User Experience has become an important competency to be hired, by many IT software companies. Most companies struggle with sourcing, shortlisting, Interviewing, and selecting the right candidates for their specific requirements. This quick note takes one through the various steps of the basic hiring process.

The Need for a Precise Self Evaluation

The first step to take, of course, is for the company to self-analyze and evaluate the exact must-have UX competencies required.
The right skill sets, the right type of experience, and the right attitude are the basic parameters hiring managers should look at. Of these, knowledge and attitude are easy enough for the hiring manager to gauge.
The main issue arises when evaluating the correct cross-section of skill sets – which depends on the nature and type of product that is being built.
User Experience designer, Software Product Designer, and Interaction Designer are the most common titles the UX roles get, but there is a difference in these three skills. Additionally: User research, Visual Design are two important skills required in a UX Design team.
Budget plays an important role, naturally. Depending on the budget, and size of the team, one needs to select the right candidate.
For example, a startup having a budget for 1 full-time employee, should be looking for a combination of the three most essential skills, namely, UX Design, Visual Design, and User Research. This is a generalist candidate who will have to be really good at UX design, should be good at Visual Design, and should have User research as a good-to-have skill.
On the other hand, a mature product company may have a higher budget for a team of designers, and obviously, they should hire for specific roles, like UX Designer, Visual Designer User Researcher, etc.
Now, if the company has more than one product and is able to afford a large UX team, then quite possibly they will also need a Senior User Research Leader, UX Architect, or UX manager kind of roles, who oversee the individual hands-on teams who are assigned to one product each.
Matured product companies would typically need more specialized skills like UX Pattern library owners, UX Writers, Technical writers, and so on.
Accordingly, all of this self-analysis is meant to aid in creating a pinpointed set of requirements from the team and its individual members – being able to create optimal JDs.

Hiring the Right Candidate

This is typically led by the Job Description for the position (which should ideally emerge from self-analysis, as described in the previous section).
However, a common issue is that many times this job description is not updated, or if it is a bare-bones Startup kind of setup, then it is not even properly documented.
Must-Have competencies indicate the competencies that the employer can not compromise with, and this must be differentiated from the Like-to-Have competencies – reflected in the JD.
The employer must also be aware of the range of remuneration that a candidate would validly expect if the candidate is to possess the requisite number of must-have competencies. Now, the information about this range is based on something called the Market Median Study of the compensation trends for that position. This information generates the minimum and maximum range of CTC (Cost-To-Company ) and also the median CTC. This gives an idea to the employer for deciding which competencies he is able to compromise on if he is to be able to afford a suitable candidate while staying within budget.

Assessing the Candidate

Once this is decided, the employer’s next task is to assess the candidates who have claimed to possess the right set of must-have competencies. For this assessment, the process typically consists of designing a test to gauge the claimed competencies. Often, the test needs to be designed by an SME (subject-matter expert), who constructs the test in a purposeful manner.
The HR team’s task now is to get the candidates to undertake this test, and then to objectively evaluate the answers (typically by the same SME who set the test).
These test scores and other evaluation parameters enable the shortlisting of the candidates from a given lot, and these candidates can be screened in a final interview – either virtually or in a Face-to-Face mode.
It is advisable to also have an objective evaluation system for the final interview.
While the final evaluation is ongoing, there is also checking for a mutual agreement on the compensation and other terms, like office timings, willingness to commute for a ‘work-from-office’ working model, opportunities for overseas projects, etc.

Onboarding the Candidate

The need for correct onboarding of a candidate is quite paramount. Often, this factor is underestimated, resulting in the candidate not feeling comfortable in the new company. This leads to a higher rate of attrition if the uncomfortable feeling escalates. Gender sensitivity, inclusiveness, and sensitive to human needs are often factors that help retention. Right in the beginning, the new employee needs to not only be acclimatized but must also be able to express any feelings of discomfort to HR, who can then address the issue.

Ultimately effective work practices need a collaborative approach, which begins with choosing someone who suits the role, and who also blends well with the work culture.



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