Hiring Freelancers to Do Great Work

by Rob Williams | Last Updated: October 5, 2018

Hiring can be a bit of a catch-22: you don’t want the very important (and highly-paid) people at your company wasting time on things like recruiting strategy, sifting through resumes, or interviewing applicants BUT they seem like the only people capable of it. This is why recruiting plan templates can be extremely valuable.

Recruiting plan templates help you create a system for hiring the right person that anyone can execute and minimize the amount of time required from busy managers… equaling a ton of time/money saved for your company.

Here at Folyo, we’ve developed our own recruiting plan templates and today want to share them with you. These recruiting plan templates have been developed and refined from working with hundreds of companies. They result in great hires, nearly every time.

What’s Included in Our Recruiting Plan Template:

  1. How to streamline your email application process so it doesn’t become a huge time-wasting mess.
  2. How to cut out 99% of the spam and irrelevant application sifting.
  3. Exactly what to focus on at the beginning to set your company up for success.
  4. How to best schedule your interviews, how long to schedule them for, and exactly how many interviews it takes per role.
  5. How to choose the exact right candidates to move forward with in the process.

That’s it. We’re going to dive into each one individually next.

But before we do….

What does this recruiting plan template NOT cover? How to get applicants in the first place.

We have a few guides that can help with that, but for now we want to focus on the process of selecting the right candidates and saving time doing this.

For help writing a job description, we have some job description templates to check out here:

We’ll also be publishing guides on picking job boards and other tools soon.

Overall, though, these things matter less than you think because the entire point of a job board is to expose you to a large audience.

That means almost any ole job board like Indeed, or even Craigslist can work.

Often, no matter what job board service you use, the result will look something like this:

So keep that in mind.

A portion of spammers will stick out like a sore thumb but a lot are much harder to spot.

One trick is to use specialty job boards. In the design industry, something like Behance and Dribbble are common.

(I have a full review of the hiring process on dribbble here.)

These platforms are supposed help… but I’ve found they tend to not be that great. Namely, because they tend to over-emphasize small screenshots which tell you almost nothing about important information like the context behind the work, what work was done by who, what problems they were trying to solve, etc.

So, yeah, your mileage may vary.

Anyways, the main advice here is just pick one of the big job boards because they’re all about the same anyway.

Okay? Cool. Now let’s get to the fun part.

Step one of our recruiting plan template…

How to streamline your recruiting plan template: make sure email applications to to one place.

Too often hiring managers assume they can deal with the influx of applications directly in their inbox. That’s a recipe for disaster.

This is especially true if you have different positioning or multiple projects going at once (which Folyo usually does) but even if you’re just focused on hiring one person, it’s deceptively easy to lose track and get unorganized fast if you don’t put applications in a different folder.

What Folyo does is create a specific folder for each new project.

Then we have designers email a specific address for that project. Since I have a catch-all setup for my domain, I don’t need to do anything different besides tell designers to email: project_name@folyo.me.

Next, we create a rule in Mail which puts all email to this address in that folder and presto the applications are all there waiting for me to review when I have time.

You can also accomplish this with Basecamp’s email forwards or something like Typeform. However, I strongly recommend using email because it’s one less thing to manage.

How to cut out 80% of time-wasting: come back to the folder later and remove all spammy responses.

The first thing I do once I’m ready to review applications is remove all of the spammy responses. As mentioned above, I estimate that about 75% of responses from job boards are be pure spam.

And it makes sense because talented designers don’t have time to check a job board everyday. (That’s also why Folyo is a referral newsletter, not a job board. We go directly to top designer inboxes and we only send to vetted designers.)

The good news is 99% of spam is easy to spot because, by definition, there hasn’t been a great deal of effort put into it. Spammy emails will have these characteristics:

Note that I don’t really recommend using a job board or even a designer platform.

Instead of a job board Folyo uses an email newsletter which sends your job directly to vetted designer inboxes. That means there’s no chance for spam because spammers don’t have access to your job.

When someone joins my referral newsletter I personally check them out and make sure they’re professional. Unlike a job board which will be posting your email, company info, salary data in public for every site crawlers and Indian spammer to collect, Folyo is private.

What to focus on early in the hiring process: relevance.

At this point you will have discarded about 75-90% of emails applicants. Phew! That was fast. The next step is to look at the portfolios or proposals that were sent in.

The ironic part is that you will quickly notice that talented people are at a quality level that’s pretty similar. You might even have 10+ designers left all seem to be good enough.

That’s why I recommend you use skill as only one third of the qualification criteria you’re looking for (more on that in the last step).

Instead of spending a bunch of time at this step reviewing portfolios in-depth, what I like to do is click on the remaining 5-20 candidate portfolios you have and just give a cursory look at quality level.

You may find that a few aren’t at a level that you’re comfortable with. Obviously you’ll want to discard those.

But my guess is that most of the remaining candidates will be at a pretty high level.

This is where you want to look for relevancy. Look for specific skills you need. For example, if you’re a non-profit look for designers that sent you non-profit projects from their portfolio.

If you’re a Shopify store look for a designer who sent you Shopify projects. Contact those designers first.

It sounds simple, but it’s amazing how much better the results will be when you’re consciously ranking the designers that put some care into what they’re showing you a bit higher.

How to set up great interviews: schedule 10 different 15-minute calls per role.

