How To: Hire the perfect UX Designer

Step-by-Step Guide: How To find and hire the perfect UX Designer for your business

  • Do you struggle to improve your UX?
  • Do you already know “We should get a UX Designer” – but you haven’t had the time yet?
  • Do you think there are too few good people out there or your budget is too small?

If any of this applies to you, stop right now. You have come to the right place…

I am sharing a FREE Step-by-Step Guide how your business can find and hire the perfect UX Designer to finally improve your usability and conversion rate once and for all. Just follow the steps in this guide and get it done already!

Download this FREE step-by-step guide and find your UX Designer quickly

This FREE guide contains each of the following steps.

  • Set expectations: “Who is our perfect UI/UX Designer?”
  • Find candidates: “Where and how to reach them?”
  • Pre-Qualify candidates: “Red flags and things to look out for…”
  • Interviews: “What questions should we ask?”
  • Decision: “Choosing the right candidate“

For each step I will provide an easy to follow checklist and we shine a light on the background thoughts. I have gathered the feedback and ideas from several experienced people in the UX space and I have also included the point of view from several SaaS Founders, CTOs and product people how they are currently hiring UX Designers and what did work for them in the past. If you want to check out the addon resources like checklists, pre-written templates and other cool stuff have a look at the Toolkit which will help you save a lot of time!

Let’s get into it!

pa-2016

About me

My name is Patric Schmid. I am a Usability-Engineer from Germany and I have been working in the area of UX since 2008. Over the years I was involved in plenty of projects regarding Requirements Engineering, Interface Design, Usability Testing, Conversion Optimization and others. I have talked to dozens of Start Up Founders, CTOs and Project Managers and most of them seem to have a similar need. They are looking for someone who can think like them (from a product and business point of view) but still keeps the end user and customer experience in mind. Most of them have access to developers and visual designers but it seems hard to find a specialized UX person to help them out. I reached out to other UX Designers and gathered the experience of StartUps and Software Businesses to compile the best practices into one course. If you have feedback on this course or want to chat feel free to send me an email to schmid.patric@gmail.com.

See you around!
Patric

1. How to use this guide

Hey there!

Welcome onboard to the training series “How to find and hire the perfect UX Designer for your business!”

Each chapter will be split into two parts:

  1. The action steps: Where I provide a checklist with steps to take. You will answer the questions, fill the checkboxes and note down your decisions. This part will be your process guideline if you just want to quickly get ahead.
  2. The background information: Here I will tell you why we are doing the things we are doing, what questions you should ask yourself and how those questions help you find the perfect UI/UX Designer for your business. You are free to skip those parts, read them in detail or even deep-dive into the external resources I link to.

Ideally you are doing the action steps while you are reading this guide. Some steps might take some time, like waiting for candidates to apply. But most steps can be done by you or by your team right on the spot.

 

Now, I invite you to pull out a clean piece of paper, print this pdf or create a blank document where you can add notes and the results of each action step. One page. This is all we are going to need in the next few days to find and select your perfect UI/UX guy. After all it’s supposed to be an easy step by step guide – so let’s keep it simple and effective! 😉

Got your piece of paper?

Good!

Let’s write down the five steps we need to be doing. And leave some space below each topic as we want to take our notes during the training. Or print this pdf template if you messed up your hand writing by using too much computer keyboards like me 😉

  1. Set expectations: “Who is our perfect UI/UX Designer”
  2. Find candidates: “Where and how”
  3. Pre-Qualify candidates: “Things to look out for”
  4. Interviews: “What questions to ask”
  5. Decision: “Choosing the right candidate”

 

Great! Now, can you already think about one thing?

“Imagine the ideal future – imagine you have already found a UI/UX Designer and it’s really going well … What results would this person be delivering to you or your team to improve your business? How would you work together? What are your expectations to the person and to the position?”

Take your time to get a first gut feeling about it. The next chapter will help you outline and clearly define what you are looking for in your ideal UX Designer.

2. Setting expectations

In this chapter we are defining your ideal UX Designer. You should already have your piece of paper for taking notes. So let’s dive in.

