1
Case Study
Designing a Recruiting Strategy for
Designers in IT
2
Or
How I learned to stop worrying and
actually hire good designers
3
So who am I
• Not a recruiter
• I lead a 30 person product design team
(PRODAQ) at NASDAQ OMX
• But recruited 32 people ...
4
So who am I
• And I hear from recruiters. A lot.
• About 10+ emails/calls/LinkedIn pings a week
• Worked with a number o...
5
Quick disclaimer
• Designers aren’t special snowflakes
• Almost every IT position is competitive
• I’m not here to tell ...
6
Today’s talk
• State of design & design jobs today
• How to ask hiring manager better questions
• How to present a job d...
7
HOW MANY IN THE AUDIENCE
HAVE RECRUITED DESIGNERS?
Current State
8
Good design is good business
Thomas Watson Jr
1974
9
We’ve passed the point where design is
merely the look and feel of things.
10
Designers are the ones best situated to
figure out how a kit of parts can
become something more.
Why Good Design Is Fin...
11
12
13
WHY NOW?
14
Design is now the differentiator
Specialization
of software,
data, services
Demand for
designers
15
Local flavor
16
Government
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Join us, and you will be given an
opportunity to help create a dream
te...
17
Non Profits & Associations
• increased donations
• better involvement
from members and
supporters
• increased visibilit...
18
Defense
• Simplified e-learning systems so users
have a more comprehensive
understanding of material
• More applicable,...
19
• Design doesn’t need to be flashy to be
necessary or successful
• Users expect perfection
– Both at home and work
• Co...
20
CURRENT STATE
21
Current State: Process
Hiring mgr meets HR,
shares job description
Recruiting team
begins search,
posts & prays
Recruit...
22
Current State: Process
Hiring mgr meets HR,
shares job description
Recruiting team
begins search,
posts & prays
Recruit...
23
Current State: Process
Hiring mgr meets HR,
shares job description
Recruiting team
begins search,
posts & prays
Recruit...
24
What’s our mission?
• Get more qualified, diverse candidates
• In less time
• Without costly 3rd party recruiters
• And...
25
So how is this working out?
• An unscientific survey
• But very telling
• 89 responses in 3 days
26
How well do you feel recruiters placing design
positions understand the job for which they are
contacting you?
27
Select the best statement about
the jobs recruiters send you:
28
Select the most frequent reasons
the jobs recruiters send you are
INAPPROPRIATE:
29
On average, estimate how many times A MONTH you
receive correspondence from a recruiter (please
include email, LinkedIn...
30
If you are employed, how did you
discover your current employer?
31
32
SO WHAT ARE THESE DESIGN JOBS?
33
Baseline: Design jobs
UX =
Design
http://www.onwardsearch.com/UX-Career-Guide/UX-Career-Guide-Infographic.pdf
34
Goal: attract more qualified candidates
Hiring mgr meets HR,
shares job description
Recruiting team
begins search,
post...
35
Job descriptions
• Hiring manager scours job boards
• Searches for similar job
• Copies/pastes job description
• Change...
36
Job description red flags
37
Job Description Red Flags
Rock stars, ninjas, unicorns, gurus. Just…no
38
Job Description Red Flags
Tool-based lists
http://www.onwardsearch.com/UX-Career-Guide/UX-Career-Guide-Infographic.pdf
39
Job Description Red Flags
Tool-based lists
http://www.onwardsearch.com/UX-Career-Guide/UX-Career-Guide-Infographic.pdf
40
Sell the vision
41
Sample visions
• Lab49’s user experience designers craft
exceptional experiences that enable our
clients to be smarter ...
42
Sample visions
• Airbnb is looking for a talented UI designer to
help us visualize the future of
43
Sample visions
• At Etsy, our Product Design team is
responsible for wearing many hats at once:
from high-level product...
44
Effective job descriptions
• Say what you need
• No longer lists of skills & acronyms
• Proactive companies are now usi...
45
Where to advertise your openings
Fish where the fish are
46
Goal: Increase the pipeline
Hiring mgr meets HR,
shares job description
Recruiting team
begins search,
posts & prays
Re...
