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

Questions

Phone Screen Questions

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] - Hiring Manager & Another Designer

Background Deep-Dive

The goal is to go through past experience to determine ability and alignment of our position (scorecard).

It’s a chronological walk-through of a person’s career. You begin by asking about the highs and lows of a person’s educational experience to gain insight into his or her background. Then you ask five simple questions, for each job in the past fifteen years, beginning with the earliest and working your way forward to the present day.

  1. What were you hired to do? How was your success measured? Look for: What were their mission and key outcomes? What competencies might have mattered?
  2. What accomplishments are you most proud of? Look for: Outcomes that match mission above.
  3. What were some low points during the job? What went really wrong? What was your biggest mistake? What would you have done differently? What part of the job did you not like? In what ways were your peers stronger than you? Look for: Look for understanding of areas for growth, identify environments not meant for them.
  4. What would your boss say were your strengths and areas for improvement? Use to compare against during reference checks.
  5. Why did you leave? How did your boss react? Look for: Stories of progressing career (hitting ceilings, trying new domains), philosophical differences between bosses, getting fired, their boss was disappointed about the news

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 Portfolio Review Questions

Team Values and Soft Skills

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

Questions to Ask Onsite Interview Questions

Communication Skills 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 Look for: every design decision has an explanation.

Proactive (Self-starter) & Passionate Look for: always uncovering problems that they’re wonder why they haven’t been solved yet and then they attempt to solve them.

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

Creative Spark 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 deep thinking and decision making, knowledge of patterns, velocity of ability.

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 Take Home Design Assignment 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.

Alternative Reimagine and redesign an existing digital product of your choice that showcases your skills and abilities to solve a complex problem as a designer.

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.

Debrief

Offer

Onboarding

References