 

If you don’t know what you are looking for,
you will never know when you’ve found it.

 

So true! And this is the reason why we are starting with your expectations and requirements…

 

Action Steps

Write down your answers to the following questions:

  1. What business benefit do we want to achieve together with the UX Designer?
  2. What tasks do we need to “get done” by the Designer?
  3. What deliverables should the Designer create? Wireframes or Photoshop Visuals?
  4. With whom will the Designer work with? What is his place in the value-chain?
  5. What kind of Designer do we need? Visual or UX?
  6. What is our budget for the Designer? Fulltime / Hourly / Project based?
  7. Can the Designer work remotely or in house?

 

If you answered those questions in detail you should have a pretty clear picture of who you need and what you expect of the new team member! This outline will be the base for our next steps in finding and hiring those person. Feel free to come back to your ideal definition at any time to make sure your future decisions line up with your requirements here.

Background information

In this part you can get in depth information on the action steps. Feel free to send me an email with questions if you have some!

1. Business benefits
Keep in mind, you probably want to hire a UX Designer for some specific reason. For some this might be to increase the conversion rate of a landing page, to increase sales on the checkout or to improve the onboarding experience to convert more trials to paying customers. If you are a product person yourself it might even be to get “a 2nd pair of eyes” on your ideas and to free up some of your personal time. Write down your main reason now. This way you can check back from time to time and see if the candidate would be the right fit for your reasons. You can only find your happy match if you are certain about your part of the requirements!

2. Tasks for the designer
It helps to know what tasks the designer needs to do before you go forward. Why? Because part of “selecting the right one” comes down to mutual expectations. Imagine you are purchasing a new computer and you want to do memory expensive 3D video rendering and high-end gaming with it. If you don’t provide this requirement information to the person selling you the computer you are bound to be disappointed in the end because the person might sell you a cheap “usual office configuration” while he thinks he is doing you a favor with the low price. Of course you don’t need to know all the tasks which your designer needs to do. But you should be able to tell him your main requirements and expectations. If you want a UI Designer and expect him to create pixel-perfect visuals, graphics and icons in several sizes you should tell him. On the other hand, if you are looking for a UX Designer who should think through the user experience, create screen flows and define features with rough wireframes because you already have a design style guide or are using a certain Bootstrap theme … your candidate should know that!

3. Deliverables and the flavors of “design”
If we talk about a “deliverable” most of the time we think about a piece of work which is created by the designer and can be used in the next step of the value chain. For example if the deliverable is a wireframe of a new feature as a pdf including some annotations and explanations your developer could use that to understand and create the user interface within his code. If the deliverable is a pixel-perfect icon in different sizes it could be used in the app or even by your marketing team to use in the new brochure.

You should be clear about what deliverables you expect from your designer upfront.

Evolution from wireframe to visual interface design (c) Fabian Gampp

 

From my point of view the most important flavors of designers in the software business are the “Visual Designers” and the “UX Designers” aka. “Usability Engineers”. Depending on their preferences, experience and past projects one designer could be a genius in creating beautiful user interfaces in Photoshop but is not familiar with usability guidelines or might not be able to conduct a professional User Test if you want one. Make sure your candidate is familiar with the deliverables, tasks and methods you need to achieve your business goals! You could even take a step back and read what other people think are the differences between UI and UX here, here and here.

4. Place in the value chain and process within the current team
Why is it important for you to know your value chain? Well, if you own the complete path from feature idea to delivery and customer happiness you can add the work of an UX designer into your development process without messing up the workflow of your current team. Also, if you know at what point in the chain the Designer will add his work you know which people are affected. You can get all involved stakeholders onboard into the decision process. Especially for developers and product people who will work with the designer it is important to match the personalities.

A value chain in software development (c) IBM

What are usual locations for a UX Designer to work within a development process? Usually the UX Designer is working with the product manager to create and specify the concept for the developers. For a UX-Designer with a focus on user experience and requirements it makes a lot of sense to work alongside a pure Visual Designer. This way both of them can focus on their core strength and bounce ideas off one another.

