Hiring

Table of Contents

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Hiring Principles
  3. Write Job Description
  4. Source Candidates
  5. Resume Review
  6. Portfolio Review
  7. Phone Screen
  8. Remote Portfolio Walkthrough
  9. In-Person Interview
  10. Debrief
  11. Offer
  12. Onboarding
  13. References

Hiring Principles

  1. Hire people closer to your users
  2. Move quickly - no more than a few days between contact. We’re in an aggressive market where the top talent is highly sought after.
  3. Focus on long term impact of role and not the generalized day-to-day responsibilities that are similar with every job posting out there.
  4. Look for passionate advocates rather than collective okays.

Small Teams

  1. Small team need generalist - can do at least 2 things well
  2. Need to build ritual for team (process)
  3. How does the organization engage with the new team
  4. High-level of ambiguity - self-govern and pro-active problem solvers

Write Job Description

  1. Leverage a template
  2. Write a thank you letter to the new employee as if a year has gone by and you list off what they’ve accomplished.
  3. Write those accomplishments within the job description as role expectations

Source Candidates

  1. Reach out to your existing network
  2. Recruit on LinkedIn, especially look for designers at company’s with quality design practices. Reference: Design Mature Companies
  3. Find candidates within design communities (Dribbble, Behance, )
  4. Finding products that you like and find who designed them. Focus on casual conversation and networking before asking them to work for you.
  5. Google Form on your company’s Medium publication
  6. Use an online job recruitment platform, like Vettery.
  7. Use a recruiter

Resume Review

Product Designer

Things to Likely to Lead to an Exclusion

Rating Scale

⭐️ = Bad

  1. No experience, no education

⭐️⭐️ = Okay

  1. Does the candidate have a formal education in a relevant field? Common and acceptable backgrounds include graphic design, human-computer interaction, cognitive psychology, information architecture, and computer science.
  2. Multiple years of experience

⭐️⭐️⭐️ = Good

  1. States or implies human-centered design
  2. Research mentioned
  3. Facilitation mentioned
  4. Multiple companies
  5. Clear career progression. Is there career growth?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ = Great. Above, plus

  1. Beautiful and easily scannable
    1. Does it have a scannable layout?
    2. Does it look like there was effort put in to make the resume look appealing?
    3. Does it stand out?
  2. Skills, achievements, or testimonials section

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ = Excellent. Above, plus: a. At company known for quality design b. At company known for mature design organization

Deductions

Communication Designer

UX Researcher

Content Strategist

Portfolio Review

Product Designer

⭐️ = Bad

  1. No Process - Not case study format
  2. Poor Output

⭐️⭐️ = Generic Process

  1. Boilerplate processes learned from bootcamps or articles (Competitive Analysis -> Interview -> Personas -> Wireframes -> Final Mockups)

⭐️⭐️⭐️ = Good Process, Weaker Research or Visual Design Output

  1. Facilitated Design Sessions

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ = Great Variable Process & Output

  1. Projects have different processes based on
  2. Design principles
  3. Sketches of early work
  4. Storyboards or other visual storytelling output

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ = Above, plus great holistic output

  1. High quality research artifacts
  2. High quality mockups

Phone Screen

30 minutes The goal of the phone screen to find out if the candidate is the right fit for the company and the team based on salary expectations, role and responsibilities, skills required, potential interest, and communication skills. It’s also important to understand what they’re passionate about and if it aligns with our goals.

Schedule Time for Screener

Hello {NAME}, We are very interested in speaking with you more about your skills and experience to continue in the interview process for a {POSITION TITLE} role. There are many exciting opportunities and challenges to take on at Shiftgig and we’d like to talk with you about the possibilities.

