people are very different than your sales force. They see the world differently. They have to.
In order for them to see the world and transpose that perspective into a palpable new construct, they have to push their consciousness to an abstract place where many people choose not to go. You hired them to do this. They have a gift that can inspire movements, and you want that. You want your product or service to not only connect with people, but also transform lives.
So, how do you talk to these artists? These people who interpret the world in a way that will help your business, but that you can’t accomplish yourself because you don’t have the time or staff power?
First, let’s talk about how to hire someone. When you’re skimming DeviantArt for talent, keep a list of possibilities and criteria. You might be shocked when you go to interview some of your prospective candidates that a good deal of them are not team players. Or maybe they are, but require a lot more work than others to integrate.
When hiring an artist, look for the following qualities.
These aren’t rules you need to limit yourself to, but rather suggestions that are meant to be bent and molded to fit your business model while you find creatives. I have interacted with hundreds of artists. As much as I love them all, I’ve had to develop an ability to quickly assess who I want to work with based on some of the qualities listed below.
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A Track Record of Collaboration
Personally, I’m a big fan of collaboration, and a sense of collaboration is exactly what you need in your artists.
A great artist can be really terrible at working with others, and might actually prefer not to do it. Watch out for this by asking questions about their process. Talk to them about how many projects they have worked on collaboratively or independently. Listen to how they respond. Sometimes paying top dollar for art from someone who doesn’t want to work on a piece collaboratively can lead to beautiful results that have nothing to do with the goals of your business.
A Consistent Work Ethic and Productivity Output
How fast do they work? How much work have they done professionally?
As much as I love certain artists, their slow turnaround time can lead to a lot of problems when assigned new work. Ask them to show you a piece that they did in two hours versus one that took them weeks to finish. Ask them to tell you about these two different kinds of pieces. As much as I love meticulously beautiful work, time is often money, and you really need to know what you’re paying for.
Passion and Enthusiasm in Their Work
When interviewing prospective artists, ask them to talk about their favorite pieces they’ve done for other clients. Pay particular attention to what they get enthusiastic about, assuming that they do get enthusiastic.
Another thing to ask is about a piece they did not particularly like working on. Ask them why.
Artists are people who show work and strive very hard, most of the time, to be influential among an audience. When you ask that artist what kind of work they did not enjoy, pay particular attention to how much they complain about past experiences. If they carry on, imagine that the artist is complaining about your business. When you hire that person – as you try to find creatives or fill other positions – you’re essentially taking a calculated risk that this person could be talking about your business with such disdain at some point in the future.
An Ability to Give Back What They Take
I’m almost never on time to anything. There’s no excuse for it, but it’s a problem I share with many other artists. Recently, I found out that a lot of this absentmindedness has to do with a state of mind, called flow, that’s scientifically shown as happening in creatives. While this kind of passionate immersion into work is something you want in your artists, you can’t just have people doing whatever they want and blaming it on a psychological state of mind. Having someone who can be “above” the rules is not good for your staff, your time, or the productivity of your business overall.
There’s an advantage knowing about “flow” from the get go, though. When interviewing artists, talk to them about deadlines and meeting times.
I know from my own experience that while I was always late to staff meetings, I knew that the line in the sand was that it was never OK to be late on my deadlines for clients. Establishing definitions and flexibility is key to understanding how and when to depend on this creative mind that’s seeking to join your company.
In negotiating the chronic tardiness to staff meetings, I offered up doing extra work in the day to make up for what I missed. Talk to your artists about their willingness to be flexible. Ask them what they’re willing to give back if they take your time. See how they respond. I guarantee that this conversation will be enlightening to you.
Indeed, the process to find creatives to help you maximize your company’s potential will be enlightening itself. In order to add this new element to your operation, you must look at the hiring process in a new way. The work of a good professional artist will separate your website from the pack: Patience and preparation goes a long way in making this happen.
Contact us if you need some help along the way!