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ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This last special episode has two interviews, one with Katie Dill of Airbnb and one with Joe Rinaldi of Happy Cog. They both give advice about interviewing and getting hired as a UXer. Also, at the end there is some highlighted advice from previous episodes of the show. Thank you so much for listening, and be sure to note - the adventure continues at experiencepod.com :)
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TRANSCRIPT

00:00:01Wait hi there welcome to the ew ex intern i'm your host western noble and actually not your ex intern and more because recently graduated to be a junior u x designer now but this show is ending right along with my internship and there were only ever twelve episodes
00:00:34planned for the show because i knew it wouldn't be an intern forever so it actually turned up pretty nicely that my internship is ending right along with the show so before we dive into the content of this episode i want to first talk about one thing so i
00:00:54have a new podcasting endeavor after this podcast ends and that podcast is called experience pot the tag line is a new podcast boldly exploring the discipline of experience design and really the idea for this was born out of a selfish curiosity on my part because i have a
00:01:15very broad view of experience design and i really want to talk with the people who designed the experiences at a hospital the people who design the experience of your favorite chair the people who design or who are provide the fantastic customs support that you get when you call
00:01:37certain companies So in this podcast i'll be talking with it'll be interviews with people who are involved in untraditional areas of experience design so this podcast will launch early next year and if you're interested you can head on over to experience pod dot com and put in your
00:01:59email address to get information about it and also to also to be notified when it comes out next year also this show intentionally did not have sponsorships but experience pod will so if you are interested or your employer might be interested in sponsoring experience pod please contact me
00:02:24that would be really cool and i'd love to talk about that all right now for the meat of the episode ah this is the last special episode and i wanted to do something different because over the course of this show i've got many e mails and tweets from
00:02:41listeners you guys asking how to get a user experiences on internship or how to get your first experiences on job and i feel really unqualified to give advice about that because actually little deviation personal story time ah last summer i was in a u x internship in iowa
00:03:07and i moved back to springfield missouri where i am currently and looked for ah an internship that was u x related even web design related and i applied to all the companies i could think of they didn't have anything nobody was hiring and three months after i moved
00:03:27here i really needed a job because i'm also a full time student and and even money so i applied to barnes and noble staples target actually might target application was rejected i still don't really know why and but i actually did get a job with staples and the
00:03:47day before i was supposed to sign on and start i got a call to my current employer so that actually worked out pretty well but anyway ah i wanted to talk in the this episode to some people who make hiring decisions for some companies that i really respect
00:04:07eso in this episode i will be talking with katie dill who is the head of experience design that airbnb and also joe rinaldi who is the vice president of business development at happy cog and they're going to be talking about what they're looking for new hires how people
00:04:26can get there and also some personal advice from their own experiences of interviewing for jobs and also ah them interviewing other people and it's really good i learned some really good stuff that i'll actually be using down the road in my career most likely so let's start out
00:04:47with the conversation with katie katie can you introduce yourself and kind of give a little background on your personal professional journey that's the uh money's katie dill and i am ahead of experience design at airbnb i've been with airbnb about six months now come previously from frog design
00:05:10and design consultancy started about fifty years ago were usually working with a fortune fifty one hundred come fortune fifty fortune one hundred companies on then previously worked with startups at a design accelerator where we invested in startup companies received equity and return but we're investing with design services
00:05:30rather than dollars I came to airbnb and as the head of the design team i helped the experience designers and knew i designers partner with engineers and producers which is what we call pm's that airbnb create the products that are hosts and guests use to enable the service
00:05:52and at the end of the day the experience that the both the host of the guests have with airbnb very cool So can you kind of for our listeners I mean i know but killings by far listeners what airbnb is about absolutely their baby is a global hospitality
00:06:12company and what that means is that we enable individuals who are actually micro entrepreneurs to rent out their apartment their house either with them while they're there or maybe while they're away traveling elsewhere on bacon rented out tio people on our platform we call them guests and these
00:06:37guests are everyday people that are looking to travel and looking tio have a local experience s o go to paris go to tokyo and feel like it is your local living in another part of the world and these experiences that they have are enabled by our platform the
00:06:56product that our team creates and it's a lot about building trust on helping these two strangers kid a sense of each other before they need make sure that it's a good fit and that the guest is going to find the place of their dreams and that the host
00:07:12contrast that the guests will take great care of their home on all of that is made possible by the digital platforms that we leverage like mobile aps the website even email where we can help to individuals share a little bit about themselves share photography of the listing or
00:07:32the property on dh photography of of course the individuals on that helps set that relationship up on we've been around for six years now where global and i think one hundred ninety countries on and we are in twenty seven languages and we are based in san francisco where
00:07:54i am located very cool uh well when you're looking for when you're looking to hire people you mentioned that you are the kind of the main person who makes the decision when you were bringing someone onto the u x team is that right I'm involved in that decision
00:08:13certainly i'm often the hiring manager sure but we have a whole team of people working with us every person that comes in interviews with probably about five people from the design team on then we together make the decision okay so when do you hire interns at airbnb the
00:08:33first yes we do the graphic design department which is designed group with an airbnb that's more focused on branding and marketing they'll do do campaigns an advertisement and we'll work very closely with our team and occasionally designed for the product they've been hiring interns for awhile now Interns
00:08:53and fellows on then our team we haven't had interns in the past but actually we we are looking for interns We're looking for fellows fellows or people usually with a little bit more experience Maybe they're not quite ready for a full time gig and maybe they're still learning
00:09:12and so expanding their skill set perhaps they don't have experience working on a product company on so they may come to us a za fellow and in turn is somebody who's probably in school or just out of school on and we are looking for folks that can come
00:09:26in ah and join our team in that capacity Very cool So do you look for different things and interns versus full time employees that you're hiring way look for a lot of the same things and then that we probably have a bit more flexibility or different things in
00:09:46a few cases and i'll explain eso won everybody that walks in the door needs tio have a appropriate culture fit We pride ourselves on building a culture that is engaging in citing on dh filled with a lot of love and appreciation for each other s o we spent