Don’t worry you probably won’t have to jump on calls with 10 different designers. This is another test.

In my experience 30-50% of the time, designers won’t get back to you about scheduling a call, even after you send them a calendly link where they can grab a time in seconds.

Oh and by the way use calendly. Not only will it handle scheduling a call but it will connect to Zoom (so you can have recordings of your interviews), plus it will let you batch your interviews so that you can do them all on the same day. Here’s how to set that up:

Now when you send over your calendly link, all the designers will see one option where they can grab a time. You’re able to spend a few hours on one specific day with all of your interviews on that day.

You’re in total control. You can schedule interviews as quickly or as far out as you want. It won’t balloon to take up several weeks, which easy during the hiring process.

So why do I recommend having a call anyway? What will you even talk about with the designer?

Great question. You’ll want to ask each person to do a walk-through of a recent, relevant project they’ve worked on. Tell them simply: you’d like them to share their screen and walk you through a recent project.

This walk-through is 100× more helpful than a portfolio screenshot.

On the call tell them you’re interested in hearing about the results, the thought process that went into their design work, and how many people they worked with.

Here’s what a great call looks like:

Much of your decision will come down to things beyond the work. It’s shocking at first but true. Which brings us to our last point.

How to choose the exact right candidate: focus on skill, attitude, and passion.

Congrats! You’ve made it to the final step which means you now have 3-10 video recordings of your potential designers.

You’ve done the hard work and now you get to the rewards. You can calmly review each interview and are able to pause, take notes, and compare each one on your own time. That’s power!

The last step will help you know how to make the decision. You won’t want to make the common mistake of basing it entirely off of skill.

Often, as we’ve talked about already, skill is the least important part of the process.

Skill is something that every professional designer should and will usually have. That’s what allows them to be a professional.

However, fitting in with your particular personality and team’s workflow is going to be a much more specific thing.

That’s another reason why a video is great, it lets you reference the designers for two additional criteria: attitude and passion.

These are things that you will look for and hopefully see shine through in your calls. It’s very hard to fake attitude or passion.

Personalities will either mesh naturally or not.

This is something that is crucial for you to figure out before you hire someone and start work on a project together.

Usually, it’s pretty straight forward. Look for designers that:

Once you’ve found someone you think fits the bill, it’s not easy. However, because you’ve followed this process you can feel total confidence in trusting your gut because you know your decision is based in a real system.

It’s now time to trust that decision and hand over the reigns of the project to the designer and let them do their job.

Don’t hire a dog, then bark yourself – David Ogilvy

I really hope this process was helpful for you. Good luck hiring for your job or project!

Additionally, if you’d like me to handle this entire process for you I’d be honored.

I can not only do everything outlined in this post for you (a savings of 10s of hours) I’d also be happy to send your project or job out to 5,000+ vetted designers I trust.

Usually I can point you to 3-4 really great options in under a week.

It’s all costs a $500 flat-fee and you don’t pay anything until after you’ve found a designer that’s right for you.

It’s a huge time savings for any hiring manager or agency owner and I’d love to help you take hiring a designer off your plate.

Click here to get started

 

As someone with a hybrid designer/developer profile, I end up hanging out with a lot of developers and entrepreneurs.

And when the conversation turns to finding talent, sooner or later someone will point out just how hard it is to find designers. It’s as if designers were elusive beasts, hiding in the deepest, most remote jungles.

Of course, that’s not quite true. There are plenty of places where designer congregate in plain sight, such as Dribbble, Behance, or Designer News.

Finding Your Way

But when you’re not a designer yourself, it can be easy to miss out on these resources, and you’re often left wondering where exactly to start your search.

So to prevent you from getting lost, here’s a short field guide to help you make your way through the jungles of design.

Broadly speaking, design sites can be split into four main groups:

Let’s take a look at each one.

Design Communities

Design communities are one of the best ways for a designer to make a name for themselves. Here are a few of the most popular of them.

Dribbble is a cross between a portfolio showcase site and a more social Twitter-like site: designers can post small images (or “shots”) of their latest work and collect likes and comments from other members. These social features make for a dynamic, ever-changing platform that’s quickly become very good at surfacing new talent.

While Dribbble is great for small work samples, Behance is still the best place when it comes to posting longer, more elaborate case studies. This extra space can sometimes help give designs the context they might otherwise lack on Dribbble.

While Dribbble and Behance carry a strong focus on design, when it comes to illustration DeviantArt is also a strong contender. Sure, you’ll sometimes stumble on the ocasional “My Little Pony” fanart, but the site does feature amazing talent.

If you’re in search of inspiration, you’ll definitely want to check out Cargo as well. Cargo is primarily a portfolio service, but their homepage features a great collection of their member’s best artwork. Although a bit more art-focused than the previous sites, Cargo remains an awesome resource for any type of design.

Finally, sometimes even designers get tired of designing, and just need a place to talk. That place is Designer News. Launched a little more than a year ago by the folks at LayerVault, DN (as it’s affectionately known) has quickly established itself as the best place to debate about design issues, share links, or just gossip.

How to use design communities

To learn more about a given design community, just set aside 10 minutes every day and make a habit of checking out the site.

After a few days, you’ll become much more familiar with the style, feel, and general atmosphere of the site. And you’ll probably learn a lot about design, too!

Pros:

Cons:

Job Boards

Of course, sometimes you don’t have the time to become part of a community or browse through hundreds of profiles. This is where design job boards comes in.

