It’s often a nerve-wracking process for the business owner or procurement officer.

“How do I know this designer is right for my project? Will they run off with my money? Where do I even start?”

These are just some of the questions that might come to mind. Here’s a checklist to hiring a good and reliable designer:

1. Prompt response, tight communications
The first assessment you can make of your designer candidate is by their communications response time. You should get a response within a maximum of 2 working days. This will give you a glimpse of how serious the freelancer is about doing business, and their working style.

2. A picture paints a thousand words
A seasoned and capable designer should definitely have a portfolio to showcase. Let the candidate know what your project scope is, so that they can show you relevant work samples. If the designer is experienced enough, you should be able to determine if he/she is skilled enough to take on your project. Think twice about hiring a web designer who doesn’t have a website of their own or a graphic designer who has a badly designed namecard.

3. The intrinsic stuff
Not everything is in black and white sometimes. Do you feel comfortable interacting with the candidate; do they maintain eye contact? Are they dressed/groomed okay? Are they congruent with what they say and do?

4. Testimonies and references
Request for one or two the designer’s past clients whom you can contact for references.

5. Are they commited to their business?
You’ll find many fly-by-night freelancers and those all-in-ones out there and you’ll wonder about their level of commitment to projects and their business. Here are some indicators:
– Is the business registered?
– Is the candidate part of an industry or business focus group, organisation or club?
– Is this their full-time career?

With these five points in hand, you should be able to shortlist a few designers or design vendors that you can confidently work with. Good luck!