How to hire an interface designer: myths, mistakes, market estimates and winning strategies

    Over the past 7–8 years, our employees have read about 2,000 CVs of UX designers. Interviewed - under a hundred. A couple of dozen were hired for temporary or permanent work. And at the same time, they have endured innumerable conversations of the same type with those who “also want” (or pretend that they want) to get such a specialist in their team.

    We dare to hope that now we understand something in the search and hiring of interface designers. And we see clearly that leaders who have never faced this task approach it with a fairly standard template of myths and legends.

    Let's try to shake a little the most common myths. Suddenly, this will help someone to approach the issue of hiring a UX designer a little more rationally and efficiently.

    The article has many different numbers. Their source is our internal statistics, corrected by analyzing HeadHunter's data and refinements manually. The cut is only for the St. Petersburg market - but we dare to assume, according to some indirect signs, that it differs from the Moscow one only quantitatively (including salaries), and not qualitatively.

    Myths below the baseboard

    We list the distortions of reality, which are a pity to waste time-power-letters. Too much has already been said on these topics in other speeches and publications.
    • Our designer for delivery can be engaged in interface design.
    • As programmers do, it’s good.
    • I will draw everything myself.
    • Only a UX designer with special education is good for me.
    • UX designers are creative people.

    All these statements are both true and false. Let's just say: if they are still alive and healthy in your head, then hiring a specialist is a little early.

    Myth 1. I will hire a designer - and he will do interfaces to me

    The design of an IT product is a collective matter.

    To create a valuable broom, you need a peppy and smart manager, a prudent analyst, a thinking customer, a competent techie, an outgoing salesperson, and a lot of people - and yes, among them an experienced UX designer.

    If everyone else in your team is doing nonsense or not at all - the UX designer will not pull the situation.

    In fact, this expectation helps diagnose production. With high probability there is just a mess. Do you want to transfer responsibility for a key examination of your business to a newcomer? Good luck.

    Myth 2. And what exactly to do: that is, to typeset too

    Now the idea “Let the designer at the same time and typeset” is very popular . Well then. Why not. Let's look at the reality.

    Piece copies in the labor market declare themselves to be a designer-typesetter. That is, there are actually units in our database. And they stand ... impressive. Well, because the work is really complicated - in fact, you need to combine two professions.

    There are coders who want to change their field of activity and become designers. Well, they have not yet! If you want to be a training ground for them - please. Just choose not very advanced typesetters: the brain of an accomplished programmer is so different in comparison with the brain of a person who knows how to think about people (and UX designers undoubtedly know how) that redrawing can be expensive both in time and in money. In other words, this is a matter of luck (we were lucky once, but we did not require the employee to make up).

    Unfortunately, the market shows that it is too early to satisfy this Wishlist. Well, just nobody. Therefore, it is in myths.

    Myth 3. And he will arrange for me all the work with interfaces in the company.

    Observations of wildlife show that UX designers are divided into three groups.
    1. Students and former students. There is a lot of enthusiasm and little understanding of how the IT production process works. By definition, they can’t fix anything.
    2. Actually the designers. They ask interesting questions on the formulation (and before that they read the formulation!). Draw pictures. They explain that they painted. Make corrections based on the results of discussions. They perceive criticism as an attempt by colleagues to improve the interface, and not as a struggle for power. In general, bunnies. And they don’t at all strive to build someone there and fix something there.
    3. False designers. They can be identified by the close attention they pay to the “statement of the problem” and the “analysis of business processes”. They like to talk on the topic "A designer is not only a picture draftsman, he solves business problems." They know how to troll, do not know how to cooperate. There is a suspicion that the very, very not draw interfaces - but it is even rarely understand, because - "I do not set the task!" . What they can fix for you is unclear.

    Now watch your hands.

    Character 2 - the designer himself - after several years of work really begins to think: is it time for him to organize the processes? But he perfectly understands that this task is very, very difficult to combine with "drawing pictures." In other words, he is ready to consider the establishment of processes as a priority duty, but not a secondary one.

    And character 3 will be extremely pleased with the proposal at the same time to establish something there. After all, to lead is not to work with your hands! They simply do not know how to work with their hands.

    Guess which of these people will seem to you more suitable for the position demanding "at the same time and the organization". Alas, guessing for long.

