Great question, and one that crossed my mind as well while reading the various responses to the interview questions thread.
For me, the biggest part of my strategy is to be heavily involved in recruiting, and to rely on the good judgement of others to help out with assessment. And despite the truly wonderful outcome, I wish I'd had as good a method earlier in life when dating.
Really, the two processes are not that different. You think you know what you want, you're hoping for commitment, and you're willing to give a little time, energy, understanding, and money to build that relationship. You rely on your friends to tell you if he or she is a jerk, has treated past partners badly, etc. At least, you trust some of them to tell you that.
I've got a roster of people I work with lined up for potential interviews, and the key there is to simulate as closely as possible the diversity of roles and personalities that the candidate will encounter in the job. Creative directors, designers, account managers, other IxDs, technology leads, and project managers all make the list. The biggest part of this process is simply, "are you right for me"?
The skills assessment is usually done with a portfolio review and some basic vetting to convince me that the candidate did and could reproduce the work they are showing. Everyone else on the list knows enough about what we do to chime in, but by the time they come in I usually have a pretty good feel for their core competencies.
And it doesn't take someone who is a 10 on the skill scale to get me excited. The desire to do great work, keep learning, and always add value is what gets my interest.
Now, it's my turn for a plug...if anyone out there think this is the kind of environment they want to work in, I'm hiring too.
Director of IxD
SO, besides interview questions, what are some strategies you've used for
hiring and retaining good design talent?