We know that the ability to deal with criticism is a competence to be worked on in everyone. Even when we officially ask for honest criticism, are we really prepared to receive it? In selection processes it is no different: Recruiters know exactly the need/scenario of the contracting company, they find professionals with good fit, they lead them to necessary adjustments in their material and clash - such guidelines are not always followed. In today's article we will see why this happens and how to proceed in this case.
It's natural for UX/UI Designers, because they don't know exactly what the next big step in their career will be and who the people/companies are evaluating their portfolios, who show all their experience in different sectors, types of projects, etc. - After all, in some of these cases it is expected that there is identification with a certain opportunity - and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Imagine that there is a UX/UI Designer with an interesting fit to a position to work in a financial company, without having experience in this sector. Of course, the lack of specific experience does not disqualify you (because this is not the only determining factor in your hiring), but it can put you one step behind the "competitors" who have such experience. What would be your next step? Give up? Not at all. The next step would be to think about how to overestimate your other knowledge and experiences, in order to make up for the lack of the specific experience. We call this process "job matching" - where your interest in the position is so genuine and real that any criticism or guidance from the recruiter will be used as a booster to the goal of being hired.
Listed below are some guidelines that we normally offer to UX/UI Designers in selection processes:
If you have been approached by a recruiter for an X vacancy, understand that at this time there has already been an initial interest in your profile. This means that there is someone willing to walk side by side with you on your way to hiring. Therefore, any instruction, tip, criticism, or guidance that follows will be in your own favor, towards that goal. But if there is resistance on your part on the questions raised, it will be clear that there is no genuine interest in the position: it is not about right or wrong, but about your suitability for the position.
Assuming that you have several types of projects, the advice is that you reorder them in order of relevance to the job in question, even if they are older projects, less detailed or still protected by NDA. This happens to avoid the analysis of projects unrelated to the position, or even projects for more significant clients in which your performance was not the object of evaluation. These cases can lead the recruiter to misunderstand, unnecessarily taking you away from the objective.
If the position requires a more analytical professional, for example, it will not be favorable just to show final screens if the evaluator is seeking to understand your way of thinking, seek information, balance hypotheses with facts and build an opinion. In the same way, it is not ideal a great deepening, if the contracting company doesn't have enough maturity in design. What needs to be more evident is the object of the analysis, in other words, what the company looks for on the professional, in order to make the evaluation fairer.
In certain cases, UX/UI Designers end up giving more importance to personal preferences than professional skills. The expectation of the contractors, in a first moment, is obviously just professional. As the selection process takes shape and you advance in the stages, personal issues will come to the surface, as they are also part of the evaluation. Besides, it is necessary to be very clear how you define yourself as a professional: If the position is for UX Designer and you have the competences for that, it will be necessary to remove other definitions that conflict with the object of the position, such as Digital Art Director.
As we have said in previous articles, your behavior says a lot about professional posture, and your analysis starts well before an interview. For the company that hires, it is essential to identify behavioral patterns that can become a risk factor, avoiding future problems. We understand that a job opportunity is actually the opportunity to value you. Someone saw value in you, and chose to pay for your time, experience and intelligence. At least in our sector, this is not an imposed authority: whoever works has spontaneously accepted this authority, and will be rewarded for all his/her effort.
What are you willing to do in order to be hired?
You may not perfectly agree with the selection process, question the methods of the companies and the decisions of the leaderships. But don't forget that for a hiring to happen, there is first the need and the interest of the company in you, then come your interest in it. As a good UX/UI Designer, you need to go deep, inform yourself about the whole context, understand the expectations and act in the right direction for a conversion to happen. Therefore, it is expected that the attitude of a UX/UI Designer through the constructive criticism about his professional presentation will be of attention, interest and appreciation, because in all scenarios, the conversion will be good for everyone.
When applying for the positions you are looking for, be prepared to be questioned and guided. Even if the hiring does not happen, there is always learning, after all the evaluators are the final users of your professional presentation. Don't expect criticism to be repeated, but act quickly in the direction of continuous improvement of your posture for the growth of your career and notoriety.