Creative Genius Podcast

Season 6 Episode 3

The Inside Scoop on Hiring and Retaining (Ken Roberts)

The Inside Scoop on Hiring and Retaining (Ken Roberts)

These are unprecedented times for firms looking to hire interior design talent. The pool of active available candidates is small. Employees who already have jobs expect big returns in exchange for switching firms. Salaries are increasing at a rate not experienced in recent memory, and both employees and candidates are asking for more benefits. Before you try to hire, make sure you’re up-to-date on what today’s applicants want and expect.

In this podcast, Erin interviews Gail and Ken Roberts, principal of the architecture and interior design industry recruitment firm, Interior Talent. Recently, Gail’s and Ken’s firms have teamed up to add extra value to their clients. Pearl Collective clients need help with finding good talent. Interior Talent clients can benefit from working with an experienced, knowledgeable business coach.

Listeners may know that earlier this year the two firms co-sponsored the 2022 Interior Designers Survey on Fees, Salaries and Competing for Talent. Findings from the survey will be released soon. They confirm the trends Gail and Ken have been seeing with their own clients, some of which they discussed during their conversation.

Ken said that in the nearly twenty years his firm has been operating, they have never seen hiring conditions like they are now. In just a short time, there have been dramatic changes in salaries. Firms need to be aware of the trends not only if they want to hire but in order to retain the staff they have.

Along the same lines, Gail remarked, “One of the things you want to do as firm is not just to hire great talent but to be smart enough to look smart to the people who are looking for a job, because they are looking to you to know what you’re doing.” A case in point, she said, “If you go into a salary negotiation and you have no clue of what the market is asking for right now, you’re going to lose that potential hire.”

So what is it you need to know? Here are some the insights Ken and Gail shared:

  • Most designers currently have a job. You have to think about what you are going to do to entice them to help them make the change and to make their life better.
  • Since the onset of COVID, benefits have become more important. Medical benefits are a priority for most candidates, even young ones. Quality of life and work/life balance are deal breakers. They are also looking for firms that demonstrate social responsibility and offer a sociable work environment. Remote work, at least part time, is a must for many applicants.
  • Most applicants expect a salary increase, but salary is usually not the main motivator for switching firms. Total compensation package is important, but so are intangibles like workplace culture, work satisfaction and opportunities for growth.

Gail and Ken touched on a number of other topics, as well, including how owners are adapting to remote work and hybrid office changes, making contingency plans in case the economy worsens in the coming months, hiring in times of uncertainty, and how consistent marketing can improve your chances of acquiring the best talent. For those and other insights, listen to the entire podcast.

If you’re listening on your favorite podcast platform, read the full shownotes here:

Mentioned in this Podcast

For more information about Interior Talent and their services, visit their website at

You can obtain a free copy of the findings of the 2022 Interior Designers Survey on Fees, Salaries and Competing for Talent here.

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