47
Where to look, where to share
• Major websites: Monster, Dice, LinkedIn
• Niche and/or mass market job sites
• Meetups/...
48
PRODAQ & Major Job Sites
• Monster – don’t use (neither does NDAQ)
• Dice – don’t use
• Craigslist – don’t use
• Linked...
49
Niche Design Job Sites
• AuthenticJobs.com
• Coroflot.com
• Behance.net
• Dribbble.com
• CollegeCentral.com
50
Niche Design Job Sites
• Location issues
– Too many international applicants looking for
offsite freelance work
– Too m...
51
Niche Design Job Sites
• CollegeCentral
– good for entry/mid-level openings
– Resumes are likely out of date – validate...
52
PRODAQ via College Central
Jan 2012
53
PRODAQ via College Central
Jan 2012
54
PRODAQ via College Central
Jan 2012 Dec 2012 Fall 2013
55
Meetups/Events
• Great to find passive, motivated candidates
• Enables better diversification of candidates
• Requires ...
56
Social Channels
• Product design has strong personal social
presence on Twitter & LinkedIn
• We know our audience
– Fel...
57
Social Channels
58
Social Channels
59
Social Channels
60
Finding Candidates
• Fish where the fish are
– designers in tech are likely to be found at local,
free events (in addit...
61
Evaluating prospects
How to spot strong and weak candidates in the phone screen
62
Goal: more accurately evaluate candidates
Hiring mgr meets HR,
shares job description
Recruiting team
begins search,
po...
63
Prioritize
• Skills, education, experience are soft
foundation
• Very few design gigs are exactly like the other
• Work...
64
Years of Experience
• 3-5 years of exp sounds nice, but is it
required?
• Why do you need the experience?
– Talking wit...
65
Education
• Do you really need an MFA or MS in IxD?
• Many positions are tool-centric: Build this!
• Tool-focused job s...
66
• The designer from a defense contractor
applying to a non-profit (fine)
• The information architect who wants to move
...
67
• I never hired on the basis of
– Financial experience
– Enterprise experience
– 3-5 years prototyping experience
– Exp...
68
Designer resume red flags
69
Designer resume red flags
• No portfolio or link to website
• Tool & Skill focused
• Little or no description of role
•...
70
Designer resume red flags
• No portfolio or link to website
– Probe deeper if you see:
• Template based site (wix, squa...
71
Designer resume red flags
• Little or no description of role on project
– Team involvement or solo?
– When did the pers...
72
Designer resume red flags
• Little or no emphasis on results
• Does the candidate mention any net
outcomes of their wor...
73
Designer resume red flags
• Little or no emphasis on process
– Just show/describe the end result?
– Early-process tasks...
74
Designer resume red flags
WTF?
75
6 seconds? GO!
• Portfolio or URL first—Does it exist?
• Involvement (lead, consultant, etc)
• Results / effectiveness ...
76
In the interview
Help the hiring manager with these tips for identifying the best
77
Goal: Make offers to best people
Hiring mgr meets HR,
shares job description
Recruiting team
begins search,
posts & pra...
78
Useful interview tactics
• Don’t just walk through page by page of
portfolio or website; ask for the design
process & c...
79
Useful interview tactics
• Suggest a design exercise: hiring manager
provides persona, scenario, and simple
constraints...
80
Useful interview tactics
• Don’t ask for favorite websites, you’ll just hear
apple.com
81
82
Wrap Up
Goals
• Get more qualified, diverse
candidates
• In less time
• Without costly 3rd party
recruiters
• And make ...
83
THANK YOU!
Chris Avore
NASDAQ OMX
Chris.avore@nasdaqomx.com
Twitter: @erova
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Designing a Recruiting Strategy for Hiring Designers

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Presentation to help recruiters understand the nuances of hiring design positions in a hyper-competitive job market.

Presented at Recruiting Trends 2014 in Alexandria VA.