5. What type of Designer does your business need currently?
The UX and design people are split into several categories. Depending on your needs you should look out for one type of designers and not mix their skills with other ones. Forgive me for putting anyone into a generalized bucket, but to keep it simple: The categories can be split into UX-Designers and UI-Designers. Visual UI-Designers are capable of creating the most beautiful logos, icons and interfaces imaginable. But often times some of them are just thinking in visual appearance and colors and one interface screen at a time. They don’t have the whole picture of the application, customer journey, user requirements, tasks, mental models, etc. which is essential for a usable software. The other group, UX-Designers or Usability-Engineers are much more focused on the users requirements and tasks and are less skilled about the visual parts of interfaces. Most of the time UX Designers don’t even create visual UI but are creating easy to use and logical wireframes and screen flows. If you are unsure where to start you should default to a UX Designer who can think through the whole product. Christian Beck recently publhised an awesome (and funny) write up of the different Designer types: https://current.innovatemap.com/the-archetypes-of-ux-design-1fc509210ed3#.btmqw95zo

6. Budget
In terms of Budget there are three things you want to decide before looking for a candidate. Think about your employment strategy. Are you looking for a fulltime employee, a long term freelancer on an hourly rate or a freelancer for a short term project? How would it fit into your current team setup? Think about the skills, experience and quality. Do you expect strategic thinking, exceptional work ethic and world-class skills or are you looking to survive on your bootstrapped budget and get your “minimal viable product” out the door as soon as possible? If you are looking for remote workers, what are countries of the world where you made good experiences so far, what cultural mentalities can you work with? And maybe: Are regular Skype calls important to you, is the time zone a factor or are you ok with communicating asynchronously via email?

7. Remote or in house
Ask yourself: Are we used to work with remote team members or do we need somebody to come into the office at 9am to work with our team face-to-face? This decision is critical as you might be able to choose a Designer from a different part of the world – or you are bound to your area. As you might know there are several difficulties when working remote, but there are just as many positive things about it. For a remote designer it might also be important to know if you expect them to fly in from time to time or if you expect them to be available on Skype for a certain hours of the day.

3. Finding candidates

In the last chapter we learned about your business needs and your requirements for the UX Designer. Now we are going through a process to find out where to look for the candidates who match our criteria.

First, we want to narrow down our places to search. We can do this by knowing who to look for and pick the locations by their UX crowd. Not every candidate can be found in every place.

You can follow this decision tree to find the right approach and place to search for your UX Designer.

  • Are you looking for an In-House Designer at your location (1) or are you looking for a remote Designer (2)
    1. In-House:
      Are you looking for a full-time employee (1), are you looking for a long term freelancer (2) or are you looking for somebody for a dedicated project (3)?

      1. Full-Time Employee:
        > In-House fulltime employee (UX1)
      2. Long Term Freelancer:
        > In-House long term freelancer (UX2)
      3. Dedicated Project:
        > In-House project (UX3)
  1. Remote: Are you looking for a full-time employee (1), are you looking for a long term freelancer (2) or are you looking for somebody for a dedicated project (3)?
    1. Full-Time Employee:
      > Remote Employee (UX4)
    2. Long Term Freelancer:
      > Remote Freelancer (UX5)
    3. Dedicated Project:
      > Remote Project Freelancer (UX6)

 

Depending on your choices above, here are the best places to look for an UX Designer

UX1: In-House fulltime employee
Your criteria match to an employee who lives within daily travel distance to your office or is open to relocate. Possible candidates are young graduates, senior people who are actively looking for a new job or people who work at other companies and might not currently think about a new job but are open to new opportunities. You can either reach out to your local network or post a job offer on one of the following online job boards: indeed.com, monster.com, authenticjobs.com, ifyoucouldjobs.com, behance.net/joblist, dribbble.com/jobs, krop.com, uxpa.org/job-bank, coroflot.com/jobs, designjobs.aiga.org, and glassdoor, linkedin & co

UX2: In-House long term freelancer
You are looking for a freelancer who can support you locally but is not looking for a fulltime job. You should decide upfront if you need the person’s time for 50%, 75% or even 100% each week. Besides your network (see below in the background information) you can use the following channels to reach out to freelancers in your area: onsite.io, freelancer.com, guru.com, peopleperhour.com, etc. … Don’t forget to specify your requirement for a in-house gig on your location!