Foundational Questions

General Questions

How did you get into design? Look for desire to make things better and able to see opportunities for the better all around them. Why are you interested in working here? What motivates you? Look for answers that align with our mission, interested in and the understanding of the complexity around our products, and potentially desire to be on ambitious small team. What was your favorite past project, and why? Look to see if they’re passionate about the problem, passionate about the process, their role within the process, and the outcomes of the project. What do you consider are your strengths? Look for communication skills, uncovering and understanding problems, and willingness to explore. How do you feel about being on a design team that’s still early in its development? If so, why? Look for the opportunity to learn by doing many things, desire to prove the value of design to others, and to help the team gain respect through collaboration. Where do you want your career to go? Look for the mission alignment and determine what their career path would be like and alignment with company’s mission. What are you working on these days? What kinds of projects and problems do you enjoy working on? What skills and applications do you use daily? How have you collaborated with other members of your team? What do you not enjoy doing? Is there anything about your current job or previous jobs that you don’t want to do again? What’s your passion outside of work? (Looking for well-rounded individual.) How do you partner with teams across the org? What’s your favorite book or magazine that has nothing to do with design? How do you learn, how did you grow up, what was your life was like? Draw a journey map of your past education and experience. Where do you imagine yourself growing? Where would you rank yourself on this team? What’s keeping you from being #1? (also a good question to ask references) Great advice you’ve gotten that’s changed your life? How often do you travel? Why? What’s your ideal adventure? Why are you working in this industry? Why do you want this company? Why do you want to work on this product? This team? What would you have changed about your most recent project if you had more time? How do you know when your designs are done?

Product Designer Questions How would you describe your design process? It’s important that they include understanding the problem more than the solution through research and/or data, documenting the problem space, exploring many possible solutions, and validating those solutions through user research. Also look for a company that has a good practice is constantly educating their designers. What user artifacts have you created to guide your design decisions? Why do you think it was effective at leading you to a better outcome? * Look for journey maps, empathy maps, service blueprints then explanation of truly understanding the user’s problem and trying to create a framework for how they’re going to solve the problem - it’s all about understanding the problem more.* How have you collaborated with other members of your team? Are there other designers on your team? Important to see the willingness to collaborate early and often, receive feedback from others and make changes from it, and take direction. Also look for developer collaboration. What are some of your favorite places to get the latest design news? * Look for ability to quickly answer = they’re passionate about design. Hopefully they describe there reasons why without being prompt. Reasons should explain lean towards filling weaknesses, trying new things, and hopefully avoid solely mentioning inspiration.*

Communication Designer Questions How would you describe your design process? * It’s important that they include understanding the problem more than the solution, focus on craft and telling a compelling story, look for inspiration, attempt to see project through completion.* How do you get feedback? * Look for someone that wants to collaborate with other designers, stakeholders, and other peers early and often.* How comfortable are you creating your own illustrations? Brand guidelines? Videos? Look for someone that’s confident in their craft but also honest with what they are strong in. What motivates you? Look for someone striving for excellence and caring about every little detail because of the difference it can make to people. Where do you look for inspiration? * Look for someone up-to-date on current design trends and is comparing their work to the inspiration.*

Basic Scoring

| Skills: | Yes | No | Uncertain | | Good Questions: | Yes | No | | Design Passion: | Yes | No | Uncertain | | Salary: | Yes | No | | Role Fit: | Yes | No | Uncertain | | Culture Fit: | Yes | No | | Decision: | Yes | No |

Scorecards

Product Designer - Phone Screen Scorecard

Remote Portfolio Walkthrough

The goal of this type of interview is to get greater depth of the candidates thought process (how they make decisions) and how the present it.

Send Portfolio Preparation Info to Candidate

The remote portfolio presentation is a chance for us to get to know your process and your design accomplishments.  You will have 30 minutes on a video conference to talk about one specific project you have worked on.  An ideal project is one that best illustrates your design capabilities.  Ideally we’d like to see how your experience is relevant to the challenges you would face at our company. 

The presentation can be as informal or as formal as you would like. Some logistical details for the presentation:

  • There will be 1 or 2 people present. They will be the Director of Design and possibly a product manager.
  • You will have 20 minutes for your presentation followed by 10 minutes of Q&A.
  • You will present using Google Meet or a similar video conference tool. Please make sure your on a good Internet connection.

DO

  • Assume that everyone present will already be familiar with your resume.
  • Focus on one project to show us your work along with your process. Use specific examples to walk us through your design journey from the beginning to the end of your involvement.
  • If you were working as part of a team, clearly identify your contributions to the process and the final product.
  • Include examples that best illustrate your unique skills, interests, and abilities, and best exemplify your approach as a designer.