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Designing a Recruiting Strategy for Hiring Designers

  1. 1. 1 Case Study Designing a Recruiting Strategy for Designers in IT
  2. 2. 2 Or How I learned to stop worrying and actually hire good designers
  3. 3. 3 So who am I • Not a recruiter • I lead a 30 person product design team (PRODAQ) at NASDAQ OMX • But recruited 32 people to my team (2 people have left in 27 months) • No agencies or inhouse recruiters involved
  4. 4. 4 So who am I • And I hear from recruiters. A lot. • About 10+ emails/calls/LinkedIn pings a week • Worked with a number of recruiters as a job seeker, as someone involved in the international design community, and locally in NYC and DC.
  5. 5. 5 Quick disclaimer • Designers aren’t special snowflakes • Almost every IT position is competitive • I’m not here to tell you you’re doing it wrong • But to help you empathize with designers
  6. 6. 6 Today’s talk • State of design & design jobs today • How to ask hiring manager better questions • How to present a job description that qualified candidates will respond to • How to comb for passive design candidates who aren’t trolling the job boards • How to review a designer’s resume & portfolio before sending to your hiring manager • What job attributes often resonate with designers to close the deal
  7. 7. 7 HOW MANY IN THE AUDIENCE HAVE RECRUITED DESIGNERS? Current State
  8. 8. 8 Good design is good business Thomas Watson Jr 1974
  9. 9. 9 We’ve passed the point where design is merely the look and feel of things.
  10. 10. 10 Designers are the ones best situated to figure out how a kit of parts can become something more. Why Good Design Is Finally A Bottom Line Investment Fast Company Design, October 2012
  11. 11. 11
  12. 12. 12
  13. 13. 13 WHY NOW?
  14. 14. 14 Design is now the differentiator Specialization of software, data, services Demand for designers
  15. 15. 15 Local flavor
  16. 16. 16 Government Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Join us, and you will be given an opportunity to help create a dream technology environment for a new organization. In the process, you’ll improve the lives of millions of Americans. Maybe you’re just out of college and you are looking to sharpen your skills. Or maybe you want a break from building widgets and want to spend some time making things that really matter.
  17. 17. 17 Non Profits & Associations • increased donations • better involvement from members and supporters • increased visibility and awareness for their cause • improved promotion for organization events
  18. 18. 18 Defense • Simplified e-learning systems so users have a more comprehensive understanding of material • More applicable, realistic training simulators to prepare troops hostile situation. • More intuitive displays, screens, & control panels to show what’s most important at the right time
  19. 19. 19 • Design doesn’t need to be flashy to be necessary or successful • Users expect perfection – Both at home and work • Companies can command a premium for good design • Good design is difficult to duplicate In summary
  20. 20. 20 CURRENT STATE
  21. 21. 21 Current State: Process Hiring mgr meets HR, shares job description Recruiting team begins search, posts & prays Recruiters review resumes Resumes go to Hiring Manager
  22. 22. 22 Current State: Process Hiring mgr meets HR, shares job description Recruiting team begins search, posts & prays Recruiters review resumes Resumes go to Hiring Manager Niche sites, meetups, social channels
  23. 23. 23 Current State: Process Hiring mgr meets HR, shares job description Recruiting team begins search, posts & prays Recruiters review resumes Resumes go to Hiring Manager 3rd party/agencies blast to everyone who posted a resume on the internet since 1997
  24. 24. 24 What’s our mission? • Get more qualified, diverse candidates • In less time • Without costly 3rd party recruiters • And make offers to the best people
  25. 25. 25 So how is this working out? • An unscientific survey • But very telling • 89 responses in 3 days
  26. 26. 26 How well do you feel recruiters placing design positions understand the job for which they are contacting you?
  27. 27. 27 Select the best statement about the jobs recruiters send you:
  28. 28. 28 Select the most frequent reasons the jobs recruiters send you are INAPPROPRIATE:
  29. 29. 29 On average, estimate how many times A MONTH you receive correspondence from a recruiter (please include email, LinkedIn, phone calls, or any other communication).
  30. 30. 30 If you are employed, how did you discover your current employer?
  31. 31. 31
  32. 32. 32 SO WHAT ARE THESE DESIGN JOBS?
