Successfully reported this slideshow.
Your SlideShare is downloading. ×

Hiring Into the Right User Experience (UX) Team

Ad

Hiring Into the Right UX Team
Danielle Arvanitis
Hi! Thanks for having me. My name’s Danielle Arvanitis, and tonight I’d l...

Ad

A quick quiz…
How many of you have…
…hired into a UX job that turned out to be wrong for you?
…stayed at a job you didn’t ...

Ad

What am I

doing up here?
• I’ve worked in UX for about 15 years,
• mostly in product organizations, at large & small comp...

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Ad

Upcoming SlideShare
Generations in workforce (2)
Generations in workforce (2)
Loading in …3
×

Check these out next

1 of 79 Ad
1 of 79 Ad

Hiring Into the Right User Experience (UX) Team

Download to read offline

What happens if you don’t hire into the right UX team? Anything from mild frustration to major life disruptions! Many factors outside of your control will affect your job satisfaction—from your manager, to the dev team’s attitude toward UX, to the level of corporate UX literacy. Here are some things to watch for and how to discover them while interviewing.

What happens if you don’t hire into the right UX team? Anything from mild frustration to major life disruptions! Many factors outside of your control will affect your job satisfaction—from your manager, to the dev team’s attitude toward UX, to the level of corporate UX literacy. Here are some things to watch for and how to discover them while interviewing.

