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Newbie UI designer job interview concerns

10 months ago from , UI/UX designer

Dear designers,

I will be finishing my postgraduate studies in the middle of June this year. I had 1.5-year part-time working experience as a junior UI designer before. I really want to secure a UI/UX designer job before I graduate so that I can start to work immediately once I finish all the courses in June.

In order to commence the job in June, should I start applying for jobs and interviewing from now on?Is it too early now?

I do not have much experience in HR stuff. Does anyone know how long the recruitment process usually takes for a medium to a large size tech company to hire a graduate UI/UX designer like me?

Also, in a first-round interview, if I ask salary and welfare stuff at the question time in the end, would that makes HR feel that I am too aggressive and ambitious about the role?

12 comments

  • Jennifer Nguyen, 10 months ago

    Hey Rachel,

    I was in your shoes a few years ago, I really wanted to have a job lined up right after I finished school and I did! This is how I did it but I'm not sure if this applies to anyone else:

    1) I started applying and interviewing around this time (Feb)

    2) I accepted a job offer around May (like month or two before my graduation date) and was able to work out a deal with my employer where I would work part time while I was still in school and transition to full time once I graduated. I applied for a full time position but told them I couldn't start right away and they understood and gave me part time position.

    Overall it doesn't hurt to look now because it gives you interviewing experience. Even if you got a job offer but for some odd reason, they're not willing to wait for you to finish school, at least you have interviewing experience. One door closed is another one open.

    Recruitment process really depends on the size of the company, in general, the bigger the company, the longer the process. In my experience, it averages to about a month. My friends who now work at the big tech companies (Google, Dropbox, etc), it took them 3 months.

    I also would not recommend talking about salary until you get a job offer. It gives you more leverage when you wait because at that point, they already want you and are more willing to do anything to get you on board. If they ask early on what is your desired salary, just respond with something like "I'm negotiable depending on the range that the company is offering. My priority is to find the right fit and if extended an offer I'd be more than happy to discuss it".

    5 points
    • Rachel Li , 9 months ago

      Hey Jennifer, Thank you so much for the tips! They look very useful! I really appreciate it.

      0 points
    • matt rossi, 9 months ago

      Agreed. This is good advice Rachel.

      Do your homework (or as much as you can) to understand what a fair salary would be for an entry level position. Know your strengths and weaknesses—but understand that this is a time to learn. Prioritize an environment that will help you grow and get quality feedback along the way.

      Best of luck!!

      0 points
  • Peter B, 10 months ago

    Typically, for a medium to large tech company, the process could take anywhere from three weeks to 3 months. Most companies are starting to ramp up their hiring and and onboarding plans starting in March for college hires. I've typically seen the college hire process take around 2 months. However, I would recommend that you attend college career fairs and portfolio reviews; you'll get to meet prospective employers and also get practice doing quick interviews.

    It never hurts to ask about salary or welfare questions. Perhaps don't lead with those questions, but don't only ask those type of questions. Good questions to ask is about their company's facilitation of career trajectories, opportunities for further education, mentorship, etc.

    1 point
  • Frédéric AudetFrédéric Audet, 9 months ago

    Apply at many places. Do lots of interviews. Be ready to tell your story way too many times. Be yourself. Don’t stress out during design challenge and ask many questions before you start. Good luck :)

    0 points
  • Sara Andrew, 10 months ago

    I don't think its too early to start, and your questions would be perfectly acceptable during the QA.

    0 points
  • Jonathan KelleyJonathan Kelley, 10 months ago

    Be yourself. Don't be afraid to expose your weak spots in Design. When it's graduate level, they don't expect you to be the "bees knees" of design, they want to know what areas you may be lacking in and how they could help you excel.

    Companies of medium size usually get around 10-20 applications for Graduate levels, and even more if they're marketing it. Be patient.

    0 points
  • Steven CavinsSteven Cavins, 10 months ago

    if I ask salary and welfare stuff

    First ask when it is appropriate to ask.

    In fact, ask plenty, and listen plenty. Don't pad your resume. Be ready to defend everything in detail. If something ever feels wrong, trust your instincts. Good luck.

    0 points
  • Benjamin Berger, 10 months ago

    Hey Rachel, I'll do my best to answer your questions:

    Is now too early to apply if you'll only be available in June? There's no absolute answer for this, it really depends on the company you'll go for :).

    To give you a few insights though, hiring is expensive for an organisation and hiring the wrong person creates a lot of damage. From personal experience, if the right fit for the position is found, they will be willing to wait an extra month or two (which is really not a long time). However, it happens that the need for a designer is immediate because of a specific project that needs to happen asap, in this case, they will prefer someone who can start immediately.

    Bottom line is that when a company recruit, they have specific needs to help them achieve the goal they plan on their roadmap. So that's something to take into account when you apply and the type of questions to ask during the interview (Why are you recruiting now? Which skills do you value the most? What are the team structure? What are the company focus area for the coming year? etc.) and for you to also understand if this place will match your expectations.

    About the salary, I personally don't like asking in the first interview. I usually go on https://www.glassdoor.com to get a benchmark (especially for big companies).

    For me, the way it goes is first contact, if it goes well, they will ask for a in-person or at home design exercise and if this goes well, now is the right time to discuss salary and benefits. But others probably have a different experience and perspective.

    Hope that helps and good luck in your search! :)

    0 points
    • Rachel Li Rachel Li , 9 months ago

      Hey Benjamin, Thank you so much for your generous share. That will be very useful for me.

      1 point
  • Mark RedmanMark Redman, 10 months ago

    Going to interviews will give you more interview experience and put you in front of people, this is good experience and since you are early, you have the luxury of time since there is no urgency to get the job.

    The length of the process might depending the company and how they recruit but just take it one step at a time and be the best you can be at each stage, again this is just experience gathering. If you don't have all the information about the job, you should definitely ask them what is in included in the offer, they will naturally know this means the salary, benefits etc, there is not point in asking about working hours and basics and they will provide an offer at some point anyway.

    Only ask about this things when it feels natural to do so, but you should really concentrate on finding out whether the type of work is matched to what you want to do and the company is one you want to work for, if they see that you are interested in the company and nature of the work, this information will soon be presented to you. Be ambitious about what you want to do, and do for them, rather than what you might get from them.

    0 points
    • barry saundersbarry saunders, 10 months ago

      Going to interviews will give you more interview experience and put you in front of people, this is good experience and since you are early, you have the luxury of time since there is no urgency to get the job.

      I want to second this. Interviewing well is a skill in and of itself. Get out there now, start getting used to interviews and ensure you apply to a variety of places - don't put all your hopes on a single job.

      1 point