Maybe it was Apple’s emphasis on design, and its direct impact on the iPhone and iPad’s success. Maybe it was the success of design-heavy startups like Airbnb and Hipmunk. Or maybe, as startups mature technologically, people are realizing that design can become a valuable differentiator. In any case, during the past couple years it seems like the tech world has gradually come to realize the importance of design.
As a sign of this trend, there’s even a fund that exclusively backs startups founded by designers. The result is that design skills are in demand now more than ever, and that it’s becoming harder and harder for tech companies to hire good designers, especially in the Bay Area. It took WePay Founder Rich Aberman 7 months to find its first designer, and 2 months to find the next one.
The rest of the world is starting to feel the crunch too. Even startups backed byHackFwd (one of Europe’s leading incubators) are finding it problematic to hire designers: “It’s definitely difficult in Europe. When it comes to designers, great ones are very difficult to find. And even if you can find them, they’re very tough to hire, because they can do better freelancing” says HackFwd “Talent Geek” David Bizer.
So if you’re looking to hire a designer, how do you solve this problem? Well, there’s no silver bullet, but here are a couple strategies that might help.
To discover a designer, you’ve got to think like one
The fact that so many tech startups are founded by coders is a disadvantage when it comes to hiring a designer. After all, if you’re not a designer yourself, you won’t know where to look to find one, and even if you do find someone you might not know how to judge them.