Land Your UX Dream Job: Tales From A Hiring Manager

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Over the past few years, AppNexus has experienced tremendous growth. Having processed hundreds of applications for UX roles, Ashley Halsey Hemingway would like to share some tips and tricks for UX job seekers, to ensure their applications stand out for all the right reasons. In this talk, Ashley will share user-centric principles in order to help job seekers tailor their applications, resumes and portfolios to their “user": the hiring manger.

http://nycuxpa.org/event-1915600

Published in: Recruiting & HR, Design
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Land Your UX Dream Job: Tales From A Hiring Manager

  1. LAND YOUR UX DREAM JOB TALES FROM A HIRING MANAGER Ashley Halsey Hemingway Director of User Experience May 5, 2015
  2. Ashley HH Ohio → NYC @halsey_ During the few minutes a day I am not online, I can be found indulging in too much television, curiosity and cheese
  3. Ashley HH Ohio → NYC @halsey_ During the few minutes a day I am not online, I can be found indulging in too much television, curiosity and cheese PREVIOUSLY Studied Digital Design @ DAAP, University of Cincinnati Many company types: Agencies Enterprise Freelance Many types of design: Branding Marketing Website Design Application Design
  4. Ashley HH Ohio → NYC @halsey_ During the few minutes a day I am not online, I can be found indulging in too much television, curiosity and cheese PREVIOUSLY Studied Digital Design @ DAAP, University of Cincinnati Many company types: Agencies Enterprise Freelance Many types of design: Branding Marketing Website Design Application Design CURRENTLY Director of UX @ AppNexus Team of 7 9 (Design + Research) Currently hiring for 7 5 reqs: Designers Researchers Team Leads Have reviewed at least 300 applicants over the past 6 months
  5. Ashley HH Ohio → NYC @halsey_ During the few minutes a day I am not online, I can be found indulging in too much television, curiosity and cheese PREVIOUSLY Studied Digital Design @ DAAP, University of Cincinnati Many company types: Agencies Enterprise Freelance Many types of design: Branding Marketing Website Design Application Design CURRENTLY Director of UX @ AppNexus Team of 7 9 (Design + Research) Currently hiring for 7 5 reqs: Designers Researchers Team Leads Have reviewed at least 300 applicants over the past 6 months AppNexus is a B2B advertising technology platform. “We power the advertising that powers the internet.” 900+ AppNexians (93 hired in Q1 2015) 23 offices and counting… ABOUT APPNEXUS
  6. DESIGN YOUR APPLICATION LIKE YOU WOULD DESIGN ANYTHING ELSE…
  7. DESIGN YOUR APPLICATION LIKE YOU WOULD DESIGN ANYTHING ELSE… FOR THE USER.
  8. Your user, the Hiring Manager
  9. WORKFLOWS OF KEY PLAYERS Candidate Update resume and portfolio Set goals for the next role Identify target companies and roles Write cover letters Submit applications Showcase skills, work style and past experience Vet company Review offer and complete official documents 1. PREP 2. SEARCH 3. APPLY 4. INTERVIEW 5. ACCEPT 6. ONBOARD Prepare to join a new team
  10. WORKFLOWS OF KEY PLAYERS Candidate Update resume and portfolio Set goals for the next role Identify target companies and roles Write cover letters Submit applications Showcase skills, work style and past experience Vet company Review offer and complete official documents 1. PREP 2. SEARCH 3. APPLY 4. INTERVIEW 5. ACCEPT 6. ONBOARD Prepare to join a new team 1. PREP 2. SEARCH 3. SCREEN 4. INTERVIEW 5. OFFER 6. ONBOARDManager Get approval to open the req Write role description Plan screening and interviewing Review applications Conduct phone screens Send out and review design/ research challenges Interview for core competencies Review feedback from interviewers Make hiring decision Draft and extend offer to candidate Set start date Confirm onboarding and mentor are in place Post position to website and other venues Actively recruit candidates from key venues
  11. WORKFLOWS OF KEY PLAYERS Candidate Update resume and portfolio Set goals for the next role Identify target companies and roles Write cover letters Submit applications Showcase skills, work style and past experience Vet company Review offer and complete official documents 1. PREP 2. SEARCH 3. APPLY 4. INTERVIEW 5. ACCEPT 6. ONBOARD Prepare to join a new team 1. PREP 2. SEARCH 3. SCREEN 4. INTERVIEW 5. OFFER 6. ONBOARDManager Get approval to open the req Write role description Plan screening and interviewing Review applications Conduct phone screens Send out and review design/ research challenges Interview for core competencies Review feedback from interviewers Make hiring decision Draft and extend offer to candidate Set start date Confirm onboarding and mentor are in place Post position to website and other venues Actively recruit candidates from key venues
  12. SNAPSHOT OF A HIRING MANAGER “Hiring is a top priority for me, but many other time-sensitive commitments often take time away from my focus on hiring.” “Anywhere from 1-5 applications might come in on a given day between my open reqs. My goal is to look at all candidates in the pipeline by EOW, but that doesn’t always happen.” “I am hiring for multiple roles with different seniority levels, so I am constantly having to re-calibrate my expectations and what I am really looking for.” “I often look at resume / cover letter / portfolio in various orders. I will usually check the cover letter first, and then their portfolio, since portfolios are often a kind of a resume - and since cover letters often reference the portfolio and have a link. If there is no cover letter, I have to go into the resume to find the portfolio link, so I will scan the resume quickly and not bother with the portfolio if the resume doesn’t look like a possible match for the role.” Collaborators TAG Recruiter: Helps me with sourcing, phone screening, writing offers, closing candidates, etc. TAG Scheduler: Helps with logistics of setting up calls and interviews, ensures a great candidate experience UX Team: My team (esp. Sr. members) helps me with screening and interviewing My Manager: I provide my manager with status updates on hiring and brainstorm hiring issues Project Teams: I provide project teams with status updates on hiring for their projects. They may help interview Priorities and Concerns Frequent Tools Jobvite, Evernote, Email, Excel, Pen/Paper (in interviews)
