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“In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.” – Tina Fey

Recently, I wrote about my experiences at HOW Design Live, but wanted to expand on a breakout session that really stuck with me: “Mentor, Manage and Motivate: Hiring and Managing the Best New Talent.” Gail Anderson from SVA spoke bluntly about the best ways to seek out and manage junior creatives, so here are some tips from her that can make an impact on future hiring:

On Hiring Junior Talent

  • To find talent, teach. Teaching is a way to discover the most skilled and creative designers — and true personalities show during the course of a semester so it’s clear who would be a good fit for your digital advertising agency. 
  • Attend portfolio reviews. While teaching is a large time commitment, portfolio reviews are much easier to fit into a busy schedule. Regularly attend local reviews and set aside time to look at individual portfolios throughout the year. Additionally, don’t just think locally, look across the country at major schools’ review schedules.
  • Use online resources to seek out talent – like adcglobal.org, aiga.org and mediabistro.com
  • Interview thoroughly and check references. Sometimes red flags pop up during calls to references, either through an honest critique of the interviewee or through the tone of voice used to describe them. References are usually skimmed over, so take the time to call.

On Managing Junior Talent

  • Once they’re hired, delegate. Delegating can be difficult for some — especially those who know they can design the project faster, but it’s vitally important to a junior designer’s career growth for them to actually have work to do. You can’t do it all yourself — so engage and empower them. It’s up to YOU, as a manager to properly delegate.
  • Give them credit. We’ve all been in a meeting where someone takes credit for work that isn’t theirs — don’t be that person. Celebrate their successes! Early “wins” mean a hell of a lot to juniors, so be their cheerleader.   
  • It’s all about Hearts, Minds & Stomachs. Appeal to these three things and you can’t go wrong. Celebrate birthdays, go out to eat together, go to happy hours — this stuff is important.
  • Be a mentor. Keep people encouraged, keep them feeling good about collaborating and working with others, not working in a vacuum.

Junior creatives bring enthusiasm and a unique viewpoint to projects, which makes them a valuable asset to any marketing team. Be sure to hire carefully and mentor purposefully to grow them into a trusted co-worker and collaborator.

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