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Job Hunting Saga Chapter 2.1 : The Interviews

After months of sending out resume without hearing back from the companies, I started having interviews in late March, yay! I’ve talked to 3 companies so far in a span of 2–3 weeks. In this post, I will reflect on the questions from my interview experience with a well-known tech company for a UX researcher role. I will also add the questions from other interviews that I think are worth noting.

I felt like I was underperforming during the first interview, I was unable to complete the third task, the interviewer asked me some technical questions about research and he corrected my answers in the end. I was glad that I learned something new but embarrassed at the same time because I seemed like a complete noob, I didn’t know what I was doing. But thankfully I had my second round interview this morning and thought of writing this post as a form of reflection so I can perform better in the future. Just like my professors and mentor said: always reflect, that’s where the real learning is. Mantra in job hunting: fail, fail again, fail better.


You have a strong design background, so why do you want to be a UX researcher?

I’ve been asked this question 3 times…

Because I see research as an integral part of my design process. I always conduct research before start designing, be it secondary or primary. A good designer design with good rationales, good rationales come from good research. So when I saw a UX research job opening, I assumed it wouldn’t be much different with what I already do, only more focused. On top of that, I love learning about people: their behavior, what drives them and what their aspirations are.

note:

When I am interviewed by a company, I am also interviewing them. It’s important to know what I really want and what I am getting myself into. It’s a good opportunity to see whether my assumption about the job role is true, and to see whether my skills match the job description. It’s also important to understand the company’s culture. I asked about what research method that they use and she mentioned researchers are encouraged to explore new methods and iterate on current method. This shows the company is open to new things and gives some space to experiment which made me excited.


Tell me about your failure experience and what did you learn from it?

It is far more honourable to fail than to cheat.” — Abraham Lincoln.

This is one my favorite questions. I told the story about my internship final project, where I wasn’t able to articulate my opinion and let the group proceed to pitch a solution that I thought didn’t answered client’s brief really well. As someone who grew up where disagreeing with teacher or senior meant looking for trouble, speaking against the rest of the group was definitely daunting. So I kept the opinion to myself, I pretended that I was excited with the solution during the pitch. However, after the project ended, I spent 2 hours with my mentor talking about how I didn’t like the solution and how I could have articulated my thoughts and changed the outcome.

What I learned from this experience was that I need to strategize my communication. I don’t perform really well in a big group with vocal people, but pretty good at one on one conversation. Perhaps I should approach each individuals in the group to talk about what I really think, so latter during the meeting, I have people who can back me up.


What do you expect to get from this position if you‘re accepted? How do you see yourself in 5 years?

Another favorite question. Working for a company should benefit both party, they get someone with the right skills, and I get a company aligned to my long term goal. This question makes me reflect on what I really want to do.

Apart from financial security, ahem, I expect to work in a place that challenges me so I will grow to be a better person and designer. As cliche as it sounds, that’s what matters. Happiness doesn’t come from the absence of hardships, but rather from the balance between challenges and succeeding. It’s like game, too easy it becomes boring, too hard it becomes frustrating, an enjoyable game capitalizes the sweet spot between the two. It’s what the experts say, not me.

From my internship experience, I learned new things about myself and how to overcome challenges. It made me sharper and tougher. Should a similar case happens in the future, I know how to deal with it instead of feeling down. Moreover, I want to teach in the future but I want to teach based on my experience of working in the industry.

I forgot to say that I am passionate about city and has been thinking about the possibility of pursuing smart city research in the future. That is why I thought working in this company is somehow aligned to my future vision. We need a smarter way to manage city, and transportation has been a big issue lately.


More questions (to be answered later)

Give me an idea of where you are as a UX researcher now, tell me about your experience and your ability

How would you conduct a research on a particular topic with a particular method? Walk me through the process….

How does gender plays a role in that particular topic?

How do you make sure of your safety when conducting research?

Conclusion

Just like jodoh (ahem), there’s no such thing as perfect company: high paycheck, lovely culture, work and life balance, excellent public image, prestigious, etc. Maybe it does exist, but very rare, and I will need extra time and effort to find it. Right now I just want to make sure that I work in a place where my skill set matches with the job, it challenges me enough to push myself forward, and good incentive. My next milestone after graduation is: a pinterest-worthy house.

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