UX3: In-House project
essentially for a single project you can also look at the same locations as for a long term freelancer. But make sure you communicate the type of work upfront. If you are unsure how long the project should take look for freelancers and discuss the scope with your first candidates. Most freelancers are open for both short term and long term engagements.

UX4: Remote Employee
If you are looking for a long term employee which can also work remotely I suggest to look at the following sites: weworkremotely.com, angel.co/jobs, angel.co/job-collections/remote, startupers.com, remoteok.io, crew.co, …

UX5: Remote Freelancer
If you are looking for remote freelancers you have the advantage of a worldwide marketplace, but also this abundance of choice can make it hard to select the right talent. Typical sites to find a remote freelancer are upwork.com, freelancer.com, peopleperhour.com, guru.com, golance.com, folyo.me, toptal.com/designers/freelance, outsourcely.com, justuxjobs and others. Depending on the site the quality of the applicants can change.

If you want to manually reach out to the best UX designers you can browse for profiles and portfolios on all the freelance sites or other sites like ux.stackexchange.com/users , dribble, 99designs and manually message them with an invite to your job posting. As described in the background information below you should get creative in finding their contact info and reaching out.

UX6: Remote Project Freelancer
In general you can use the same sites like for a long term freelancer but make sure you communicate clearly that you are looking for a single project. Sometimes it can also make sense to state your budget for this project upfront.
If you are looking for smaller design work only, you can maybe also use services like 99designs, fiverr, designcrowd and other gig sites.

For now, note down all channels you want to use. Once you have chosen your channels you can either directly approach candidates or write and post your job posting online and spread it through your network. There are tips about how to approach them in the background information.

 

Background Information

In this part you can get in depth information on the action steps. Feel free to send me an email with questions if you have some!

How can I write a successful job posting?

  • Try to keep the length of the posting to a single page, at most 1,5 pages
  • State your expectations and requirements clearly! Are you looking for a fulltime hire or freelancer?
  • What skills do you expect? What tasks and deliverables need to be created?
  • What is your budget and do you pay by hourly rate or by project completion.
  • Write a bit about your target market and users, why are they interesting to work with
  • What challenges would the desired Designer need to complete? Why will it be an interesting project to work on?
  • Don’t forget to include proper contact information to the person who will do the hiring.
  • Invite them to write or call in with their additional questions. It’s always good to have a quick chat with potential candidates before they apply.

You can look here and here for additional information on how to write a good job posting.

In our Toolkit we have included several pre-written templates for your job posting. Just get them here if you want to save time and copy-paste your requirements into a winning template.

 

How can I find candidates by reaching out via my network?

A good channel can be asking your network for a referral. You might know business partners, clients, former colleagues or friends and family who happen to know somebody. A good starting point are your email contacts or your LinkedIn profile.

  • Go through your 1st level contacts and write down everybody who might have connections to designers or who might have used an ux designer in the past.
  • Search for “UX Designer” on LinkedIn and select “only level 2 contacts” (I got 1.500 potential candidates)
  • Reach out to your 1st level contacts and either ask for an introduction to a specific person you found or ask them in general if they happen to know somebody. You can use our email template for reaching out from the Toolkit.
  • If you get replies and contact information put them into a excel sheet to keep track of your potential candidates. Then proceed with the next lesson…

 

How should I approach the Designers personally if I want to find specific ones?

  • Write down your criteria for the ideal candidate
  • Browse through profiles and portfolios and save urls where you think on the first impression they could be a match. You can start at sites like behance, dribble, upwork, …
  • Collect 10-30 profiles in total (by your gut feeling)
  • Narrow down the list of candidates by using your criteria and check their portfolios, blog, twitter, LinkedIn profiles, etc.
  • Select only 5-7 people who you want to approach
  • Approach those final candidates by email / direct message or any other channel (You can use our pre-written outreach email template from the Toolkit package)
  • Find out if they are a match to your important requirements (work location, budget, availability, skills, experience, etc.) and set up a first call
  • From here on continue with the next lesson…

 

PS: Quick question: What kind of people are you looking for? Just send me an email with your requirements and I will personally respond with some ideas how and where you can get matching candidates!

