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How to Hire for Creativity: Recruiting Strategies to Employ Great People


Many companies try to assert to find employees who “think outside the box”. This phrase has become so common, that in reality it has somewhat become a clichéd statement in the professional industry.

Companies are trying really hard to find an individual who tries to think beyond the conventional propaganda. These can be seen as a valuable asset to the company, as such professionals have the power to overturn the situation in the favor of their company. Finding the right amount of creativity within individuals is a painstaking process.

How to Hire for Creativity

What is Considered as Creative?

In this current professional industry, being creative means finding a new and a refreshing solution to old problems. Finding a new technique or inventing a new gadget is also considered as creative.

In jobs, where there is high repetition in tasks, employers try to find creative workers who try to make the whole process interesting. Innovation and renovation are the driving factors that help an employer to select a candidate. The potential field for being creative is endless and this factor should be utilized well by the job seekers.

What to Look for in Creative Employees?

As mentioned before, finding the right kind of candidate is a tedious process. Though such candidates usually stand out from the crowd, there are certain factors that needs to be taken into consideration.

An overly creative candidate can also be a liability to the company and can cause loss for the establishment too. Hence, it is necessary to find the right mix of creativity and innovation along with humbleness and responsibility within a candidate.

1. Diversity in learning experience:

Try to look for candidates who have a varying living and travelling experience. This may include the number of years he/she has been accustomed to a foreign environment or how many kinds of jobs he/she has done over the last few years.

Try to find people who have diversity in experience and skill. People who love to travel and explore also falls under this category. They do not like to stay in one place, and as a result they test out new things in life.

For example, in an interview, candidates who are in the IT industry and have an MBA degree or work experience are more likely to be preferred than candidates who just have experience in the IT industry. How the candidate utilised his time is the greatest factor in this.

Aside from experience, try to look out for unusual points in their hobbies and lifestyle. This shows how much of a creative person they are.

2. Humour:

The ability to create your own jokes rather than repeating old ones involves a lot of creativity. Such creativity goes unnoticed in an interview because they are not reflected on the candidates resume.

Original humour shows how much the person thinks about the situation and how well he tries to lighten it up through his jokes.

Usually creative people are not that funny. While interviewing a candidate, try to ask questions or enquire whether he has a blog or a twitter account to know if he is genuinely funny or not.

3. Rebelliousness:

Creative people are usually rebellious in nature. They think differently from the average person and they do not think and follow in the conventional sense. They do not hesitate to do things in their own way, even if it means provoking the rest of the people around them. This includes the higher ups and the management faculties.

They are usually driven by the end result and not the method used to achieve the goal. This is also a trait that usually goes unnoticed. This is because, the rebellious nature of the candidate cannot be pointed out in the CV for obvious reasons.

Moreover, while selecting rebellious candidates, keep in mind that not all rebellious candidates are going to be helpful for the company. Maybe they could be rebellious for some other reasons and such individuals may not be creative.

Hence, try to differentiate between the rebellious and riotous attitude. Nobody wants an individual who starts a riot against the company just because they didn’t follow his method.

4. Different:

This pretty much defines what creative people are – they are different from others. They have a different work style and a different learning experience. They try to produce fresh ideas rather than consorting to the textbook method. They produce new innovations for age old problems. This can be seen in their resumes, on how much they are deviated from the mainstream crowd.

The best way to utilize and produce results from these candidates is to constantly challenge them and introduce them to new challenges. Hence, this can be beneficial for both the employer and the employee.

How to Select Innovative Employees?

Finding the right type of creative people and making them join to work for you is easier said than done. Creative minds are not bounded by the profit of the company and they are not weighted by the stereotypical working individuals. Following are the factors on how to select such a creative character.

1. Look for people engrossed in strategies:

Try to find people who are well rooted in the basic strategy. Such individuals know how to convey their messages through the result. When discussing about a problem, usually people having a well-thought strategy gets exposed to so many new ideas and techniques. In the end, that individual becomes excited and passionate about the project.

2. Give them homework:

When searching for creative minds try to give them unbiased problems, so that the employer could see how well they can solve and make decisions. This is usually the best methods to observe their practical experience. Try to give them open-minded problems. This shows how well they stick to the basics and concepts.

Does their decisions affect the organization? How well does he/she take the initiative to solve the problem. How well does she executes it. These points should be taken into consideration while selecting a creative individual.