    The distribution of 1-2-3 - as we see - is now approximately the same in the industry.
    1. Students, beginners and low-skilled - about 80% in the public space of the labor market and about 45% in the specialty as a whole. Yes. Exactly. Perhaps this is the law of nature for any industry.
    2. Actually designers - in the public space about 7% (actually more, but they carefully hide from HR'ov).
    3. The rest are false designers. We would like to make a mistake - but there is a suspicion that we made a mistake just in the smaller direction and in fact there are more than 13% of them. We don’t know. We are afraid. We run into ourselves regularly, yes.

    Myth 4. The designer should have experience ...

    Whom we just did not see at our interviews. And from cool companies. And from the province (by the way, these are the best candidates). And with experience already from the XX century.

    And they noticed that experience is not directly converted to quality. So-so news, we understand. But the fact is that in the work of the UX designer, he somehow is not completely fatally converted.

    Apparently, the fact is that self-education in this IT profession is much more difficult than in many others. To a talent and interest, one needs a mentor.

    And such a mentor is not found in all companies, this time.

    And in your company it is not (otherwise you would have read this article?), These are two.

    Accordingly, people with realexperience, transforming into professional excellence, will not replace their developing environment with the situation “One in the field warrior”. And you have to choose from those who previously somehow made their own way. But just for them, experience is more likely to conserve the bad than to develop the good.

    We do not look at work experience. He is deceitful and deceitful, especially if fashionable IT-brands lurked into him. We look at belonging to the IT industry as a whole, at the portfolio (more about this below) and the result of the test task.

    Myth 5. ... in my industry

    Recall: design is a collective matter. And the team, of course, should have an expert - a carrier of knowledge in the subject area. And an analyst capable of interrogating this expert with bias. And a manager who knows how to organize the exchange of information. Sometimes a couple of roles can be combined here: an expert manager, an expert analyst, an analyst manager are not uncommon in our zoo.

    However, the profession of a UX designer does not imply accurate knowledge in any particular industry. Rather, it requires the ability to quickly understand the nuances and apply them in the work. Respect for the constraints dictated by the context is also helpful.

    Our practice shows that it is not so much the industry that matters more than the scale of the organization: it will be very difficult for an employee who has worked in a startup or web studio all his life to get involved in designing an interface for a large bureaucratic office.

    So this myth is simple: you slightly minimize your risks if you look at the size of the organizations that the UX designer used to work in. But it is better to instill industry specifics on the spot.

    Myth 6. ... and an impressive portfolio

    ⎯ Show a portfolio?
    ⎯ Everything under the NDA ...
    ⎯ Bl [censored].

    No, no matter. I'm used to it. Listen, your can not force portfolio to lay - and because we understand that they, too, will sooner or later find a new job, do not ever do they with us!

    But in general, alas, “everything under the NDA” is a standard excuse. 40% of the candidates we reviewed - and good candidates! - all in words, nothing on the screen.

    However, this is only a third of the problem.

    The second third is what it is. The result of the work of the UX designer is a poorly structured set of obscure diagrams and pictures. Because - for now - there is no notation in which one can impressively demonstrate the result of designing interaction with the system. These are partly sketches, partly texts or comments on pictures, partly tables or very ugly block diagrams - in general, no wow factor for you. In short, are you sure you can understand what they show you?

    Well, the last third. Rather, it is about those who have an impressive portfolio. On Behance or Dribble. Most likely, these are designers. They are not big docks in the matter of the interaction of people with the system and can only provide you with a solution to the issues of visual impression. Which closes a noticeable chunk of UX-tasks - but not all, not all.

    Yes, the designers will swear to you that in fact they are very interested in the UX area and they are directly ready, ready to dive. But you know, it’s better to paint beautiful pictures, they get it cool.

    Summary: An impressive portfolio is either an indicator of a very cool designer (are you ready to buy it?), Or an attribute of a non-designer in general.

    Oh, they almost forgot. Standing apart very, very wanting, but not able to show anything. What prevents a person from taking a task from the ceiling, designing an interface and showing it as an example of his work, we still have not understood. Is it that faith in a freebie "You take me to pay for beautiful eyes, and I will already be studying at the workplace" - so what?

    Myth 7. Let him be able to mobile.

    Here the problem is not so obvious. But still she is.

