Design recruiting at Segment

Micheal Lopez
Oct 13, 2018 · 4 min read

A changing landscape: What we believe

New year, new look

Designers are no longer only solving aesthetic problems. The mission is a lot larger for designers and for the Segment design team. Segment, …like Stripe, Slack, Intercom, and other Forbes Cloud 100 companies, is focused on enhancing the customer experience through offering transparency, tools, dialogue, and solutions that build trust with users and long term business relationships with partners.

Designers are now solving problems from PII and personal finance to automation and climate change. To solve an ever-growing list of complex problems, we seek designers with diverse backgrounds and perspectives who can apply the tenets of design thinking and solution frameworks to any problem across the customer ecosystem.

The evolution of design roles

According to the NEA’s 2017 Future of Design survey, 95% of all respondents believe that designers in technology start-ups need to be involved directly in the business side.

What this tells us is that the role of design in any organization today is changing significantly. Designers now have greater opportunities to influence the success or failure of a business.

Many design teams are now driving important success and usability metrics to help build a stronger customer experience for products. Companies are employing designers from more diverse backgrounds and expertise to take on problems that don’t align to a specific skillset but instead align to a set of philosophies or frameworks which are rolled out by design practitioners from consulting, engineering, product, and scientific backgrounds.

The measure of all things

In an effort to align our goals as a design team with the needs of Segment’s quickly-growing business, we have to ensure our designers are building product and brand experiences that are cohesive, scalable, and customer-focused.

So how do I, qualify design candidates with this fast-changing landscape and the evolving role of design and designers at Segment?

Successful design candidates: What we look for

Passion for your craft

We: Live for the thrill of articulating “how it works” to our audience. This ability to explain complex concepts can’t be quantified in terms of metrics, but its success can be clearly seen in the narrative we create for any project.

You: Carefully craft stories that take the viewer through a journey of pain points and roadblocks the user experienced before you stepped in with a well-planned research and discovery strategy (often through a portfolio).

Common pitfalls we’ve seen are: Explaining a project at too high of a level (think Dribbble shot/visual design only) when the narrative could be supplemented by sketches, wireframes, user flows, and customer stories throughout your process. Tell us about the goals and constraints of the project and how you achieved them.

Knowledge sharing

We: Often play dual roles such as designer and researcher when crafting a solution to any design problem. We synthesize this information and create an output, oftentimes for an internal audience. This is why we believe not only in finding solutions for our customers but also ensuring the methods and learnings are readily available to enable other Segment teams. This way, we can optimize and build upon existing workflows and projects.

You: Should demonstrate that accumulating and sharing knowledge is a process that doesn’t stop once you’ve solved a problem, shipped a feature, or improved a metric.

Common pitfalls we’ve seen are: When designers don’t understand the benefits of continual iteration optimization, open source projects, and knowledge transfer. Through your work, you’ve often uncovered some new insight about your customer that has led you to a breakthrough in how you solve this problem. You should always be willing to share your learnings to improve the operational efficiency of your team as well as insure the continuity of experience for your customers.

A practitioner of empathy

We: Believe the most important aspect of any designer’s toolkit who joins Segment is having empathy. Identifying this requires a careful understanding of how designers define and solve problems. Do you seek diverse opinions when thinking through solutions? Are you building and maintaining strong partnerships with engineering, product, and design peers? Outside of the digital space in which you primarily operate, do you understand how the sales process works and how your work fits into the overall customer journey of a product? Without a strong partnership throughout the product development process, it’s easy for customers to feel a lack of empathy for the solutions they seek.

You: Must be a strong partner with your supporting teams and peers and understand the measures of success within their control as well as the passion they have for their own craft. You encourage knowledge sharing and lead by example.

Common pitfalls we’ve seen are: When a project or portfolio piece not only lack the customer insights that helped craft the decisions but also the cross-functional ones. Good design doesn’t happen in a silo, so don’t be afraid to showcase how the diverse insights and opinions helped craft a stronger product led to a better overall product.

In summary

While the landscape of design is always changing and the practice of design thinking is expanding into far more complex business applications, its foundations stay the same.

At Segment, we are building a diverse group of passionate individuals set on understanding and serving the needs of our cross-functional teams, customers, and design community. If this sounds like you, we’d love to chat.

Want to learn more about Segment Design? Check out

P.S. We’re hiring! Ask me about opportunities @ Segment!

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