Seven Tips When Hiring An Outsourced Product Designer

4 min read
Seven Tips When Hiring An Outsourced Product Designer

WHEN working in a fast-paced industry such as fintech, it’s crucial to ensure you are constantly innovating to stay relevant.

New products come and go, meaning that a greater emphasis on user experience and usability is needed to compete in the marketplace. This is especially relevant when introducing new products to your offering.

So when you have a fantastic idea for a new product that’s going to create some really positive opportunities for your business, it’s exciting. But if you don’t have someone in-house with the expertise to design that product you have in mind, it can feel like you’ve hit a hurdle before things have even begun.

However, with this hurdle brings the opportunity to outsource the project to an external product designer. This has some great advantages in that you have access to talent which isn’t currently on your payroll. This individual may have new ideas, a fresh perspective and more importantly, they have the expertise to allow you to compete in the busy marketplace.

On the other hand, outsourcing can make some businesses feel a little uncomfortable. Bringing someone new into your business, that isn’t technically an employee, involves putting a lot of trust into someone you don’t know, which can feel a little daunting.

Despite the reservations, these relationships are crucial in progressing with business ideas and by outsourcing to experts as and when you need them, you can save on overall cash flow.

But where do you even start when it comes to outsourcing a product designer? What things should you do to make the most of the new relationship and find the best person for the job?

Tim Strebkov, founder of fintech product design partner Pixels and Sense, has shared the seven deadly sins that businesses make when it comes to hiring an outsourced product designer, so that you can avoid making the same mistakes.

1. Avoid sending dozens of request for proposals (RFPs)

When you’re looking to work with someone new, it can be tempting to send out a blanket email to multiple individuals asking for a project quote. However, there’s more to a business and contractor relationship than cost.

Take the time to do some research into relevant product designers and have a look at their work. Ask yourself, is their portfolio of high quality? Do they have any experience in your sector? Do their values align with yours?

Once you have your shortlist, outreach to them to ask if they’d be interested in your project and aim to schedule a conversation so you can talk costs and proposals.

2. Share your vision and core objectives

A contractor from outside your business isn’t going to come in and know about all of your core objectives and the overall vision for your project and business.

Take some time to really let your product designer know what it is that you are trying to achieve, rather than saying “we just need X to do Y.”

3. In-person discovery sessions are important

In-person meetings may not be easy at the moment but video calls are still possible and necessary when engaging with an external contractor.

Keeping a written document of your brief is absolutely fine, but make sure you take the time to meet your new product designer and treat them as a member of the team.

4. Avoid asking for speculative work

There are occasions when a business may say “I’ll pay for your service if I like the result of your work” which involves designers sending over creative work in the hope of getting paid.

This is a big no-no when outreaching to professional contractors and can harm your reputation in the long run. Asking for portfolio work is absolutely reasonable but asking someone to work for free, when they do this for their career, is unfair.


5. Consider your timeframes

Avoid setting unrealistic expectations when it comes to timeframes. There may be an occasion where you need the product ASAP but unfortunately, not all contractors are going to be able to drop everything and turn it around within a matter of hours.

Have a conversation with your contractor to establish how long the project will take so you know what to expect from the outset.

6. Give a ballpark budget estimate

Putting a monetary figure on a project, especially if it’s something you haven’t done before, isn’t an easy task. However, it’s even more difficult for a contractor to know what they are working with when they don’t have a budget. Don’t be afraid to outline a ballpark figure for your contractor to work to and if it isn’t something they can work with, at least you will know sooner rather than later.

7. Forget the hourly rates

Everyone likes a good deal but when it comes to hiring an expert, the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best option. That’s not to say that the most expensive is either, but money shouldn’t be the main factor when hiring someone. Forget the hourly rates for a minute and delve more into the quality of work and expected outputs. It’s better to pay a little more for something that’s going to last than having to revisit a project because it isn’t what you expected.

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