  13. My Top 5 Screening Painpoints 1 2 3 4 5
  14. My Top 5 Screening Painpoints I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate1 2 3 4 5
  15. My Top 5 Screening Painpoints I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate1 2 3 4 5 I can’t get a clear picture of the candidate
  16. My Top 5 Screening Painpoints I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate1 2 3 4 5 I can’t get a clear picture of the candidate The candidate doesn’t understand the role or the company
  17. My Top 5 Screening Painpoints I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate1 2 3 4 5 I can’t get a clear picture of the candidate The candidate doesn’t understand the role or the company The application package submitted does not relate to the role
  18. My Top 5 Screening Painpoints I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate1 2 3 4 5 I can’t get a clear picture of the candidate The candidate doesn’t understand the role or the company The application package submitted does not relate to the role The candidate shows their deliverables, but not their process or results
  19. I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate 1
  20. 1 I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  21. 1 v I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  22. 1 I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  23. COVER LETTER Who You Are, What You Want 1 I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  24. RESUME Work Experience COVER LETTER Who You Are, What You Want 1 I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  25. RESUME Work Experience PORTFOLIO Skills + Process COVER LETTER Who You Are, What You Want 1 I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  26. RESUME Work Experience PORTFOLIO Skills + Process COVER LETTER Who You Are, What You Want 1 Complete Picture I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  27. 1 But what if… I’m not a Designer? I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  28. 1 A note on visual design… I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  29. 1 But what if… I can’t show my work? I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  30. 1 If sharing your work is sensitive… • Restrict access • Password protect it • Or attach a PDF to your application • Genericize it • Remove or replace all identifying information • Convert any stats about the project to % • Do outside work I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  31. 1 But what if… I don’t have enough work to show? I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  32. 1 If you don’t have enough work to show… • Do hypothetical projects • But relate it to the real world. • Real users. • Real testing. • Volunteer for a cause you care about • Can be for a non-profit • Or your friend’s improv club • Or your family reunion video library I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  33. • Get a general overview of the candidate’s career progression, skills and approach to work PAINPOINT CAUSES CANDIDATE TAKEAWAYS 1. Missing application materials Why are the leaving this out? Was it an accident? Are they hoping to hide something? Are they lazy? Is this candidate actually interested in our company or are they just spamming hundreds of resumes out into the world? Always include a resume, cover letter and link to portfolio. Always. 1 HIRING MANAGER GOALS I can’t get a complete picture of the candidate
  34. I can’t get a clear picture of the candidate 2
  35. I can’t get a clear picture of the candidate2 “I have been a designer from the moment I picked up my first crayon at the age of 3. When I was 5, I enrolled in a painting class…”
  36. 2 Unrelated work experience is largely unrelated. I can’t get a clear picture of the candidate
  37. 2 Format with purpose. I can’t get a clear picture of the candidate
  38. 2 Be personable. I can’t get a clear picture of the candidate
  39. • Get a general overview of the candidate’s career progression, skills and approach to work PAINPOINT CAUSES CANDIDATE TAKEAWAYS 1. TMI Where is the relevant information? Edit yourself. Think about the top 1-3 messages you want to get across, and make sure those are the focus. Write clearly, but also concisely where possible. 2 HIRING MANAGER GOALS 2. Can’t scan the info Where is the relevant information? Use formatting to help organize your content and give it a hierarchy. Round out your application with your approach, your passions and what you bring to the table. 3. Not personal or memorable Would this person work well within this team? What motivates them? I can’t get a clear picture of the candidate
  40. The candidate doesn’t understand the role or the company 3
  41. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” But even better to not be a fool. The candidate doesn’t understand the role or the company3
  42. On tone: 1. Be human 2. Be yourself 3. Take cues from the company 3 The candidate doesn’t understand the role or the company