00:10:07a lot of time i'm making sure that each individual can kind of jive with that culture on our culture is pretty darn easy going it's definitely fast pace but it's also just about working hard and having a good time doing so next of course is the design mindset
00:10:26and putting the user first that's core right that's something that maybe you could teach but we want to make sure that each individual is thinking of that first and when they're setting out to solve a design problem Um if they're thinking about the end user needs and when
00:10:41they don't know they're seeking out that info we have a lot of resource is that and design and research teams that can help with that Of course and then we also are expecting each individual that comes in to be with a learner's mindset and i would say that's
00:10:59something that we probably even look for more of in interns somebody who may not know all the answers and is aware of that is his humble and wants to grow it wants so learn on that perhaps they can articulate areas that they want to learn they should have
00:11:15in eight skills they should have the foundation on no tools and processes for design we expect individuals to be able to be somewhat self directed and sit down and be able to hash out a design problem and and find ways to overcome blockers on and that they should
00:11:35have some fundamental skills whether it be visual design or interaction design or both but they're expected an intern level to be able tio manage stakeholders and conflicting opinions on present at a level that they can get others on board and come around to their way of thinking We
00:11:57expect them to be more hands on and of course we're not expecting them to be leaders or to be able tio design the process of the design work from start to finish on a larger scale project We want them to be able to come in pick up a
00:12:14a task for us media design problem but probably on the smaller scale on be able to execute on it and hit the ground running But of course we expect an intern will be working close see with other designers and they're not expected to go out on their own
00:12:30so late Sure so those first three things that you mentioned are more of that core This is what a person needs to be to be eligible to be a good candidate for airbnb Yeah every every individual culture user first fundamental design skills those three gotcha So what can
00:12:53people do to developed those things in themselves As a designer if you're already a designer i would imagine you have some of these skills and neatly it's about being a good observer looking at the world around you and identifying where problems exist and looking at them not his
00:13:14problems but his opportunities I think that for many folks myself included that come into the design world even to it realizing oh wow there's a job for people that like to solve problems terrific that usually works you know we are we're probably hypercritical of the world around us
00:13:33and see where the pitfalls are and see where and that's not as easy as it could be Oh are you know that's really strange the way that that button on that screen is calling out to me and it's distracting You know i can think of a better way
00:13:44to do that S o those problem solving observation a ll skills are absolutely something that each individual should have but you could cultivate on One way to do that is to give yourself challenges carry around a notebook and look for ten opportunities every day and take note votes
00:14:04on on what those could be Try to think outside of your first media because you khun b really inspired by other things so for example if you're an interaction designer seek industrial design problems in this world and write those down to i think that you can be inspired
00:14:20by a great number of things often things that are outside of your typical purview and it's good to push yourself that way certainly learning from others and scanning blog's and looking into what others are saying about design and design criticism on and also just looking at what latest
00:14:41and greatest air coming out of different product companies just trying to stay on top of the trend i think it also really inform your process and help you to develop a set of best practices Best practices are always evolving right You know new new platforms coming out just
00:14:56yesterday App it'll apple introducing the apple lodge this past week several wearables coming out we'll start to see new kind of things not to do and things to do in terms of interaction design ah and it's great especially for a student or somebody who's learning and growing to
00:15:14try and stay on top of those trends and try to learn from them Ah and start building out your knowledge bank off what is appropriate and what isn't putting the user first how to develop that i think that that comes from the observational part and just thinking of
00:15:29ways that things could be better on being in fine tuning your culture fit now that's something that you probably should just to try to know yourself and know what's going to make you happy and certainly don't try to conform to someone else's culture If it's not a fit
00:15:44for you that probably won't end well You know the look for companies in yourself that our culture fit for you on and don't don't try and go or the other way around and i like that um what would make an applicant stand out too in turn or full
00:16:05time We are a company that is really passionate about making uh not as and talking is a great way of assessing out a problem aligning and coming together creating something can drive a conversation forward so quickly on can help everyone Aline i mean the whole adage that picture
00:16:32tells a thousand words absolutely true especially we need to put it in a video you can tell a million words when you make a prototype even more We look for individuals that are so proactive and so dedicated an active that you know they're immediately putting their ideas toe
00:16:53work on whether or not you know there they could be exploring lots of ideas at a lower fidelity or a few ideas at a higher fidelity But we definitely look for that we'll look for that in their portfolio and we look for that you know when they're on
00:17:06the job on we want to see them you know immediately putting those ideas to action So a couple of and individuals that have really stood out are those that you know sending their portfolio and they're really smart about how there showing their work and their it's not filled
00:17:22with words on a page but it's filled with images inappropriate useful concerns descriptive call outs letting us know you know the context of the work but really pointing out what what the design problem was and how they solved it and showing how they solved it You know it's
00:17:41just again an old adage of show don't tell on we want to see that on design work on and of course you know the portfolio and how they present themselves it's going to be a great sign for how they think about the user and how they're actually going
00:17:54to design at the end of the day on if somebody doesn't have a robust portfolio put together you know a quick idea you know show us how you would redesign and aspect Akhtar app or you know maybe even create something totally outside of that maybe it's a little
00:18:10project you made for yourself or or for someone else we oftentimes give people a design challenge just so we can see how they think and how they were ah and that helps to get a good sense of what they'd be like on the job and they're kind of
00:18:25predilection towards making and bringing their ideas to life Sure So what does your interview process look like Like someone hears about a job they apply for it internship or otherwise what happens can kind of walk through the steps of that Yeah well we have a fantastic recruit team
00:18:49that will basically shepherd individuals through the process we care very deeply about hosting of course because we are hospitality company so we want to make sure that individuals air kind of helped along the way and that they you know have good expectations of what's coming and whatnot so
00:19:07it usually starts with a conversation with a recruiter on then the recruiter will put that person in touch with somebody from the design team and will do ah phone conversation or a skype conversation they'll talk about the persons were try to get to know him a little bit
00:19:21better well we don't want to do is waste anybody's time so if you know we don't have a position at that time fits their skill set or their interests we try to find that out way earlier than having them come in and meet with people so that's one
