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Design Hiring: How to find and recruit senior designers

As world-class companies continue to increase their investments in design by building out larger internal design teams, there is a growing need for experienced designers. Senior designers often have a wider catalog of tools and experiences that allow them to give a more integrated contribution to the team as a whole.

Having a powerhouse team of senior designers is a huge competitive advantage for companies competing for market share. It’s often expected that, because of their experience level, senior designers are also able to participate and conceptualize larger business goals for a company, and bring that perspective, creativity, and understanding back to the design team.

In a new series, we’re collaborating with our friends at Playbook to bring you actionable career advice. First up is what it takes to find and recruit senior design talent.


As a Design Leadership Coach and CEO of Design Dept, Mia Blume provides guided experiences that foster creative leadership. We’re sharing her actionable ideas on finding and recruiting senior designers below.

Provide clear problems they can help solve

Experienced designers are seeking problems that are interesting to them, either building on deep experience/insight or allowing them to grow in some new way. Know what interesting problems they can help you solve. If you can match the right types of problems to the right designer at the right time, bingo!

Know what it means to be a senior IC at your company

If a senior designer has no interest in becoming a manager, you better have a clear answer to the potential growth path for a maker/individual contributor. What does success look like? What skills are they expected to grow?

Experienced designers are seeking problems that are interesting to them, either building on deep insight or allowing them to grow in some new way.

Craft your narrative

Most folks fail to tell a compelling narrative about their product and team that differentiates them from the next company (or the 100 recruiting emails in any senior designers’ inbox). Like any important communication, know your audience and the key message. Ping pong tables, VC rounds, and the latest launches aren’t going to cut it. Where are you headed? What change are you creating? What’s the role of design in all of it?

Invest in your relationships

The most successful recruiting tactic, for senior talent, is building authentic relationships. It’s about getting to know what works for them, letting them get to know you… and the big secret: being around when they’re ready to take the next step. You’d be surprised how those relationships follow you throughout your career. It’s a long-term investment for anyone on the management track.

This post was originally published on Playbook. See other perspectives or ask your own career question on Playbook.

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