  43. • Quickly get a snapshot of the candidate • Understand why they want to work here • Check if our expectations are aligned PAINPOINT CAUSES CANDIDATE TAKEAWAYS 1. Generic / inaccurate cover letter Did the candidate not take the time to understand the company and the role? Spend some time reading about the company and the role. Tailor your cover letter to the job posting 3 2. Mismatch in tone Is this the type of environment where the candidate would do well? Are they familiar with our culture? Get a sense for the workplace environment before drafting your cover letter. Write in a voice similar to your speaking voice. Speak to the hiring manager as a person. HIRING MANAGER GOALS The candidate doesn’t understand the role or the company
  44. The application package submitted does not match the role 4
  45. The case of the mysterious candidate. The application package submitted does not match the role4
  46. I do not know what a “Chief User Happiness Expert” or “Interface Ninja” is. 4 The application package submitted does not match the role
  47. • Confirm that the candidate has the baseline skills required for consideration PAINPOINT CAUSES CANDIDATE TAKEAWAYS 1. Unusual / unexplained resume Is the candidate switching careers/location, or are they instead confused about the details of this role? 2. Past roles are unclear Was this previous job experience related to the skills I am looking for? If your resume is not “typical”, explain why. Clarify your previous experience and avoid or explain terminology that is specific to your company or industry. 4 HIRING MANAGER GOALS The application package submitted does not match the role
  48. The candidate shows their deliverables, but not their process or results 5
  49. 5 Portfolios can suffer from: WOW Syndrome The candidate shows their deliverables, but not their process or results
  50. Portfolios can suffer from: Logoitis 5 The candidate shows their deliverables, but not their process or results
  51. Portfolios can suffer from: Multiple skillset disorder 5 The candidate shows their deliverables, but not their process or results
  52. Behavioral-based Interviewing Behavioral-based Portfolio 5 The candidate shows their deliverables, but not their process or results
  53. Situation Task Action Result Company X had an e-commerce website, but the shopping cart abandonment rate was high and they didn’t know why. I was tasked with running a research project in order to make recommendations to improve the site. I conducted 10 user testing sessions, analyzed both quantitative and qualitative data, and made recommendations to the website team. As a result of my changes, shopping cart abandonment was reduced by 20%. 5 The candidate shows their deliverables, but not their process or results
  54. Tell the full STAR. Even better, tell the full STUIR. 5 The candidate shows their deliverables, but not their process or results
  55. Situation Task User Iteration Result Company X had an e-commerce website, but the shopping cart abandonment rate was high and they didn’t know why. I was tasked with running a research project in order to make recommendations to improve the site. I conducted 10 user testing sessions, where we learned that most of the users were travelers, who were unable to check out using their mobile device. I recommended making the website mobile responsive and considering a native app as well. As a result of the mobile site, shopping cart abandonment was reduced by 20%. 5 The candidate shows their deliverables, but not their process or results
  56. Don’t be afraid to share challenges and failures. 5 The candidate shows their deliverables, but not their process or results
  57. • Understand the candidate’s unique process and approach to solving problems • Assess the candidate’s skill level PAINPOINT CAUSES CANDIDATE TAKEAWAYS 2. Deliverables without context What was the candidate’s role? Why did they make the choices they did? What were the constraints of the project? Are they satisfied with the results? 1. Skills shown don’t match role Does this candidate understand the role they applied for? Is it something they are really interested in? Tell the full STAR. Ensure your portfolio matches the role you are applying for. HIRING MANAGER GOALS 3. No sign of the user How does the user fit into this candidate’s process? Does the candidate simply do what they think is best? Better yet, tell the full STUIR. 5 The candidate shows their deliverables, but not their process or results
  58. Avoid the Top 5 Screening Painpoints By 1 2 3 4 5
  59. Avoid the Top 5 Screening Painpoints By Providing a complete picture of yourself1 2 3 4 5
  60. Avoid the Top 5 Screening Painpoints By Providing a complete picture of yourself1 2 3 4 5 Providing a clear picture of your goals and process
  61. Avoid the Top 5 Screening Painpoints By Providing a complete picture of yourself1 2 3 4 5 Providing a clear picture of your goals and process Ensuring you understand the role and the company
  62. Avoid the Top 5 Screening Painpoints By Providing a complete picture of yourself1 2 3 4 5 Providing a clear picture of your goals and process Ensuring you understand the role and the company Relating your application to the role
  63. Avoid the Top 5 Screening Painpoints By Providing a complete picture of yourself1 2 3 4 5 Providing a clear picture of your goals and process Ensuring you understand the role and the company Relating your application to the role Telling the full STUIR about your process and results rather than simply showing deliverables
  64. DESIGN YOUR APPLICATION LIKE YOU WOULD DESIGN ANYTHING ELSE… FOR THE USER.
  65. Thank you. Interested in joining our team? Learn more at careers.appnexus.com

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