Some of these tips are going to seem obvious. Like “Duuuuhhh” obvious. However, I can tell you that I am getting candidates who fail on every single one of these.
Master Your Tools
The job is to be in a design tool and make stuff (and go to a bunch of meetings). Meetings and design, all day long. So please, please, please, be a master of your design tool. If you use Figma, understand components, constraints, instances, and Frames. If you use Sketch, you better be great with Symbols. If you use XD, you should understand repeat-grid and all of their functions. You can’t just use the basics. Be a power user! Master the one and only tool that you use for work. I can’t believe how many candidates are just B+ on their tool of choice. This includes keeping up with the latest features.
Design isn’t just a job to me. It’s a calling. I feel so lucky to be able to do it all the time. I really want to hire other people who feel the same way and throw themselves into the details.
Proofread Your Text
I understand that many designers are ESL (English as a Second Language). This is no excuse. You have to have someone proofread your text. Grammar problems are everywhere on designer case studies. This is a weird situation. Designers write a bunch of text that they EXPECT no one read. Why would you do that as a designer? It makes no sense. And if I DO read it, it’s got grammar and spelling errors. It’s lose lose. #StopMakingLongCaseStudies
The bar is so low. Just put in a little personality and you are better than 60% of all portfolios. I blogged about this previously, so I won’t go into too much detail. But please, please, stand out.
Answer the Question Asked
I start with a zoom video screen call. I often will ask a question up front about some topic. When a candidate says, “Well, why don’t I start with a little bit about me? I was born…” I immediately want to hang up. If I wanted to know that, I would have asked that. Listen to the question being asked and answer that. Don’t improvise new questions. Being a good listener is important.
Read a book
My UX book list is still relevant in design. Reading Medium articles is fine, but doing ONLY that isn’t a good idea. You have to absorb more information than that. I don’t even bother asking about candidates influences because no one really has them. Influences are good things!
Don’t Get Defensive
Design defense doesn’t mean getting defensive about design. Sometimes you need to justify why you designed something in a particular way. Sometimes, you need to realize your design is sub-optimal. When a designer realizes that a particular choice doesn’t make sense and STILL defends it…it makes me crazy. Focus on the work. It’s not personal. You will not make perfect choices every time.
That is probably enough for now. Apply to join my team today!