00:19:35of the reasons why we do this phone call so we can get a good sense of who this person is and what they're looking to do and what their skill set is and then if it feels like that's a good fit if they're interested we're interested then what
00:19:46we would do is have them come in and meet with more people on do a portfolio review and so they will share their work on that could be anywhere from half an hour forty five minutes to an hour on then the individual conversations can happen throughout the day
00:20:02i mean people from the design team on then we also have cultural interviews where they'll meet other individuals from the company that might have nothing to do with design but are good examples of our culture and can help us understand whether or not this person will be a
00:20:20great culture fit very cool Um what advice than the final question is what advice from your own experience of working a frog and airbnb and the other places you've been uh what advice do you have for people who are interviewing either about tips for the interview process or
00:20:45ways of carrying yourself or presenting yourself i think it's just like a presentation i would say it's it's very much kind of the same advice i would give for somebody stepping up on stage and giving a presentation you consider your audience consider you the impression that you're making
00:21:09from you know how how you stand how you carry yourself what you wear and how you you gather your things before and how much you prepare on then even the speed of which you talk through the material and how you talk through the material on what you point
00:21:27out and how in depth you go how descriptive you go and how concise you are on how you stay on time all of these things a rather important in the presentation notations out of it and they're important every step of the way through the interview process on what
00:21:46i mean by all of those things is just to be intentional again you know be yourself absolutely when you think about your place in a company and maybe really want that job and it sounds so great it make sure that it's the appropriate fit for you on when
00:22:02you're presenting you know present yourself you know don't overdo the impression you're trying to make that you're trying to conform to someone else's ah style or way of doing things i'd say dress professionally and you know try toe put yourself together but certainly this is no short raid
00:22:21you know don't wear suit when that's not who you are on and come in with your materials prepared really think about what you want to say some advice i give to any person looking for a job whether or not you're an intern or you're a seasoned professional is
00:22:36make sure that you understand what impression you want to leave them with because what inevitably happens after you leave that day is all of the people that you met you know gather together and they talk about all of that person was really great and i could really see
00:22:49them sitting in here there i don't know if they're really good fit you know that person is the oh he's the animator or oh yeah that's the guy that likes to think about energy saving or whatever it might be they're going to attribute certain characteristics or highlights or
00:23:09themes that they heard or saw or thought as you were communicating throughout the day and it helps if you think first what you want those to be and that way you could make sure that you're re reiterating them and threatening them throughout the day you know if you
00:23:26pride yourself on your a really prolific generator of concepts that you can think really wildly and conceptually about a great number of ideas and that's what you think is you know the most valuable thing that you want that team to take away because that's what you want to
00:23:45spend your time doing make sure that you're highlighting that my lighting in the type of work you show highlighting it in the way that you frame yourself inevitably you know they're going to ask them why don't you tell me about yourself You know make sure that your story
00:23:57has a point and that you're going to get teo those key highlights S o i guess in summary it's about being intentional thinking through every aspect you know physical the appearance of what you're saying higher saying it how you're you know being cognizant of the people in the
00:24:13room giving eye contact and looking at your audience and then of course just being intentional in the message that you're leaving behind all right that's the end of my chat with katie and kind of erupt i know but next is the conversation i had with joe So joe
00:24:33can you introduce yourself and kind of give a little background on the history of happy kagen even your career to sure So my name is joe rinaldi on the vice president of business development for happy talk then with happy cod for about four years happy cog is a
00:24:50design consultancy for a small company twenty five people based in philadelphia and austin texas we work with clients all over the u s basically brought in for primarily you know large scale website redesign projects we focus a little bit more on evolving existing properties that on new web
00:25:14destinations we work across industries we work in e commerce higher education nonprofit we were with power utility companies we worked with consumer brands all very purposefully by design we try to remain industry agnostic and diverse because it benefits our team and it benefits our clients on we tend
00:25:35to specialize in large scale often content driven experiences where the challenge really is connecting you know ah host of content with a wide variety of audiences and making that experience very intuitive but also immerses and enjoyable and beautiful all at the same time we were founded by jeffrey
00:25:59selman back in nineteen ninety nine and jeffrey remains our founder and overall kind of creative director So because of that reputation we maintain an incredibly high standard for development back and fun and you know our html gets scrutinized by people line by line we try to take that
00:26:18incredibly seriously we are dedicated to web standards and accessibility so all of that that kind of is part of our foundation remains a part of the work with you today so that's that's kind of happy cog in the long version yeah my background prior to working at happy
00:26:34cog i worked in another business development capacity for another u x firm prior to that prior to that experience i worked for about five years as a recruiter full time working in the creative space on technology space connecting my clients who at the time where people like comcast
00:26:55and other philadelphia based digital companies or digital agencies and people they were looking for those kinds of roles So i worked extensively with a lot of the universities here in philadelphia and help connect graduating students or folks kind of new to the workforce with new opportunities but also
00:27:13worked with people that had more experience kind of under their belts as well to find their next project or their next full time gig on then prior to that going further back my background in marketing i was a freelance illustrator for a while i went tio savannah college
00:27:28of art and design and studied illustration there prior to that i got my undergrad at the university of richmond and studied leadership studies there So it's kind of interesting that the role that i've been now speaking about happy cog and building relationships with new partners is kind of
00:27:46a great combination off mine leadership studies undergraduate focus and my scad design focus kind of all coming together in this role so it's been an awesome ride but i enjoyed every minute of it yeah that's great is really cool to hear that you are background is in part
00:28:04your backgrounds and recruiting how does that work into having god How does that recruiting working to your current role there i've been a couple of ways i think that when you're a recruiter in rikers exist in a very kind of marginalized space on the sideline of our industry
00:28:22andi i think any good who traditionally tenets aware of that i think you have to work like a dog in that industry to build your reputation and grow relationships I think people are kind of predisposed to not want to hear from recruiters a lot of times where creatures
00:28:38can kind of be a pain in the neck so you really do have to kind of slogging uphill battle as a recruiter to gain trust and build relationships so then you have to do that you know within seconds you call someone they're annoyed that of recruiters calling you've
