The Top Interview Questions to Ask to Hire Top Creative Talent

Posted by Elise Van Buskirk on May 01, 2015

As a veteran recruiter within the marketing, creative and communications fields, I’ve seen my share of ups and downs in the employment market. The last 8-12 months has proven to be an exciting time for candidates as the unemployment rate for candidates with a four-year degree – and especially those within the marketing field – has dipped to a national average of below 2%. What that means for employers and hiring managers like yourself is that candidates are often being actively recruited by multiple companies at a given point in time and that they’re often receiving multiple offers.

That means that the pool of potential candidates consists of few and fewer “ideal candidates”.

It’s now more important than ever to effectively screen and interview candidates for those critical openings on your team. You are making a long-term investment when you hire.  Weeding out individuals that would not be beneficial is key to making sure you invest wisely.

It’s with that in mind that I developed the following list of  questions that fall outside of the standard “where do you want to be in 5 years” interview checklist. These questions are intended to serve as a supplement to the questions you’d ask to determine if candidates bring the right skill-set to the table. These are designed to help you determine whether there is a true cultural fit; does this candidate demonstrate integrity as well as the right “soft” skills to be successful as your direct report or colleague?  I hope that you find them to be helpful and welcome your feedback on how they work for you.

Right role or just a job:

  • Of all of your prior positions, which made you the happiest/satisfied? Why?
  • If you could craft the perfect position, what would it be, what would you do, how would it be structured. . . ?
  • What elements of your past positions do you want to make sure are not included in the new positions?
  • What prompts your interest in this industry?

Gaps, Edits and Omissions:

  • What, if any, jobs have you had that are not featured on your resume?
  • What other unrelated projects or freelance work have you done that is not listed on your resume?
  • For each title listed on this resume, are these the titles given by the company?
  • What was your role on the projects you noted? What did you specifically do? What was done by others?


  • How do you feel about corporate procedure/process? Has there been an instance when you’ve had to go against corporate procedures in order to get something done? What was the result?
  • Has a manager ever asked you to do something you felt was not ethical; how did you handle it?
  • How do you handle potentially political issues within an office such as co-workers talking about other each other’s performance?
  • How would you feel about recruiting your current colleagues to a new job?


  • We have all been in work situations where we wish we’d handled it differently. Give me an example of your experience.
  • What is the worst mistake you have made in your current role? How was it resolved? What did you learn from it?
  • How successful are you in your current role? Who is responsible for that success (or lack of success)?

Resiliency :

  • What work situation is most unnerving to you? Does this happen a lot in your current role?
  • How stressful is your current role?  What makes it stressful? What do you do when the stress is at its worse?
  • What changes have you experienced in your past organizations? How did they impact you? How do you think they impacted others? How did the changes turn out? Would you welcome going through them again?
  • What is the best criticism you have received. Did you appreciate it at the time you received it?
  • Everyone has events or frustrations that throw them off their game occasionally, what throws you off your game? How do you deal with it?


  • How would your team members describe you and your work style?
  • Who is the most effective member of the team? Why? What do they do that is more impactful than others? Have you incorporated anything from them into your work?
  • Who has been the most difficult coworker in your career? What made them difficult and how did you resolve the situation?
  • Whose job is it to create a strong team culture in your current organization?
  • How would you characterize your current team’s culture and effectiveness?
  • What is your role in creating the team culture and effectiveness? How do you facilitate that?

Need to hire top creative talent?

Paladin can help you find the right talented employees to align with your company goals and culture. Allow our team to help find the perfect creative professionals to continue to drive your company in the direction of success for generations to come.

Contact us today.

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