In the midst of re-adaptation to the new post-Pandemic world, we see that even though the crisis has hit projects and companies hard, the UX sector is rapidly adapting. We can see that several vacancies have already started to be opened. Companies are looking for professionals who are promising, reliable, resilient and already adapted to the new reality. But on the candidates' side, the challenge now is even greater: to remain productive, present and integrated into the team even if working remotely. This shows that the behavioral challenge is even greater, but unfortunately, the attitude of UX/UI Designers has not followed this evolution. In today's article, we will address the most underestimated fatal errors.
There is a theory widely used in the sales sector which illustrates the most diverse behavior applications. It's the theory of the iceberg: in this matter you can basically see just the tip, while most of the iceberg is under water; but more importantly, the submerged part collides with something long before the visible part. For those who saw Titanic, the sailor who spotted the tip of the iceberg may have thought there would still be time to deflect, but the collision would begin seconds later. In practice, this means that your behavior comes well before you, and you're already colliding with the recruiter without having had a chance to say who you are and what you're capable of doing in full.
Contrary to what many people think, the evaluation is not done only in the interview. In fact it is the last phase of the process. The assessment really starts before you even contact a company or recruiter, expressing your interest in the position. As we stated in the article How to apply to a UX/UI Designer position, the appraiser has the right to question everything you say (benefit of doubt) and will form a conclusion about you based on the signals you send. Such signals can have many different origins, and generate different impacts on your chances for the position. See below the evaluation phases, so that you can be aware of the basic mistakes and avoid elimination even before you apply:
The first stage of evaluation is to understand if you are ready to apply for the position. As we quoted in the article Why you need to do your homework, your portfolio really needs to be up-to-date. But let's have a simple definition: What is an updated portfolio? It's not a page full of several works from your entire career, nor a page that proves your versatility as a designer, let alone a page that shows extra-curricular experiences disassociated with Design. Your portfolio is nothing more than a simple selection of your best works, which faithfully represent the current moment of your career and your professional profile within UX/UI Design. It is not to be complex, it is to be objective. Also, excuses like "I don't have time to assemble the portfolio", or "I'm a senior and I don't need a portfolio" are not acceptable: Whether or not you have a portfolio is already part of your assessment, and says a lot about you. If you are looking for a UX/UI Designer position, present projects that prove your specific knowledge and experience in this discipline, eliminating (or drastically reducing) the other projects.
The second phase is your analysis of the vacancy, and the reading that your profile is aligned with it. But reading and understanding the description of a vacancy seems to be a greater challenge than it may appear. By creating a description, companies try to be as specific as possible, clarifying the main points of attention and requirements to avoid floods of e-mails from professionals disqualified for their position. Even so, the floods remain. From our experience, we see that candidates lack understanding, because strangely enough many use the "give it a try" technique - even knowing that the position in question has nothing to do with their professional profile, they still apply. We understand that for such people, this factor is not a barrier to apply to the vacancy. For we are here to say that this technique is not only totally ineffective and mistaken, but also harms your professional image: It is concluded that if you do not think it is important to follow a description, you certainly do not think it is important to follow the process of a project. Therefore, be very honest with yourself before advancing in the application of a vacancy. Only do this if you are sure that your profile fits exactly what is required.
The third stage is your formal expression of interest in the position: How you do this is crucial to a recruiter's eyes. Whether it is through email, WhatsApp, or other media, you need to introduce yourself, not just attach resumes and links - At least make the effort of telling who you are. Unfortunately, it's very common for us to receive nameless email from ghost recipients like firstname.lastname@example.org... You can't give us the trouble of having to look up your name. Say it first, followed by the job you want to apply to; briefly explain the reason for your interest in the job, and then it's time to attach files or send your links. This will create a consistent information process that results in an interest in knowing more about you. Presenting yourself poorly may result in not even having the chance to evaluate your material.
The fourth phase is to show that you are there, and that you are interested during the selection process. From the moment you make the first contact, be sure that someone will receive your material, evaluate it and form a conclusion about the fit of your professional profile with the vacancy. To do this, be attentive and do not delay to answer the recruiter. In times of multiple forms of communication, failing to communicate is only possible if you choose to do so yourself. When we get to the point of trying to contact in several different ways and get no response, we understand that it is not a question of availability, but of the professional's lack of interest in responding. For your professional reputation, it would have been much better to be honest in saying that there was no real interest in the position - If the opportunity is not a priority for you, do not apply.
If you're suggested to improve some specific point of your material, do so, not making empty promises like "I'll try on the next few days"... If you're involved in other selection processes (which is perfectly common), be honest because it won't rule you out - On the contrary, when you let the recruiter know, it will be clear you're responsible and professional, always being transparent.
The fifth and final phase is to honor your commitments by being present when an interview is scheduled. Simply attend: Your absence at this time is a gross error. You must think of all the possibilities that could compromise that expected moment, and manage them wisely. If a physical interview has been scheduled, consider factors such as travel time, means of transportation and where to park. Arriving late due to external factors, even if it is not your fault, will disqualify you equally. For the interviewer the fault lies in not having anticipated such problems. If a video conference has been scheduled anticipate problems such as poor connection, risk of interruption by other people in your home, and laptop or cell phone battery. Be available at your scheduled time and make sure that you do not have any difficulties for the interview to flow well. Unfortunately we see many promising professionals come this far and "fail" for having an inadequate posture when they finally have the opportunity to speak directly with the interested company.
Don't let these obstacles stop you from moving forward in your career. Remove them one by one, with simple, practical actions now that you know the negative impact they can have on the impression that evaluators can have on you. Align your behavior with the professional you are and develop your career, one opportunity at a time.