Real quick here are things I would look for when hiring a web designer:
- Cultural fit
- The ability to push back when something you’re pursuing isn’t the best for your business goals
- A strong focus on the key ways you make money and how to facilitate those on your website
- Strong communication skills
- Honesty and Integrity
Here is why each of those things are important for a web designer to have:
Tenacity – You know what makes people trying to get a website built crazy? When the person their working with doesn’t seem to take initiative on their project. They just go along willy nilly and take their guidance, but never make things happen themselves. They never give fresh thinking to the project.
Cultural fit – If your office is really into champagne and long vacations, and you hire a web designer who won’t talk to someone who likes Star Trek more than Star Wars you might have a bit of a cultural conundrum. Okay, maybe hobbies aren’t important – but things like how long it should take to respond to an e-mail, how crucial conversations are handled (I prefer by phone or in person), and what kind of level of attention to detail is expected are pretty important, and that comes down to cultural fit.
The ability to push back – Not every idea you or your CEO has should be rushed to production. Especially if something is 100 hours of work to earn $1,000 in revenue, things need to be balanced with effort to reward. I have no problem giving feedback on ideas, I try to be accommodating, but also forward about what I think will help make you money, not just how to spend your money.
A strong focus on the key ways you make money – I have no reservations that we’re in business for money. Yes, to follow our passions, have fun, and help people too – if you’re in the right spot, but making money is pretty crucial. So I make no bones about it, I want to know what you’re making, how much of that is coming from the website, and when making a website – what we can do to funnel more of that business into your door and pockets. Look for this when working with a web designer… but only if money is important to you. Hint: it should be.
Strong communication skills – Do you want a web designer who gets back to you a week after you sent an e-mail, or in 5 minutes? Serious question. Maybe you like long waits, and a very relaxed attitude – so this is really up to you. To me – as a vendor/contractor/freelancer, it’s my duty to be on my game and back to people as soon as I possibly can be, because time is money.
Honesty and Integrity – Did all of this money focus throw you off? I hope not. I think a wholeness, a consistency – is the heart of integrity. I think honesty is a classy thing, it’s stylish, it’s in.
It’s not the 80’s anymore, and I don’t work at a weird giant corporation that forces me to sacrifice my values – that’s why think honesty is pretty cool. As my own boss I get to have a wholeness to the process, where I sell what I really can do well, and deliver on that, and get a testimonial at the end of the process. It makes me feel good, and it’s why I was stoked to wake up this morning.