Read offline, send it to colleagues, ...

4. Pre-qualifying candidates

In the last chapter we began to reach out to potential candidates and today we are going to save ourselves a lot of time and energy by properly pre-qualifying those candidates before we spend time preparing and doing a personal interview with them.

Action Steps

We are going to send a few general questions to each candidate via email or direct message to get a first feeling on how responsive the person is, how detailed and engaged he/she is and in general if we have the feeling the person understands our business.

  • Write down your own “business challenge” which you are trying to solve with UX and ask the candidate how he will help you:
    • Our business goal is to ______, but we struggle with ______! How can you help us solve this problem? How would you do it / approach it?
    • Example: Our business goal is to increase trial sign ups, but we struggle with users not understanding our product on the landing page! How can you help us solve this problem?
  • Write down and adapt the questions which are most important to you and your particular project or business. You can draw some inspiration from the following questions:
    • Do you see yourself more as an UX Designer or a Visual Designer?
    • Do you prefer to create wireframes or visual designs (i.e. Photoshop)? Why?
    • Can you name 3 reference contacts of former projects who I can contact?
    • Can I find a portfolio of your past work experience, products or projects?
    • What is your experience with conducting user research or usability tests?
    • Have you worked in an agile team before? How did you experience that?
    • In which way (methods) would you determine the quality of your work if you would need to judge yourself?
    • What is your experience in the xyz industry?
  • Make sure to define and clarify the engagement clearly and as early as possible. Some examples might be:
    • What other projects do you have right now and in the next 6 months?
    • Would you be available 50%, 70% or 100% of your time?
    • Are you open to relocate to our city?
    • Can you be available online during our office hours (9-5 EST)?
    • What time zone / country do you live in?
    • What is your hourly rate?
    • We have a budget to pay a salary between x and y depending on the qualifications. Does this match your expectations?
    • When would be the first possible date you could start working with us?
    • What information do you need from us to get started on the problem?

In general you should send a maximum of 3-5 questions if you expect useful responses. You can find additional questions for your inspiration in the Toolkit. The Toolkit also contains the background ideas and “expected answers” of each question to help you choose the right ones.

To keep an overview you can create a candidate-matrix where you keep all the important information about each candidate. If you structure it the right way you can also compare one candidate to another side by side. If you want to save time, I recommend to use the “candidate matrix” from our Toolkit.

 

Background Information

In this part you can get in depth information on the action steps. Feel free to send me an email with questions if you have some!

 

Asking for his / her approach to solve your business challenge:
The answer to this question can give you a good idea how the person thinks, how she works. It gives insight if the person has some experience in the topic and if she did some background research on your business at all. You will also get a good or bad feeling if the person can understand your way of communicating things.

 

Asking questions about their UX Design background:
Talking about their past projects, portfolio and reference contacts early on can give you a clear vision of the professionality and work experience of the person. Anybody can claim awesome project references or work experience if it does not need to be bullet proof. Just asking for contacts to call or asking specifics about a certain portfolio project can reveal the truth about their background. Of course you don’t want to go all CSI on them and do a whole background check. But in general they should be comfortable when talking about their past experience and portfolio projects.

 

Asking questions and clarifying expectations on the project setup:
Nothing is more frustrating (for both sides) than talking to the “perfect match”, only to find out that their expected hourly rate is 5x your maximum budget. You should make sure the project outline is defined as clearly as possible. Mostly the conflicts occur in regards of payment, working remotely, responsiveness during business hours, availability besides other projects or day-jobs and timelines.

 

What should I write to each candidate?

You can use this basic template and extend it with your own flavor:

Hello [CANDIDATE NAME],
Hope you are doing well! Based on your application and references I decided to put you and four others on our “shortlist” of candidates for the UX position / project. Before we proceed with the next step, a personal interview via Skype, I’d like to get some more information about you and your expectations. Please answer the following questions by next Friday.