00:28:53got thirty seconds to kind of keep them on the phone and start a dialogue so i think you know it's it's benefited me that i grew accustomed to building a relationship in these little windows and now you know working with a prospective client over the course of two
00:29:12to three months to design an engagement or build a strategy about how we'd work together feels like a luxurious pace compared to just how breakneck that previous pace wass and it's really all about relationship building that is so much of everything we do in this industry and that's
00:29:30not unique to our industry i think you know as a professional so much of where you benefit is in the relationships you you start and more particularly the relationship that you cultivate then he takes seriously and you kind of nurture over time you know that applies to everything
00:29:49we do if we're looking for a new member for our team certainly way have delved into my role in x to bring folks in that i knew from my recruiting days or that i had referred to me from someone i knew so that that massive kind of network
00:30:04comes in handy but at the same time having that predisposition to to build relationships over time is critically kind of important in client services in any way So when i'm on the front lines in a business development roland i'm speaking to people initially out of the gates i'm
00:30:21absolutely kind of tapping into that that report building you know relationship management skill set that cut against refined to ah precision point when you're dealing with blitzes or recruiter sure and kind of kind of side note but we used it before it can even treat me how do
00:30:42you cole call someone and ask him about if they want to leave their current work yeah without coming across is kind of spammy and annoying it's it's incredibly difficult i think it's and i think it's a lot of trial and error to get to a point where you're
00:31:00no longer coming across that way i think but kind of come across that way initially but i think you know what helps is building relationships offline that then kind of culminate maybe in a phone also you know starting a dialogue on twitter you know interacting with somebody online
00:31:17in some way so that you kind of start to get to know someone i think that was the recurring theme after i've been recruiting for a couple of years was all these people that i knew virtually i was meeting in real life for the first time so it's
00:31:30a lot of that it's a lot of just kind of being a student of the industry understanding what's going on understanding about people's role in their work you know tools like dribble become really powerful to understand you know this is what this person style is like this what
00:31:45they've been working on this is how they think of their own work because this is how they chose to kind of kim dae it so it's a lot of research that you could tap into to make yourself prepared for that initial kind of introductory phone call and you
00:32:00don't come across something like you know spam and we get that now you know i get this on the first you know kind of line of defense for all the injuries that come in through the happy called website so i get all the job application enquiries and all
00:32:12of the initial introduction is via email and it is immediately apparent who is writing any no directly the happy kaga who is not who is sending you know like a form that they're just setting out to a bunch of folks i got one recently where they were you
00:32:27know they come from a gun production background in terms of still and they're offering kind of production and casting services us we don't provide that kind of you know resource so obviously this is someone is kind of carpet bombing at that point we've gotten inquiry's before where unfortunately
00:32:45somebody forgot to replace every instance of where they mentioned one of our competitors names with our name and we get you know an introductory email that's too happy kagen about halfway through they start referring to us as another firm that bad you know probably sent their previous email
00:33:01tio shoot that has a lot of ways you could you could mess this first impression up yeah so you know it's funny i still i still get explosive all that my current role well well that's good to hear what are you looking for in new hires that happy
00:33:17cog i what makes an impression on me immediately is when someone is familiar with us as as conceited and self interested as that sounds i think when when someone demonstrates that that they have a specific interest in happy cog in addition to the work that they do that
00:33:36resonates tremendously i mean that that is something that that puts their kind of inquiry at the top of the list you respond to everyone you know everyone gets a follow up everyone you know whether they type in happy cog wrong and it's you know campbell case one word
00:33:51or all one word whatever they do that's for happy cobb's going to see all of it everyone gets a response everyone's told thank you for submitting you noble holding your information but the ones that we do kind of more actively kind of groom or build a relationship with
00:34:06tend to be people that that takes some time to customize their initial introduction to us to really be about us and that could be people that thoughtfully write something that gets too you know some inkling of familiarity of a project that we completed or something that one of
00:34:25our folks here wrote or having met someone in a conference that they presented that that's always really kind of a strong first foot forward we've had people that have you know designed bespoke web experience is to kind of reach out to happy cog and you know apply some
00:34:41of our brand attributes to their kind of resume portfolio type site those are a real crapshoot because you can really hit the mark and you can really miss the mark but if you do it well we have a designer here that did exactly that and what i saw
00:34:56no that website come in i immediately turned to great boy our ceo and said you know this is someone we have to talk to you i don't care for hiring or not you know this is someone that we have to at least start a relationship with and if
00:35:09we wind up hiring we got to get them in so you know i don't think you need to go that far out on a limb but i do think there is a thoughtful way to present yourself to the people that you're kind of reaching out to introducing yourself
00:35:25to initially to convey that you've done a little bit of homework you understand maybe what's slightly different about their group versus you know two or three other agencies that might do the same kind of work on dh just convey that there's a sincere interest in this job not
00:35:40a job which is you know all the difference in the world sometimes when you're trying to figure out who makes sense for you is no do they really really want to work here You know ifyou're reaching out to us are you someone who likes to write are you
00:35:51someone that likes to share their ideas Are you someone that values you know accessibility and web standards Are you someone that's you know at your core a problem solver you know those kind of things are what we look for in our team so when someone introduces themselves to
00:36:06us and initially introduces those are the kinds of that tributes were looking for you know immediately out of the gate and even not just initial impressions but like character qualities and skill levels what are you what do you like people who are completely new but show a lot
00:36:25of passion for what they do What are you looking for I think fluency in our medium is incredibly important people that that study the web people that are students of this industry as a whole become really apparently clear soon You know i would say a good question to
00:36:46be able to answer in the epic og interview is you know if you were able to redesign any site that you could what site would you want to redesign and why And really the uae is a heck of a lot more important than but which site but you
00:37:02know we want to understand that when the person that's reaching out to us is experiencing you know these kinds of digital experiences that they're thoughtfully you know digesting them that they're not just interacting with them but they're looking beneath the hood and trying to figure out you know
