How to Hire an Interior Designer
Have you ever walked through a home or office that looked like it was straight from the pages of your favorite home décor magazine? If you own an interior design firm, you’ve walked through dozens and know how much time and energy goes into every single design decision. It takes a lot of work to make it look effortless!
When you’re hiring an interior designer for your firm, it’s essential to find someone who has the technical skills to design beautiful spaces and the soft skills to stick to budgets and timelines and collaborate with clients and coworkers. With the right interior design team in place, you can focus on the tasks that will grow your business and delegate some of those day-to-day design decisions to your talented team.
How do you find someone you can trust to help your most discerning clients create a space they will love and rave about? Here’s exactly how to hire an interior designer who exceeds expectations.
Write a Clear Job Description to Attract Qualified Interior Designers
The first step to hiring an interior designer is writing a job description that clarifies the role, responsibilities, and requirements. Tailor your job description for every opening to attract candidates who are qualified for the role and excited about your firm.
Start with a short summary describing the position, company mission, and company culture. Part of figuring out how to hire an interior designer is knowing how to stand out from the competition, so include relevant perks like health insurance, 401(k) matching, and bonuses.
Next, list the main responsibilities so the interior designer knows what to expect and can determine if they have the necessary skillset and experience. Depending on seniority, interior designers might be responsible for managing a team, setting a budget and timeline, leading the client relationship, making 2D and 3D models, sourcing furniture and décor options, making purchases, and scheduling deliveries and returns.
In the requirements section, it is beneficial to separate the “must-haves” from the “nice-to-haves” because some people will only apply to a job if they meet all the requirements. While it might be necessary to have an undergraduate degree in interior design or certain certifications, knowledge of specific computer-aided design (CAD) or project management software might be a “nice-to-have.” It is also helpful to require interior design candidates to submit a portfolio so you can assess their skills.
Screen Applications to Narrow Your Candidate Pool
After posting the job description on a job board and your firm’s website, you’re ready to sift through applications. Speed up the process by using an applicant tracking system (ATS) and resume screening technology to filter for the keywords from the job posting, like residential, commercial, schematic design, and design development.
When you’re setting keywords and reviewing resumes and cover letters, focus on the skills and responsibilities a candidate gained at each job. Learning how to hire an interior designer requires an open mind about the interior designer’s professional background.
An interior designer with all the “must-have” requirements who is missing a few “nice-to-haves” could be the right hire for your firm. A talented interior designer with a growth mindset can shift from residential to commercial projects and learn new skills and software faster than a client can choose between ecru and ivory bedding.
The final step of the screening process is to conduct phone interviews. A short call should help you to evaluate soft skills every interior designer should have regardless of seniority level, such as active listening, focus, and clear communication. This is a good time to discuss details like the salary range, benefits, and hours so the interior designer can decide if they want to move forward with the hiring process.
Ask Insightful Interview Questions to Choose Who to Hire
There is only so much you can tell from the interior designer’s resume, cover letter, portfolio, and a 10-minute conversation. A longer interview process gives you the opportunity to learn more about the interior designer’s experience, skills, and professional values so you can determine if they’re the right fit for the role and company.
You’re here to find out how to hire an interior designer, so you’ll probably want some pointers on interview questions to ask. Here are some examples you can customize based on your company’s needs:
- Please walk me through three projects in your portfolio. What was your strategy for each?
- What would past clients or coworkers say are your main strengths and weaknesses?
- Walk me through your process from start to finish. What is your favorite stage of the interior design process?
- Are you comfortable leading the client relationship? What account management tasks have you been responsible for in previous roles?
- Please tell me about a time you worked with a difficult client or on a difficult project. How did you handle it?
Now That You Know How to Hire an Interior Designer, Post a Job
You know how to write the job description, screen candidates, optimize interviews, and select the right interior designer for your needs. You’re ready to hire an interior designer who can delight your clients. Start the process today by posting a job for free on Monster.