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Design Tasks for Creatives – What you need to know

More and more clients include a design task as a step in the process. Should you embrace a design task as an interviewer as well as an interviewee? What could they entail?

Here are some tips and facts on how to best frame and handle a design task from David Dalton, Creative Services Manager at Lovehoney.

ADLIB: What is a design task and why use it?

David Dalton: To put it simply, it’s a way to test design skills and creativity within a set deadline. A candidate talking through their portfolio is a fantastic way to discover how they design and how they have produced work for previous clients, but if you want to see how they can tackle one of your projects then a design task can be very helpful. You can see if they understand your business, the industry you work in and how they deal with one of your design briefs.

ADLIB: Do you have any recommendations for those that are considering to include this as part of their interview process?

David Dalton: I tend to use design tasks at the second interview stage. I always make it as similar to one our projects as possible and try to write it as if it was a ‘real’ design brief. However, you will probably need to give more background information than you would normally write in a brief. The candidate is expected to research as much as possible but bear in mind, they don’t know the business inside out and they can only learn so much from google!

Dave Dalton

Be realistic with your deadline. If your candidate is already in full time employment, that leaves them evenings and weekends to work on the task. Don’t break them and put them off working for you, you want them to be able to express their skills and creativity not become a quivering mess.

ADLIB: Do you have any tips for candidates that are wanting to prepare for such a test?

David Dalton: This is very basic, but you should read all information carefully and make sure you fully understand the brief. If you need to ask questions, an email to the interviewer is better than asking on the day or misunderstanding the design task.

Try to enjoy the task as much as possible, even if it’s difficult. This is your chance to express your skills and creativity, and stand out from the other candidates.

Think about how you will present your solution to the design task, if the interviewer hasn’t given details, then email them! If you need a screen, make sure they have one, if you’re using your own laptop make sure you can connect to the screen easily or if you’re presenting online get the wifi code beforehand. It can look very unprofessional if you can’t present it how you intended on the day.

Be prepared for the interviewer to ask how you found working on the task. Try to be honest, without going overboard. If you found the task easy, I wouldn’t recommend saying so! It could seem arrogant, or it could look like you didn’t push yourself enough.

Thank you Dave for sharing!