How to hire a good IxD

7 Jul 2006 - 11:51am
8 years ago
9 replies
596 reads
Mark Schraad
2006

David nailed this! HR is of very little help in hiring nearly any but
the most rudimentary of production graphic designer.

In a DMI article that Chris Conley (IIT and Gravity Tank) wrote
entitled "Leveraging Design's Core Competency" he writes with the
perspective of a designer's self evaluation and what they might
contribute. But they can be very helpful in an inverted evaluation of
talent as well.

With apologies to Chris and DMI - I will cut and paste:

>>

1.The ability to understand the context or circumstances of a design
problem and frame them in an insightful way

2.The ability to work at a level of abstraction appropriate to the
situation at hand

3.The ability to model and visualize solutions even with imperfect
information

4.An approach to problem solving thatinvolves the simultaneous
creation and evaluation of multiple alternatives

5.The ability to add or maintain value as pieces are integrated into
a whole

6.The ability to establish purposeful relation-ships among elements
ofa solution and between the solution and its context

7.The ability to use form to embody ideas and to communicate their value

<<

I realize that this is a bit tangential and not specific to UI or UE
designers, but they are still quite relevant.

Mark

On Jul 7, 2006, at 10:59 AM, David (Heller) Malouf wrote:

> There is so much to hiring a good designer and often HR departments
> are of very
> little help because they have little to no experience working with
> designers
> and thus don't understand that they are not like the rest of the
> development/production team.

Mark Schraad
mschraad at mac.com

"Surround yourself with people that you admire and desire to be more
like."

Comments

7 Jul 2006 - 12:37pm
jim muntone
2006

Funny, but a lot of the description below struck me as (reading between
the lines of course) to mean

"the ability to make something out of the poor documentation and flimsy
project definition that your sales force/account team and/or business
owner is going to dump on your desk before they leave early on Friday to
go play golf..."

Or maybe I've just worked at too many interactive ad agencies :)

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Mark Schraad
Sent: Friday, July 07, 2006 12:51 PM
To: David (Heller) Malouf
Cc: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] How to hire a good IxD

>>

1.The ability to understand the context or circumstances of a design
problem and frame them in an insightful way

2.The ability to work at a level of abstraction appropriate to the
situation at hand

3.The ability to model and visualize solutions even with imperfect
information

4.An approach to problem solving thatinvolves the simultaneous
creation and evaluation of multiple alternatives

5.The ability to add or maintain value as pieces are integrated into
a whole

6.The ability to establish purposeful relation-ships among elements
ofa solution and between the solution and its context

7.The ability to use form to embody ideas and to communicate their value

7 Jul 2006 - 12:43pm
Mark Schraad
2006

A bit jaded, but I can't say that I disagree. ;-)

-M

On Jul 7, 2006, at 12:37 PM, Muntone, Jim wrote:

>
> Funny, but a lot of the description below struck me as (reading
> between
> the lines of course) to mean
>
> "the ability to make something out of the poor documentation and
> flimsy
> project definition that your sales force/account team and/or business
> owner is going to dump on your desk before they leave early on
> Friday to
> go play golf..."
>
> Or maybe I've just worked at too many interactive ad agencies :)
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
> Mark Schraad
> Sent: Friday, July 07, 2006 12:51 PM
> To: David (Heller) Malouf
> Cc: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] How to hire a good IxD
>
>>>
>
> 1.The ability to understand the context or circumstances of a design
> problem and frame them in an insightful way
>
> 2.The ability to work at a level of abstraction appropriate to the
> situation at hand
>
> 3.The ability to model and visualize solutions even with imperfect
> information
>
> 4.An approach to problem solving thatinvolves the simultaneous
> creation and evaluation of multiple alternatives
>
> 5.The ability to add or maintain value as pieces are integrated into
> a whole
>
> 6.The ability to establish purposeful relation-ships among elements
> ofa solution and between the solution and its context
>
> 7.The ability to use form to embody ideas and to communicate their
> value

7 Jul 2006 - 2:13pm
Mark Schraad
2006

The real value in a portfolio review is not viewing the work, but
evaluating the designer's ability to present it. In very few
interviews have I asked to see work. If the designer asks to show
work, I will typically accommodate them, but it is not the first
level of criteria. It doesn't take long to figure out if a designer
is capable, based upon their knowledge, beliefs, and ability to
communicate. There are a few places where a talented designer can
hide away cranking out good stuff, but in most cases they need to be
able explain the criteria, process, rational and present the
deliverables. Portfolios and pedigrees (schools and former employers)
are valuable information, but typically rate too high on the list.

I am also not convinced that solving puzzles is an appropriate
methodology for evaluation. Some designers are quick to the solution,
others more methodical. Some work well under pressure, others in
solitude and a relaxed schedule. But then I have never managed in n
environment where speed is valued over quality.

