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Dan Iaboni

Dan Iaboni

Ph.D - Principal Experience Architect

Hiring the Right UX Professional

Hiring is always exciting but comes with a sense of trepidation. Being able to grow your team and bring in new perspectives and new skills can be exhilarating; however, the thought of a long drawn out process and the risk of getting the “wrong” person can damper the enthusiasm. Here are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success with your next UX hire.

Define your intent

Take the time upfront to clearly understand why you are hiring and what role you are filling. Is there a gap in your current team’s skill set, or is there any area that you need to increase capacity for future work? Know why you are hiring so you can clearly articulate what you are looking for in the job posting. Often you see a job posting for a UX position that lacks clarity about the role and the responsibilities within that role; the description is a collection of vague statements as demonstrated in the following examples pulled from recent postings:

  • “Produce solutions that bring simplicity and user-friendliness to complex design roadblocks.”
  • “Identify and solve large-scale problems with minimal guidance.”
  • “Possess excellent communication skills, strong project management skills, and the ability to relentlessly advocate for the customer while delivering results in a fast-paced environment.”

Instead, clearly describe the project(s) the new team member would be working on and specify the expected deliverables. If you are looking to find a “good fit” candidate, rather than just filling seats, you must sell the opportunity to work for your team.

Assess candidate’s abilities

Once you know what you are looking for, the next step is to determine how you will be evaluating the candidates. The typical mindset is to pick the “best” person whom you can afford so, to maximize the value, requires finding the candidate with the most checkmarks for skills or ability level. The drawback of this mindset is by holding out for the “best,” you may be missing candidates who can fulfill the role you need. Consequently, recruiting will drag on, and you will waste time and miss opportunities.

It is like the dating app “Bagel & Coffee,” where the system provides a new possible match every day. The match from today is appealing, but the possibility of getting a “better” match tomorrow always has you discounting what is in front of you. Find the candidate who fills the role that you have defined, and then determine what training and development can then help that candidate grow. 

Maximize the interview

When the role is clearly defined, it is easier to filter through people who meet your requirements; so, when you reach out to the candidate, the interview should be a research session to learn more about the person rather than a test to see if they meet your requirements. Many people enter UX from unconventional backgrounds, and that should be encouraged for the variety in perspectives they can bring to the role; therefore, the resume and portfolio do not tell the person’s story.

Frame the interview as an opportunity to research the candidate, which influences the tone and approach. The interview becomes a conversation to understand what appeals and motivates the candidate to be in UX and where they see themselves in the future to ensure that their goals align with the organization and ensure a successful hire for both parties.

Set yourself up for success with your next UX hire:

  • Take the time to identify the reason and objective for filling the position.
  • Define the minimum needs that your candidate must fulfill.
  • Interview to capture the candidate’s story rather than testing them. 

There is a reason two of the three steps for hiring are before you even interview a candidate. By acting ahead of time to think about goals and how you will approach the hiring will ensure that you do not waste time and make mistakes during the hiring process.

Dan Iaboni

Dan Iaboni

Ph.D - Principal Experience Architect

Dan firmly believes that technology must be created with the user in mind. Never shy to critique a bad design, Dan uses the Akendi blog to shine a spotlight on usability mistakes…and their solutions. Leveraging his background in engineering, computer science, psychology, and anthropology, Dan offers a unique perspective on the latest UX trends and techniques.


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About Akendi

Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.