Advertisement
Advertisement

More Related Content

Advertisement
Advertisement

Hiring Into the Right User Experience (UX) Team

  1. 1. Hiring Into the Right UX Team Danielle Arvanitis Hi! Thanks for having me. My name’s Danielle Arvanitis, and tonight I’d like to talk to you about getting hired into the right UX team.
  2. 2. A quick quiz… How many of you have… …hired into a UX job that turned out to be wrong for you? …stayed at a job you didn’t like for more than a year? …had symptoms of stress that were related to work, but not to a particular deadline? …disliked a job so much, u quit before lining up something else?
  3. 3. What am I
 doing up here? • I’ve worked in UX for about 15 years, • mostly in product organizations, at large & small companies • I’m here today because I’ve seen so many articles lately on how to hire great designers, but none for UX folks about finding the right job! It seemed very one-sided. • I’m going to tell you a story, we’ll talk about some factors that might affect your job satisfaction, then I’ll give you some tips for when you look for your next position
  4. 4. A story about a friend My job’s pretty dull The weather here sucksEveryone I know works at the same 3 places • I had a friend who • (1) wasn’t being challenged at her job • (2) The tech market had really dropped off where she lived • (3) She & her husband had always thought about checking out the West Coast • One day, his manager, based in CA, said they were looking for a UX person…
  5. 5. A story about a friend I know… Let’s go to CALIFORNIA!
  6. 6. Live on the West Coast! Work with smart people! Make great stuff! • The interviews went well…
  7. 7. So they did it – Three weeks, later she was living in a hotel in Sunnyvale – Her husband stayed behind to do the packing – She sold her car and he put his in storage - In the evenings after work, she searched for places to live
  8. 8. The “honeymoon period” • At first, everything was great • There was so much to do and learn at work, she rarely had time to eat lunch • He moved out a few weeks later • Evenings & weekends, they looked for apartments, grocery & hardware stores, doctors, dentists, and hairdressers… and tried to figure out Caltrain and Muni
  9. 9. It was a busy, exciting time Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. and six months went by like nothing.
  10. 10. But then reality started to set in Bill of Goods • It became clear the head of UX had no UX background or even any mgmt skills • The team actually tried to get him removed—twice!—without success • Features were driven by Sales, with no input from UX • Time was too short to design complicated features properly, which made for poor UX
  11. 11. But then reality started to set in Bill of Goods • By nine months she wanted to leave, but it wasn’t a good time • The move had been expensive, her husband was regretting it, plus she had to build a new local network from scratch
  12. 12. hiring processes
 are pretty
 one-sided. When you think about it, - You spend a few hours interviewing for a job - You’re going to change your commute, your health insurance, your 401(k), maybe even your city or state… - for something you might regret in six months!
  13. 13. So…what can I do? • There are a few things, and we’ll talk about them more in a few minutes • But first we’ll talk about 5 things that will affect your happiness in most UX jobs
  14. 14. Five important factors ❖ Manager ❖ Team ❖ Organization ❖ Company ❖ Role • I put role last because it’s the one you have the most control over. • The effects of the others are harder to predict.
  15. 15. Manager The most important thing is your manager. – I had another friend who had been working at a startup for about five years – She was dedicated and a hard worker, and wanted nothing but to IPO with this co. – One day a new manager was brought in. She laid off my friend & some others - Even 6 months later, no one could understand why these people had been cut
  16. 16. Manager • Suddenly, my friend had to buy out her stock options AND pay taxes on them • She & her new husband had been trying to save for a place in San Francisco; • they wound up moving back to Portland. It was a total disruption of their lives • Mgmt decisions can have a huge impact on your finances, future, health, and sanity. • So, what do you need to think about in a manager?
  17. 17. Management style • What type of person is he or she? • Supportive? Anxious? Demanding? Controlling? • Research shows that people who feel both appreciated and cared for by their manager are far more likely to stay put*** • Some managers won’t buy their team pens, while others will send them on life-coaching weekends to NYC
  18. 18. Personality … Is the hiring manager an outspoken person who fights for the team and its values…
  19. 19. Personality …or someone who just wants to go with the flow?
  20. 20. 2014 Political acumen • How politically savvy is this person? • As you know—in many companies, UX has to fight to be heard • You need someone who not only values UX, but • is visible and is good at persuading and horse-trading with other teams
  21. 21. UX credibility $ • What are this person’s knowledge, skills, experience, attitude, and values? • What about breadth of experience—companies, roles, industries, platforms? • Think about all of this as you research the mgr. on Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. • Most importantly—how solid is this person’s judgment? • For that, you’ll have to ask the team
  22. 22. Passion • How much passion does this person have for UX? • Is it something he or she thinks about in the shower and on weekends? • How connected is this person to the design community? • If you’re a true believer, try not to work for someone who’s just punching a clock
  23. 23. Personal life • This seems like an odd one, but it can really affect your work situation
  24. 24. Personal life – What things matter most to this person?
  25. 25. Personal life Is it work and family…
  26. 26. Personal life Or money…
  27. 27. Personal life • …and status? • Is he or she strapped financially? • People who are strapped can be hesitant to rock the boat… • …they can’t afford to lose their job
  28. 28. Lastly…learn to spot narcissists Me Me I Me I Me Me I Me Me Me We Me Me Me I I I I I Me Me Me Me My My My My My • At one job, a narcissist caused 80%+ team turnover in two years • Narcissism is “a preoccupation with the self and how one is perceived by others” • It’s common trait among politicians, dictators, entertainers—and execs • Experts say it’s an incurable personality disorder • Anecdotally, it’s very common in Silicon Valley!
