Ask them why you weren’t selected for the next step. You committed three days work so they should be able to give you some detail in return.
That’s a hefty recruitment process and you deserve proper feedback. It may be that there is nothing to fault in your process, but that they had other exceptional applicants and one was a better culture fit, or had more relevant experience… or anything else!
I’d be upfront and say that you appreciated the opportunity to apply and respect their decision, but would appreciate a followup call to get some feedback on why you were unsuccessful so you can learn for future opportunities.
This is fantastic advice!
While I agree, many companies do require a design challenge. For passionate designers eager to get their foot through the door, this is the kind of thing we have to do.
Easy to say, “just redesign existing apps and document” to gain experience. Hard to actually bridge the gap from being a beginner or jr. designer to mid-level designer that can come on board and contribute right away.
What advice, or what do you think is most important when trying to land a new UX gig?
Like wise! I’m in agreement with @rachelreveley after looking at your project. You did great, but I’d argue that there was probably just more qualified folks you were up against. Keep your chin up though!
…and absolutely take @HAWK advice to follow up. Continuously update your portfolio or your soft skills based on that feedback.
This only happens because passionate, eager designers are willing to do it. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg game, but I can say that if designers as a whole rejected these types of design challenges in job applications, they simply wouldn’t happen.
What’s more, these type of challenges aren’t particularly effective at finding a qualified candidate. In a worst-case scenario (for the employer), what’s to stop someone from farming out the work to someone else and landing a job they are wholly unprepared for, on the basis of someone else’s work? In a best case scenario, the work is a reflection of the candidate’s ability to work in the dark, with poorly-defined business requirements, unable to ask clarifying questions and unable to work with stakeholders to provide the best-guess solution possible to compete with other candidates and the interviewer’s own biases.
I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent, because why not? and because this is a topic about which I’m particularly passionate.
I’m not against design challenges, per-se, but in my opinion they need to conform to a specific set of rules to give useful results:
Design challenges should be done in-person. This helps the interviewers gain real perspective into a candidate’s interpersonal interactions and communication skills. It also helps interviewers visualize how a candidates synthesizes information from different sources to gain specific design direction.
Design challenges should not focus on the company’s existing product. There’s too much bias built in for candidates to be truly successful on the existing product, and it’s patently unethical to ask candidates to complete work for free on the basis of the possibility of employment.
Design challenges should be done on a whiteboard. A lot has been said about whiteboard interviews, both good and bad. Certainly it has its drawbacks, but they do allow for clear communication and invite collaboration. Additionally, the ability to effectively whiteboard ideas with stakeholders is paramount to the success of any UX designer. Now’s the time to find out just how good they are at it.
Design challenges should be done with a fixed time limit. Apart from evaluating their ability to work on a deadline, setting a time limit helps to ensure that the candidate doesn’t get tied up too much in nitty-gritty details and focuses on achieving their goal. It also helps move things along in the event of multiple interviews being scheduled on the same day.
Each candidate needs to address a unique challenge of relatively equal difficulty. This helps avoid biases against specific design solutions and focuses the interview on how candidates think and interact with business stakeholders.
Speaking of stakeholders, business stakeholders should be represented at the interview by the interviewers. The candidate should be able to ask clarifying questions across business units. This helps evaluate the candidate’s ability to ask appropriate questions, to work across business lines, and build a consensus before diving into a project.
There should be some sort of monkey wrench or two thrown into the works-- a requirement that changes mid-design, a stakeholder that gets replaced with a new individual with new ideas, or an increase/decrease in time to deliver a design. This helps evaluate how candidates react to a changing design environment, an important aspect of their overall ability as designers.
For what it’s worth, you can find a wealth of simple UX challenges all over the internet, but some of my favorites are here.
Get experience in any way you can. Practical experience will trump education 10 times out of 10. Work on your own projects, do UX evaluations, work on an open-source project, volunteer your services to non-profits-- in short, do whatever it takes to get some work under your belt.
Keep learning. This isn’t optional. The nature of the internet is forever fluid, and nobody ever knows everything about a particular topic. The more you learn, the more you’ll find what interests you, and you’ll begin to develop your own specialty. The more specialized and exacting your knowledge becomes, the more valuable and effective you’ll be in particular roles. Seek out jobs that cater to your strengths.
Network. Go to meetups, conferences, hand out business cards, and be a personable person-- even if you don’t feel like it. You can never know too many people in the business, and opportunities will come your way based on the people who know you and your expertise/passion.
UX Interviewing Design Challenges Best Practice
I can understand your argument here. i’ve had this before away from UX and I didn’t even get a reply back. I wrote an email, a pretty angry one as I had spent days on this project - i deleted the email eventually after looking at it from a different angle.
- I kind of enjoyed the challenge
- I learnt a great deal from it
- Companies who treat candidates unfairly, probably do the same to colleagues
- I knew i’d be more prepared next time round and I’d have a good change of cracking it
- F*** them
And that’s exactly what happened. Minus point 5.
One of the biggest lessons I learned early on in my corporate career, especially as someone who communicates best in written form, is to never e-mail while angry or annoyed. If that means I have to let the situation stew for a bit, or look at it from a different angle, or just turn off my computer and go scream at the prairie dogs in our parking lot (not that I’ve ever done that), then so be it. Though they might feel good in the moment, angry emails never lead to anything good, from a business perspective.
Adapting to the office was always a big struggle for me to begin with. If I ever felt hard done by, I would say so. Now, when I look back, I like to think i never took the route straight into UX because there were things I had to learn that couldnt be taught in a book. Some things are best left unsaid.
Doug, you know what i have never seen on UXMastery - a post on communication. Tips on how to communicate in the right way. Lets say… someone suggests an idea that you feel would never work, how you respond to that.
So true. There are so many soft business skills that need to be learned, and for most people (myself included) they are learned on-the-job. The unfortunate truth of employment is that soft skills like communication and navigating office politics play a big role in one’s overall success. The only way to really get good at these is to practice them on the job.
I smell my next blog post/forum topic…
Looking forward to it!
I reckon we prob are. I’ll chat to Tash.
I’ll send you a message shortly
2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Is there something you’d like us to write about?