Interview with a UX talent specialist

Interview with a UX talent specialist

Hi everyone

For today’s post I have spoken with a company called DVT, they have several services in the tech space from software development to agile consulting and of course UX design services which is what sparked my interest. As I have mentioned before the hiring process can be a confusing one, where you are unsure of how to make the best possible impression. Here are some answers from James Stewart an internal talent specialist on the DVT team. James was very helpful when I reached out, I recently noticed he did a course on emotional intelligence in the work place through Udemy which I am actually also thinking of doing. I really would suggest making contact with companies when you are starting out in a field, I know it is difficult and often people can blatantly ignore you. However there will always be amazing individuals like James out there who are really willing to help, it just takes time to find them. Thanks James for helping us uxers! See the interview with James below

  1. What skills do you look for when recruiting for a UX position?

“Typically, the first thing that will stand out for us is a UX specific qualification whether this be an Interaction Design degree, Certified Usability Analyst certification or various other UX certifications. It does very much change on a case to case basis, with UX/UI/CX/IXD being a fairly new field (in South Africa anyways) a lot of the more senior consultants don’t have traditional UX qualifications and have moved across from Visual Design or other related fields. In terms of actual duties and tech exposure we usually ask around the following.

  • User Research 
  • Wireframing 
  • Analysis 
  • Visual Design 
  • Copywriting
  • Front-End Development 
  • UX Tools 

As you can see we do cover a few areas that are outside of the traditional scope of what a pure UX role might entail, it does help us get a better overview of technical competency.

The most important thing that stands out when recruiting for a UX/UI/CX/IXD consultant is a strong portfolio and to a much lesser extent CV. I don’t think I can overstate how important it is for anyone in the UX field to have a comprehensive portfolio showcasing their abilities.”

  1. What is the interview process like for a UX position, i.e. types of tests, number of interviews etc.

“The interview process is very straightforward. The first round interview (around 1 hour with our Head of UX services) is usually conducted face to face or via Skype and involves a general chat around specific experience and exposure as well as each consultant’s preferred UX process. The next step is dependent on how comprehensive the consultant’s portfolio is, a very strong portfolio at this stage combined with a good first round interview will usually advance the person to the final stage of the process. (A face to face interview with the Head of Digital Enablement). If the final round interview goes well and we have a suitable project we will move directly to preparing an offer (pending all the necessary checks/references). Consultants with weaker portfolios are typically sent through an assessment to complete with a 1 week deadline. The assessment asks consultants to create a set of wireframes (low-medium fidelity) as per the specification all the way through to creating high-fidelity visual mockups and even fully-functional interactive prototypes. This assessment will be reviewed and consultants who perform well will move forward to the final round interview.”

  1. What puts you off an applicant applying for a UX position

“The biggest issue I experience from a recruiters point of view is that with UX being such a sought after skill at present a large number of people (with more Graphic/Visual design) background are adapting their profiles and CV’s to market themselves as UX experts. The biggest put off to someone who has applied is a visually unappealing CV/Portfolio. You’ll be shocked at how many pure text CV’s (without portfolios) I receive for candidates applying for a UX role. It creates a very poor initial impression and a large number of these applicants will be denied an interview based on the strength of their portfolio.”

  1. What do you think will make an applicant stand out when applying for a UX position?

An amazing portfolio, I can’t stress this enough. I’d argue that if you have an excellent portfolio you don’t even need a CV. The best advice I can offer is to take a huge amount of time to put together your portfolio, make sure you incorporate examples of your work and your process, your thought process and strategy towards UX design is just as important to share. The best portfolio’s I’ve seen are usually personal websites (though I’ve seen some amazing PDF’s as well) that are a combination of portfolio and CV. We are also drawn to consultants who are constantly upskilling, whether it be new UX certifications or even just attending conferences; it highlights your passion and enthusiasm for what you do. We also love consultants who are active in the UX community whether it be arranging events or speaking at them, the UX community in South Africa is relatively small and taking the time to attend these events is so beneficial for your personal development and status in the community. ”

To round off, I think it very important to familiarize yourself with everything that could be asked of you for the job you are applying for. Then ensure that you can do those skills and display them in your portfolio through explanations of the process. Often the biggest mistake designers make is thinking that the visuals will speak for themselves, this is not at all the case with user experience design. Your ability to explain your thought process and conceptualize a solution based on extrapolated data is crucial to land you that job. Something else to be aware of is the testing process, I have had friends who panic when a company mentions testing that will commence. You can not perceive this as negative often you are still in the race at this point, and it is the time to display those skills that the company may not have found clear from your portfolio. Often just speaking with the company and being honest and realistic can help a lot as well, so that you know where you stand in relation to the other applicants.

Thanks to James from DVT for agreeing to chat with me, go check out their site if you are on the job market and in the tech space. The company looks corporate but has a very relaxed feel compared to the stereotypical corporate we all know. What I found interesting was all the training they provide,  I was looking at some Agile certifications the other day so also keep them in mind if you want some project management certifications. Happy researching!

Bye for now

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