How attitudes can harm the professional image of UX/UI Designers
I want this job. Really?
As we mentioned in our article How to fail in selective processes for UX/UI Designers, a selection process requires your full attention. It’s not about being X type of UX/UI Designer and wanting Y type of job; But to wildly apply for any opportunity that comes along, without having understood the proposal in order to have a real interest. Therefore, it is preferable that you select a few (only those that really have a match with your profile) and invest time, dedication and specific preparation for them. When you understand the importance and size of the dedication expected for an effective candidacy, you should think about a crucial point:
How badly do you want this job?
Going beyond technical skills, we must consider that people are very different from each other. The decision-making indicators for the interest of a UX/UI Designer to work in a given company can be very varied: The financial proposal, the benefits offered, the visibility and “glamor” of the position, the culture with collaborators, the products themselves, and more. At this point, there is no right and wrong: You just have to put these indicators on the table, define the relevance of each one to your profile and professional objective, and build a decision based on this analysis.
The bad news is that this mindset is underutilized by most candidates. While companies have invested heavily in opening up vacancies for UX/UI Designers, we repeatedly see the dropout phenomenon happen — whether during the process or after they have already been selected, professionals choose to break with the opportunity, leaving a huge void in their expectations and company planning.
Oh, I don’t want any more
Imagine a scenario where you receive positive feedback from a selection, being notified that you have been selected for a vacancy. Yey! After much celebration, preparation and taking the necessary decisions and actions to start your activities (such as leaving your current job, moving to another city, etc.), you receive an unexpected return from the contracting company saying that the vacancy no longer exists, and that your hiring has been cancelled. Immediately, the feeling is one of indignation, frustration and disappointment, right? Because these are exactly the feelings that a company feels when a candidate gives up the vacancy. I list below the most common cases that motivate such withdrawals:
I didn’t really want to
As is well known, candidates tend to apply to many vacancies without even reading their descriptions carefully. Therefore, if they are selected, it is clear that the company considers a genuine interest in the vacancy and continues the process, already expressing the reciprocal interest in their profile. The longer it takes for the candidate to be frank and notify that in fact there is no real interest, the worse it will be for the company to make a right decision and conclude the selection process.
The selection process is very demanding
As mentioned in the article How to create space for UX/UI Designers Juniors</a >, precisely because they have already had bad experiences in recruiting, selecting and building their teams, companies end up creating very complex and lengthy selection processes. As much as the intention is to minimize the error of hiring badly, such processes end up causing the withdrawal of interested candidates — Possibly, the most relevant reason is that during the long evaluation period, UX/UI Designers are found, evaluated and hired by other companies with a more effective and faster process.
I was selected by another company
This is the most problematic case. As candidates tend to participate simultaneously in several selection processes, among several offers, one is the favorite. But if the positive news comes first from another vacancy (which is also interesting, just not as much as the ideal vacancy), for fear of losing the offer, they accept it. Shortly afterwards, the positive result of the ideal vacancy also comes, making the candidate, without blinking, abandon the vacancy he had already accepted. By this time the company had already drawn up plans, made preparations and created high expectations, so its loss and frustration will be inevitable.
In this case, the best thing to do is to make clear your participation in other selection processes — Without a doubt, it is better for the contractor to be aware of your real moment soon (so that he can anticipate and deal with this situation as he sees fit), than to be surprised with an abrupt withdrawal.
The Silent Harm
Consider that in allIn these scenarios mentioned above there is a “silent damage”: Such attitudes can be highly harmful to your professional image. As much as the UX market is in fact growing at an accelerated pace, we are still talking about a small market, where many contractors know many other contractors, and certainly, they talk to each other about their selection processes in search of recommendations and indications. Therefore, they are small losses that you may be accumulating, which in the not so distant future, may become barriers to the next big step in your career.
According to our article Find your own professional value, companies are not only looking for capable hands and minds, but committed people. If during the selection process the company finds signs that raise red flags about its reputation and credibility, accept it or not, these will be relevant indicators that will certainly play against you.
Transparency is key
If you are being contacted by several companies and recruiters at the same time, celebrate! This is a good sign: Your value proposition is convincing, your profile generates interest, your professional presentation matches your level, you were highly recommended, and more. In order for you to preserve your professional image and ensure the best possible behavior towards such contractors, always be sincere and transparent with everyone.
This transparency even involves knowing how to say no.
That’s right: If you are not comfortable with the proposed selection process, or with the way you were approached, or are not really interested in the vacancy and/or the company, the best thing to do is immediately not accept it. Rest assured that a politely negative response from you will not be frowned upon by contractors. It’s much better for the sincerity to say no, than for your indecision to become a problem that will hurt the company — and consequently, you.
