Hiring Your Creative Team

Multi-tasking is a myth. Let writers write and artists draw.

Although writing would be considered my specialty, I am more of a generalist than a specialist. There are advantages and disadvantages. I have noticed in job postings lately that employers are asking for the moon in terms of qualifications, so perhaps being a generalist is a good thing at the moment. However, there are a couple of items I wish to abolish from all job descriptions.

First, the ability to multi-task. Why should that skill be glorified? First of all, it’s impossible. According to Dr. John Medina (Brain Rules) and other researchers, the brain can in fact only do one thing at a time, although it is capable of switching back and forth and in between at lightning speed. Numerous studies have also shown that slowing down and bringing one pointed attention to a task results in the activity being completed sooner and with fewer errors. When the brain is fragmented and pulled in too many directions, it gets sloppy. Having to check all our various devices and social media networks constantly isn’t helping. So if I were writing a job posting, I would list “ability to focus” as a skill and instead of multi-tasking, “capable of managing multiple projects.”

Second, just because someone can put up a website and manage the content, doesn’t mean they are a graphic designer. If you want your website or blog or print campaign to stand out, hire a graphic designer or someone with an art background who understands layout and design principles, who knows their way around fonts, font sizes and white space. And this is very important, more often than not, the person who can draw can’t write (or spell) and vice versa. Different artistic expressions entirely.

In a traditional advertising setting, there would be a copywriter and an art director team assigned to your account. Together they would come up with a concept, or two or three. The art director would do the initial sketches, but often an illustrator or other graphic specialist would be called in to do the final work before handing it over to the production department. The creative director oversees all creative and could be a writer or an artist with good design and copy sense (likely more of a generalist).

So please, please stop trying to recruit someone who can write and design your newsletter. If you want your brand to have a pretty face, you need specialists among your generalists.

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