00:37:21what's the thinking behind this where does this kind of if this fails why is it family You know what What flaws I think having that kind of critical eye for the work we do and familiarity with you know new concepts and best practices and all that becomes really
00:37:38really clear really really quickly So i think that's that's an attribute we look for i think you know people that inherently are passionate about not just problem solving that problem solving with partners that's another critical distinction i know that you know this other agencies out there that won't
00:37:58hire someone unless they worked as a waiter or waitress before because really yeah i mean they want that kind of thing has been on the the front lines of customer service and have thrived there for you to be able to deal with clients full time for the rest
00:38:13of your career you need to be able to kind of you know pack it at that level two so i think that's not necessary the way that we go but i think that there's a there's a threat there or ah a commonality in that kind of experience that
00:38:27pains dividends you know in the work that we do because we do our work with partners for their clients So it's not just enough to be you know excited and passionate about solving a problem or or no the actual design u s code of the work we do
00:38:47You have to be okay with the fact that you have a partner or you know in our case we working client services You have a client that has to approve of your thinking you have to sell them on your concept You have toe gain consensus on there and
00:38:59you have to you know my great this idea around through your project team that you're collaborating with and you have to work with their managers have to work with the project owner That might be a little bit less involved in the day today and enough mission driven nonprofit
00:39:15there's Ah governing board You might have to pitch in a certain point That's not involved in the leads the project So you know a lot of what we do so that our great ideas see the light of day at the end of the project is selling design is
00:39:28selling these concepts internally gaining consensus dealing with change management all that's a part of this role i was talking to my i have a nine year old and i was trying to explain to him you know a little bit more about what we do here and send him
00:39:44you know i'd love this a bit people here sit down and they designed for eight hours a day they just sit down in there you know working on a design challenge for eight hours that's not the case you know a significant amount of time here spent in meetings
00:39:57talking about what we're doing a significant amount of time spent with client needs a lot of time spent you know writing and conveying ideas in a base camp post or an email or you know slack message of whatever that isthe there's no fifty percent of our time is
00:40:12sent not quote unquote designing in terms of you know working and photoshopped or working in you know kind of some kind of software to solve a problem it's all flying conversational problem solving it's a dialogue it's all of that so you know communications critical we meet with someone
00:40:29if there you know simple things like they're maintaining eye contact but they're not being creepy about it not fidgety or those things that a lot of off tells that people can kind of be victim to when they communicate with you know someone there interviewing with that they might
00:40:47not be aware of have thoughtful responses you know have some narrative about the work that you've done all those things come into place i would say you know communication problem solving being a student at the end of interest industry are all critically critically important for us when we're
00:41:05looking at people that were you know evaluating is possible members of our staff yeah so what can people do to develop those things and themselves yeah we have really are than beneficiaries of an extraordinarily open industry people share ideas left and right there is if you're not out
00:41:27there absorbing this then it's a lack of effort not for a lack of opportunity you know there's conferences there's meet ups that are free there is a robust online dialogue on twitter every day thinks there's a lot of ways to get involved in the conversation and learn from
00:41:45people and build relationships yeah you know if you go toe if you go to a meet up and there's a speaker and they cover something that's of interest to you then hang around i'm to shake their hand introduce yourself you know talk to them about something that they
00:41:59presented asked him a question and follow up you know follow up with them later and thank them again if you can build those relationships you'll learn a time but you also then start to become someone that they think of when they think of you know i need someone
00:42:14for this or someone became known him apparent to me that someone's hiring and i can refer so and so or no just building that network is hard and it takes a lot of guts it's not the easiest thing in the world that march up to someone and stick
00:42:30your hand out and introduced yourself but i think the more you can do that in a and again not enough you know noxious weigh in is this fair and thoughtful way that's how it starts i think you can do that digitally through twitter you could do that you
00:42:44know through conversations and posting messages tio threaded conversations on a the gillian glaad's i think that's a huge way to start but i do really feel like that face to face human connection is kind of hard to replace so if you can get yourself out there anything meet
00:43:03people and you can start to build you know a conversation if not a relationship it just gives you a better opportunity to meet the people they know and people they know etcetera etcetera sure that totally makes sense what couple things or even few things would make an applicant
00:43:21stand out to you from the rest I would say people that have a diverse skill set in both design and code and you know the kind of strategy underneath all of that that's critically important i think that that's it then we would look for right away if someone's
00:43:42a really strong graphic designer but doesn't have a real interest in code that's that's a concern if someone is a developer but really does not much didn't the design half of the equation same thing i think you know for us we really see you x as a shared
00:43:59responsibility among our entire staff we don't tend to kind of isolate that to one or two or three people's responsibility you know our designers are soft thinking that's problems are developers or solving us problems are project managers or solving us problems this is it is a philosophical core
00:44:16for our company not one person's role by by trade that said you know there are when you would turn maybe more u x like artifacts that we need to create that people need to be capable of creating like eun html wire frame or you know a site map
00:44:32or persona again though i'd love for you rex capability that includes the coding knowledge to write an html wire frame versus someone who's going to kind of sketch out a static wire frame if i had my pick because that person that can code in html wire frame you
00:44:51know he's going to find more and more opportunities to write code is going to find more and more opportunities for that to lead and guide their thinking so i think that that's a critical part of priority for us again we're a twenty five person company you know if
00:45:06it was possible everyone here where two and three hats and have some kind of multi tool kind of arsenal in their in their belt so i think that gives you a heck of a great opportunity that to stand out from a crowd if you if you khun deliver
00:45:22on a couple of fronts versus all eggs in one basket sold focus i think that's that's his limits your options you may be able to be a a deeper more considered practice you're in that space but i think that there there really does need to be a broader
00:45:38kind of skill set that weaken have more opportunities to hire that person friendly well that's interesting you know happy cog has so much respect in this industry and i'm curious it would seem like if you want to get bigger i'm sure you could is that small smaller size
00:45:58intentional Absolutely i think you talk too great story talk to greg ploy jeffrey you know the goal here is that when i walk in every day i have a conversation that i was in with everyone here the day before that dying to pick back up again i know
00:46:16you know people spouse is and other kids i know what they like to do outside of work i know about them and spend a lot of time here time away from your family time away from your friends if you're not able to have that kind of relationship here
00:46:32then you could work anywhere you know there's there's no reason to work here if you don't have that kind of camaraderie and kind of fellowship with people you work with so you know but that's definitely our priority and has been our priority all along is to stay within
00:46:46a certain size we've been eighteen people we've been thirty people were twenty five people now i could kind of fluctuate within a certain range but i think that's very very purposeful we need to be a certain size to support the catalog of clients that we want to partner
00:47:00with you know we're very fortunate because of the relationship that people like jeffrey and jason santa maria and dan mall and mark og and jen lucas has build over time we are the inheritors of you know a reputation that's hard fought and hard won i think we live
00:47:20up to that but it's at the same time that puts us at a crossroads where you know a twenty five person team is working with harvard business school yes school was management mtv nintendo ben and jerry's sometimes all at the same time and those kinds of clients command
00:47:38a lot of attention was products have a lot of moving pieces you know we can't be a on an eight person firm and service those kinds of clients we need to be at a minimum level but at the same time too but the reason why those clients work
00:47:52with us is they're not lost in a two hundred fifty person agency and a ninety person ages even where you know you may need one team early in the process but it's a smaller different team you work with later on you know when the chips are down i
00:48:07think that's that's part of the promise that we will be extend to our perspective partners so that that all shape it's the size and the composition of our team Yeah and how does that give you a competitive advantage Would you say over the bigger web companies and experiences
00:48:25on cos it's all an advantage and it's all a disadvantage to it really depends on the person on the other end of a conversation the client and what their perspective and just you know you can't change in many cases you know they might see this as a glass
00:48:38half full kind of prospect or a glass half empty kind of prospect so it a client that that that like working with us are drawn to the kind of partnership they get from our practitioners while we have project managers who are critically important to every element of our
00:48:56success they're not a boundary they don't stand in between the clients and our designers and developers so if the clients looking for that kind of direct generative you know dialogue we offer that you know your toe asked a question from one of the designers you're working with one
00:49:10of the developers working with project manager working with and they all you know our client facing they all respond polite be an informant leader you know they're good at what they do so that's a benefit on some clients aren't looking for that sum clients want a client services
00:49:25kind of layer and between them and those practitioners because that's the dynamic that they're used to you are comfortable with so you know we're not we're not the solution for everyone by any means and you know we are kind of interesting crossroads in terms of were ableto compete
00:49:44with much larger firms for certain projects because of again jeffrey in our legacy and and all of that kind of you know reputation building over time but at the same time too we're the same size as much smaller firms that might not work with you know looks loosely
00:50:03those kinds of clients as well so we meet live in this kind of middle space is very interesting but that means that you know i'm walking into speak with a client armed with our process our track record you know a methodology that they can invest in but i'm
00:50:20not walking in with three websites that our team's been coding for spec work for the past two months to kind of wow you in that initial interaction which our competitors are doing when we're competing with two hundred person agencies five hundred person agencies five thousand person agencies flow
00:50:37so you know you walk into a gun fight with a knife a lot of times but you know the partners that are looking for our approach find us and we find a way to work together So it's a disadvantage and it's it's everything on one Sure So let's
00:50:51say someone wanted teoh one of our listeners wanted to apply to happy cog Can you kind of walk through the process of what would happen You know we're open to those introductions and always shapes and forms so people email us directly People get referred to us by someone
00:51:08else in the industry that's kind of brokering an introduction you know there's no reason to really overly formalize this process but i don't start to that That initial kind of introduction typically the way that we evaluate people and then decide to bring people in is we'll have an
00:51:24initial conversation on dh probably that's with you know someone who's like a practice leader here If you're a developer that's gonna be mark you it if you're a designer it's likely going to be michael johnson you know we'll have a dialogue with just a one on one kind
00:51:37of conversation where they will ask you about your background the last year by experienced your interests your capabilities you know really practical kind of stuff We get to know what your skills that might be start to make an initial of valuation on you know overall kind of skill
00:51:51sets it that's really important if that goes well and we move into kind of a next phase we really focus on cultural fit chemistry I would envision that the next interaction is typically with a group of people nappy cog it's not a one to one dialogue anymore When
00:52:09i interviewed i remember i sat around a table with thirteen people firing questions at me who like us formal and we go out to lunch sure go up for drinks just like that but there's definitely kind of ah chemistry check that we go through to make sure that
00:52:23that we click outside of the resonate that there's just you know a a reporter there that they were drawn to at the same time that's another way to understand look they were thrown into a room with ten complete strangers this is not dissimilar from the way that initial
00:52:39meeting with clients might go how did they handle themselves you know and what's their kind of m o when they're when they're thrown into the deep end like that from there Honestly it's probably another conversation there's probably out follow up dialogue with you know the people that would
00:52:54be specifically on your team so if you're a developer you might get a conversation with one or two of our developers and then maybe one or two of the designers that you work with and it's a little bit more practical again so it probably starts from you know
00:53:07skill set to cultural fit back to school Well said again at that point you know if you haven't man the principles here greg coy and greg's story don't leave them they need to meet these people they need to feel like he's the kind of folks that they want
00:53:20to work with as well and then from there that's that's typically where we're able to make a determination either save it we're probably eighty percent accurate about who were interested in out of that first conversation We're probably ninety percent accurate about who we want to work with after
00:53:36that second round and you know we're pretty positive by the time it gets to you know the third round we know we know who we're interested we know who are probably not moving forward with it was those impressions are made at that point really it's more it's half
00:53:50interview in half like pre orientation at that point start to set the groundwork for what might be you know starting a position with us so it's uh you know it's kind of a gauntlet by design we want to make sure that it's you know really kind of intensive
00:54:04and we're making the right decision because you know with the twenty five person team and no split between two offices So if there's you know eight people in austin there's seventeen people appear you had one person to an eight person team in austin that's a huge change the
00:54:18dynamic of that room sure you just increased by twenty percent essentially so all that becomes really important So we look at those details really closely we try to make an informed decision because you know like chemistry when you add another element all the other elements respond Yeah let
00:54:35me says and that's really good You know far listeners to come and get get an idea of what a real job application process looks like that's all really great information and so as a wrap up question the show's been really big into advice from people so what is
00:54:56your personal advice from your own experience that you have for people interviewing for a job interview Just anything that comes to mind so i would say building relationships again stands out i think that's what gets you the opportunity to have that conversation initially it also gives you the
00:55:16opportunity to help with research leading into a conversation like that you know if you have a network of people that you're friendly with and you have some kind of relationship with and you talk to them hey i'm going to meet with you know company x y z on
00:55:30friday what do you know I think that there is a lot of meaningful preparation that your network can provide that will help you to come into that meeting kind of thoughtfully i think that's what i think too is is be thoughtful about the work you do you know
00:55:44i think it's if you're thoughtful about the work that you do and you're representing your work when you're meeting with someone that you're interviewing with then you don't need to be overly scripted overly polished in the way you present your one that should come through you know there
00:55:57is a there's a narrative already there's a problem that you solved you know there's a there's a story behind the work because you've invested in the work the right way it was hard work on dh that leads to a proper way to kind of describe the work he
00:56:12did i think that's important i think being thoughtful about what you're doing you know in a pinch back up against the wall and sometimes asking you a question about you know a project that you're sharing you'll have an answer because you you actually solve that problem it wasn't
00:56:26just that we made a blue because you made it blue shirt i think that's it that's critically important and i think you know like having some comfort in your own skin is not always easy especially in that kind of interviewing process but even more you can do to
00:56:44help with that to you as silly as it might seem to go on a test drive interview with someone else to do informational interviews even when there's not an opportunity to introduce yourself to someone just have a conversation builds up those kinds of interviewing skills and then you
00:57:01roll into a meeting where the stakes are really high you know you've got some confidence moving into that meeting you have some you know i've described this project in my portfolio you know nine times now brandon once was to my mom and once was to a teacher and
00:57:15two or two friends but i have verbalized this nine times now i kind of decided what works aiken aiken rely on that almost in kind of autopilot and that i can think about i could tell by the look of this person's face that they're tired of me talking
00:57:31about this project you know i can tell by the way this person just lean back in their chair that they're not getting attention anymore or feel that that person just leans forward like there in that state just like they weren't really kind of making eye contact before but
00:57:43i started talking about you know jake weary and all of a sudden now that person sat forward in their and their health their hands on the table and now they're making eye contact when they weren't before i got that guy so i think you want to be ableto
00:57:55make yourself available to read the room like that and familiarity with what you're presenting allows you to kind of you know think about two things at once talked about this story that you're telling but also respond that way you know stimulus is in front of you to help
00:58:08you understand oh my god i've been going on way too long all right a big thank you to katie and joe i know that advice was really helpful with me and i hope it is for you guys as well so throughout this show there's been a theme of
00:58:26advice from experts in the field of u x two people who are just starting out like myself so to close out i would like to highlight some of that advice that we've gotten over the past twelve episodes and let's start out with some advice from josh porter just
00:58:42keep designing you know obviously the hours that you put in our are always worth it but also i think finding a mentor for is really valuable Um sometimes i feel like um i really could have level that as a designer in a shorter period of time if i
00:59:07had had like a design mentor and you know even even the designers that that we have here at hub spot um they learn so quickly from each other and you know challenging each other like they are rapidly improved and i never really had that i was you know
00:59:33what you are You always like the only person doing design and you know so i think they got mature relatively slowly As a designer i think getting onto a team of awesome designers is it is the best thing for any new designer on and if you can't you
00:59:52know until you can get on to a great can you i would say find a mentor who will give you feedback because without continual feedback like that like you just just going to get better a lot slower You know and so same thing with writing right Like you
01:00:08need someone kicking your ass every day telling you it's not good it's not good it's not good yet you got to do this it's not you know like your tone sucks you know you're you're this layout sucks You know your color theory sucks you know like you need
01:00:25you need to develop a thick skin really quickly and get a lot of feedback i think um yeah you know i'm a big fan of kind of renaissance history and and in one of the things that's extremely clear is that ah back during the renaissance the master apprentice
01:00:45model ruled and kids would look you know become artists in their teens if not you know eleven twelve um and they would all they were all apprentices and so they were around amazing painters all the time right And so i think we need to kind of read kindle
01:01:08that model in this day and age where the designer starting out can just be completely immersed you design with people who are who are really really good at it and have been doing it for a long time One of the awesome things about the web is that you
01:01:26can learn by yourself in the dark sitting at home looking at you know viewing source right that's one of the really enabling things about the web but it's also it could be it could be really a way that you know you can kind of keep to yourself too
01:01:51So while we can actually inspect and and look at anyone's code we should also be working next to someone who's really pushing us hard at each and every day giving us feedback and next some advice from dr leslie justin inman and jared spool i think he goes back
01:02:13to being open and getting out there so going to different meetups meeting other people doing you ex um remembering that it's ok not to know everything and that even experts are still still like the really great experts know they don't know everything and are still learning and that
01:02:36not knowing everything is a gift You know in an understanding that is really valuable My father always says the moment that you think you know it all and you have nothing else to learn what you might as well just be dead because there's no point a living but
01:02:53the whole experience of living is learning and so it's okay to just be starting out it's ok tio say you know i don't know or i'd love to know that i don't know if it's ok to ask for help it's it's not such a great thing tio to
01:03:12ask for hugely you're going to go find a mentor start small don't ask them for can i have one hundred hours of your time Because that's that's not something people can say yesterday hey you know i you know meeting someone at a meet up for example they're there
01:03:28because they want to meet other people so it's a great place to start and if somebody offers help or says you know i'm happy to talk with you over coffee about what it means to be a u s person in my company and take that person up on
01:03:42the offer on bright a thank you note to say how much you appreciate it you know manners are a good thing and are sort of a lost art on those people that take the time to say thank you to be appreciative tio be kind and thoughtful those to