3. Treat the hiring differently:

The most basic reason is the fact that creative people think differently from an average individual. Hence, also treat the selection process as such. Try to select a creative such that you should have complete faith in their ideas. The selection process should not be run of the mill style.

Try to show variety in the question and in how you behaviour towards the candidates. This is because, in this industry to become a successful organization, authenticity and originality is a key factor. These two things sell a lot in the commercial industry. Creativity entices the user and at the same time provides profits for the company.

4. Look for an amazing job description:

By looking at their job description and their track record, one can determine how much of a creative person he/she is. Usually job descriptions are read by the hiring manager. When they see a unique job description, it gives the hiring manager an idea that the candidate is very passionate about his work and how they have done research about the company, and are they suitable for the work culture of the establishment. This may lead to a unique first impression about the candidate.

5. Define the intellectual regulations and terms:

Before selecting a creative individual, explain to them how the company has exclusive rights for his ideas and they are obliged to use them in favour of the company. Usually, a creative individual is possessive about his work. So to prevent any future discord, try to clear in the intellectual property regulations. For a more friendly approach, try to divide the ownership between the organization and the employee.

6. Look for a good personality:

Try to find an individual who has experienced a lot or has a wide knowledge in a number of subjects. They try to live on the edge, but they know how to live in the middle and try to produce a satisfactory result. They live on variety.

7. Try to find about their reading habits:

Creative individuals are always curious about their surroundings and they try to explore rather than being cooped up in a place.

Try to find what kind of books they have read, how much they have conceptualized from reading what all other sources they use for information. Do they follow any kind of sports and so on.

Having a track of their hobbies shows much of an original person he/she is. These kind of people try to collect points of information from every source possible and are usually eclectic.

8. Meeting in person:

Try to meet the candidate in person, this should be a mandatory process. There is a limited scope on choosing creative individuals based on their resumes. Try to put out an introduction call and invite the candidates selected for a talk. Observe how much they are interested in working with the company.

Try to make sure that they are a team player and are not selfish in hogging all the work available. Try to examine how much questions they ask about the company and the area they are supposed to work.

How curious are they about the company as a whole. This provides a positive impression to the employer. Try to explain to them how they are supposed to complete a problem and provide them a few anecdotes.

9. Throw out random ideas:

While talking to a candidate about the company, throw out random and irrelevant topics like the weather, the food, accommodation and such. This shows how much the individual is triggered by the surroundings. This also lightens up the air between the employer and the candidate.

Another approach is to introduce slightly off topics, which are still relevant to the company. This shows how much potential the candidate has to work in the company and in diverse conditions, if any sudden and unplanned situations occur.

10. Look out for egoists:

Try to prevent hiring ego in the company. This can create discomfort with the fellow employees and can cause disagreements in the future.

An innovative person should be:

Creative (create new ideas and examples);

Strategic (should know how to play in the field and within the competition);

Humble (rather than relying on their own ideas, they should also accept ideas and suggestions from fellow colleagues); they should constantly upgrade themselves.

These kind of individuals should be set as an example for other employees.

Additional Tips for Hiring Creative Workforce:

To find the right person for the job, certain factors should also be taken into consideration. Finding the right person can be tiresome and tedious.

These include:

1. Decide on the kind of creativity:

Creative people come in all forms. Some can be destructive. Some are profitable and can be taken as a property by the company. Try to find candidates who know how to be creative with the available resources. Try not to find too outlandish in regards of producing a result. Try to be as economical as possible. This is where success lie for an innovative person.

2. Attract bright minds:

Try to advertise your company in such a way that it can attract potential minds. Try to be creative in advertising and presenting your company, in a way it seems to lure the candidate.

Try to explain the details of the company in a well organized manner, starting from the different career paths the company has to offer to the values and practices that it follows. This provides a canvas for them to integrate all the potential ideas favourable for the department. Interviewers can also use this opportunity to filter out the kind of creativity favorable for the company.

3. Testing the candidates:

Try to test the candidates using behavioral interviewing. Try to converse with the candidate such as, “tell us an experience where you had to take matters in your own hands”, this shows how the candidate is fully aware of his/her surroundings. This method is used to test the thought process of the candidate and how well the person is able to cope up with difficult situations.