Tips on recruiting designers

Mark Hothi knows a thing or two about recruiting designers. He has over 15 years’ experience in recruitment and 10 years recruiting in the design space. Mark was a guest on the Coffee with a Recruiter podcast, where we discussed various tips when recruiting design roles. Here are three key highlights!

Develop a taste for design

Most developers have Github to show their work, and designers have portfolios. These are personal websites where designers showcase their projects. Design leads are fans of looking at portfolios. You should become one also! Here are some tips on how to get started.

You can also develop an interest in design by going through your phone apps and asking yourself: what do I like about them? What do I dislike about certain websites? Why do I use Deliveroo instead of UberEats to order food? Develop a taste for what’s right or wrong to find the right candidates.

Hiring managers’ needs

Design leads have their quirks, and good design work is very much a matter of opinion. Sit down with the hiring manager. Take your time. Try to understand what they like and don’t like when it comes to design.

You can do this by asking them what their favourite apps are, or looking at candidate portfolios with them before you start sourcing. What do they like when it comes to viewing portfolios? Why do they not like a piece of work? Another thing you can do is looking at your design team’s portfolios.

Do you see any similarities between their projects? Use these details to gather an understanding of your design team’s preferences.

Understanding the design market

Design is a fragmented profession. It’s continuously evolving with digital products, websites and apps. The challenge? You’ll encounter a large variety of job titles along the way. Also, the design market is contract-heavy. Designers are used to flexible arrangements with recurring project work and good day rates. It also means that they value diverse experiences. 

This can make permanent design roles tricky to fill. How do you get around this? Manage expectations early on with your manager. Are we offering a competitive salary? Are we rejecting too many candidates based on job titles? Does the role provide good learning opportunities?


It was great fun speaking with Mark Hothi on the Coffee with a Recruiter podcast. In this episode, we discuss these tips and many more, so do give it a listen. Mark is an expert on all things design, so feel free to drop him a line for more information. Thanks again and stay safe


Mark Hothi’s LinkedIn profile – Podcast Episode on SpotifyApple and other platforms

Here are some links to tips on reviewing portfolios and what makes a great product designer

Published by José Marchena

Hi, I'm Jose Marchena I’m a London-based internal recruiter, host of the Coffee with a Recruiter podcast and occasional blogger. I use this website to explore insights on recruitment, productivity and self-development.

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