  29. 29. What does one look like? Me Me I Me I Me Me I Me Me Me We Me Me Me I I I I I Me Me Me Me My My My My My • They’re charismatic & persuasive…can sell ice to Eskimos • They believe they deserve the best of everything & to associate w/ powerful people • Their priorities shift with the wind…whatever will get them the most attention • They reject criticism and expect their decisions to be accepted without question • Because they’re completely self-absorbed, they make terrible managers!
  30. 30. The bad news… Me Me I Me I Me Me I Me Me Me We Me Me Me I I I I I Me Me Me Me My My My My My • They’re usually hard to get rid of • They’re well connected, they manage up, and they’re good at snowing people • Watch for these things when interviewing: (1) extreme charisma and salesmanship, (2) a lack of clear qualifications, (3) lukewarm endorsement by peers and direct reports
  31. 31. Team A second factor is your team
  32. 32. Team composition Research IA IxD Visual Content – What is the composition of the team? Is the balance right among the different roles? – Is it suited to the space the company is in? – If not—is this just temporary, or due to a fundamental lack of understanding on the manager or organization’s part?
  33. 33.     Conceptual Model Task Flow Organizational Model STRUCTURE BEHAVIOR PRES. Viewing & Navigation Manipulation Content Style Color Typeface Adapted from Universal Model of the User Interface, © 2003, Bob Baxley • Are people working in the right roles? If not, your product is really going to suffer • I like this diagram by Bob Baxley, who just left Apple to head up design at Pinterest • If you push strong conceptual types to do visual design, or vice versa…results will be poor
  34. 34. Chemistry – How well does the team gel? Do they have things in common besides work? – How much do they hang out together? - One friend gets really down if his coworkers don’t go out to lunch often – If the team doesn’t socialize or go to happy hour once in a while, it’s a bad sign
  35. 35. Knowledge – What is the depth of the team’s knowledge, and in what areas? – Who are their favorite authors? – What are their positions on important UX issues?
  36. 36. Design process • Is there time for parallel design, pair design, or peer review? • Does the team do user research or design validation? • Do people have time to QA what comes out of development? • If collaboration or research or quality is very important to you, find a matching team
  37. 37. Values and attitude Design is
 a service industry. • In the last couple of years I’ve started to notice a division between designers who seem ego-oriented, and ones who seem service-oriented. • One uses “I” statements & is generally dismissive of users and user feedback; • the other is the opposite • They don’t tend to get along very well or achieve much together • Cooper’s Kendra Shimmell is talking about “narcissistic products” at The Fluxible in September; it will be interesting to see if there’s any overlap
  38. 38. Organization The culture of the teams you work with will have a big impact
  39. 39. Product Management or Marketing • What is their level of UX literacy? • What is the divison of labor? • What is their toward UX? “I know best,” or “You know best”? • How much do the teams trust each other?
  40. 40. Developers for (i=0; i < n; int main () • How many of you have worked with server guys trying to do UI? • How many front-end devs are there? What’s the ratio of developers to designers? • What are their skills like? Can they implement your designs? • What’s their attitude toward UX? (Palm example)
  41. 41. Code base • At one job, our designers kept having to dumb down their work to accommodate bad system performance. It was a ton of stress for everybody • Is the system fast enough to serve up things like endless scrolling? • How stable is the code base? Affects how quickly & deeply you can change the UI…
  42. 42. Development process S1 S2 S3 R1S0 – Is the team going through a painful Agile or Lean transformation? – Are release cycles long enough to accomplish anything meaningful? – Does the team have time to concept, architect, & do flows? – The more complex the product, the important it is not to jump straight to screen design
  43. 43. Quality • Is the test team willing & able to QA the UX, or does the design team have to do it all? • Are UX problems prioritized, or are they ignored or pushed out to future releases? • In some software teams, the process essentially says that designers are the only ones who can’t make mistakes
  44. 44. Company The fourth thing to think about is
  45. 45. The basics ✔ ✔ ✔ Industry ✔ ✔ ✔ Size Stability CommuteHoursValues • What’s the company size? • Is it enterprise work, consultancy, agency, social media, non-profit, etc.? • Do its values fit with yours? • If it’s enterprise, is it B2B or B2C? UX is particularly tough in B2B companies • What are the practicalities, like commute, flex time, childcare, etc.?
  46. 46. How important is UX?   User           Biz 
 Technical • Is it strategic? • Who is the highest-level UX champion? • But also watch out for HiPPO (Highest Paid…) or Design By Executive • We’ll talk about some questions that will help uncover this
  47. 47. UX literacy Ugh…not another
 error dialog… • One extreme: Developers have no clue how to prevent or resolve error cases • You could spend all of your time working on error dialogs • The other extreme: experienced developers catch UX errors made by junior designers • A company like Apple has very high UX literacy • Small enterprise shops tend to have very low UX literacy
  48. 48. Is it “customer-driven”? Customer A
 wants X… Customer B
 wants Y… Customer C
 wants Z… What do users want?
 Who cares! • Does PM just react to sales and customer requests…or is someone driving a vision? • A big problem in B2B companies…and fixing it requires a strong change agent
  49. 49. Customer A
 wants X… Customer B
 wants Y… Customer C
 wants Z… Is it “customer-driven”? What do users want?
 Who cares! • At one co., Senior Mgrs spent lots of time responding to individual customer emails • It was completely inefficient and unscalable • Working in a reactive environment can totally kill your ability to innovate
  50. 50. Quality If you keep shipping crummy products, all the people who care about quality will leave.” ! —Wayne Greenwood “ • Some companies are sticklers for quality • Others say they care, but don’t • Some don’t even know what it looks like! • Know what level you’re happy with—and find a match
  51. 51. Management culture • Does the company reward managers who are empathetic, caring, and humble? • Are managers identified, groomed, and trained to be managers… • …or are people promoted based on relationships, past performance, gender, etc.?*** • What’s accountability like? Are bad managers let go, or just shuffled around? • Things like 360 evaluations are great…but hardly anyone does them
