What I learned from 200 design interviews

Dave Senior
Jul 30, 2018 · 7 min read
Image for post
Image for post

All designers are multidisciplinary. Even if they don’t know it yet.

For the past 9 years, we’ve seen tools change, we’ve seen new roles emerge, and we’ve seen silos created. Good designers have the ability to learn, adapt and grow alongside this constant change. We’ve never hired anyone who specializes in information architecture or wireframing. We’ve also never hired someone exclusively for UI design, illustration, or motion graphics. Same goes for research, design thinking, or design strategy. We believe these are tools. Tools that can be learned, developed, and nurtured. To us, IA and wireframing are ways to articulate plans and design solutions. There are certainly people who are really, really, good at a particular discipline, but for our team — the most value is added when we don’t box designers in.

2. Stop hiring for fit — what will they add?

Image for post
Image for post
Cultural fit isn’t a thing

3. Skip the resume. It’s not about their experience, but how they’ve gained it.

Image for post
Image for post
Who is you?

Here are some questions I’ve asked in the past:

  • How did you find design? Did it find you?
  • How did you get here?
  • How do you learn?
  • What type of designer do you want to be?
  • What are you most excited to work on?
  • To you, what’s important about the internet, technology and people?

4. Be transparent

During our first interview, I’ll do 3 things. Learn about the person, sell them on Playground, and tell them what to expect next. When learning about the person, we find out what their goals are, the context of their previous work, and how Playground can help them in their career journey. We’re first collaborating to understand if this is the right role for them.

5. Enough spec work

We’ve tried wireframing exercises and asking problem solving style questions. We’ve even tried a ‘solve out-loud’ type of approach in the past — but nothing has been as consistent in identifying great designers as learning about how someone learns. We allow our candidates the appropriate space and time to walk us through their work. From there, we will be able to ask how they’ve made decisions, how they asked questions, and what level of experience they have within our specific context.

Image for post
Image for post

Lesson Learned

This may seem obvious but the people who actively work on design every day should be reviewing candidates and the ones conducting interviews.

Playground Inc.

A human design company.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store