– q1

– q2

– q3

If you have any questions yourself, feel free to ask me anything.
Thank you and talk to you soon!

Patric

 

In the Toolkit you can also find two other email templates which you can use immediately.

Get all templates and questions via Facebook Messenger

5. Interviews

Last chapter we pre-qualified our candidates and hopefully we have found some possible matches. In this chapter we are going to proceed with the personal interviews.

Action Steps

With each candidate you want to have at least one good call or personal meeting. While a voice call is good I always try to set up a video call to get a better feeling for the personality. Especially if you want to work remotely and expect regular (video) calls its better to state those expectations from the beginning. Keep in mind that some countries have bad bandwidth or some people don’t like video calls in general.

  • Schedule a timeslot with 3-5 candidates.
    Select only your top 3-5 candidates for a personal call. You can always schedule additional ones with candidate 6+ if your first calls don’t deliver the expected results. If you have calls with more people the insights tend to blur each other. For finding a time and date I have had good experiences with calendar tools like acuityscheduling.com or calendly.com. They are automatically tied to your calendar and the candidates can just pick a free timeslot from your calendar by themselves. Most of the time 30 to 60 minutes should be enough for getting to know each other.
  • Prepare the call for each candidate
    since we pre-qualified all of our call candidates already it is only fair to invest some research time before the call ourselves. For each candidate I like to check three things:

    • Look through their website or online profiles like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
    • Go through their portfolio and select one or two interesting projects to talk about
    • Check those two projects if you can find more information and write down some aspects which you are interested in. Maybe you find a similar use case or an interesting comparison to your business.
    • Write down all questions you want to ask
  • Take the calls + take notes
    Start the call by clearly stating the current step in your hiring process, how many other candidates you are talking to, the agenda and your expectations for the call. Introduce yourself shortly, your background and your current position in the company. Invite the candidate to say a few words about himself too. I am interested in their personality and their professional approach to things. Go through your questions and take notes as you speak. Personally I tend to forget details if I don’t write them down immediately. It might make sense to have one sheet of paper for each candidate.
  • After the call, write down your personal impression, notes and thoughts before you proceed with your day. This will come handy once you need to make a decision.

If you are interested in a ready-to-go template which you can just fill out during the call check out our ultimate Toolkit.

 

Background Information

In this part you can get in depth information on the action steps. Feel free to send me an email with questions if you have some!

 

Why should I prefer video calls over voice chat?

In a video call you can get a much more personal feeling about a person. Also you will notice how open the person is to your expected working methods. And most importantly if you ask questions trough voice-chat you can probe if the candidate can give you a good answer “on the spot” – without doing research, asking friends, etc.

 

Should I go personal in the interview?

I prefer to get to know the person, also on a personal level. I won’t ask about their last holiday, but at least I want to get a feeling how they are living – where and how they are used to working, etc. You can also let them tell you about themselves, usually they will open up as much as it is comfortable for them. I like to know what motivates them, why they are in the business of their craft.

 

What are questions I should ask a UX Designer candidate?

We have collected lots of questions for your inspiration. If you are interested in even more questions or the background of those questions and why we are asking them have a look at the Toolkit.

  • Before we start I’d like to get to know you – can you tell me a bit about yourself?
  • What is the coolest thing / product / interface you have seen lately?
  • What is your motivation to do UX Design?
  • What is a project you are most proud of?
  • What do you like the most about your work as an UX Designer?
  • What are the parts which you don’t like doing that much?
  • How does a usual workday look like when you are working from home?
  • How does your remote work setup look like? (https://www.groovehq.com/blog/9-most-common-questions-about-hiring-answered )
  • What is your personal reason to get up in the morning and not just grab a cup of tea and snuggle back into the sheets?
  • Tell me a bit about the last project you have worked on?
  • What challenges did you have in the last project?
  • I looked at the project XYZ in your portfolio. Interesting topic! Do you mind giving me some details about it?
  • In your portfolio project XYZ – can you walk me through the process and decisions which resulted in this final concept? Why did you decide to realize this feature the way you did? Can you explain what lead to this decision?
  • Let’s have a look at xyz.com site and go through it together. What would you improve / change here? (Hint: Look out for user-centered questions or assumptions the candidate is making before diving into his ideas. A good UX Designer should always think about the users first.)
  • If we would start working together – what would be your process?
  • When you remember the last projects … can you recall one which did not work out that well? What happened and what do you think have been the reasons?
  • Tell me about a project / situation where your initial thoughts and ideas turned out to be proven wrong by real users?
  • When you get assigned a new project, what part do you hope you get to do, and which part are you secretly praying someone else will do? (from https://current.innovatemap.com/the-archetypes-of-ux-design-1fc509210ed3#.btmqw95zo )