  33. 33. 33 Baseline: Design jobs UX = Design http://www.onwardsearch.com/UX-Career-Guide/UX-Career-Guide-Infographic.pdf
  34. 34. 34 Goal: attract more qualified candidates Hiring mgr meets HR, shares job description Recruiting team begins search, posts & prays Recruiters review resumes Resumes go to Hiring Manager
  35. 35. 35 Job descriptions • Hiring manager scours job boards • Searches for similar job • Copies/pastes job description • Changes out a few things (hopefully) • Sends to recruiting manager
  36. 36. 36 Job description red flags
  37. 37. 37 Job Description Red Flags Rock stars, ninjas, unicorns, gurus. Just…no
  38. 38. 38 Job Description Red Flags Tool-based lists http://www.onwardsearch.com/UX-Career-Guide/UX-Career-Guide-Infographic.pdf
  39. 39. 39 Job Description Red Flags Tool-based lists http://www.onwardsearch.com/UX-Career-Guide/UX-Career-Guide-Infographic.pdf
  40. 40. 40 Sell the vision
  41. 41. 41 Sample visions • Lab49’s user experience designers craft exceptional experiences that enable our clients to be smarter and more nimble.
  42. 42. 42 Sample visions • Airbnb is looking for a talented UI designer to help us visualize the future of
  43. 43. 43 Sample visions • At Etsy, our Product Design team is responsible for wearing many hats at once: from high-level product thinking, to interaction flows and just-enough mockups, all the way to front-end implementation (html and css).
  44. 44. 44 Effective job descriptions • Say what you need • No longer lists of skills & acronyms • Proactive companies are now using the job description to reflect company culture • Nuance, details reflect understanding • Sell the benefit (not benefits) of working • Will still get the clueless applicants
  45. 45. 45 Where to advertise your openings Fish where the fish are
  46. 46. 46 Goal: Increase the pipeline Hiring mgr meets HR, shares job description Recruiting team begins search, posts & prays Recruiters review resumes Resumes go to Hiring Manager
  47. 47. 47 Where to look, where to share • Major websites: Monster, Dice, LinkedIn • Niche and/or mass market job sites • Meetups/events/conferences • Social channels: amplifying word of mouth
  48. 48. 48 PRODAQ & Major Job Sites • Monster – don’t use (neither does NDAQ) • Dice – don’t use • Craigslist – don’t use • LinkedIn – posted jobs, no interviews – Identify passive candidates – Reach out directly to diverse candidates
  49. 49. 49 Niche Design Job Sites • AuthenticJobs.com • Coroflot.com • Behance.net • Dribbble.com • CollegeCentral.com
  50. 50. 50 Niche Design Job Sites • Location issues – Too many international applicants looking for offsite freelance work – Too many people from far away looking to relocate • Over/under-qualified • Don’t follow instructions to apply
  51. 51. 51 Niche Design Job Sites • CollegeCentral – good for entry/mid-level openings – Resumes are likely out of date – validate with LinkedIn – Most people are local – Better for *finding* candidates, not just posting
  52. 52. 52 PRODAQ via College Central Jan 2012
  53. 53. 53 PRODAQ via College Central Jan 2012
  54. 54. 54 PRODAQ via College Central Jan 2012 Dec 2012 Fall 2013
  55. 55. 55 Meetups/Events • Great to find passive, motivated candidates • Enables better diversification of candidates • Requires time outside of office • Good start to establishing yourself/company in the design community • Sponsorships • 6 hires to Product Design team via events
  56. 56. 56 Social Channels • Product design has strong personal social presence on Twitter & LinkedIn • We know our audience – Fellow designers in community – Don’t take selves too seriously – Share activities without confidential info – Promotes team culture, personality
  57. 57. 57 Social Channels
  58. 58. 58 Social Channels
  59. 59. 59 Social Channels
  60. 60. 60 Finding Candidates • Fish where the fish are – designers in tech are likely to be found at local, free events (in addition to big conferences) – Twitter is the defacto communication channel of the design community • Posting jobs to twitter are table stakes • Use Twitter to show off your design-friendly work environment – Many designers aren’t visiting the big job boards; those needs are met by niche sites
  61. 61. 61 Evaluating prospects How to spot strong and weak candidates in the phone screen
