3 Cs of hiring creative

Every agency will, at some point in time, find itself needing more creative professionals. 

New business gains, or employee attrition, whatever the cause may be. Any smart business manager knows it is always better to promote from within, provided the guys on the inside have a definite upside! But, at times, hiring new crew is unavoidable.

Now, the million dollar question. How does an agency evaluate creative professionals?

Educational qualifications? The number of years in business? The number and quality of awards won? 

Today, most creative professionals have some professional advertising qualifications. In any case, the hours spent in the classroom count for considerably less than the hours spent in the library. As far as the experience goes, some bright souls manage to do a lot more in two years than some other might do in ten. And yes, the awards. Can any trophy or certificate actually reveal who actually had the idea for the award-wining creative?

No, there has to be a better system. 

Presenting the 3 Cs of evaluating creative. 

Craft, Cost and Commitment.

Now, this is not a form with boxes that can be checked off. There is work involved, on the part of the recruiter. Except for the “Cost”, the other two are intangibles. So, the recruiter has to ask around in the industry for information.

Craft, in this case, does not mean mere word smithing or art direction skills. Craft means awareness of category. Craft means the willingness to do some homework. Craft means the refusal to copy somebody else’s work. Craft means the integral honesty of a creative person. The Account Directors would be the best people to check with! 

Cost. Ah-hah. Business men often talk about a ‘win-win’ situation. This is a classic case. Creatives need to be paid enough to keep them happy, and feeling valued. Yet, the figure must be credible to the bean counters in the back room. Of course, there is a slider on the quality parameter!

Commitment. Face the issue. The creative person was hired away from another agency. Will another poacher succeed? Or will the creative person give you some time to get things rolling? There have been instances where clients have refused to accept a creative person known for very frequent moves. Then of course, there is another kind of commitment. Will the new hire insist on going home at 6 every day? Or worse, will work happen only after 8 in the evening? Again, a few calls to the former colleagues will provide the answers. 

So, after getting satisfactory answers to all the above questions, the contracts have been inked, and the new creative in the cubicle or cabin (based on seniority)!

This is probably the appropriate time to revisit the 3 Cs.

Craft? Check. Cost? Check. Commitment? Check.

Is this enough to encourage the production of great work?

Any sensible manager will answer no.

 What is the missing link?

As any creative person will tell you, the biggest and most intangible reward is peer group approval and reverence.

Awards, in short.

And what do you need to produce award-winning creative work?


That’s right. Challenges. To produce outstanding work, on time, on brief, and on today’s safety first clients!

It works. It has always worked. The true blue creative person’s most effective stimulus is a challenge to produce outstanding work. And the biggest rewards are often heard in a client’s conference room. The sound of a pair of hands clapping quietly, almost as if they are in a place of worship.

Gentlemen, and Ladies, the rule for hiring creative cannons is hereby revised.

The 4 Cs of hiring creative – Craft, Cost, Commitment and Challenges!

Leave a Comment