Hackernoon logoA Guide to Hunt a UX Designer of your Dreams by@hirasaeed

A Guide to Hunt a UX Designer of your Dreams

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@hirasaeedHira Saeed

Tech Journalist | Running Digital Doers | Building Tech Geeks

Customers come to your site for the product, but they always stay because of the experience. On average, 8 in 10 customers are willing to pay more for better customer experience. So, who makes customer experience 'better' on your site?
A UX Designer. Period.
Every $1 invested in UX brings $100 in return. That's an ROI of a whopping 9,900%. The most crucial and challenging phase of any product is how your design behaves. A UX designer finishes your design story and polishes the product to deliver a meaningful experience. UX designers make sure that all the business objectives, client's requirements, and user needs harmonize with the design and add value to the overall experience.
If you are looking to hire a UX designer remotely, you need to get a little closer to what they do and how they do it. In this blog, I am discussing all the essential aspects you should know before you start hunting a UX designer of your dreams.
Keep reading to know what kind of skill-set to look for in a UX designer, how to conduct an interview, and how to finalize the hiring process. 
On your part, do not forget to do thorough research and discuss your requirements and business objectives internally before you head out in this quest. 

What is a UX Designer?

UX designers do not just design deliverables; they define how the product works and feels. Any design problem or project has no single right solution as there can be many correct ways to solve or approach the issue. The job of UX designers is to explore those ways to solve a specific user problem and build a meaningful user experience.
This approach ranges from solving highly technical issues to navigating and defining the intricacies of user behavior. Therefore, the job of a UX designer is complex and demanding, which requires a problem-solving mindset with the following skill-set:
Design Input and Collaboration
  • Collaboration and Coordination with UI designer(s)
  • Iteration and Testing with Product managers
  • Planning and Brainstorming with clients and teams
  • User behavior and Analytics
Prototyping
  • Wireframing, sketching and Prototyping
  • Testing/iteration with Blueprints
  • Knowledge of Tools and Resources
Copywriting and Strategy
  • UX Copywriting and Content
  • Competitor and Customer analysis 
  • Product structure/strategy

How to Hire? -- Identifying UX Requirements 

The first step calls for you to sit down, pick up the project or product you want your new UX designer to work on, and draft a list of all the UX requirements and deliverables. This step is paramount to understanding what type of UX designer you are looking to hire and gives you a clear picture to search for the best suitable candidate.

Research & Discovery 

List down the required UX deliverables in the research and discovery phase of your project. Your list may include deliverables like user experience research, brand positioning, product discovery, user behavior analysis, etc.

Deliverables & Production

Once you are done with gathering initial discovery requirements of your project, move on to define actual deliverables. Think about prototypes and timeline to test your deliverables. Some of these may include defining user journeys, building wireframes, usability testing, interaction design, and more.

Investigation & Redefining 

Next up is the redefinition and investigation of your project's deliverables and expectations. Now that the initial research, production, and design iterations deliverables are highlighted, think about deliverables that include usability improvement, UX audit, usability and affordability reconciliation, redefining, and introducing user function.

Finalizing Requirements 

Once you have all your deliverables and requirements mapped out, the next step is to finalize all the requirements. Define your project's scope, timeline, assumptions, specifications, and legal documents before moving onto the recruitment phase. While this all may seem arduous, it is crucial to ensure that the UX designer you hire comes on board without any hiccups during the process. 

What to look for in a UX Designer?

The next step is defining what characteristics and skills you need in your UX designer. It is an essential step because once you have a defined skill-set on paper and in mind, you will easily be able to select the best possible candidate for your company.

Strategic Thinker & Problem Solver

When working on a design problem or user experience, strategic thinking is the key. In this case, the UX designer, in his approach to creating solutions, plays the role of the product manager as well. Hence, a firm grasp and understanding of problem-solving methods is a mandatory quality to look for.

Creative & Investigative Mindset

Creativity is the key to innovation and good design. A UX designer has to be investigative in his approach and an out-of-the-box thinker. For ideas to flourish, they need constant creative input, and in this aspect, UX designers always have to put their best foot forward. An Investigative mindset allows the UX designer to be constantly on the lookout for new designs, ideas, and solutions for the problem.

Design Leader & User Researcher

A UX designer needs to have the ability to take charge of the product from time to time. If you want to map the future and growth of this role in your company, leadership skill is one of the essential skills. Often, UX designers need to lead the product in the right direction, and that's not possible without the understanding of team management.
Another important skill is Research skills. Qualitative and quantitative research skills allow UX designers to do high (or basic) level requirement gathering, user understanding, and usability testing.