  62. 62. 62 Goal: more accurately evaluate candidates Hiring mgr meets HR, shares job description Recruiting team begins search, posts & prays Recruiters review resumes Resumes go to Hiring Manager
  63. 63. 63 Prioritize • Skills, education, experience are soft foundation • Very few design gigs are exactly like the other • Work with hiring manager to understand what’s really necessary • Don’t miss out on great candidates because they aren’t perfect fits to job description: look at big picture
  64. 64. 64 Years of Experience • 3-5 years of exp sounds nice, but is it required? • Why do you need the experience? – Talking with executives? – Leading workshops with clients? – Or you don’t want to explain how to use tools? • Half of PRODAQ: fewer than 5 years exp
  65. 65. 65 Education • Do you really need an MFA or MS in IxD? • Many positions are tool-centric: Build this! • Tool-focused job skills can be self-taught • Look for humanities degrees too: – English, Sociology, Architecture, Psychology • PRODAQ: 5 MFAs, 2 MBAs, 1 MSci
  66. 66. 66 • The designer from a defense contractor applying to a non-profit (fine) • The information architect who wants to move exclusively to user experience (fine) • The freelancer who wants full time (fine) • Someone with little mobile exp working on mobile apps (risk) You have to reconcile:
  67. 67. 67 • I never hired on the basis of – Financial experience – Enterprise experience – 3-5 years prototyping experience – Experience with Agile development methodology – Working with offshore development teams PRODAQ
  68. 68. 68 Designer resume red flags
  69. 69. 69 Designer resume red flags • No portfolio or link to website • Tool & Skill focused • Little or no description of role • Little or no emphasis on results • Little or no expansion on process
  70. 70. 70 Designer resume red flags • No portfolio or link to website – Probe deeper if you see: • Template based site (wix, squarespace) • Wordpress themes – Are there other resources/examples? • Dribbble • Behance • Github – Links to job/site don’t provide enough info
  71. 71. 71 Designer resume red flags • Little or no description of role on project – Team involvement or solo? – When did the person join the project? – When did the person leave the project? – Responsible for anything or in support role? – How did they work with development teams? Stakeholders? Customers?
  72. 72. 72 Designer resume red flags • Little or no emphasis on results • Does the candidate mention any net outcomes of their work? • Subscriptions • Revenue • Support tickets • Conversions • Traffic • How do they measure success?
  73. 73. 73 Designer resume red flags • Little or no emphasis on process – Just show/describe the end result? – Early-process tasks or artifacts: • Interviewing, Competitive analysis, Heuristic evaluation – Later tasks: Usability testing, Analytics & metrics • Big red flag: calling UX a step in a process – “Next we did the UX, then the visual design”
  74. 74. 74 Designer resume red flags WTF?
  75. 75. 75 6 seconds? GO! • Portfolio or URL first—Does it exist? • Involvement (lead, consultant, etc) • Results / effectiveness of work • Skills & Tools
  76. 76. 76 In the interview Help the hiring manager with these tips for identifying the best
  77. 77. 77 Goal: Make offers to best people Hiring mgr meets HR, shares job description Recruiting team begins search, posts & prays Recruiters review resumes Resumes go to Hiring Manager
  78. 78. 78 Useful interview tactics • Don’t just walk through page by page of portfolio or website; ask for the design process & candidate’s involvement
  79. 79. 79 Useful interview tactics • Suggest a design exercise: hiring manager provides persona, scenario, and simple constraints to sketch
  80. 80. 80 Useful interview tactics • Don’t ask for favorite websites, you’ll just hear apple.com
  81. 81. 81
  82. 82. 82 Wrap Up Goals • Get more qualified, diverse candidates • In less time • Without costly 3rd party recruiters • And make offers to the best people Outcomes • Attract better candidates via more appropriate job descriptions • Through more channels than just big job sites • And how to evaluate the candidates to hire the best of the bunch
  83. 83. 83 THANK YOU! Chris Avore NASDAQ OMX Chris.avore@nasdaqomx.com Twitter: @erova
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