Now since each job board has its own audience, picking the right one is important.

Most design communities (including Dribbble, Behance, and Designer News) have their own job boards.

Posting a job offer on one of these will display your project right on the site, and give you an easy way to reach the site’s members.

Popular design blogs such as Smashing Magazine also run job boards.

And last but not least, Cameron Moll’s Authentic Jobs is one of the oldest and most active design job boards out there, with a list of clients that includes Apple and Twitter.

How to use job boards

So which job board should you pick? I suggest simply posting on those that have a more flexible refund policy.

For example, you could start out with a post on Authentic Jobs and ask for a refund if you end up finding someone else through another mean.

Pros:

Cons:

Find-A-Designer Services

This category regroups sites that aim to match you up with a selection of designers.

Unlike job boards, these sites are usually not open access, and often perform some sort of quality control on their member on ensure you only get contacted by relevant profiles.

What’s more, a lot of these sites also provide special tools to help manage the selection process. In a way, you can think of them as version 2.0 of the good old job board.

For example, Scoutzie and Crew both work on the same principle: in exchange for pre-selecting designers, they take a small cut of the overall project budget.

Juiiicy also works this way, but adds a twist: new projects can only be referred by other designers, not submitted directly by clients.

And finally, Folyo also belongs to this group. But instead of taking a cut of the project Folyo charges a fixed $99 fee (wholly refundable if you can’t find a suitable designer), which can often end up being cheaper (especially for larger projects).

How to use Find-A-Designer Services

Most find-a-designer services only charge you if you actually end up working with a designer, so they’re a great way to quickly get started with your search.

What’s more, you can often get better support and advice than you would get with most job boards’ more hands-off approach.

Pros:

Cons:

Design-On-Demand Sites

Finally, we come to the more controversial type of services: those where design can be bought for a fixed sum.

The most famous of them is assuredly 99Designs, which lets you pit designers against each other in order to win your project.

This type of crowdsourcing is often frowned upon by designers, because the vast majority of contest participants end up never getting paid for their work.

So if you prefer hiring a single designer for their time, Envato Studio combines reasonable prices with clear terms and well-defined deliveries.

Finally, for the thriftiest of us, Fiverr (which I previously covered pretty extensively) provides design services starting as low as $5.

How To use design-on-demand sites

Knowing in advance just how much you’ll spend and what you’ll get is certainly very attractive, but beware: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The less you pay, the more you run the risk of working with designers who just don’t care that much about you and your project, and simply copy existing stock artwork and pass it as their own.

So no matter which service you pick, remember that a lower budget will also mean a lower quality.

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion

Picking a designer is only the first step of the overall design process, but the first step is often the most important. So hopefully, this short guide will help you make the right choice and find the right person.

And if you’re still not quite sure where to start, don’t forget to check out our Startup’s Guide To Budget Design to find out what you can afford!

If you’re hiring a freelance designer it means you are currently in 1 of 2 groups. You’re either about to work on a project that matters or you’re not

If you look at the past year, you can trace back most of your success to just a handful of projects. That’s out of potentially dozens of individual projects in that timespan.

The odds that you’re working on something valuable are starting to dwindle.

But wait a sec. What’s so different about successful projects anyway?

Nothing at first. They’re indistinguishable. You’re equally excited about projects that turn out to be average as you are the ones that have big results. They even feel just as likely to create the outcome you want, or else you wouldn’t do them.

That means if we’re being honest, by definition, most of the projects we’re considering taking on end up being average.

A good example is your content marketing. If you’re lucky, you had 3 or 4 blog posts blow up last year that generated more traffic than all others combined.

So how can you be one of those people who always works on precisely the right thing at the right time?

There are a few ways. Experts have even graciously shared their formulas. But the common thread between them is that outlining a great project brief is the first step.

As a designer myself, I’m ashamed to say I never fully appreciated how hard it is to create a project brief. After all, it’s not taught in school. Yet, it ends up being a fundamental skill in business.

You don’t need to be hiring someone or even working with a team to benefit from creating a great project brief. They help even if you’re working alone.

You just need to ask yourself 3 important questions.

1. What are you trying to accomplish? 

If you have an idea for a project it means you have a problem you need to solve. Be explicit about what that problem is. What will you be able to do as a result that you couldn’t do before? For example, if the project you have in mind is a mobile app, the reason you want to create it might be that you’ve noticed a lot of your traffic comes in on a mobile device, but doesn’t convert at the same clip as your regular traffic. That tells you (and anyone on your project) a lot more about why your project should exist, than just saying you need a mobile app.

2. How will you measure success? 

Now that you know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, dig deeper. What does success look like? What happens if you create this app? Will you convert 5% more mobile visitors into customers? Is that a meaningul increase in revenue for your business overall? What will you do with this additional revenue? Will you invest it in another area of your business? Where? See, thinking about how you’ll know whether or not this project is successful means you’re more likely to make it one. You can’t hit a target if there is none.

3. Why move forward with this project now?

The last question is about your project at this point in time. You’ll want to think about whether this is a new problem or an old one. Ask yourself why you didn’t do this project six months ago. And how this problem has changed or evolved over the last few years. These questions transform your timeline requirement from: “we want to launch in 3 months” to “we need to launch in 3 months because that’s the start of football season, and when we get a huge spike in traffic”. That’s a totally different type of deadline.

