Winning at the UX Job Search Spring 2020

Winning at the UX Job Search Spring 2020

This is one of my favorite talks that I give to Laura Ruel's UX class at the University of North Carolina. I've updated this deck to reflect the COVID-19 situation. The talk covers the typical UX hiring process from the company's perspective, what interview candidates need to know, and how best prepare - and win at getting a UX job!

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Michelle Chin

April 23, 2020
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Transcript

  1. Winning at the UX Job Search (From the hiring manager’s

    perspective) April 23, 2020 Michelle Chin Manager, Product Designer, Citrix @soysaucechin COVID-19 Edition
  2. About Me Intro • Michelle Chin - @soysaucechin • DC

    > Raleigh > Bay Area • Manager, Product Designer at Citrix • Manage 6 designers; team of 20. • UX work I do is centered around product strategy and empowering others to solve challenging problems • I ❤ UX! Founder of exploreUX
  3. About me + the UX job search Intro • I

    struggled to find my first UX job • As a senior teammate, I’ve helped hire UXers • As a manager, I’ve hired UXers - and I’ve learned so much about the corporate hiring process! I know finding a UX job is tough!
  4. Background Intro • Who’s involved in the process • What

    the typical process is like • How COVID-19 affects this process What we’ll be talking about today
  5. Who’s involved Background • New to the professional work world,

    transitioning to a UX career, looking for a job in a UX-related field • Don’t be just another applicant • Yes! Be memorable! Two types: • All-stars • Creepy • (Networking helps ) You
  6. Who’s involved • Usually under the Human Resources department •

    Help hiring managers find talent and work through the logistics (set up interviews, talk salary, explain core company benefits) • Not familiar with UX • “First responders” - first to screen resumes and conduct interviews • Are recruiting for several job positions at once Recruiter Background
  7. Who’s involved Background • Manager on the design team and

    future boss • Very familiar with UX • Looking for candidates who can do the work and who make a great culture fit • Finds potential candidates via their networks • Very busy: projects, managing people • Could be recruiting for several job positions at once Hiring Manager
  8. Who’s involved • Designers on the team; could be your

    future teammates • Work on projects • Finds potential candidates via their networks • Participate in the hiring process Background Design Team
  9. The Process: 4 Typical Phases (from the Company’s perspective) Background

    ~150 applicants ~30 screened ~8 interviewed ~4 validated 4 hired 1. Searching Goal: To cast a wide net to find our potential interview candidates Example stats: Based on 4 positions we were hiring, there were: 2. Screening Goal: To screen for candidates who meet the requirements and have the relevant experience/talent 3. Interviewing Goal: To get a sense of a candidate’s experience and abilities to communicate and present work 4. Validating Goal: To get a sense of a candidate’s ability to ideate and think through solutions (Offer made)
  10. 4 Typical Phases Background For each phase, we’ll go over:

    • What the company wants to know • How you should be prepared • How to win! - Dos, don’ts • Use this as a checklist ✅
  11. Phase 1. Searching

  12. Searching Phase 1. Searching • Career sites (Indeed, Glassdoor) •

    LinkedIn • Through colleague networks • Local organizations (e.g.,Triangle UXPA) • Local events, meetups, conferences How are companies searching for candidates?
  13. What companies are looking for Phase 1: Searching Current resume

    Portfolio with 3-5 relevant pieces LinkedIn profile (And what you should have)
  14. How to win at applying General Rule: Make it easy

    for them to learn about you On your resume, include links to your portfolio and LinkedIn profile Name your resume with your name! Phase 1. Searching
  15. How to win at applying Don’t click the “Apply with

