UX Job Recruiting: What’s it about?

I just recently got myself involved with the whole recruiting process of my company and I must say it’s been a really interesting experience. Not something I’m very fond of doing, but something very interesting indeed. Even if I’m not really into the whole Human Resources area, there is a lot of value in how you select the people that enter your team.

My team is now growing slowly, but effectively I hope. And I wanted to share some of the strategies I put in practice for this purpose. A lot of it is new to me, too, so feel free to share your thoughts on it.

What you should look for in a prospect

I know it’s an obvious remark, but I still gotta say this: He/she must have a killer portfolio. It’s always an effective filter, since you can not just measure their work on quantity, but also on quality. Their way of thinking and organizing ideas is clearly visible not just in their past work, but also in the way they’ve put it together for a presentable portfolio. Getting a .ZIP file full of JPG images is very different from getting a PDF or a link to a personal website.

Are you a fan of social networking? This is where it all comes into play. Personally, I’m not very fond of doing this, but I recently found this infographic on the subject and it got me thinking of the value behind it. How about checking their social media presence? I ended up checking some of their blogs and it was a nice addition to what I’d already learned from them.

Then of course comes the interview. Interviews are the final breaking point, because then not only is their professional experience important. I’ve identified these following factors:

  1. Their enthusiasm is a key aspect of their qualifications. They should enjoy themselves doing what they do!
  2. The way they interact with you. If you are going to be working with them, there should be a favorable interaction between the two of you. Are they open-minded? Are they introverted or extroverted? Do you see them in a team with you?
  3. Can you maintain a conversation easily with them? And I mean, other than about the weather of course. They must be willing to speak their minds about the stuff they’ll be dealing with on a daily basis.
  4. They should be self-confident. And I don’t mean self-confident to a point where they start being obnoxious because this is a big minus. Self-confidence involves knowing what you’re talking about and saying it in a way that demonstrates you do. That doesn’t involve repeating ‘I this’ or ‘I that’.
  5. Their future aspirations and goals. Do they fit in with what you have in mind for them?

What you as a recruiter must accomplish

What? Of course there’s also the stuff you need to impress them with! You’re not only evaluating them, you’re selling them the idea of working with you. And this isn’t just something I asumed, but something I’ve personally experienced being on the other side of the coin.

When I was a full-time developer (oh, those days…) I had the misfortune of going to the must stressful and degrading interview I’ve gone to in my life. I’m not going to say where it was, of course, out of respect. But they were so mean to me that, even though in the end I convinced them I could do the job, they’d already convinced me not to work for them. The money didn’t even matter to me after that, even though it was well payed considering the experience I had back then. They’d asked me uncomfortable personal questions, the team leader had almost barked at me and stared at me doubtfully during a painfully long session of question-answer, and the place was creepy as hell. Needless to say, even after they called me back a few times trying to convince me, I was the one who rejected the offer.

In short, we need to convince them as well. How?

  1. You should be friendly. This should be obvious but… well, if you read my story, it isn’t always like that.
  2. Let them know you enjoy your job. They must understand that, if they work for you, they’ll enjoy it. It shouldn’t look like something they’ll hate waking up for every morning.
  3. Be clear and specific about everything. What will they be doing? How does your team work? What are the abilities required from them? What benefits do they get for working with you?
  4. Don’t turn the interview into a good cop/bad cop drama. You can get the data you need without being rude or pushy.

I hope this helps, good luck with your future recruitments!