The most important thing to remember: talk/think in problems and goals NOT solutions.

You’re going to default to talking about the thing you want to create at first. That’s common. That’s normal. That’s average. But remember you’re not looking for average.

That’s why instead you’ll force yourself to talk about the problems and goals of the thing you want to create. You’ll avoid questions that most people focus on like: ? What do I want to build? or ? What’s my budget?

These things put you into a box that you can’t get out of. They force constraints on not just you but the people you work with.

They create bad projects.

A great project brief breaks out of artificial constraints and re-focuses you on the things that really matter.

Focusing on problems and goals instead of solutions at the start multiplies your effort when it’s time to create a solution. You’ll finally be confident you’re truly working on the right solution.

Now how do you decide which these projects to move forward with? I’ve got a formula for that too below.

How do you follow Basecamp’s awesome motto: “your company should be your best product,” when you’re not totally sure what that should look like?

That’s what I talk to Jonas Downey, product designer at Basecamp and co-founder of Hello Weather, about in this interview.

We jump into how and why Basecamp has designed a 6-week cycle structure for their team and why it’s helped them embark on scary new projects with confidence.

Key takeaways from the interview:

Favorite quotes

“When you embark on a project, at the beginning there’s all these existential questions like “what should we build?” “why should we build this?” “when does this need to happen?” and “how are we going to do it?”

That stuff comes first and has to be decided on before you jump into the execution of the work. If we didn’t do that pre-planning upfront we’d have a lot more blowing budget and failing.” (14:30)

How Basecamp hires designers

I’ve never hired a web designer except for very small projects. I have, however, been hired to design or redesign about a dozen websites and spent the last 5 years collecting the top 10,000 web design job posts.

That puts me somewhere between expert and total noob on the subject. And if you ask me, that’s the best type of person to learn something from!

So here’s the first in a series of tips on how to make sure you hire the right person for your design project (as observed from some of the world’s smartest companies’ job posts):

Basecamp asks applicants to show why they want to work for Basecamp specifically.

When Basecamp posts a job, they don’t ask you to fill out a form or submit a resume.

At Basecamp, we have a long standing history of favoring candidates who put in extra effort in their applications. Whether that’s a video of you introducing yourself or making us a custom website — that’s all up to you. We want to know if you’re qualified, a good fit, and most importantly, you want this job and not just any job.

See, the truth is you can’t really tell whether you should hire someone from a resume or portfolio alone, no matter how awesome they might be.

Instead of trying to do that, Basecamp looks for effort.  

The result is Basecamp gets to see the actual design and communication skills that they’re hiring for — in action.

It essentially guarantees that the people they hire will be able to do the job because in order to get the job they have to do the job of communicating persuasively.

So the next time you hire designer, think about this:

One of the most design-centric companies in the world can’t make a decision of who to hire based solely on past work.

They need more context. They need to see something created from scratch before they make their decision. (Note: they also do a paid test project once they’ve narrowed down their candidates.)

If Basecamp can’t hire a designer based off of a resume and portfolio alone, why would you think you can?

Don’t.

Instead ask your design candidates to create a custom application that shows why they want to work on YOUR project — not just any project.

And don’t stop there. 

Follow through, and actually favor the designer or design firm that shows the most effort in the process. 

They’re likely to be the best person for the job. 


I’m going to be discussing more interesting ideas I’ve noticed in the next few weeks.

Want to share your company’s favorite hack for hiring a designer?

Tell me over at my new virtual coworking space. It’s a place for designers and founders to help each other build awesome companies.

I’m there and so are a lot of other cool people.

See you there!

How to subscribe

To get new episodes click one of the buttons below or get a link sent to your phone by clicking here. I publish new episodes every Saturday with interviews about how to be more effective at remote, independent work.

Did you know that Stack Overflow used 99Designs to crowdsource their logo for only $512? And at the other end of the spectrum, rebranding a major company or institution can often cost upwards of a hundred thousand dollars. This just goes to show that when it comes to design, you can find something at any price. So I thought it would be interesting to explore the different alternatives out there when it comes to design, from options that don’t break the bank to offerings that will set you back a little more. Here’s a quick summary of what we’ll cover:

Read on to get a more detailed overview. But first, a word of warning: no matter which price point you end up selecting, remember that you generally get what you pay for!

Free ($0)

First of all, when it comes to design you can get a lot done for free. Frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation give you a good base to start off and will take care of basic typography and layout choices for you.

The Foundation framework

The Foundation framework

Designers also often share UI elements as freebies, and if you know where to look you can even find some that are already coded. Of course, as usual with freebies you’ll have to pay attention to the license. I suggest getting in touch with the creator before you use something commercially, but in my experience designers are generally happy to see their work put to use.

UICloud’s UI elements search

UICloud’s UI elements search

Dirt Cheap ($0-$100)

If you can invest even just a hundred bucks, a lot more options open up. First of all, you now have access to sites like Themeforest or Woothemes, which are an amazing resources of pre-made templates for about $50.

Admin templates on Themeforest.

Admin templates on Themeforest.

And don’t think those sites are just for WordPress themes. Themeforest has a huge collection of admin templates that are perfect for skinning a web app.

Creative Market is another good place for templates.

Creative Market is another good place for templates.