01:04:00the people that end up having a lot of relationships that lead to future career options and so just remember to be a like a good human the world is a small police basically be kind and don't be a jerk like uh what she said but also uh when
01:04:27you're starting a project asked the question how will we tell if we've made things better for the people were designing this for uh too often we just assume that we all know the answer to that and we don't actually have and explicit discussion about what would we see
01:04:47different in the world if this actually was better And um if you if you don't know where you're going it's very hard to get there so until you have that conversation you you don't know what levers to pull to get the users the toe have the behaviors you're
01:05:14hoping they're going tohave that's going to make their life better for them and so this is probably the most basic of user experience skills is just asking that question how will we know if we've made the user's wife better and then here's some words who aaron walter i
01:05:36beat that um you've got to just be insatiably curious about this discipline because it's so complex multifaceted you know the court requires a lot of different types of skills Um so you need to voraciously read books and articles on the subject um you need to do everything you
01:06:07can to get out to some conferences and meeting people doesn't have to be a lot of conferences but if you could do one conference it here that's a great way to learn quickly meet a lot of people be part of a community with you need to find places
01:06:23online where like minded people are disgusting and contributing and twitter is an easy way to to be part of a conversation follow a lot of people that were doing interesting working in the user experience field talked to him you know between um ask you know ask questions i
01:06:45think it's helpful to have a blogger or someplace for your logging your ideas are expressing your ideas but it's a newsletter even if it's just this i found these great things you know just curating a list of valuable resource is even if it's for an audience of one
01:07:03just you uh you've collected all of the stuff you're essentially and teaching yourself and creating a wonderful reference for yourself as you start this career and then you've got to be creative and how you find your job don't feel that the only way you're going to find your
01:07:25dream job is through a recruiter or you know just by trolling job or it's i mean you could go good off on authentic jobs and definitely find some good kids but they tend to be for people with a lot more experience if you're just trying to kick start
01:07:41things now you got have gumption you've gotto get your foot in the door someplace and you do that by exhibiting passion You don't have a huge portfolio what you can show and what you could bring the table is energy if you have really good energy to do some
01:07:57tough work that might not be the most elegant and attractive work but she could get in there and you could learn from people that can help you get started and it could be a line on you resonate that helps springboard you to another thing i think that so
01:08:16many people let er they let their careers unfold instead of making their careers and i think there's a a better way to do it by just taking matters into your own hands and next is lou rosenfeld um i mean you know to make mistakes and um really uh
01:08:49you know this is a very still informal open minded unstructured area of work and it can be intimidating a lot of language a lot of terminology a lot tools is a lot of stuff that feels like it it may make you feel like you're not ready or you're
01:09:15not prepared but truth is we're all even today still making it up to a large degree on the tools that words terminology is stuff you can learn if you give yourself a chance and the only way you're gonna really learn is by trying and failure is going to
01:09:34be something that is unavoidable and frankly it's going to be quite valuable for failing your learning if you're not failing then maybe you really shouldn't be doing this next is jesse james carrot the first thing that came to mind when you asked the question is curiosity us designers
01:09:59have to fundamentally be curious about the world and that goes double for consultants because for consultants you have to be curious not just about users but about businesses as well That would be so i have had the good fortune to be able to work across a broad range
01:10:20of in mysteries i've worked with media companies i've worked with insurance companies i've worked with banks and it worked with consumer electronics companies they're all really different but they all have something to teach had something to teach me about about this sign about people about the world and
01:10:49all of that experience is what has really enriched my work as a designer And you know i hate to see ah younger designers who are who have already made up their minds about the kind of design work they want to do that there's a certain class of problems
01:11:09that's really interesting to them and everything else is off the table for them and i and i think that they're really um they're denying themselves ah tremendous opportunity to to learn and to discover things that they didn't expect I mean some of these projects that i've gone into
01:11:33i honestly was not thinking that i was going to get very much out of them and i ended up learning all kinds of fascinating things and being forced to improvised new methods for solving problems because the problem because the problem that i was being asked to solve had
01:11:54particular characteristics that made it not a good fit for anything that i already knew and so that i think that curiosity is essential now i would say also that probably i don't know this for sure but probably anybody who's going into this in the first place probably already
01:12:15is a curious person um and for those people i i think the thing that is most important is the ability to um is going to sound really strange to sort of switch their empathy on and off to be able to be deeply empathetic people but then to be
01:12:44um impartial when they need to be um i each of our projects requires us to really inhabit the psychological space of the person who is using the product that we're creating but at the same time so we really need to embody that understanding and the choices that we're
01:13:08making as designers but at the same time we need to be able to switch that off in order to take into account the other tradeoffs that might exist whether those are in the realm of technology or in the realm of content or in the realm of business we
01:13:28need to be able to get back out of the users head and see things from a from a more unusual point of view and closing us out some words from whitney house stay out then don't be afraid to make yourself vulnerable don't expect yourself toe have all the
01:13:53answers or to know everything now recognize that you're a beginner and that's a beautiful thing and they're so much to be said for beginners mind where you were going to be able to see things that the experts simply can't see anymore because there patterns of thinking have been
01:14:13so defined and you everything is new to you and there's a lot of power for in that so like i was saying earlier recognized the assets that you have and use them to your advantage and don't be bob down with everything that you don't know because it takes
01:14:34time and experience and commitment to gain competency you're not going to be a master overnight and if you could become a master overnight you could become a beginner again justice quickly so take your time allow yourself the time to grow be gentle with yourself and enjoy it because
01:14:57if you're not having fun there's absolutely no reason to be doing it all right that's it I just want to take a second here to say thank you so much for listening to this show thank you so much for the encouraging tweets the emails the reviews that you
01:15:22guys left i really really appreciate it this project has been so incredibly rewarding for me personally to get to talk with my heroes to learn so much from the last twelve episodes and to get to share that with you guys it's been an awesome experience So if you're
01:15:42ever in my area here springfield missouri i would love to meet up If you're at a conference that i met please say hi It would be really cool to meet you but that's all i remember the adventure continues with experience Pod experience pod dot com And i'm really
01:16:01glad that you guys came along for the ride until next time

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