    Let's just recount the minimal set of front-end environments that a modern user has to deal with.
    1. Web on desktop and laptop. Multiple browsers.
    2. The tablet. Several OSes.
    3. Smartphone. Several OSes.
    4. Desktop GUI application. Windows and Mac at least.
    5. Touch interfaces Terminals, navigation, etc.
    6. ATM interfaces. Yes, a separate thing.
    7. Voice interfaces. IVR at least.
    8. SMS and USSD interfaces. Mostly with mobile operators.
    9. Integration capabilities between all of these bricks.

    People use it. They are used to it. Waiting and demanding. So, all this needs to be designed.

    Why did you cling to mobiles? Stylish trendy youth? And which mobile ones - Android, iOS, Win? Right, right, right, yesterday, yesterday?

    In other words, for you, qualification in mobile is a key requirement for a designer? Will he dig every day in these mobiles?

    Or do you still want mobile "in reserve"? If the second - you can safely rely on the fact that the designer will master the mobile environment already in the course of work. In the end, extending a single approach to a specific platform is one of the qualifications of a UX designer.

    Myth 8. In principle, a freelancer is enough for me.

    Freelancer (expensive, cool, fast) is useful for solving tasks that do not require immersion in your production process. In the world of UX design, we even somehow find it difficult to name such tasks. Perhaps the most trivial ones? Or bordering on graphic design? Well, if you have low requirements for the quality of the final product, then here you can also try a remote employee.

    There is another problem with freelancers: they don’t want to work with you, they want to earn money from you. The company's expertise from attracting a freelancer will not grow, team decisions will not appear - instead of a new quality of production, you will receive only one-time pictures. And it’s good if you get it (I’ve already written a lot about the scammers in this market, and no one is insured).

    Another thing is interesting: in our database of specialists, a noticeable correlation is visible between the level of professionalism and the reluctance to take third-party orders.

    We hope to see alternative opinions in the comments. Even interesting. However, we ask dear commentators to remember about our position: the design of an IT product is a collective matter.

    And the involvement of a lone freelancer in the work of a complex team never takes place, here you must either invest the manager’s strength or put up with poor communication (and inevitably poor output).

    But if that's all, finally decided, looking for a freelancer, then here is at least a distribution of prices.
    1. Up to 700 rub. per hour - 20%.
    2. 700–1000 - 17%.
    3. 1000–1200 - 17%.
    4. 1500–1800 - 13%.
    5. 2000 and above - 6%.
    6. Do not want to freelance - 27%.

    Myth 9. Although, why not the state? It's inexpensive

    Ha. Three times.

    Here is just the distribution of salary expectations on our database. In thousands of rubles. Svezhachok.
    1. Doesn’t want - 9%.
    2. 20–35 (that is, they never worked) - 10%.
    3. 40–45 (now they have about 30) - 9%.
    4. 50-60 (40-50) - 17%.
    5. 65–75 (55–65) - 7%.
    6. 80–90 (70–80) - 20%.
    7. 100–120 (80–100) - 18%.
    8. 125 and above (100 and above) - 10%.

    Interestingly, here we had to adjust the source data. After all, people write an amount in excess of their current salary in a resume. To the question “How much are you worth?” They also report a larger amount than they get now monthly. The fact is that when a person declares the bar of new income, he adds to his current average 10-15%.

    Boys are more expensive, girls are cheaper. Salary with the gender of the candidate is still connected: the boys noticeably overestimate themselves. But the floor is not connected in any way with the quality of work (all of a sudden you got worried - here, we are reassuring).

    Median - 60 in fact (70 in dreams).
    Average - 65 in fact (75 in dreams).

    The median is less than average - this means that most companies pay less than the average for the sample. Either a few rich people are pretty overpaid, or the mass employer is satisfied with the very, very mediocre qualifications of the employee, or both factors. Either we don’t know or understand something.

    So, 36% obviously do not reach the level of qualification that interests us. And another 9% do not want to work for full time. We will consider the rest more closely.

    Most of all, we are interested in the salary range 55–65 (expectations 65–75): they are specialists, but have not yet been fed up and have not starred. Will have to hold out, of course, but within reason. And there are very few of them - 7%, tears.

    The current salary range of 70–80 (that is, 80–90 as expected) is an abandoned fishing rod for an employer who wants to take more than give. Well, right, you can’t give knowledge and experience - give me at least money. It is not surprising that at this stage people can get very stuck: for the time the employer pays well for them, but helps poorly in professional growth.