What if you need a logo, too? You won’t be able to get somebody to create a logo for you for less than $100, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. If you’re ok with a text-only logo, you can simply make it yourself. Path is a classic example of a startup whose logo is simply its name set in a nice font (in this case, Coquette).

You could get the same logo for $29.

You could get the same logo for $29.

Sites like MyFonts are a great source of professional fonts, and they let you preview a collection of faces using your own custom text. And buying just one font variant usually costs less than $50. And if you need a visual logo, sites like GraphicRiver and iStockPhoto are also good sources of potential logo material. Sure, those are stock art sites, meaning you won’t have the exclusive use of your logo. But for cases where you’re just looking to get a landing page out the door, does it really matter? Note: It turns out using iStockPhoto art as a logo is explicitly forbidden by their terms of service. Although to me, it’s debatable what constitues a “logo” or not. For example, what about using artwork to accompany a wordmark on a single landing page?

Cheap ($100-$500)

If you’re ready to invest a little more (yet don’t want to break the bank), that’s where sites like 99Designs come in. Now although as a designer I personally don’t like speculative work and the commoditization of design work, even I have to admit that if you only have a couple hundred dollars, 99Designs might be your best bet.

99Designs give you multiple options

99Designs give you multiple options

For that budget it’s going to be hard to get a good designer to work on your project anyway. So at least with 99Designs, you’ll have multiple options out of which you can pick the least bad. And if you’re not sure what you want, the sheer number of different submissions you’ll receive can also be an asset. In fact, a common strategy is using 99Designs as a kind of crowdsourced moodboard to help you narrow down a concept, before hiring a more experienced designer to create the final version.

BrandCrowd: part crowdsourcing, part stock art

BrandCrowd: part crowdsourcing, part stock art

Then again, 99Designs is not the only option in that range. For example, BrandCrowd lets you buy pre-made logos that are generally of a much higher quality than what 99Designs can offer.

The Startup Design Framework

The Startup Design Framework

There’s also DesignModo’s Startup Design Framework, a complete set of homepage and UI elements for $249. Note: speaking of 99Designs and cheap logos, watch out for designers who use stock artwork and pass it as their own. You can use reverse image search engines such as TinEye to make sure the design you’re receiving is truly unique.

Mid-Range ($500-$1000)

This is the tricky gray area. Should you still use crowdsourcing services, or make the jump to hiring a freelancer? Of course it all depends on what kind of job you need done: branding, web design, interaction design…? While you can get a good logo for under $1000 (and Folyo can help you with that), that budget is probably a little short for a full site. So you can go with a hybrid approach, using Bootstrap or a pre-made template for your site but with a custom-made logo. That being said, my personal philosophy is to either go with something really cheap, or really expensive, but avoid the mediocre middle ground that’s neither cheap nor great. So you might also want to simply wait until you can afford to spend a little more to reach that next level of design talent.

Good ($1000-$10000)

You can hire good designers on a freelance basis for anywhere between $1000 and $10000 depending on the amount of work, and that’s the budget range where Folyo excels.

Posting a project on Folyo

Posting a project on Folyo

Compared to 99Designs, there are many benefits to hiring a designer on a one-on-one basis. Not only will you (usually) get better quality work, but the designer will also care about your product. One of the most valuable thing you can get out of a designer is a fresh point of view and new insights into your product and business, and that can only happen with long-term relationships.

Expensive ($10000+)

This is the domain of big-budget agencies. If you’re reading this, you probably don’t want to go there, at least not until you’ve got a couple rounds of funding safely in the bank.

Hire the agency who came up with the Facebook logo.

Hire the agency who came up with the Facebook logo.

Compared to hiring a single freelancer, the main difference is that agencies can throw more people at the problem, leading to more point of views and (maybe) better solutions. But I personally don’t have enough experience dealing with agencies to say if their services are really worth the expense. In any case, most of the startups I know prefer dealing directly with individual designers rather than going through agencies, until they’re able to just get in-house talent.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen, there’s a lot that can be done for very, very cheap, or even free. There’s also a lot of options available when you have a sizable budget. Where startups often struggle is in that ambiguous middle ground. Crowdsourcing services might seem like an attractive option, but remember that they’re not without risks, and sometimes the best choice is just saving up a little more. Now I want to hear back from you. What is your design budget like? Have you used any of the options mentioned here? Let me know in the comments! Note: this article was originally published on October 31, 2012.

Below is a UX designer job description template we created by asking real UX designers what the job description of their dreams would look like. The goal was to create a job description that would attract super talented designers and empower them to do the best work of their career. We think it’s a great starting point for a job ad or RFP, so without further ado here’s a UX designer Job Description written with help of real designers.

Job Ad Title: UI/UX Design Job for Designer Who Loves to Help Customers

Hi, I’m Bob. I run a small software business from my home in Menifee, CA. We are currently hiring a UX designer to help me create a better user experience for our customers. We want to help our users get more value from our app while spending less time in it.

The pay is $120/hour or $50,000 for a complete UX redesign, and we’re open to working remotely so you can work from home or the library or wherever you have a quiet, calm environment, and a fast internet connection. The work will be fun, fresh and dynamic. You will be working directly for me and helping me with a mixture of design projects that have a direct effect on the company’s bottom line.

We’re not big on stress. So, while I will expect you to work efficiently and get things done, I focus on open communication and getting things done right the first go around. We use Slack and Asana to do our work and keep super flexible hours. We will work with your schedule to get a routine that works for you.