Treat a selection process with due care. With the view that this is possibly the next step in your UX/UI Designer career, whether for vacancies that you receive proposals or that you apply on your own initiative, be transparent and sincere with everyone involved so that you reap positive results at each decision made.
How Less Experienced UX/UI Designers Can Leverage Their Employability
The reality of small businesses
A cold analysis of the scenario of small entrepreneurs reveals the lack of good planning. According to legal and accounting specialists, the great majority of micro-entrepreneurs “are entrepreneurs”, that is, being an entrepreneur is a condition for them; As much as they lack vocation and administrative preparation, they have the technical knowledge and the will / need to make it happen. Such people start business activities for the most varied reasons:
— I know how to do this X thing very well and I want to sell;
— I’m tired of having a boss, I can do it myself;
— I have to prove myself capable to family and friends;
— I’ve been turned off and I want to get back on it;
— I inherited a business and I have to continue it.
On the other hand, we have the minority: people who in fact “are entrepreneurs”, that is, they have the vocation and administrative preparation to undertake even if they do not have much specific technical knowledge of the product. Its features:
— They have the impetus to undertake, and in that, they set higher goals;
— Have strategic vision and prior planning;
— They know in depth about the market, competition, pricing, sales and after-sales processes;
— They are well aware of the numbers, taxes and legislative limitations;
— Have a clear vision of the product, and its potential;
— They are prepared to manage teams.
According to the same specialists, as most small businessmen do not have a vocation for entrepreneurship and administrative preparation, the result is that many businesses do not get far, do not consolidate and their financial reality is bad: Year after year, they barely pay- if the costs and there is no real profit generation. And more: This reality is not perceived, or even if it is, it is ignored. Maintaining the financial health of a company, even a small one, is no easy task.
But in these two scenarios mentioned, we see one thing in common: From the least prepared to the most prepared, everyone saw a business opportunity, and decided to take advantage of it in the best possible way, with the available resources. With that, there is room in these companies for you to apply your newly acquired skills, as focusing on users to create or improve products can have a great impact on business results. Far beyond Design itself, the value lies in seeing it as a transforming and multiplying element.
UX for minors
So where in all of this does a UX/UI Designer come in? If you stop to think about it, the knowledge you already have about the UX process can make a lot of difference. Of course, your role is not to save business, after all, you are not an auditor, nor a management consultant, much less a finance specialist. But the fact is that your product understanding can be of immense help, especially as these businesses were not originally user-centric but simply creating and offering a product to anyone who wants to buy. By paying attention to how these products are offered and how customers acquire and use them, several gaps for improvement will be noticed.
An important point to raise is that UX is not just for digital products. They are the big trend, the latest trend, a huge market in accelerated growth and extremely fertile ground for you to act, but still, they are not the only destination of this mentality. There is no right or wrong company format for a UX Designer to work in, because as long as there is a relationship between a product and a user, there is room for UX.
In short, smaller companies lack good UX design. They may be suffering losses at this very moment: investing too much in the function of the product while the design would anticipate several problems, doing too much advertising and not knowing the reason for the low conversion, pricing poorly because they do not know the target audience, not realizing the origin of the dropout of the purchase, at which point the competition has an advantage, among others. As this is new territory for them, their work of convincing, validating and proving will be great but it is certain that it will be highly rewarding when it generates the expected results — And we know that they are perfectly possible.
How to identify your opportunity
The main factor that needs to be emphasized is your initiative, while companies have problems and often do not see them or do not treat them with due attention. If you, as a user, identify something that can be improved in any sphere of use, here is your opportunity — You must be thinking “wow, so there are many”! They really are. Remember that your big goal is:
Prove your ability, mindset and process by building a real case — which iswhat companies and recruiters need to qualify you as a promising UX Designer.
I’ve listed below a sequence of actions that you can try immediately, just by opening your eyes to what’s around you:
1. Pay attention to your routine
On a day-to-day basis, you are a user of many products. Which ones do you have a bad experience with? Some examples: Does your pillow cause back pain? Is it difficult to open the lid of your toothpaste? Does your coffee mug burn your fingers? Even taking a numerical ticket, did you have to queue to buy meat? Why have low-volume express boxes in a wholesale market? In large shopping mall bathrooms, why do you wash your hands on one side and dry them on the other, having to cross the entire bathroom with wet hands dripping on a smooth, slippery floor? In a pet shop, why is there no prepared service for blind customers with accompanying dogs?
