My first month at Crux Intelligence as a product designer!

Hey! If you’re reading this, it means you’re probably thinking of joining Crux intelligence or just want to see what the culture is like? So let me help you out.

In this article I’ll be mostly talking about my interview experience and my onboarding here at Crux. And I hope it helps you make your decision on whether or not you’d like to do this based on someone’s actual experience instead of glassdoor or whatever else you’re using to gauge if you’re the right fit at Crux and if Crux is the right fit for you.

First of all, let me introduce myself. Hey! I’m Santrupti P, an engineer turned product designer based out of Bangalore. And at the time of writing this article, I work at Crux intelligence as a product designer. I like design (obviously), music, arthouse films, making trippy graphic design posters, hoarding type I don’t use, drinking water and telling people that I’ve lived in Bangalore all my life and that I liked it before it was cool. I really dislike bhindi and I think it’s an alien vegetable that we should all stop eating.

My journey at Crux starts on the lovely day I found a twitter post by the visual designer icon at Crux, Sanjana Mohan (at this point don’t we all find our tech jobs because of twitter?) and I found the careers page/notion file and I loved that they mentioned their weekly routines in the design team at crux. It really helped me understand what the culture at crux would look like.

Some other things that intrigued me about Crux

  • It was a data analytics application. During the good ol’ times of being an engineer, data science and analytics was a tech field that fascinated me more than anything else so I definitely wanted to be in the space
  • My previous design internship had been in a company that was also into analytics and I loved the space,not just as an engineer but as a designer as well.
  • When I checked the linkedin crux design team, it was all women. Most startup spaces tend to be pre-dominantly men and I really wanted to work with more women. Obviously gender wasn’t a huge deal-breaker but you can’t deny the safety and relief of seeing a team with a significant number of women in the team.
  • I’d heard about Avi from my other design friends who had either interviewed with her or seen her give talks

So I obviously got extremely excited and wrote to Avi in her email about wanting to work at Crux intelligence.

And I was thrilled to say the least when she emailed me back.

And hence commenced the interview phase.

Interview phases

The interview phase lasted about 3 weeks and there were 3 rounds of interview (3-ish, rather 4, but 3 important ones). The interview phase might look different for different teams but for the design team this is what it looked like

Introductory call

This is the first contact you make with people at Crux intelligence. So my first call with Avi was basically about my previous work, how I ended up in design, why I wanted to be a designer and just generally trying to get the vibe of the company (from my end) and to understand what I am like as a designer (from Avi’s end). We also talked about what the product does, what phase it’s currently in and what they’re trying to achieve. This round lasted about an hour

Whiteboarding exercise

This is the round of the interview that tests out how you think on the spot and demonstrates your design thinking skills and your proficiency with using figma

I had three tasks and it took about 45 mins. This is also the round where I got to meet Sanjana.

Assignment round

AKA the round in the interview process that everyone dreads, it was a 7 day task. They also had a different task for different people depending on what skills they’ve showcased and what sort of skills they’re interested in seeing more of. And a meeting is set up to have a walkthrough of your solution.

And finally HR interview : My favourite part of the interview because I get to talk about myself :P

Some things I really liked about the interview process

  • The lead designer, Avi really knows what she wanted to see from me and communicated that to me very directly
  • I didn’t have to wait every round to know whether or not I made it to the next round. Because Avi told me, it saved my time and just helped me emotionally as interview processes can be extremely stressful
  • She was very straightforward on what stood out to her, what she wants to see more of and what I should work on, on the call after every phase of the interview. And those calls really helped me understand what a recruiter is really looking for and how they think.
  • The interview process was transparent on why I was doing each task and what they’re looking to understand from them
  • There wasn’t a power dynamic of interviewer- interviewee between me and Avi. The tone was more of a “let’s try to understand if we’re a fit for each other” and I liked that.
  • Avi can see right through you and your decisions. It was terrifying, but it instantly made me respect her (maybe I’m buttering my lead designer but I kinda aspire to be that? You’d be lying if you said you didn’t want to be a tough person that’s also a softee inside.)

Obviously since you’re reading this, I made it. It was a huge deal for me because it was my first full-time role. And as expected, I was hyped to be making cool shit.

Onboarding

The absolute daunting and hardest part of any job after coming off of the horrendous job market and experiencing burnout from applying to bajillion companies is obviously onboarding.

This tweet basically sums up how I feel about starting at a new company.

1ST Week : I spent this time mostly getting on-boarded by the Fractal team, receiving my Mac machine etc. The interesting part was attending meetings and watching other people present the work they’ve done. Attending Design reviews made me understand how they are done here and what is expected of me.

The team had also made a list of things for me to check out to get acclimatised.

1:1 with Avi

I also got set up for 1:1 to discuss with Avi my roles and responsibilities.We also talked about my strengths and weaknesses, what I want to work on, what I don’t find interesting (because I’d be lying if I said I liked all parts of my job). We also spoke at length of everything that’s being done at Crux and how everyone contributes, what part of the design process was being handled by who, how clear or blur the lines were when delegating work.

After getting onboarded, the machines setup and understanding the workings of the company and the design team, I was asked to do a UX audit

UX Audit

As a designer, the most important thing you are concerned about is “how is the product perceived?” And the advantage of any new employee is that they come with fresh perspectives of the product, unlike the other members of the team that are already working on the product and have acquainted themselves with it. So my first task at crux was to do a UX audit and put together my first thoughts about it.

Something that stood out to me during the review of this task is that you can’t treat a B2B product the same way you treat a B2C product, be it the usability, understanding vocabulary of the product or the navigation. As a person that wasn’t familiar with the target persona, a lot of the things didn’t make sense and I brought it up in the review, but when I understood the context, my perspective about the product completely changed.

My first project.

2nd week : The first project is something that makes or breaks an employee’s confidence with working on existing systems and getting acquainted with using resources to get their work done effectively

And Avi mentioned to me how I’d be given simpler, easier projects in the beginning to see my capabilities as a designer to do exactly that.

And we set clear expectations and tasks to do that week. I got assigned a PM to work with and my first PRD was slack’d to me (is that a word, slack’d ? If not, it should be).

And the blue eyed Santrupti excited to showcase her skills got to work. And a week later, having shipped a project and gone through two reviews in the process, I feel GOOD.

Here are a few things, the project helped me learn and get familiar with

  • The already existing design systems in place at Crux that makes designers’ lives 100x easier
  • Design reviews with designers and the design reviews with devs and PMs
  • Why and how documentation is done here with each project
  • Navigating team dynamics

I also have to mention how involved everyone is in helping you navigate the 5th season of a show that’s been running for 2 years, i.e Crux. People here wanted to help me become a part of their team and were more than enthusiastic to answer my questions and doubts if I had any.

So yeah, that’s probably it. It’s been a good few weeks and I’m excited to see what interesting problems I can solve here and make the product better. Stay tuned for more updates.

If this article helped you in any way or there are other things in the company you’d like to know, let me know in the comments below or reach out to me on my twitter/email.

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Product Designer that sometimes writes.

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Santrupti P

Santrupti P

Product Designer that sometimes writes.

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