Overall, you will make decisions on things that no big stuffy company would ever allow you to do and you will be able to dictate the work that you choose do. Now, let’s take a closer peek at this role:

  • Our app is currently built in Ruby on rails. That means you should be familiar with designing apps on rails and have at least a few rails apps in your portfolio. The app is up and running, so you don’t have to build the entire design from scratch, however, you are welcome to start fresh if you decide.
  • Although you will mostly be working on self-directed projects, you also need to be the type person who gets joy out of getting things done. Every day, you will bang out a list of stuff.
  • At first you will be on Zoom video calls a lot with me and even customers. So, you need to enjoying talking with people and giving/getting direction. A fast internet connection, and webcam is needed. You need to be a person who loves to deliver remarkable experiences to other people. You know, you need to be someone who feels good by making customers feel good.
  • You need to nail down the details. You don’t need to race through work and get things done half-assed. It’s better if you to slow things down and get them done right. You need to be meticulous in your work. If you are shy or quiet (which actually sounds perfect) that is totally cool. We are looking for a good, fun person, who gets stuff done.

In short, your job will not only help me create a better app but help me create a better business. In addition to being a detailed person, you must follow systems and processes. In fact, just to prove that you are detailed oriented and can follow procedures, when you apply for this position in the subject line of the email you must include “YO FOLYO” in the subject line. Yep, that’s a little trick to sort out the people who blanket send their resume to anyone and everyone, from the folks who are truly interested in this position.

We’re looking to bring on a UX designer as soon as possible, but I will spend the necessary time to find the best fit both in abilities and culturally. One thing that will give you a BIG leg up (but is optional) is to send a quick video along with your introduction email. In your video tell me why you think you’re perfect for this job and why you will rock this position. This is purely for us to get a sense of your personality. And if you decide not to send a video (that’s ok), please tell us why you chose not to send in a video.

Send your application along with a couple recent WordPress projects in your portfolio to: bob@yourcompany.com

Thank you and can’t wait to meet you!

You have permission to copy and modify this job for your own purposes. (And if you’re looking to hire a great UX designer, we’d love to help.)

How to customize this UX Designer Job Description for Your Company

To make the above UX designer job description truly pop, we recommend adding a few unique tweaks for your company:

✅ Start your UX designer job description with a personal introduction

A nice friendly introduction that’s a few lines long is a great way to start your UX designer job description.

Example: Hi! I’m David. I run FeedMeow, a small 3-person startup based out of San Francisco. We’re one coder, one biz dev guy, and one cat food expert. Our app lets you order great-tasting, healthy cat food online and then monitor how much food your cat eats throughout the week via a sleek web app.

✅ Answer the tough questions quickly

UX designers love to know the reasons behind decisions like why you’re hiring in the first place. That’s the most important thing a professional can learn about you. It might take some soul-searching but ask yourself these questions in your UX job description:

Example: It all started about 6 months ago when Ben (our coder) started blogging about cat nutrition on his blog, UCannotHazCheezburger. Pretty soon all his friends were asking him for cat nutrition advice, and he realized that cat lover’s needs were not being met by the corrupt cat food industry. So we decided to do something about it, and our app is now used by more than 3,000 cat lovers throughout the country. Rampant cat obesity is an epidemic that is endangering the poor critters’ health. The NICH (National Institute for Cat Health) estimates that by 2020, half of US cats will be overweight, costing US taxpayers more than $2 trillion annually in veterinarian costs.

We’re looking for someone to help us design our upcoming iPhone app. We’ve noticed a lot of people are using the site from their mobile phones, so we decided it was time to build a mobile app. The app will let you order cat food on the go, and even check-in at specific cat food places to get special discounts and win badges. So you could say it combines social commerce, geolocalisation, and gamification. And cats.

✅ Keep it relatively brief

This is the main thing to remember. Brevity is key. The best people are busy. Shaving words off of your UX designer job description means less work for them and a clearer look at your company. Don’t worry about forgetting something, instead rely on questions to uncover anything you left out.

❌ Don’t prescribe a solution, that’s what you’re hiring for

You’re hiring an outside UX design perspective. That’s means if you provide the solution, you’re not getting what you pay for. You want to access expert thinking on your project more than anything else. So stick to talking about the challenges and goals of your project. This leaves you open to great solutions. “Don’t hire a dog, and then bark yourself – David Ogilvy”

✅ Provide a timeframe for the UX redesign

Give a date for when you want to see the first major project go live, and maybe more importantly, the reasoning behind this date in your UX designer job description.

Example: We’re hoping to launch the new app design in time for Christmas sales, so we really want to get it done in the next month or so.

❌ But don’t add too many details to your timeline

It’s not your job to lay out a complete timeline for the job or project. Again this is part of what you will be paying an expert to do for you. Deliverable due dates for the project should be created later by the designer once they build their process around your targets.

✅ Ask for references

Talking to people that have hired this person is a great way to get unfiltered thoughts on working with them.

❌ Don’t ask for spec UX design work

If you ask someone to create work for you without full understanding your goals or constraints, they’re very likely to get the solution wrong. This means you don’t get an accurate look at what they can do. The person or team you hire should begin with a discovery phase and deep understanding of your problems.