Mark

On Jul 7, 2006, at 12:42 PM, Robert Reimann wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I second that!
>
> My additional two cents:
>
> As far as using portfolios to ascertain designer skill, I agree that
> candidates should formally present their work. The difficulty is that
> it is sometimes hard to tell what part of the work is actually theirs,
> and also what the designer might have been capable of, were there
> less constraints on time, budget, technology, etc. While it's
> important to see how a designer navigates such constraints (since
> they are a fact of life as an IxD), it's nice to see what they, by
> themselves, without usability feedback, etc. are truly capable of.
>
> That's why I also favor the kind of design tests that Cooper has used
> for years (that shouldn't come as a big surprise). It allows you to
> see a designer's creative process at work, and also allows you to
> compare one candidate's approach with another's. I find it to be
> an extremely helpful way of getting a feel for how a design candidate
> works and thinks.
>
> Robert.
>
> ---
> Robert Reimann
> President, IxDA
>
> Manager, User Experience
> Bose Corporation
> Framingham, MA
>
>
> On 7/7/06, Todd Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:
>>
>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
>> material.]
>>
>> This was awesome.
>>
>> On Jul 7, 2006, at 11:59 AM, David (Heller) Malouf wrote:
>>
>>> 100 resumes
>>> 80%-90% don't make cut - stereotypes on purpose (asbestos
>>> is on,
>> so
>>> flame away)
>>> visual designer - too aesthetic
>>> usability expert - don't know how to speak in terms of
>>> design, or create
>>> HCI person - too cognitive, and don't understand
>> aesthetics
>>> Information architect - don't understand how to
>>> interact
>>> over time
>>> multimedia designer - great for games and
>>> animation, but
>> not
>>> for software
>>> web designer - developer in designer's clothing
>>>
>>> 20-10% get to interview
>>> 19-9% not good
>>> IA in designer's clothing
>>> Never learned how to present designs
>>> They can talk a good talk, but can't
>> really
>>> walk the walk
>>> 1% get the job
>>> get it! 1 out of 100 resumes really are a GOOD IxD.
>>> Harsh
>>> but true.
>>>
>>> So, it is indeed REALLY hard to find a good IxD, so maybe it is so
>>> hard that
>>> you might as well just get that eye-tracking done. ;)
>>
>>
>> Cheers!
>>
>> Todd R. Warfel
>> Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
>> Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
>> --------------------------------------
>> Contact Info
>> Voice: (607) 339-9640
>> Email: todd at messagefirst.com
>> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
>> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
>> --------------------------------------
>> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
>> In practice, they are not.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

7 Jul 2006 - 2:58pm
Robert Reimann
2003

On 7/7/06, Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com> wrote:
>
> The real value in a portfolio review is not viewing the work, but
> evaluating the designer's ability to present it.

Agreed.

I am also not convinced that solving puzzles is an appropriate
> methodology for evaluation. Some designers are quick to the solution,
> others more methodical. Some work well under pressure, others in
> solitude and a relaxed schedule. But then I have never managed in n
> environment where speed is valued over quality.

Cooper used (and still uses, as far as I'm aware) several methods
to evaulate design capability. The online test is take-home, and
candidates are asked to take an amount of time they believe reasonable
to provide a solution. Cooper also has an "on-your-feet" exercise,
which is important to evaluate a designer's ability to deal with the
kinds of situations a designer who is a part of a consultancy frequently
finds themselves in with clients... having to make intelligent, creative
decisions in real time. This skill is also, I've found, quite valuable in
an in-house design setting.

Robert.

Mark
>
>
> On Jul 7, 2006, at 12:42 PM, Robert Reimann wrote:
>
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> > material.]
> >
> > I second that!
> >
> > My additional two cents:
> >
> > As far as using portfolios to ascertain designer skill, I agree that
> > candidates should formally present their work. The difficulty is that
> > it is sometimes hard to tell what part of the work is actually theirs,
> > and also what the designer might have been capable of, were there
> > less constraints on time, budget, technology, etc. While it's
> > important to see how a designer navigates such constraints (since
> > they are a fact of life as an IxD), it's nice to see what they, by
> > themselves, without usability feedback, etc. are truly capable of.
> >
> > That's why I also favor the kind of design tests that Cooper has used
> > for years (that shouldn't come as a big surprise). It allows you to
> > see a designer's creative process at work, and also allows you to
> > compare one candidate's approach with another's. I find it to be
> > an extremely helpful way of getting a feel for how a design candidate
> > works and thinks.
> >
> > Robert.
> >
> > ---
> > Robert Reimann
> > President, IxDA
> >
> > Manager, User Experience
> > Bose Corporation
> > Framingham, MA
>

7 Jul 2006 - 3:07pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Ah ha - I was not aware that it was configured to allow the designer
take it home. Most of these that I am familiar with are administered
during the interview. Sounds like an interesting method for HR to
administer and assess without consuming large amounts of design
managements time. Thanks for the clarification.

Mark

On Jul 7, 2006, at 2:58 PM, Robert Reimann wrote:

> Cooper used (and still uses, as far as I'm aware) several methods
> to evaulate design capability. The online test is take-home, and
> candidates are asked to take an amount of time they believe reasonable
> to provide a solution. Cooper also has an "on-your-feet" exercise,
> which is important to evaluate a designer's ability to deal with the
> kinds of situations a designer who is a part of a consultancy
> frequently
> finds themselves in with clients... having to make intelligent,
> creative
> decisions in real time. This skill is also, I've found, quite
> valuable in
> an in-house design setting.