DON’T

  • Please don’t show any work that is confidential.  Usually, projects you have worked on in the past that have launched are acceptable to show.
  • Don’t go over your work history in this presentation, since people will already be familiar with your resume.
  • Don’t speak in vague, general terms. The more specific you can be, the better we can understand what you potentially bring to the table.

In-Person Interview

The goal of an in-person interview is get a detailed understanding of how the candidate works (their process, decision making ability), the quality of that work, and how they work with other team members of the product development lifecycle. It’s also a great opportunity for them to learn our team and process.

Send Interview Portfolio Preparation Info to Candidate

While scheduling the in-person interview, provide the candidate with a detailed breakdown of what is expected of the on-site interview. Often 3-4 hours.

The portfolio presentation is a chance for us to get to know your process and your design accomplishments.  You will have one hour to talk about one or two specific projects you have worked on.  An ideal project is one that best illustrates your design capabilities.  Ideally we'd like to see how your experience is relevant to the challenges you would face at our company. 
  The presentation can be as informal or as formal as you would like. Some logistical details for the presentation: - There will be about 5-6 people present.  The group will be comprised of the Director of Design, engineers and product managers. - You will have 45 minutes for your presentation followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. - You will have access to a projector.  We expect you to bring your own laptop.

DO

  • Assume that everyone present will already be familiar with your resume.
  • Focus on one to two projects to show us your work along with your process. Use specific examples to walk us through your design journey from the beginning to the end of your involvement.
  • If you were working as part of a team, clearly identify your contributions to the process and the final product.
  • Include examples that best illustrate your unique skills, interests, and abilities, and best exemplify your approach as a designer.
  • If you have a particular passion or interest outside of your professional work, feel free to spend the last 5 minutes talking about it.   DON’T
  • Please don’t show any work that is confidential.  Usually, projects you have worked on in the past that have launched are acceptable to show.
  • Don’t go over your work history in this presentation, since people will already be familiar with your resume.
  • Don’t speak in vague, general terms. The more specific you can be, the better we can understand what you potentially bring to the table.

Organize Interview Panel

Day of Agenda

  1. Portfolio Review (Hard Skills) [60m] - Entire Interview Panel
  2. Team Values and Soft Skills [30m] - PM & engineer
  3. About Company’s Design Practice [15m] - Hiring Manager
  4. Design Exercise & Critique [60m] - Joe and Dan

Portfolio Review

45 minute presentation, 15 minute Q&A The goal is to understand how they have worked, their hard skills, and their ability to present.

Product Designer: What to Look for

  1. User First: Do they describe who the user is first and ground you in the problem? Do they speak about how the user has guided specific decision throughout the process (design principles, etc…)?
  2. Craftsmanship: Did the designer sweat over all the details, both big and small, of the end-to-end product? Is there a sense that the final product is well-made? We’re not looking for something that’s just functional. We want products that leave people feeling like the folks who built this cared about them and their individual experiences.
  3. Interaction design: Can you design intuitive end-to-end user flows? Do you consider edge cases appropriately? How easy is it to get from point A to point B in an app you designed? Is the design thoughtful and clear for how this product works? Does the designer have a good grasp of common patterns and interactions?
  4. Product thinking: What problems are you trying to solve? Who are you designing for? What features should be included in your product, and why? Did they speak to and understand the business outcomes?
  5. Collaborative Process: Did they demonstrate involving others in their design process? Workshops? Reviews? Stakeholder Interviews?
  6. Storytelling: Did they break down the problem so that it was easy to understand?

