When I hire a designer, I'm looking for someone who won't back down. Gonna stand their ground, keep this world from dragging them down.
I see what you did there.
I think this is really well written. I think the one benefit you have going for you is that your company has an existing design culture. It makes the type of hiring process you have work - and work quite well.
The problem lies with the startups that didn't care about design, but think they are ready to now. The companies where engineers go off-spec because they feel their way is more efficient - even at the sacrifice of UX. The companies where too many of the wrong people have voices... and not enough of the "right" people do. The list goes on and on. Some of it I've experienced at various companies... others friends have.
I alluded to this in a similar topic yesterday, but I think one of the trickiest things is looking internally... and evaluating if your current process and current decision-making staff is conducive not for where you are now - but where you want to be in the future. For all the companies like yours that really have their ducks lined up in a row... there are just as many that don't. Heh.
Hey thanks Benjamin. We've worked hard to build a culture and company that not only respects design, but is driven by it. I guess the trick for designers is to try and spot the warning signs for those businesses that don't care as much.
For me, this is something that's often overlooked, but is super important in a company of any stage, but especially a startup like GoCardless:
Hunger to learn & develop
Experience is important. Knowing what you know and accepting what you don't know is important. Knowing when to stand your ground or when to walk away is important. Most important though, IMO, is to have that hunger and acceptance that we're all a WIP and work to improve every day.
You want people like that on your team - it raises the bar for everyone and sets the right tone of humility/hungerness > hubris.
Wait, so... you "reveal" your hiring process on Medium in order to be more transparent to the community, then post it on designer news as means to start a discussion about hiring designers. All that while your company is hiring designers?
We wouldn't need a hiring process if we weren't hiring!
Of course not, but I mean, you get great publicity for your listing by creating content and using backchannels. I like it.
That is what much of Medium has become – advertising hidden under the guise of thoughtful journalism:
[Catchy, semi-click bait title] [Well-written intro that introduces the problem at hand, keeps people reading] [Meat of the article – this is where the true intentions become clear: "And this is why, here at Company X (linked), we do it this way..."]
An initial online meeting, then a longer online meeting, then an in-person meeting, then a working meeting, then an in-person meeting. Sounds too easy. What's the catch?
In all seriousness, sounds like a thorough and well thought out process. A few things do stand out to me though. Firstly, I feel like this is asking a lot of someone with a full-time job who may be interviewing other places. Could any of these be consolidated for consideration of their time?
Also, why have the founders meeting at the end? This person has gone through 3 meetings and a project, and the final meeting is another personality match? Seems like this should happen when he/she is meeting the rest of the team.
Hey, thanks for your thoughts.
We're pretty conscious that people with full-time jobs/live far away might find interviewing pretty hard work. We've tried to address this by doing all of the onsite interviews back-to-back in one afternoon/morning.
However we've historically found that the best candidates have no problems making the time — an afternoon out to try and land that job you're after shouldn't be beyond reach.
"we've historically found that the best candidates have no problems making the time" If you're only talking to those who can make the time, how are gauging that they are the best?
It's not that we only talk to those who can make time, it's that the ones who go to the most effort to ensure they have time are often the best candidates.
Someone asked this in the comments but really want to know what feedback you would give to someone who doesn't meet your attributes of “Exciting / interesting to talk to” or “Want to work with / be around them”?
It's a great question, and one that I don't yet (and probably never will) have a perfect answer for. Here's how what I responded in the comments:
I’ve struggled in the past with people who just might not be a great fit — it’s hard. What I’m learning is that most people (especially if they’re pros) really do appreciate honesty. So, for example, if someone doesn’t bring the right amount of enthusiasm, I would let them know.
I’ve also learned that ‘culture fit’ is as much to do with their satisfaction as ours. If someone just doesn’t click, I think it’s fair to talk to them about how they might find it hard or unsatisfying working with us — it has to run both ways.
Nice way to frame the hiring process, but....
The process of evaluating a candidate seems narrowly focused.
The end product of design, a designer’s output is also the product of - how the designer thinks.
In addition to collaboration style, I’m very interested in how a design candidate thinks.
A main facet of how a designer thinks is (should be) the sum of user, business/ use context and the responsibilities design shoulders to guide a user through various contexts.
I would want to know how a design candidate evaluates user needs (key), analyzes the business context and problem being addressed and finally, how that is expressed in design.
Finally, the sum understanding of knowns and knowns of a user and business context is key for one simple reason:
As designers our days are often filled with defending and debating design decisions.
You need ammunition to defend.
How can you defend a design decision if you have no understanding of the user or business context?
You're simply matching the curtains with the sofa and carpet, because...
If you are doing this work on behalf of a customer, even more so, you have to defend the decision or have a process for gaining more understanding to make a case for the best design decision.
In a business setting, many major design decisions should be backed by a case.
What are you trying to accomplish?