If you need more, you can pick the most important questions right from our Toolkit where we also stated what answers might mean what in the end. We also included an interview template which you can use for preparations and during the interview.

6. Decisions

During the last chapter we interviewed our top candidates and today we are going to choose one of them. This is going to be eeeeaaaasyy… Let’s do it 😉

 

Action Steps

If you have taken some notes and you have created a candidate matrix you should be able to rank your potential UX Designers by your their important attributes. Maybe it’s their availability, their work experience or even their hourly rate. Follow this steps and watch out for any red flags along the way:

  • Go back to your initial requirements and have a look what you are actually looking for. Sometimes over the course of several interviews we tend to lose track of our goals. Make sure you are still aligned to your initial thoughts.
  • Select one attribute which is most important for you and your business. Order your candidates by this attribute.
  • Remove the last two candidates from your list. Just like that 😉
  • Take a minute or two and imagine each of the remaining three candidates working with you. Think through several situations with each of them. Positive results and negative situations. Do you feel comfortable with all of them? If not, skip those candidates which are no match.
  • Involve your team. Who is going to work with the UX Designer? Who is going to give input and who is going to work with the results? Those people should get along and trust the new UX Designer as well!
  • If you cannot decide immediately find the differences between them and weight those.
  • Happily inform your new team member and set up a quick call to let them know how everything is going to proceed from now on.
  • Start your onboarding procedure to get them up to speed as soon as possible. If you are curious how to onboard the new UX Designer the best way – send me a quick email and I’ll give you some of my thoughts on that topic…
  • Kindly inform the other candidates that they did not make it. But make sure you don’t burn bridges in case you need a fallback candidate down the road.

Done.

You now should have found your perfect UX Designer. Congratulations!

 

Background Information

In this part you can get in depth information on the action steps. Feel free to send me an email with questions if you have some!

 

What are red flags I need to watch?

During the whole process there are a few “red flags” you need to watch. Situations or cases where you might consider another candidate. Here are a few examples from myself and from others who have experience with designers and with hiring people in general.

  • The candidate claims work experience but is not able to provide any references, screenshots or detailed stories about the project.
  • The candidate claims reference projects which are available online but you have the feeling he was not actually involved in it.
  • The candidate misses the scheduled interview without any notice before and after
  • The candidate seems to “can do everything” you ask – but without having questions and without clarifying things.
  • The candidate has a hard time to repeat the expectations and project requirements in his own words
  • The candidate uses google translate during your voice call and you need somebody to work with in real time
  • The candidate tends to use his “gut feeling” over a methodical approach or observing users

 

What is the definition of a “good” UX person?

First and foremost there are two things which should work out for you: The skills and motivations of the ux person should align with yout business needs and the person should fit into your existing team. Some others also have their own opinions about what makes a good ux person:

Justin Cooke: “Someone who can make the complex simple, beautiful and ever so slightly fun.”

Stu and Odette: “Someone with the passion and curiosity to constantly learn more about how people interact with digital products.”

Kara Pernice: “Great UX designers have a desire to innovate and gather knowledge about potential users and customers, and the humility to know that their first design iterations will rarely be great.”

Tom Wood: “The willingness to collaborate with both the end user and the business client during the design process.”

Other must-read resources:

 

Why should I do a trial project first?