Facilitator & Agile Oriented

UX Designers always want to be respected for their work. But, oftentimes, they refuse to share trade secrets in the fear that others would utilize them to bring results. They are often protective and territorial of their ideas and work. That's okay, but this can be detrimental to the project and the team's success.
A great UX designer always welcomes feedback and is open to sharing his work and skills with his team members. Good UX designers often facilitate workshops, endorse, and nurture young talent in quest of knowledge sharing and do not feel threatened by the healthy competition.
For small businesses and startups, agility is the way to go. A UX designer must be able to work in an Agile system. One of the toughest spots UX designers can find themselves in is to feel stuck in a fast-paced, continually changing project that requires quick edits and deliverables. A good UX designer must be able to handle and flourish in such kind of a situation to catch the pace with the team.

Portfolio, Sketch files, Previous Work

Be sure to look into the previous work of your potential candidate. Ask for the portfolio, sketches, projects, reports, etc. to take a look into his work and style. Look for aesthetic taste and templates. See if the approach, style, and methodology match with your project and business. Investigate the results in previous work to see the approach and mindset.

Workflow & Tools

It is one of the most critical points when hiring UX Designers, figuring out the tools and workflow they have used in the previous job. You need to make sure that the UX designer you select is equipped with the skills to use the latest design tools and workflows. The UX designer should also be equipped with skills to work on the tools used by your team and company.

Empathetic & Collaborative

UX designers work on all phases of a project. Form design, to requirement gathering, planning, and implementation. Therefore, their interaction with the team and clients is also significant. To be able to do it successfully, the UX designers require an empathetic attitude and strong collaboration skills. They need to work well with others and know how to advocate for their ideas and their users. Moreover, they also need to be able to empathize with their clients and users and expect interactions with their project and product to yield the best possible results.

How to Navigate the Interview?

Once you have defined all of your design and user experience requirements, then you are ready to interview to hire a UX designer. With this game plan in mind, the next step is to begin the search.
If you want to do it the conventional way, try to map out your opening announcement in such a way that only the best of the best UX designers respond. It will help shorten and filter the pool of talent. Once you have a collection of individuals to interview, then its time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
For the actual interview, make sure that you don't walk in headfirst. Prepare a series of questions, propositions, topics to discuss, and list of requirements that I discussed earlier in this blog. 
For remote hiring, ask the candidates to find the best possible internet connection, keep their CVs, portfolios, sketches, and other relevant documents ready. Assign respective time slots and meeting links to each candidate to ensure a smooth process. 

What Question to Ask in the Interview?

Remote interviews are always tricky due to the absence of any physical touch. Before diving in, compile a list of things to ask your candidate. Make sure you don't ask too little or too much, as both can be considered unprofessional. Walk the fine line and give the spotlight to your candidates to allow them to talk and listen to their every experience attentively. The more the candidate talks, the more input you get.
Here are some of the most important questions that you should ask your potential UX designer before recruiting one:
What clients, projects, or products have you worked on in the past?
Ask about the candidate's past projects, associations, work, employers, and jobs to gain knowledge about his experience and duration in the field.
What role, job description, position are you or looking for?
Get an idea about what the candidate has in mind for the job, what his expectations are, and in what kind of role he thinks he is a good fit for.
What design tools, platforms, workflow are you fluent on?
Find our if his tools of design match the ones used by your team or if he can quickly equip himself with the skills to use your company's preferred tools and platforms.
Highlight some of the best work in your portfolio
Ask for your candidate's best previous work and portfolio to get a glimpse of his best style and design skills and see if it matches with the industry standards. It allows you to see if the potential candidate matches your requirements concerning work and style.
Tell us about a project, product, or user experience that you specifically enjoyed.
It allows you to know how passionate the candidate is about designing. A right candidate always lights up when talking about the best work. The potential hire should be able to define this project with intricate detail and intrigue.
What are your hobbies, interests, and past-times?
This seems like an off-handed question, but when hiring a UX designer, it is a crucial one. Most creative-minded individuals make the best UX designers. So look for candidates that have creative and artistic hobbies and interests. Some examples can be photography, painting, videography, cooking, etc.
I hope this blog was helpful. If you follow the above tips and suggestions, I am sure it will be much easier for you to hire a competent UX designer.

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