    The range from 70 (according to expectations from 80) - these are mainly people from IT-companies-vacuum cleaners (where salaries are greatly bullied simply because of the specifics of the market). Let them stay there. The first layer of these people (70–80 in fact, 80–90 according to expectations) is no better in qualifications than those who work for 55–65, but these people managed to get an interview in a rich IT company.

    It is curious that from the rich vacuum cleaners we - it was - took very small beginners to turn them into cool ones and return them back to cookies and team buildings.

    Note that our distribution is markedly different from public statistics. This is because we know a lot about people who do not bargain on the labor market. For example, out of the last two cohorts, not a single person (at the time of writing) is looking for work - and there are, of course, 28% of these, quite a few.

    We dare to hope that our grades are closer to harsh reality than grades that can be obtained by analyzing public resumes. And this cursory review of open sources, apparently, misleads some employers regarding the "cheapness" of UX designers.

    Box on source data

    You are all talking about the candidate database. And how many people do you have in it?
    More than a hundred and less than a thousand.

    Oh, can I take a look at one eye?

    Then would you recommend someone to me? I'll pay the money!
    We did everything we could by writing this article. Next yourself.

    I am a designer and I want / do not want to be on this list.
    Write and we will add / delete you.

    Your details are inaccurate!

    Myth 10. I can easily understand whether a specialist is good or bad.

    And a little more statistics. We have a special checkmark "Asshole" in our database. Sorry, it's really called that. We put it on those UX designers who showed themselves from the “best” side on literally all fronts. And with whom more to do any business you never want to.

    Do you know how many such ticks are there? 10% of the base. Wow

    This does not say anything about the objective quality of specialists. In the end, we could just not get along the characters.

    But this says something about our margin of error when choosing an employee. Do you really think yours is lower?

    Myth 11. The HeadHunter is full of candidates, I will have plenty to choose from.

    Now, according to Peter on HeadHunter, there are about 200 available resumes of candidates for UX designers. Most likely, a third of them are dead - that’s what we did not check, an assessment by eye. Every week, 3-4 resumes appear.

    We have already looked at almost all of these people. Most resumes were simply read, but some candidates were called for an interview.

    On average, 40 suitable candidates (and the darkness of the unfit) respond to our vacancy “about UX”. Half comes for an interview. It happens that we do not select anyone.

    Think picky? Well, what to do, we need a narrow layer of “already pros, but not stars yet,” and the market offers ... offers the market ... now it offers.

    The only exception to this sad rule looks like this: if a person has "come in large numbers" and is looking for his first job in St. Petersburg - with a high degree of probability this is a good specialist, even a beginner. But to say that the choice of nonresident is rich is, perhaps, to embellish reality.

    About 40% of those directly interviewed by us said explicitly: I’m not looking for work and in the near future I’m not going to search. Most likely, they will be lured directly, they will not post resumes anywhere. But this is a hypothesis, here we do not know for sure. And yes, of course, these are the most expensive specialists.

    Myth 12. But, as always, it’s best to search for friends

    “Acquaintances” means social networks and professional communities, right? They give an excellent stream of candidates for managers, for analysts, for copywriters, and even - sometimes - for sales people. But not at UX designers.

    However, we are not sorry, we list the key "familiar" tools.
    1. Group UX Club in Facebook'e. Not targeted to Peter, but in principle, vacancies can be placed there. We don’t even remember if we did it or not. Try it - tell me how success is.
    2. UX SPb Community Newsletter. Someone throws vacancies there regularly. We also tried. We get from there a stream of the very same “quickly trained students who have just graduated from the faculty of ergonomics”. You need to understand that these are not specialists, but raw materials for turning into specialists. However, more serious people would probably be interested in a vacancy of a dream - but we don’t have any goodies and VHI, we just work.
    3. Group Axure RP Rro in VK. From the vacancy published there, several people came - oddly enough, a level slightly above the student level. But still, they do not reach an interesting state. All boys, all from the province, all under 25 years old.

    That's all for Peter.

    The question “Do you have anyone in mind?” Can be asked to friends and acquaintances, but usually people who already work or freelancers in life are welcome.

    The former are by no means eager to change jobs. They say something like this in their foreheads: they say that I’m working and I don’t want to change anything.

    The second thing, first of all, will try to persuade you to work with them on freelance as well. And about freelancers, see a separate myth.

    In general, despite being absorbed in a party and even some name in it, we prefer to search through HeadHunter. No, this is not advertising, it is the realities of a monopolistic market.