2. Choose and observe the root of the problem
Select one of these scenarios, preferably the one that you identify with the most because you feel highly frustrated by the bad experience. Clearly define the problem, where the pain point is, the feeling generated and what you needed to do to get around it.
3. Find out if there is a solution in the works
Drill down and find out how the company deals with this problem. Even having received several complaints from customers and seeming to be a simple solution, potentially the problem reaches difficult levels within the organization, where you cannot penetrate without being an employee or a provider of some level. For all intents and purposes, as this is a project of your own initiative, without this discovery you may assume that there is no immediate plan to correct the problem.
4. Talk to the person in charge
Check the feasibility of accepting your project before starting: Don’t start doing it without at least someone from the company knowing about it. For this, prepare a form of communication that is comfortable for you (a phone call, email, videoconference, face-to-face meeting, etc.), approach the person in charge and inform him of your initiative and interest in acting, even if in an “academic” way. ”, in the problem you identified. And of course, get ready to receive a no, or even a bucket of cold water like the famous phrase “Who is this little person who doesn’t know anything about my business and wants to give hints?” Anticipate an answer to these classic questions.
5. Produce, test, observe, learn
Now it’s time to show off your skills! Drive good UX design with surveys, people sessions, ideation, validations, and more. Pay attention to details, record, question, interact and then discuss a viable solution proposal. Based on real user experience with your solution, repeat as many times as necessary to polish it. Directly involve the person in charge so that they have a clearer view of how your solution comes up against a problem that was not being noticed or that was not being taken seriously, and in that, that they see the value generated by their discoveries and understand the need for this project.
6. Elaborate and present your project
Gather the information gathered, prepare and present your change proposal specifying definitions of what is needed to implement, how long it will take, costs involved, next steps, and more. Don’t forget to make this process as organized and documented as possible, because by doing this you will already be creating your portfolio case.
7. Finish and implement
Finally, with your case in hand, it’s time to negotiate it because the next step is implementation. So far you have discovered and validated the viability of your solution, but the time has come to put it into practice and obviously the person in charge is counting on you for that. It depends on your reading and decision whether this implementation will be charged or free of charge. Through the investment path, everything can happen faster because you can involve more people and use more resources. On the other hand, the cost-free way, the process tends to be longer and more laborious. The recommendation is that, regardless of your decision, the value of your work needs to be made clear — as a rule of thumb, non-paying clients do not really value your work, and as a result, even if your implementation is good, tend not to continue.
The initiative of a UX/UI Designer is a highly differentiating factor in their career. The more problems you identify and projects you do, the more experience you’ll gain and your professional value will increase much faster than just waiting for the perfect job opening.
And you, have you ever done something like this? Tell us in the comment!
How to be an interesting UX/UI Designer as you mature professionally
But what does it mean to be a senior?
As this term has been used so often, we understand that there is a difference in definitions and opinions going on. Is seniority having a set amount of years on the road? Is it having a skill set? Fully master the tools? Or even, being older as many think?
It is important to emphasize here that our opinion is based on our experience as recruiters: Our direct experience with hiring companies and with professionals who are really at this level of maturity gives us enough inputs to understand and define what it really is to be a senior.< /p>
As mentioned in our article How to apply to a UX/UI vacancy Designer, in a very simple definition, a senior professional is able to solve complex problems without help and guide other less experienced people. Based on this definition, what is a UX/UI Designer To proceed satisfactorily in these two points, it is necessary that he has real experience gained over years, having experienced different types of challenges in different scenarios — considering not only processes, but mainly people. With this, it is understood that your soft skills build your professional maturity much more than your hard skills. I list below some of the main indicators about seniority in UX/UI Design in practice:
Completely understand the process
Knowing the end-to-end UX process is a key factor. It is understood that “knowing how to do UX” is already a requirement for a junior; but a senior professional has a broader view of this process, knowing exactly how to implement it as he knows and masters the best practices to do so considering the people, the company’s culture and the product’s objective.
Being a UX enthusiast
The point here is not simply to take a megaphone and shout from the rooftops how cool UX/UI Design is, it works, it creates experiences and makes it more beautiful. For this enthusiasm to be authentic, the senior attitude is to talk less and show more. His mindset is oriented to the potential that a good UX process can bring to all spheres of a product, and automatically to the business of the company that owns it. And it is about this potential that enthusiasm arises, in a conversation of minutes in the elevator.
Have a vision of execution feasibility
The experience of a senior clarifies enormously the “finishing” of a project. Many have initiative, but few have this finish: As much as the initiative is cool, the kickoff, the product idea or a specific resource, it is the process after it that really counts. For this, the senior is able to anticipate the limits that he knows will arise, and with that define a more accurate path to be followed so that the product sees the light of day faster without burdening the company too much.