    LinkedIn” button!! • But it’s so easy and convenient!! Phase 1. Searching
  16. Don’t click “Apply with LinkedIn” 1. A delay in the

    process What happens LinkedIn sends a text version of your profile as your resume! What this means Hi, Can you send me your resume and a link to your portfolio? 2. You’re ignored () in favor of someone with a real resume Phase 1. Searching / How to win at applying
  17. • Go to the company’s site, find the job there

    and apply • Ensure you’re uploading a PDF resume (find that option) • Reach out to someone and ask about the job • However, don’t harass the person / entire team! So really, how do I apply? How to win at applying Phase 1. Searching
  18. • Recruiters throw out resumes that don’t align with the

    job description • Applying takes a lot of time and energy - think quality over quantity • Seek out opportunities for recent grads • Ask people at meetups, “Hey, does your company have programs for recent college grads?” • Companies are hiring right now, but think about what kind of services they offer or products they make - Will they endure this crisis? Apply only for the jobs you’re qualified for How to win at applying Phase 1. Searching
  19. Phase 2. Screening

  20. Screening Phase 2. Screening • The recruiter “first responder” screens

    the resume, if it passes… • The hiring manager screens the resume and portfolio. How are companies screening candidates?
  21. What companies are looking for Phase 2. Screening What are

    recruiters looking for when screening a resume? Looking for the basics: ✅ Do you have a link to your portfolio? ✅ Do you meet the minimum requirements needed? e.g., 1-3 years of UX experience ✅ Do you have the relevant keywords? If you do, then they’ll pass you to the hiring manager for a resume and portfolio screen. (And what you should be prepared to have)
  22. What companies are looking for Phase 2. Screening What are

    hiring managers looking for when screening a resume? Looking closer at the actual UX work: Does your resume show the skills and relevant experience needed to do the job? They’re scanning for: ✅ Positions held ✅ Companies worked for ✅ UX skills, applications ✅ Relevant keywords (e.g., Agile, mobile, enterprise, etc.) If you do, then they’ll decide to check out your portfolio. (And what you should be prepared to have)
  23. Resume Dos Do design your resume so it’s scannable Do

    have someone proofread for typos! Do include keywords - but of things you actually know This is a good time to work on your resume! How to win with your resume Phase 2. Screening
  24. Resume Don’ts Don’t submit Word docs - Formatting can break

    and look poor, someone can edit it - submit a PDF Don’t rate your skills! You risk selling yourself short! How to win with your resume Expert knowledge of Sketch, Illustrator; Working knowledge of HTML, CSS Good example Sketch Illustrator HTML CSS Bad example Phase 2. Screening
  25. Screening Phase 2. Screening What are hiring managers looking for

    when reviewing a portfolio? Does your portfolio: ✅ Look professional? ✅ Show a user-centered design process? ✅ Can you think critically? ✅ Show relevant experience? ✅ Tell us a bit about you? If it does, then they’ll decide to have the recruiter do a phone screen. (And what you should be prepared to have)
  26. Portfolio Dos Do keep the UI simple - have your

    pieces stand out Do limit it to 3-5 of your BEST, relevant pieces Do show your process - UX is messy Do mention flaws, surprise insights, lessons learned and how you pivoted or recovered Also a good time to work on your portfolio! How to win with your portfolio Phase 2. Screening
  27. Portfolio Don’ts Don’t include irrelevant work - e.g., throw out

    those print pieces Don’t copy your colleagues - (i.e., plagiarize) it’s ok to use the same pieces, but change up the content Don’t make it seem like you worked for big companies (e.g., Apple, Airbnb, Tesla) How to win with your portfolio Phase 2. Screening
  28. What if I don’t have real-world experience? Do: Do create

    projects that go through your process Do look at volunteer opportunities Don’t: Don’t redesign Craigslist Don’t take on a redesign of any well-known site or app, one with strong design team How to win with your portfolio Phase 2. Screening
  29. 3. Interviewing

  30. Interviewing Phase 3. Interviewing 1. The recruiter “first responder” conducts

    a phone screen, if you pass… 2. The hiring manager conducts an phone screen, if you pass… 3. The hiring manager and team conducts portfolio presentation interview. How are companies interviewing candidates?
  31. Interviewing What are recruiters looking for in a phone screen?