    Myth 13. In 2-3 days, there is a suitable person

    Usually we don’t use any useful connections and go head-on - we post an ad on HeadHunter. And this is what it looks like in time, and I’ve scaled since publication.
    1. The initial gathering of candidates is 3-4 days. After that, the stream runs dry, resumes are sent to all sorts of "fast-learning" and other storekeepers.
    2. Initial filtering and the issuance of test tasks - begin immediately, but even a very fast candidate still needs 2-3 days to complete the test.
    3. Appointment of interviews and interviews themselves. A key limitation is the inability of candidates to come into conversation during the day. So, more than three people a day (two in the morning, one in the evening) will not be able to see. Here we find ourselves in the task of a picky bride : when to stop? Practice shows that after 10 days of interviews, the meaning in them already disappears, suitable candidates cease, a parade of crazy people begins.
    4. Decision-making. We try to shoot candidates on video so that all internal decision-makers look and that their presence at the interview itself is not mandatory. But all the same, the question is not instantaneous, it takes three days.
    5. Negotiations with the selected, putting up an unofficial job offer. A couple of days (someone has already settled down - switch to the next ...).
    6. Waiting for work. It happens that a person needs to quit from a previous place. Or go on vacation. Or something similar. Theoretically, a good candidate can wait? In fact, we haven’t seen anyone who should have been waiting longer than a week.
    7. The first 3-4 days of the beginner. Here all the candidate’s jambs (or our oddities) come out, which make the further coexistence of the individual and the office impossible. Well, we part, it happens. It’s good that in 3-4 days (yes, this is the specificity of the UX industry: nonsense is visible immediately, which is nice).
    8. Distribution of failures. Tyagomotin, but necessary. The problem is that I really don’t want to refuse “almost fit” - because there is a risk of failure of the already chosen newcomer. So, we can send out failures only when either the person has already integrated into the workflow, or it became clear that they did not find anyone.

    Total minimum: you have a designer in 24 working days. Colleagues, this is a calendar month. At least a month! There are two and three. And they do not go for hunting, but for busting and choosing from a rather large assortment.

    In principle, not bad: there was time to think, the decision is not spontaneous, you are set for a long game. But this is not the 2-3 days that newcomers-employers are counting on (we still do not understand why).

    Yes, we didn’t do target hunting for ourselves, we didn’t lure a star.

    Myth 14. I'll find it for hire, and the work will boil.

    A UX designer needs to be introduced into the workflow in the same way as any other employee (except for top managers). The dream that the “interface drawer” appears on the team and immediately understands what to draw and how to show cool pictures in a couple of hours or days — this dream, frankly, is not realized too often.

    But actually the problem is different. Tell yourself honestly: where did your interfaces come from, who designed them? Whoever it is - especially if it is you yourself - at first he will be very dissatisfied with the results of the work of the designer (and maybe with his very presence).

    You - well, and who else? - you have to solve purely human problems. Against the background of the fact that you yourself will not be sure of your choice and the general meaningfulness of hiring, you are guaranteed a happy month.

    And only then, if the stars are successful, the work will boil.

    I need a little picture!

    How to hire an interface designer

    That's about all we think about the procedure for hiring a UX designer. From a business-organizational point of view, of course.

    And the bonus is a short check list by which we filter incoming resumes. Bold highlighted preferred options. The more “correct” answers, the more chances to get to us for an interview.
    1. Previous work: any IT / UX, but not IT / not UX and not IT.
    2. Place of residence: local / come in large numbers .
    3. Portfolio: beauty on Behance / scattered files / no.
    4. Language of the resume: Russian / English.
    5. Age: strongly up to 30 / close to 30 / noticeably over 30.
    6. Expected s / n: by market / above / below.
    7. Education: technical / science / humanities / art.
    8. Gender: M / F (it makes no difference to us, however, among the girls there are more of those who are already cool, but still do not know about it).
    9. Mail domain: any other .
    10. Skills of the artist or designer: yes / no .
    11. Cover letter length: 1-2 lines / 3-7 lines / more.
    12. The essence of the cover letter: I want to work / I am ready to consider the vacancy.

    * * *

    So it goes.
    In the following series: alarm bells and good signs in the work of the designer, the use of the designer in the work of the IT collective farm, the track for professional development, what to do for the deprived without a budget to hire a designer - and other horrors of our UX-town.

    Also popular now: