Hiring UX/UI Talent
User experience is the gateway by which a startup’s non technical users access and experience its application. Even further, it is a crucial mechanism to making the efforts of your code not only usable, but more enjoyable. And it is also a large piece of how companies keep users engaged, active and coming back for more. When stated like so, the importance of thought out and well designed experiences becomes clear.
The best user experiences are the ones that are intuitive out of the box, and to a degree require the least amount of instruction and guidance. Yes, software has a learning curve, but if the experience warrants more than a simple explanation, then either it’s being used by the wrong person or the interface needs work. And no, it’s not an easy thing to fix. This is why top UX/UI talent is not only incredibly valuable, but absolutely essential for today’s technology startups.
Finding and hiring UX/UI talent can be challenging. Before you hire your startup’s user experience pro, take a look at some of our hiring tips in this arena.
Find a UX/UI Professional, Not a Graphic Designer– User experience goes way beyond visual design. It looks at the accessibility of your software or application, solves issues around marketing and usability, applies behavioral principles to design, etc. In short, UX/UI determines how a user will interact with the technology via its interface, works to improve and optimize the front end experience, and collaborates to refine the backend, all of which includes and goes well beyond the visual component. The above requires a broader skillset with strengths around strategy, design, marketing, usability, and interaction. Doing all of these well requires top talent.
Medium Experience Trumps Industry Experience- This is not to say that industry or sector experience is not a valuable trait should you run across it. And naturally, an iOS app requires an iOS developer. But within the spectrum of iOS is a wide range of possibilities. For instance, a company building an ecommerce app for office supplies would greatly benefit from an iOS developer with experience designing ecommerce iOS apps, even if the candidate has no experience around office supplies. Or a logistics company building an app to track how many miles their fleet drives each day via GPS would benefit from a UX/UI Developer with a background at a company like Runkeeper (the fitness tracking app that logs running miles). Of Course, finding a top candidate with both would be a gold mine, but if you don’t, medium trumps industry.
Don’t Negate Candidates with Failures- 3 out of every 4 startups will not make it. That means that most, if not all, professionals with a career in technology startups have gone through at least one failed company, if not many. If anything, their experience can be extremely valuable and insightful for your company. They’ve seen what causes failure, and have a better sense of what is necessary to succeed. Of Course, don’t take this to its extreme, but don’t pass by a top candidate because of a blemish or two.
Value Cultural Fit, Regardless of Their Talent- Regardless of how talented your candidates are, the work will require a lot of conversations, debates, arguments, meetings, late nights and collaborations. Amplify all of this by 10X because it’s a startup, and you quickly realize the importance of hiring people with the right cultural fit and chemistry with your team. So if you think you’ve found a top notch UX/UX pro, send them over to the rest of your team and see if that opinion holds.
Passion For the Product, Company and Vision– Talent, skill sets, experience and cultural fit are all crucial elements. But at the end of the day, you need employees that believe in the product, the vision and the passion of the founders. You are asking a professional with invaluable experience and insight, as well as multiple options for employment, to work for startup pay with no guarantee of success or future (as is the nature of startups) and take on the long hours, the stress and the inevitable on-the-fly changes. There are few motivations that will keep top talent engaged under these conditions. This is the importance of passion for your company, its product, and its goals to change the world.
The above might make finding the right UX/UI talent seem impossible to find, but do not fear. Hiring for top user experience talent, like hiring for top talent in any aspect, takes a great deal of time and resources, and is a pain point for every startup. But plenty of early stage companies find and hire the right people every day by seeking them out, using their own networks, and enlisting the help of top technology search firms like ours. Whatever you do though, get the top talent that your company needs.