    First pass at seeing if you’re legit: ✅ Do you know what UX is? ✅ Why do you want to work at the company? ✅ Can you talk about your UX process? What they’re looking for: ✅ Can you articulate yourself well? ✅ Do you really want to work at the company? ✅ Are you worth moving forward? (And what you should be prepared to answer) Phase 3. Interviewing
  32. Interviewing Logistics: ✅ Do you need a visa? ✅ Do

    you need to relocate? ✅ What is your salary range? If the phone screen goes well, then they’ll recommend you for an phone screen interview with the hiring manager. Phase 3. Interviewing What are recruiters looking for in a phone screen? (And what you should be prepared to answer)
  33. Interviewing What are hiring managers looking for in a phone

    screen? (And what you should be prepared to answer) Second pass at your qualifications: ✅ What’s your UX process like (using a previous project as an example)? ✅ What’s a UX challenge you faced and how did you resolve it? ✅ What aspect of UX are you strongest / most passionate about? ✅ What are you looking with your next career steps? ✅ What experience do you have working with stakeholders, developers, product managers, etc.? Phase 3. Interviewing
  34. Interviewing What they’re looking for: ✅ Can you explain your

    UX process? ✅ Can you articulate your work? ✅ Do your strengths, passions, and career next steps align with the team? ✅ Can you work with others well? ✅ Are you worth moving forward? If the phone screen goes well, then they’ll recommend to do a portfolio presentation/ interview. Phase 3. Interviewing What are hiring managers looking for in a phone screen?
  35. Phone Interview Dos Do ask about their hiring process Do

    have answers for those logistical questions Do have questions for the interviewers! Do practice your interviews - you want to know your work in and out: • Know the most challenging part of the project and how you approached a solution • Know what you would do differently How to win at phone screens Phase 3. Interviewing
  36. Phone Interview Don’ts Don’t throw anyone under the bus -

    EVER!! (Practice putting a positive spin on things) Don’t take calls in a noisy environment or where there’s patchy reception How to win at phone screens Phase 3. Interviewing
  37. Interviewing What happens in a portfolio presentation? • Typically a

    presentation done virtually or in person. ( more than likely it’ll be virtual) • Includes additional managers or senior teammates • Opportunity for: • You to show your work and walk through it • For interviewers to dive deeper into your work and ask questions • You to ask questions about the team / company Phase 3. Interviewing
  38. Interviewing What are they looking for in a portfolio presentation?

    What they’re looking for: ✅ Can you articulate your work and answer in- depth questions about it? ✅ A better understanding of your work, skillsets, interests ✅ Would you be a good cultural fit? ✅ Are you worth moving forward? If the interview goes well, then might decide to have you go onto the next phase. Phase 3. Interviewing
  39. Presentation Dos Do have 3-4 pieces ready to present -

    usually you present 2-3, but it’s good to have an extra just in case Do have design deliverables ready Do show your process - the complicated and messy Do be prepared to talk about what you love inside/outside of work Do look at LinkedIn profiles of interviewers Do back up your stuff to the Cloud How to win at portfolio presentations Phase 3. Interviewing
  40. Presentation Dos Do download and practice the technology ahead of

    time (software, headphones, etc.) Do start to build a rapport with people - this might actually calm your nerves Do share your camera AND look at your camera when presenting! Be understanding if some people have to jump off, can’t make it, or are late. Do warn people of any potential interruptions How to win at portfolio presentations Phase 3. Interviewing
  41. Phase 3. Interviewing Presentation Don’ts Don’t give a real estate

    tour of your work , instead – Tell a story, keep things high level, but know the details if they ask. Don’t just show final pieces - show the process! Don’t only open design files as your main presentation - have a presentation prepared (PowerPoint, Keynote) Avoid showing videos with audio How to win at portfolio presentations
  42. Do ask Questions! These show me you’re picturing yourself on

    the team: • What do you love about being on the team? • What opportunities are there for career growth and development? • How does the team typically work on projects? • Do you feel like the larger company is transparent about its goals? • What are some challenges that designers face working on projects? • How has the company support its employees during this time? This can be very telling if you want to join this company. How to win at portfolio presentations Phase 3. Interviewing (Favorites I’ve been asked)
  43. 4. Validating