  52. 52. Role The last thing we’ll talk about is role
  53. 53. Which one(s) are you? Research IA IxD Visual Content Obviously, how well does it match your skills and interests?
  54. 54. Generalist vs. specialist • Are they looking for a generalist or a specialist? Does that match what you want? • Companies like UIE say to hire generalists, but many managers hire specialists • Generalists forced into specialist roles can wind up “typecast”—and that takes time to undo
  55. 55. Head vs. hands • Are you more of a thinker and strategizer, or do you prefer production work? • What is the employer looking for? Does s/he actually know? • Most startups say they want heads—but the founders already have loads of ideas. Be aware of this when thinking about startup jobs
  56. 56. Position, rank, and pay Director Manager Senior Junior 0 125 250 375 5000 $ $$ $$$ $$$$ – Be sure to nail down your title, compensation, and relative position on the team – This is hard to fix later! Get it right up front and avoid nasty surprises – As a reminder: you get what you accept, not what you deserve - Costs are insane here. Unless you’re blown away, negotiate!***
  57. 57. Opportunity to grow - What’s the career path for this position? - Is it blocked by anyone or anything?
  58. 58. So…what can I do?
  59. 59. Job-hunt defensively ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? - It’s easy to be starstruck by something you really want…and regret it in the end – You have to interview THEM just as hard as they’re interviewing YOU – You have to be assertive…even if it’s uncomfortable – Know yourself & your priorities; do your homework; be objective; and be PATIENT
  60. 60. Know
 yourself
  61. 61. How well do you know yourself? ? • You can’t find the perfect job for you if you don’t know yourself well • But self-awareness isn’t everyone’s strong suit • How many of you know your MB type or DiSC profile? Try online tests, if you don’t • Try doing post-mortems for last couple of jobs…look for what worked & what didn’t • There’s a template for doing postmortems in the link I’m going to give you
  62. 62. Know what
 you’re looking for
 and stick to it
  63. 63. Build and use
 your network
  64. 64. It doesn’t have to be yucky! • Networking doesn’t have to mean schmoozing or being a faker • You can talk to lots of people but only connect with people you find interesting, likeable, etc. • To my surprise, I followed a VC on Twitter after hearing him speak • He seemed like a real human being you could have an honest chat with • and he has interacted with me on Twitter. Be open-minded!
  65. 65. Attend non-UX meetups! - Don’t restrict networking to a bunch of people you’re also competing with - Some of the best advice I got was to go to developer meetups; it’s been very productive - Hang out with people who are in related fields OR who need your services: developers, product managers, content writers, small businesses
  66. 66. Prep hard
  67. 67. Read up LinkedIn Twitter Glassdoor Slideshare Google Manager x x x x Team x x x x Org. x Company x x Additional suggestions?
  68. 68. Reach out • Discuss the job/team/company with anyone you know who has worked there • Do it all before every interview • A place you’re lukewarm about might surprise you. You want to be prepared • If you can’t muster the energy, it probably isn’t worth your time
  69. 69. Set the stage Agenda 9:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 1:00 - Have you ever been in an interview where someone talked at you for 60 min. straight? - Let them know UP FRONT you’ll want 15 min. for questions - Bring notes, checklists, etc. with you
  70. 70. Ask lots of questions ? ? ? ?? ? ? ??? ?? ? ? ? ?? ?? ? ? ?? ? ? ? – Try to get time with one or more team members without the manager present - You’d be surprised what you can learn if you just ask - Sometimes, team members are sitting there wishing they could tell you what things are really like—but they can’t volunteer it – Make notes and ratings, and compare them across job prospects
  71. 71. Five great questions to ask (Haden) ❖ Short-term expectations? ❖ Traits of top performers? ❖ Top business drivers? ❖ Employee pasttimes? ❖ Plans for dealing with X? - By Jeff Haden on Inc.com - 1. Gives you a concrete idea of what they really want… - 2. Watch for: long hours, “loyalty,” creativity vs. process, short-term thinking, etc. - 3. Indicates biz transparency & how well connected UX is to the business - 4. Gives an idea of team culture, events & socializing - 5. New competitor, declining sales, rising costs? (connectedness + makes you look good)
  72. 72. Offer to do a quick project T W R F SM S M - In “Hiring the Best UX Designers”, UIE’s Jared Spool suggests that managers… - This is not spec work. It should be a clearly defined, HYPOTHETICAL design exercise. - After one week, return and present your results. - It gives you some idea about what sorts of things the manager and team focus on. - You can suggest this yourself. It’s a more realistic scenario for everyone.
  73. 73. Follow up • Review your notes and compare them across job prospects • Don’t hesitate to follow up with questions for the manager or team… • They almost always offer, but not many people do it
  74. 74. But what if I’m just getting started? • Won’t they be put off & think I’m full of myself? —Not if you’re polite! • Remember, each job affects how much you’ll learn, how quickly, & the quality of your portfolio • To succeed, you need to find sharp, motivated people who share your values • You only have one life—you owe it to yourself to find them as quickly as possible
  75. 75. Got it? Congrats!
 Consider it
 temporary • It’s easy to get caught up in new responsibilities and lose sight of your own objectives • Think of yourself as contract-to-hire • Make an entry in your calendar for 90 days from start date • Review the job. Is it what you thought? Are there any warning signs? Do you love it? • If not, make another entry at 6 months and review again
  76. 76. Know when
 to leave - Clearly…if you’re having panic attacks, insomnia, or other negative health effects - Or your productivity is dropping, to the point you’re worried about your review - Good companies believe they owe you the opportunity to grow and prosper. If yours doesn’t…LEAVE - When you go, don’t burn bridges. Even if you’re ready to throw someone off of one!
  77. 77. Are we in
 a bubble? • No one seems to agree…but regardless, this is a great time to be looking for a job • When demand is high, YOU are in the driver’s seat…even if it doesn’t feel like it • Be picky and go find something that suits you to a T!
  78. 78. Resources: ! dmaux.com/resources
  79. 79. Thanks! Danielle Arvanitis       @_dmaux dmaux.com

×