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 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.