  44. Validating Phase 4. Validating • So much of UX is

    behind the scenes and it’s tough to convey design iterations, pivots, and decisions • Teams validate your abilities by conducting some sort of design exercise: • Design/whiteboard challenge • Heuristic evaluation How are companies validating candidates?
  45. Validating What are hiring managers looking for? What they’re looking

    for: ✅ Do you actually use a user-centered design process? ✅ How well is your ability to think through a problem? ✅ How well can you critically think and generate solutions? If you do well, then they’ll be ready to make an offer. (And what you should be prepared demonstrate) Phase 4. Validating
  46. Heuristic Evaluation Dos and Don’ts Do: Do use an existing

    heuristic method/ model (e.g., 10 Usability Heuristics for UI Design by Jakob Nielsen) Do practice, so you feel comfortable doing these Don’t: Don’t try to boil the ocean, instead narrow your scope and focus on an area Don’t get too specific with everything, instead dive in on one or two things How to win at heuristic evaluations Phase 4. Validating
  47. Phase 4. Validating Design Challenge Dos and Don’ts Do: Do

    google “design interview challenge” for strategies Do practice and be familiar with • Hypothetical/abstract ones • Real-life ones Don’t: Don’t strive for perfection - keep moving! It’s about showing your process How to win at design challenges
  48. Phase 4. Validating Value your time! • Your time is

    valuable and design teams shouldn’t take advantage of it • If a company has you (re)design a feature in their product or give you hours of homework, you can politely decline it • Say you understand the intent • Ask for an alternative, limit in scope, or payment How to win at design challenges
  49. This isn’t working

  50. This isn’t working • Why haven’t I heard from X

    company? • Companies rarely inform “no” to candidates • The hiring process can take time • It’s might not be you, it might be them • Timing • Budget limitations • Company uncertainty • You might not have met the minimum requirements • There might have been stronger candidates out there Why am I having trouble getting a UX job?
  51. Dos and Don’ts How to win even when you feel

    like you’re losing This isn’t working Don’t be too hard on yourself! Do ask the recruiter or hiring manager why you weren’t selected Do consider being a contractor or working at a smaller company Do seek mentorship Do continue to build your network (Attend meetups, join Triangle UXPA, etc. )
  52. Building your network increases your chances of finding a job!

    How to win even when you feel like you’re losing This isn’t working My quick survey about the job hunt: 41% 59% Over half (59%) find jobs through someone they know 26% 26% 48% Former Coworkers (48%) Friend Network (26%) Professional Network (26%) Survey conducted by Michelle Chin in November 2018, where 23 respondents were asked how they found their two previous UX/UX-related jobs. Of the 59%, half found their job from a former coworker, half found a job in their network
  53. Thinking differently since COVID-19

  54. This isn’t working Everything takes more effort • Get creative

    in filling in the gaps • Instead of, “I can’t [xyz],” think “How else can I achieve what I was trying to with [xyz]?” • Make connections online –there’s a local Slack group (free to join TriangleDesigners.com) • Local meetups are happening - just virtually • Don’t be too hard on yourself! Additional Considerations "You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work." I've heard this twice today. I think it's an important distinction worth emphasizing. —Neil Webb
  55. This isn’t working • You’ll be remote for the foreseeable

    future • Share your camera when you can; others might not want to share • Tidy your background - people are “coming over” to your home. • Have 15-minute 1-1s with teammates to get to know them better • Ask your manager for guidance, understand what your employer policies are in place Starting a New Job Right Now
  56. Slide deck: bit.ly/winning-at-ux-jobs-4 Twitter: @soysaucechin LinkedIn: michelletchin Slack: TriangleDesigners.com (michelle.chin)

    SkillShare: https://skl.sh/ 2FOSfcp Medium: @soysaucechin Questions?