5 Obsessions to Avoid When Hiring Designers

Breaking Free from Hiring Biases.

5 Obsessions to Avoid When Hiring Designers

Over the years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates and successfully hired for various levels of design roles. Having been on both sides of the table, I've identified five key obsessions to avoid when evaluating potential hires.

1. Portfolios

Instead of fixating solely on portfolios, spend time going through a candidate’s real, live work. Anyone can create an impressive portfolio, but few can showcase impactful work that is actively in use. Live work should always outshine portfolios.

2. Industry Background

Don’t get caught up in the idea that a candidate must come from the same industry to make significant contributions. You don’t necessarily need to be from the same industry to crack the next big thing. The foundation of experience design is the same. It is all about understanding your user base and catering experiences accordingly.

3. Assignments

While assignments can be valuable for freshers or those with limited work to showcase, relying solely on them for every candidate is a red flag. If you find yourself consistently depending on assignments to understand a candidates’s skillsets, then you shouldn’t be hiring at all. Get someone who can.

4. Formal Education

While formal education can provide a strong foundation, overemphasising its need might exclude talented individuals with alternative learning paths or self-taught designers. Practical skills and great work often provide a more accurate assessment of a candidate’s capabilities.

5. Specific Design Style

Insisting on candidates who conform to a particular design style might stifle creativity. A diverse range of design styles can contribute to a more dynamic and adaptable team. Look for designers who can adapt their style to suit the project requirements.


Remember that hiring exceptional designers goes beyond the surface. Avoid fixating on portfolios, industry backgrounds, assignments, formal education, or a specific design style. Instead, focus on a candidate’s ability to deliver impactful, real-world solutions. By steering clear of these obsessions, you’ll pave the way for a dynamic and thriving design team. Happy hiring!

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