Deal directly with other departments
The ability to listen, respect and understand the individual demands of other departments of the company is a very important feature of the senior. He will never impose miraculous methodologies, saying that everything is wrong and that UX is the Midas touch that was missing in the company. As he is aware that having the appreciation of these departments is essential for the success of the product, he will strategically gain this support little by little to avoid friction and gain the respect of those involved, which we call “seat at the table”. It is impossible for a product to be successful, for example, if the Depts. Marketing and Sales are out of alignment with the work of a UX/UI Designer.
Understand product and business
This factor puts seniors way ahead because it requires not only knowledge and experience, but also a genuine interest in a business perspective. Designers are naturally conditioned to invest all their energies in the experience, aesthetics and functionality of the product, when it is essential to really see it as a product — to understand the market, competitors, costs, potential and earnings projections, where there is room for innovation, the limits of technology and more—is what ultimately drives real impact on the bottom line of the business as a whole.
A senior’s experience also contains the ability to anticipate problems of diverse origins. Instead of turning a blind eye to the red zones, he doesn’t stand still: He already has them in place from the beginning and creates viable action plans to get around them, such as accessibility, attention to the tone of the writing, considering the weight of the brand in product details, take the user data usage policy seriously, and more. And not only that, but also (or mainly) vertical human problems: ponshock with its leadership and with those led.
Take responsibility for the results
Finally, a mature professional understands responsibility for product results, good or bad. Faced with a good result, he identifies the successes and intensifies them; and bad results, he is willing to go deep into the source of the error, even if it hits him directly. As a fundamental part of the product, he has a sense of ownership and does not wait to act, always being in compliance and alignment with the vision of his leadership.
Enjoy every step of your growth
The rush of UX/UI Designers to want to accelerate their seniorization has happened due to the high demand from companies for professionals of this level. It’s the unbalanced equation: Companies require the most experienced, but don’t give space for the less experienced to acquire the experience. As a result, the latter remain out of place, while the more experienced ones are constantly harassed by different companies and even choose where they want to work.
As mentioned in our article I’m still a Junior UX/UI Designer , there is a lot to do to acquire the knowledge and experience that companies want so much. It’s not about waiting for the job of your dreams, or for the big company or the most attractive product, but for your professional growth initiative converted into immediate actions. In the view of a recruiter, mentioning that you have worked in a large corporation without clarifying your role in the project, or even saying that you are capable of identifying points of improvement and redesigning an existing product (in some cases, it is even disrespectful to professionals who work on these products) does not automatically qualify you. You are much better off telling the story of solving a small business problem and how that fact impacted your results. Actions like this will not accelerate your seniority, but they will certainly make you a much more interesting and hireable professional.
With this, your preparation to expose the quality of your work and the breadth of your vision will dictate how much companies will capture this message and become more interested in your profile. See our article Eliminate ‘details’ that disqualify your professional profile for a greater depth on this theme.
There is yet another point, which is little commented on: in certain cases, companies do not really need a senior. They ask for this level for two main reasons:
- For making sure they receive dozens of resumes and portfolios of UX/UI Designers with a lower than expected profile. This causes them to line up at the top, because if vacancies open for lower levels, the quality of candidates will be even lower.
- For not knowing very well the difference between the levels of maturity in practice. Afraid of making a mistake when hiring, they opt for the professional who represents more experience and less risk.
Because of this, if you identify a match with their needs in your profile, combining it with your real interest in the vacancy and willingness to work, that distance can be shortened and yours as Long awaited opportunity may be right in front of you. This makes you reflect on your current personal value, and extract the best you can offer by speaking only and solely the truth. Your professional growth is a process that requires time, planning, dedication, focus, humility and people who can accompany you at every step.
The inner junior
You certainly must have heard the phrase “awaken the child that lives in you”, right? This means that when we grow up, we automatically leave some properties behind, and we find ourselves in situations where we see that certain properties are missing. In the career universe in UX/UI Design it is no different: A newly graduated professional or in career migration is in love with this whole universe and that is why he has drive, willingness to learn and always improve, is interested, studious, humble to accept criticism and will overvalue the opportunities that are open to him. Therefore, everyone needs to have a junior within them so that these properties are not left by the wayside.
Don’t be in a hurry to become senior. This label will be tested by companies and recruiters, and if it is just a label, it will very quickly be questioned and put to the test. Treat your career as a life project, understanding and appreciating the need to go through the intermediate steps to get there.