✅ Create a small paid test UX design project

Test projects, unlike spec work, are a great idea. You get to test-drive working together in a real way. Things like personality, style, and communication are a big factor in successfully working together — so bite a tiny piece of the project off together before you do the whole thing. For example, a single page or layout in your app might be enough to get a sense of whether the UX designer will work. You can even give the same test project to multiple candidates and compare the results. If that’s something you want to do, include it in your UX designer job description.

✅ Allow for questions and conversations

Giving people an open communication channel during the hiring process is huge. It creates the best applications and proposals because you allow potential partners to learn about you in a natural way. You’re going to be working together for years. Make sure you enjoy each others company, and are able to communicate clearly and openly.

❌ Don’t invite the whole world

You don’t want to get into a deep conversation with more than 5 people. More than 5 conversations simply takes too much time. So be quick on the filtering. Give people a chance, but if they don’t improve, move on to the next applicant.

✅ Share your budget

To truly provide the best solution, a UX designer needs to know they have an accurate look at the amount of resources available. This helps them determine what’s possible. It will allow them to develop a custom solution that’s best for your situation. Don’t hide it!

And that’s it! I hope this guide helps you accomplish amazing things with your hires. If you have a job or project you need help with make sure you check out Folyo, it’ll save you a ton of time and headaches.

And that’s it, you’re done!

Send me your UX designer job description if you want help tailoring it further. I’m happy to help. robert@folyo.me

More hiring resources for you:

In this episode, I talk about how I’m helping design agencies fix painful staff shortages with my referral community for product designers.
“The recruiting fee I paid to find a designer was 45% of their first year salary”
That’s a real quote from an agency owner I recently helped find a designer. While I was blown away by that number, most of my friends were not.
Yep, that’s about much what it costs.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Seriously? I get agencies see immense value in expanding and contracting their workforce quickly to match supply and demand. But paying a 45% first-year’s salary fee cements it for me: hiring through traditional models is broken. Obviously, recruiter, job boards, and freelance platforms aren’t solving the problem since according to Forbes an estimated 80% jobs go unadvertised. The result is design agencies in chronic staff shortage – where profits are dictated by your ability to time hires with the peaks and valleys – NOT do the actual work effectively. You end up paying your team to wait around while you find something for them to do – or worse, underwater gasping for air from another staff shortage. Finding the right balance is enough to keep you awake at night as an agency owner, because there’s always another ebb and flow around the corner. The truth is, the best hires don’t come from clicking hire on someone’s profile – or having a spammy recruiter “network” for you. The best hires come from personal referrals. Someone who understands what type of person you’re looking for personally matching you with someone a trust designer. Spoiler alert: that’s what Folyo does. I’ve already helped hundreds of companies hire a designer faster by personally matching them with someone who: We send projects to a small, curated community of designers – and personally vet responses – so companies are connecting with the cream of the crop specifically for their job. It doesn’t even take very long (less than 5 days usually) and there’s no need for us to take a cut. We want to help more companies so we charge a flat-fee that you only pay after you’re 100% happy with the designer you’ve found. So far the case studies have been so amazing that I’m developing a new podcast specifically to document them one by one. But we’re looking for more. You can currently get early-access to this service here and finally match supply and demand, on-demand. Looking forward to introducing you to the community.

Here at Folyo we asked real designers to help us write the web designer job description of their dreams.

The goal is for it to be a job description that empowers designers to do the best work of their career and help companies create an awesome user experience.

We think it’s a great starting point for a job ad or RFP, so without further ado here’s the Web Designer Job Description written with help of real designers:

Job Ad Title: Web Design Job for Designer Who Loves to Help Customers

Hi, I’m Bob. I run a small business from my home in Menifee, CA. We are currently hiring a web designer to help me create a better user experience for our customers on our website. We want to help customers get more value from our website, help prospects convert at a higher-rate, and do a better job of marketing ourselves to the world.

The pay is $90/hour or $30,000 for the total website redesign, and we’re open to working remotely so you can work from home or the library or wherever you have a quiet, calm environment, and a fast internet connection. The work will be fun, fresh and dynamic. You will be working directly for me and helping me with a mixture of design projects that have a direct effect on the company’s bottom line.

We’re not big on stress. So, while I will expect you to work efficiently and get things done, I focus on open communication and getting things done right the first go around. We use Slack and Asana to do our work and keep super flexible hours. We will work with your schedule to get a routine that works for you.

Overall, you will make decisions on things that no big stuffy company would ever allow you to do. You will be able to dictate the work that you choose do. Now, let’s take a closer peek at this role:

  • Our website is currently on WordPress. That means you should be familiar with designing websites on WordPress and have at least a few WordPress websites in your portfolio. The site is up and running currently with an existing theme, so you won’t have to build the site from scratch, however you are welcome to start a new theme from scratch if you decide.
  • Although you will mostly be working on self-directed projects, you also need to be the type person who gets joy out of getting things done. Every day, you will bang out a list of stuff.
  • At first you will be on Zoom video calls a lot with me and even customers. So, you need to enjoying talking with people and giving/getting direction. A fast internet connection, and webcam is needed. You need to be a person who loves to deliver remarkable experiences to other people. You know, you need to be someone who feels good by making customers feel good.
  • You need to nail down the details. You don’t need to race through work and get things done halfassed. It’s better if you to slow things down and get them done right. You need to be meticulous in your work. If you are shy or quiet (which actually sounds perfect) that is totally cool. We are looking for a good, fun person, who gets stuff done.