7 Jul 2006 - 3:33pm
crispin baynes
2006

Guy Kawaski has some good (general) recruiting advice on his blog:

http://blog.guykawasaki.com/recruiting/index.html

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org List Guidelines
............ http://listguide.ixda.org/ List Help ..................
http://listhelp.ixda.org/ (Un)Subscription Options ...
http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org Home .......................
http://ixda.org/ Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

7 Jul 2006 - 3:30pm
Chad Jennings
2004

Outside of a portfolio review or test, are there a few key questions
that people on the list ask during an interview that have been most
successful at uncovering talent, skills, and experiences that matter
most?

For example, we always ask the standard "What are you most proud of
in your recent work?" and "Tell me a story where things didn't go as
planned or a recent failure and what you learned from it?"

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Chad Jennings
VP, Design and User Experience
chad at blurb.com

Blurb, Inc.
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

On Jul 7, 2006, at 12:58 PM, Robert Reimann wrote:

>
> The real value in a portfolio review is not viewing the work, but
> evaluating the designer's ability to present it.

7 Jul 2006 - 10:33pm
Michael Almond
2006

I am probably too late to post to this discussion, but I thought I would
give it a try. I found the points of view and opinions to be utterly
fascinating. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and knowledge.

However, I can't help but to point something out that I think is extremely
important when reviewing/hiring a new IxD (or any designer, regardless of
labels or titles). It's a biggy and I'm quite surprised it didn't make the
list.

What about emotional intelligence? Or to use straight forward language, the
ability to understand and get along with people?

In my opinion, which coincidentally happens to be factual (it happens from
time to time, but don't blame me...I don't make the rules around here...lol)
we are in the "people business." Yes, formal knowledge and skills are a
given. Yes, presentation is a given. Yes, job titles are as much of a waste
of time as eye tracking. But they simple demonstrate that someone is "good
enough" and fits the criteria for a job that is limited in its potential
from the get go. In other words, you are limiting your pool of candidates
for a job with inherent limitations that are defined by you!

I suppose this applies to any position, but we lag behind; an employee or
consultant, whatever, who can speak to people in ways that demonstrate that
they have a well developed and mature ability to reach and move a diverse
group of audiences, either on a one-to-one basis or to a group, goes beyond
"good communication skills." It indicates that they care about human beings.
Thus they have invested time and energy in developing good relationships. No
offence to Human Cognitive knowledge; it's important, I know. But I'm
talking about motivation that can't be quantified. It has to be felt.

If I feel it, I hire that designer with the wrong title and less than
perfect pitch in a heart beat. They are the ones that somehow seem to break
through and bring the work at hand to a new and better level. They are
having conversations with meaning and that is where the future lies.

This is just my incredibly biased, not really factual in the least, belief.
It comes from my own experience, but mostly it comes from my own heart.

Thanks for letting me share. It meant a lot to me.

______________________________

Michael Almond
Almond Design
phone 415.206.0554
mobile 415.305.0540
fax 415.358.4172

malmond at almondesign.com
www.almondesign.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
> End of discuss Digest, Vol 34, Issue 7
> **************************************

10 Jul 2006 - 9:11am
Mark Schraad
2006

Hey Michael,

You are right on. Some people are blessed with those sorts of
conversational and situational insight, others not. I have seen
brilliant managers and business owners fail simply because they could
not read a room or sense another persons non verbal responses. Take
for instance the sales person that diligently plows through the
canned pitch while his prospect looks at his watch several times and
gazes out the window. This may seem like an exaggeration, but I saw
it happen in my own company.

Communications skills are incredibly important - both the output and
inputs. You have to be able to listen and observe as well as present
your ideas in a fashion that matches your audience/subjects.
Ethnography and cultural anthropology classes can teach a lot about
the observation skills. Drama classes and good sales training are
sources of help with communication skills.

If you take a marketing example, asking a customer, "why did you buy
the pink iPod mini?) First of all, I do not believe the customer
really knows. This process is largely no a conscious process
(Zaltman), but second, they will most likely lie to you. Apply this
same line of reasoning to the interview process. In many cases HR is
asking - or encouraging the prospect to either lie or spin a story.
Good interviewing is mostly about asking fairly general questions and
interpreting from those, the answers you seek. This is also, btw,
really helpful in extracting tacit knowledge from sales people about
products, marketing and delivery.

While all of this may seem somewhat removed from the designer's job,
I believe that these are in fact crucial skills in the design
process, that lie outside of most traditional design curriculum. The
topic is the design job interview, and I stretched it to include some
market research methodology, but is very applicable to the designer's
role.

Mark

On Jul 7, 2006, at 10:33 PM, Michael Almond wrote:

> What about emotional intelligence? Or to use straight forward
> language, the
> ability to understand and get along with people?

Syndicate content Get the feed