Product Designer: Questions to Ask

  1. What were the problems you were trying to solve?
  2. Who did you partner with?
  3. What kind of research did you perform, if any?
  4. Why did you choose that design solution over this one?
  5. What were the tradeoffs?
  6. What challenges did you face in designing X?
  7. If you had more time to work on it, what would you change?
  8. If you got stuck on a certain design problem, how did you overcome it?
  9. Visual design: How polished are your designs? Do they feel well-crafted and refined? Are they aesthetically pleasing?
  10. Interaction design: Can you design intuitive end-to-end user flows? Do you consider edge cases appropriately? How easy is it to get from point A to point B in an app you designed?
  11. Product thinking: What problems are you trying to solve? Who are you designing for? What features should be included in your product, and why?
  12. Usability: “Is it easy to use? Is the design thoughtful and clear for how this product works? Does the designer have a good grasp of common patterns and interactions?”
  13. Craftsmanship: “Did the designer sweat over all the details, both big and small, of the end-to-end product? Is there a sense that the final product is well-made? We’re not looking for something that’s just functional. We want products that leave people feeling like the folks who built this cared about them and their individual experiences. That aspect of high quality and craft is extremely important to us.
  14. Think of a long-term project in your portfolio. “If you had two more months to work on it, what would you have done differently? What would have you added or continued to refine?” Thoughtful candidates are the ones who have been so attached to a project that they’ve thought many many times about how they could have made it better. “Occasionally you’ll get people who’ll say what they ended up with was perfect and they’d change nothing, or who suggest very minor cosmetic changes, which doesn’t come across as super thoughtful.”
  15. What was the timing for the project?
  16. What was their responsibilities? What did they actually produce that they’re showing?
  17. How do they go about convincing stakeholders of their design decisions, especially when being challenged?
  18. Process within a project or the ideal process?
  19. What was the assignment or ask? How did they interpret it?
  20. Why did they choose the approach they went with versus other options? What alternatives did they consider?
  21. What problems or challenges did they encounter along the way? How did they overcome them?
  22. Who did they ask questions to when they had them? What kind of questions did they have? What lessons did they learn from it?

Team Values and Soft Skills

Time to understand their values and if it aligns with your team’s values.

Communication Skills

  1. How important is communicating with your team as a designer?
  2. How would deal with a team member that is overly critical or dismissive?
  3. Describe your communication style.
  4. Is the conversation relaxing?
  5. How do you resolve problems?
  6. How do you work in a team?

Look for: ability to tell compelling stories to add the necessary depth to their work and that they have the ability to work through communication challenges.

Intentionality

  1. Does every decision have a well reasoned argument?
  2. What went wrong? What went right? How did this step influence the outcome, and what was the next step?
  3. Why?
  4. “Is there a solid rationale behind why they worked on what they worked on? Does it identify a real problem and attempt to solve it?”

Look for: every design decision has an explanation.

Proactive (Self-starter) & Passionate

  1. Do they look for opportunities in their life to improve upon? Side projects?
  2. How do you deal with ambiguity?
  3. Do you think designers should “fall in love” with their designs?
  4. When do you stand up for your design vs changing it to realistic pressures?

Look for: always uncovering problems that they’re wonder why they haven’t been solved yet and then they attempt to solve them.

Humble & Collaboration

  1. How do they approach getting early feedback on their work?
  2. How have you worked with development in the past?
  3. Have you facilitated workshops? If so, what value do you see in them?

Look for: extreme desire to be inclusive and acknowledgement that they don’t have all the best ideas.

Creative Spark

  1. What original creative designs have you completed? 
  2. What inspires you?
  3. What was a complex design problem you solved you are most proud of?
  4. How have you designed your life?

Look for: high motivation and passion to leverage design thinking throughout their life

About Company’s Design Practice

Goal: Get them to want to work with us.

Design Exercise & Critique

Goal: Capture high-level thinking

Exercise

Problems for Exercise

Activities

  1. Frame up problem space to tackle all the smaller problem [5 minutes]
  2. Discuss [5 minutes]
  3. Crazy 8s [8 minutes]
  4. Discuss 2 ideas [5 minutes]
  5. Storyboard [10 minutes]
  6. Discuss

Alternative Remote Exercise Only 30% of scheduled Internet installation appointments start on time with afternoon times getting as much as 2 hours delayed leading to frustrated personnel (longer work days) and customers (time expectations not met). Variance in installation times is impacted by many factors but the number one is house type - small family home versus low rise versus high rise.

How would you better schedule appointments for installers so they’re more likely to stay on schedule? Keep your ideas constrained to current technology abilities, preferably on mobile.

Please be prepared to explain your recommendation and how you came to it when we do our video interview. We will spend 30-60 minutes discussing it at the end of the interview.

Lastly, please time-box your work to no longer than 3 hours and make any assumptions you need to.

Critique

Goal: Understand their attention to detail Give your candidate the chance to assess what your team has done so far — and to articulate what they’d keep, what they’d change, and why.

More General Questions

Debrief

Offer

Onboarding

References