Illustration of three people working at a desktop computer, collaborating.

Why this matters:

While creative directors aren’t typically responsible for making designs or visuals themselves, they’re in charge of teams of designers who are. To inspire confidence and lead effectively, your creative director should be conversant in the language of design — and ideally familiar with the tools your team uses.

What to listen for:

  • The ability to list programs by name and touch on their specific features
  • Experience with the programs your team uses is a plus, reducing the candidate’s initial learning curve
  • Proven computer skills and versatility, allowing them to learn new software easily

Why this matters:

An important part of any creative director’s job is getting to know businesses inside and out. While established businesses will likely have a website, style guide, and other branding materials to help the creative director get acquainted with them, new businesses typically don’t. They need someone to help them discover their voice, attributes, and core value proposition.

What to listen for:

  • Details on their multi-step process to understand businesses and shape brands
  • A client-centric approach that accounts for business goals, target audiences, and competition
  • Methods for soliciting client feedback at every stage to ensure the finished product meets expectations

Why this matters:

To ensure their deliverables connect with the hearts and minds of customers, creative directors must always stay on top of cultural breakthroughs and trends. A candidate who keeps up with the industry is likely to know what works and what doesn’t when building a successful campaign or brand.

What to listen for:

  • Knowledge of successful design or copywriting techniques
  • Detailed explanation on what makes a strong campaign, providing insight into the candidate’s thought process for assessing one
  • Indication the candidate stays informed on industry news and trends

Why this matters:

Sometimes clients have unrealistic requests for projects and, other times, surprises pop up along the way that derail progress. It’s not uncommon for a creative director to have to extend a timeline or ask for additional funds from a client, but these situations must be handled with care to maintain a positive relationship.

What to listen for:

  • An ability to problem solve and pivot when things don’t go according to plan, helping them keep clients happy
  • Good interpersonal skills, like making sure the client feels heard
  • Foresight — ideally, the candidate doesn’t have a history of underpricing or underscoping projects

 

Why this matters:

With marketing and advertising often come tight deadlines and budgets. The smallest obstacle, from technology failures to an employee needing to take leave unexpectedly, can significantly derail a project. It’s important that the candidate is comfortable dealing with setbacks and pivoting direction with little notice in order to deliver something suitable regardless.

 

What to listen for:

  • Resilience in the face of setbacks
  • Readiness to accept and acknowledge learnings from roadblocks, and apply them in future projects 
  • Signs that the candidate exhibits strong leadership during times of crises

Why this matters:

No one is perfect, and everyone has room for growth, but the ability to take difficult feedback in stride is what distinguishes a great leader from an average one. You want to know that the candidate is receptive to feedback and willing to change for the better in order to maintain respect from their team and model a positive, adaptable outlook.

What to listen for:

  • Evidence of a growth mindset and desire to become better
  • An intrinsic dedication to self-improvement and signs of humility
  • A history of actively soliciting feedback from others

Why this matters:

The time and budget constraints in marketing and advertising can create a taxing environment for employees. When these situations arise, it’s important to have a leader who can keep everyone motivated and optimistic. The candidate’s response will provide some insight into their leadership style and experience.

What to listen for:

  • Experience de-escalating tense and stressful situations 
  • A history of using positive reinforcement tactics, as opposed to punishment or negativity, to keep the team moving forward in good spirits
  • Empathy for their employees

 

Why this matters:

Relationships are incredibly important in business. While it can be frustrating and discouraging when a client responds poorly to something your team has invested a lot of time in, the management of this response can make or break the relationship. You want a candidate who’s experienced and capable of handling these delicate situations to avoid losing money.

 

What to listen for:

  • Answers that demonstrate sensitivity and empathy
  • A history of exhibiting practiced listening skills and making clients feel heard
  • Strategies for forming a better feedback loop or working relationship with the client

Why this matters:

Time management and organizational skills are must-haves in the working world, but they’re even more important for those in leadership positions. Creative directors have to monitor an entire team of employees on top of accomplishing their own work, and any disorganization or bad habits can trickle down and impact others in the organization.

What to listen for:

  • A habit of using personal organization tools, like an agenda or app, to maintain focus
  • Strategies for managing the larger team, like project management boards and shared calendars 
  • Indication that the candidate understands the value of organization and professionalism
chatting over desk with laptops and coffee

Contact a sales specialist

By submitting this form, you agree that we may use the data you provide to contact you with information related to your request/submission and LinkedIn's products and services. If you are a LinkedIn member, you can control the messages you receive from LinkedIn in your settings. If you are a guest, you can unsubscribe from LinkedIn marketing emails at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the email. Your data will be used subject to LinkedIn's Privacy Policy.