Depending on the urgency and the cost of the actual project it might make sense to do a paid trial project with 2-3 hours effort. You want to find out if they are able to work with you, with your team and deliver good results also! One good example for a trial project could be to reduce the “business bottleneck” you want to solve into one sentence. For example you could outline the trial project to solve: “Invest 3 hours to analyze and improve the conversions on our product page”. The project should be small enough to rationalize a 24-48 hour deadline. Source: https://wpcurve.com/hire-a-freelancer/

Have them do a test exercise to see whether they can (1) analyze a problem, (2) come up with a good design, and (3) communicate and defend that design. (Source: Interview with Tobias Komischke from http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2014/04/how-to-spot-good-ux-designers.php )

Test your candidate’s skills by assigning a small design challenge to solve in a 24- to 48-hour period. Use the following criteria to judge the UX designer’s results:

  • Presentation — Did the candidate’s presentation have a solid flow? Was it easy to follow?
  • Fidelity — How much did the candidate think about details?
  • Style — Could you or your developers imagine working with such deliverables?
  • Solution — Rate the overall solution.
  • Breadth — What range of disciplines did the candidate cover in creating the work product?
  • Expectations — Did the candidate meet or exceed your expectations?

 

Why should I keep the 2nd and 3rd candidate “warm”?

Don’t burn bridges with the other 2nd and 3rd candidates since you never know how long the relationship will last or if you need more support in the future. Since we are dealing with humans and human life it is always possible that your perfect match is not available after the first 3 months or even decides to not join you after all.

 

How much should I pay for a good UX Designer?

Well… it depends 😉

No really. You can pay $120 or even $400 per hour for a good ux person. But for example if you are hiring remotely you will also be able to find a person who calls themselves “UX Designer” for $5 per hour. In the end you will be getting what you pay for. I am not saying a person only charging $5 cannot have any design or ux skills – but a good ux person who has experience and knows their business and market value will definitely not charge you below $50 per hour.

Let’s approach this the other way around: What do you think are the most important aspects of your business? Location, Marketing, Sales, Customers, Product, Development, SEO, Support? You name it… but my guess is “Product” and “Customers” was one of your first thoughts… and this is exactly where a good usability and experience can make or break your business. A UX person can help you find the well-known product-market fit by doing research, observing users, trying new interfaces and crafting an interface and a customer experience which stands out above your competition.

So instead of asking “How much should I pay?” I would ask “How much is it worth to me to have a great experience and an awesome product?”

In terms of hard $ values, you can get some ideas here:

 

PS: If you have not found a UI/UX Designer yet, please reply and tell me what you struggled with! Did you have too less time, are the steps to confusing? With your help I’d like to learn how I can improve this training and make it even more valuable!

 

Download and save this guide as a PDF

7. Bonus Resources

Until now we did chose a candidate and on boarded him or her successfully into our team…

…or did we?

As long as this guide is available I have received feedback of CTOs and Founders who tell me that it took them a few weeks to go through all the steps because they did not have the time to do everything at once. Or some even did not follow through the process because they had no time to do it at all. They loved the process and the tools I gave them but they just did not have enough time themselves to get it done…

Is this also true for you? I have two suggestions how to solve this issue:

  1. Using a VA or Intern
    You can easily assign your VA or Intern to do the time consuming tasks. Since the process and the toolkit I provide is plain dead simple and can be learned and used by anyone this should be possible. Just make sure the person checks in with you on the relevant business expectations and pre-qualifying decisions and you should be fine!
  2. Done for you service
    As a trial offer for a limited time: You send us $500,- today, and we deliver 5 highly qualified and matching UX Designer candidates within the next two weeks. We gather your requirements, we do the outreach, we do the pre-qualification and we even schedule the interviews for you. The only thing you or your team needs to do is showing up to the interviews at the right time and pick your favorite candidate. Just sign up by sending an email and we’ll start the process and get back to you within 48 hours.

Was this guide valuable for you or did you miss something important? I am curious to hear your thoughts… so just send an email to schmid.patric@gmail.com and let me know. I am looking forward to hear from you!

Patric