If you think the hard part of the UX designer hiring process is identifying the ideal candidate, you will change your mind at the end of this article.
The hardest part of the UX designer recruiting process comes when the team members and the new resource have to talk to each other and figure out if they can work together.
Whether we speak of a software development company, an e-commerce platform or a web agency, the arrival of a UX designer in the business environment represents a massive change. This has to be managed carefully to allow the team to blend quickly and the designer to become operational as soon as possible.
Against this backdrop, we can imagine two types of scenarios:
- The new resource will be part of a team where there are one or more UX designers
In this case, it is essential to identify the different experiences and basic technical skills from the very outset. One has to assume that each designer has, in their culture, a design notion of his/her own. In the first months of operation, it is therefore crucial to engage him/her in the meetings of all ongoing projects and those concerning the programming of future projects. On the team side, it is also pivotal to integrate the new resource as soon as possible in the implementation phases of small tasks. It is important to promote and encourage her/his participation in moments of brainstorming where her/his point of view, new and free from legacies, could bring added value. The team must guarantee the information provided to new designers during their first few months at the company is uncomplicated and effortless to comprehend. This has a serious impact on the speed and effectiveness of the integration of new resources in the workflow. The same goes for the indoctrination of production methods and processes. The UX designer should also be assisted in understanding the internal dynamics with suitable tools. i.e. by building an intranet page with the map of the nomenclature used in the company, or instructions on how to perform management tasks (eg. demand for new software). All this assumes that for her/him a lot of information might not make any sense.
- The new UX talent will be part of a team where there isn’t any UX resource
In this scenario, the designer task is mainly focused on the general understanding of business objectives (short and long-term ones), production dynamics (who does what) and what tools the team uses to produce. The UX designer will have to identify and classify all design phases. For each of these phases, he/she will have to be able to anticipate how and when to take action to integrate the production processes with the UX design methodologies. Most likely, he/she will face cultural diversity and have to find the right way to communicate the UX approach to the actors involved. The UX designer will need to enter and integrate tools and processes that probably are not present in the company, for example, usability testing and new reference grids to evaluate the performance of solutions and products.
Based on my experience in different contexts and types of business, I can say that the process of integrating a designer is a very sensitive task. It goes far beyond the filings of the technical operational activities. In some cases, the critical points are related to the different languages used to describe the same requests and problems. In some others, a preparatory preventive activity by the company (eg. The necessary software and hardware) is required to enable the designer to integrate quickly and effectively. The designer might even be faced with the need to dip into a whole different world, as he/she will be forced to modify and adapt his/her operational routines (e.g. Agile vs Waterfall processes).
To get solid results it is essential to be open and to have a flexible approach by all the actors involved in the process (product owners, developers, business analysts, etc). I know there is no such thing as a magic wand to ensure an easy and painless introduction with a high level of performance. Much of the result will be about the quality of communication and everyone’s readiness to change and adapt.
Every change involves risk. This is a fact. However, without any change, evolution is limited or non-existent at all.