In short, your job will not only help me create a better website but help me create a better business. In addition to being a detailed person, you must follow systems and processes. In fact, just to prove that you are detailed oriented and can follow procedures, when you apply for this position in the subject line of the email you must include “YO FOLYO” in the subject line. Yep, that’s a little trick to sort out the people who blanket send their resume to anyone and everyone, from the folks who are truly interested in this position.

We’re looking to bring on a web designer as soon as possible, but I will spend the necessary time to find the best fit both in abilities and culturally. One thing that will give you a BIG leg up (but is optional) is to send a quick video along with your introduction email. In your video tell me why you think you’re perfect for this job and why you will rock this position. This is purely for us to get a sense of your personality. And if you decide not to send a video (that’s ok), please tell us why you chose not to send in a video.

Send your application along with a couple recent WordPress projects in your portfolio to: bob@yourcompany.com

Thank you and can’t wait to meet you!

You have permission to copy and modify this job for your own purposes. (And if you’re looking to hire a great web designer, we’d love to help.)

How to Customize Your Web Designer Job Description Further (and Make it Even More Awesome)

To make the above job description truly unique to your company, here are few tips you can use:

✅ Introduce yourself

A nice friendly introduction that’s a few lines long is a great way to start your web designer job description.

Example: Hi! I’m David. I run FeedMeow, a small 3-person startup based out of San Francisco. We’re one coder, one biz dev guy, and one cat food expert. Our app lets you order great-tasting, healthy cat food online and then monitor how much food your cat eats throughout the week via a sleek web app.

✅ Answer the tough questions in your web designer job description

Add the reasoning behind why you’re hiring in the first place. That’s the most important thing a professional can learn about you. It might take some soul-searching but ask yourself these questions in your web designer job description:

Example: It all started about 6 months ago when Ben (our coder) started blogging about cat nutrition on his blog, UCannotHazCheezburger. Pretty soon all his friends were asking him for cat nutrition advice, and he realized that cat lover’s needs were not being met by the corrupt cat food industry. So we decided to do something about it, and our app is now used by more than 3,000 cat lovers throughout the country. Rampant cat obesity is an epidemic that is endangering the poor critters’ health. The NICH (National Institute for Cat Health) estimates that by 2020, half of US cats will be overweight, costing US taxpayers more than $2 trillion annually in veterinarian costs.

We’re looking for someone to help us design our upcoming iPhone app. We’ve noticed a lot of people are using the site from their mobile phones, so we decided it was time to build a mobile app. The app will let you order cat food on the go, and even check-in at specific cat food places to get special discounts and win badges. So you could say it combines social commerce, geolocalisation, and gamification. And cats.

✅ Keep it brief

This is the main thing to remember. Brevity is key. The best people are busy. Shaving words off of your web designer job description means less work for them and a clearer look at your company. Don’t worry about forgetting something, instead rely on questions to uncover anything you left out.

❌ Don’t prescribe a solution

You’re hiring an outside perspective. That’s means if you provide the solution, you’re not getting what you pay for. You want to access expert thinking on your project more than anything else. So stick to talking about the challenges and goals of your project. This leaves you open to great solutions. “Don’t hire a dog, and then bark yourself – David Ogilvy”

✅ Provide a timeframe

Give a date and more importantly, the reasoning behind this date in your web designer job description.

Example: We’re hoping to launch the app in time for Christmas sales, so we really want to get it done in the next month or so.

❌ But don’t define the timeline

It’s not your job to lay out a complete timeline for the job or project. Again this is part of what you will be paying an expert to do for you. Deliverable due dates for the project should be created later by the designer once they build their process around your targets.

✅ Ask for references

Talking to people that have hired this person or team is a great way to get unfiltered thoughts on working with them.

❌ Don’t ask for spec work

If you ask someone to create work for you without full understanding your goals or constraints, they’re very likely to get the solution wrong. This means you don’t get an accurate look at what they can do. The person or team you hire should begin with a discovery phase and deep understanding of your problems.

✅ Create a paid test project

Test project, unlike spec work, are a great idea. You get to test-drive working together in a real way. Things like personality, style, and communication are a big factor in successfully working together — so bite a tiny piece of the project off together before you do the whole thing. You can even give the same test project to multiple candidates and compare the results. If that’s something you want to do, include it in your web designer job description.

✅ Allow for questions and conversations

Giving people an open communication channel is huge. It creates the best applications and proposals because you allow potential partners to learn about you in a natural way. You’re going to be working together for years. Enjoy each others company, and make sure you’re able to communicate clearly and openly in your web designer job description.

❌ Don’t invite the whole world

You don’t want to get into a deep conversation with more than 5 people. More than 5 conversations simply takes too much time. So be quick on the filtering. Give people a chance, but if they don’t improve, move on to the next applicant.

✅ Share your budget

To truly provide the best solution, a designer needs to know they have an accurate look at your price. This helps them determine what’s possible. It will allow them to develop a custom solution that’s best for your situation. Don’t hide it!

And that’s it! I hope this guide helps you accomplish amazing things with your hires. If you have a job or project you need help with make sure you check out Folyo, it’ll save you a ton of time and headaches.

And that’s it, you’re done!

Send me your web designer job description if you want help tailoring it further. I’m happy to help.

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