Hi, I’m Brian Dys — a photographer from the inside looking out · a composer entangled in electronic music · a UX designer · a spouse, a parent, & everything in between.
This week at Avaloq, I officially re-wore my hiring manager cap for the UX design team, as we’ve officially published our open positions. I spent the latter part of the week reviewing applicants and determining who among them are candidates.
Appreciate all of you, designers (and you, one industrial designer, and also you, one visual merchandiser), for submitting your applications. Recruitment is still in its initial phases, so keep ’em coming!
So, what goes on in the process of having an application go from an applicant to candidate status? Let’s go over the surface of the skimming level of the recruitment process.
The goal of skimming is to prepare a group of applications for evaluation and deliberation. At this point, the objective aspect of it is the presence of two things: the résumé and portfolio — one cannot do without the other in order to have a balanced basis for moving forward with an application.
The objective-subjective part, on the other hand, is determining if the résumé and portfolio’s relevance and quality fit the bill. The criteria is essential to the objectivity of the process and in itself is subjective as well because it is based on our organization’s culture, team’s mandate, and my professional approach as a hiring manager, among others.
This is not a black and white approach either because even without a portfolio, if an application fits the criteria, it is put on hold pending completion of the tandem (résumé and portfolio).
At this early stage, the relevance of the résumé and portfolio pertains to the position being applied for (or with other available design positions).
- Is the work (includes personal) experience relevant (both in the field and number of years)?
- Are the portfolio items relevant (presence of UI designs and UX case studies)?
Bear in the mind that the recruitment is specific to the UX design team. Needless to say, a basic expectation is to be impressed by résumés and portfolios that are themselves designed — both information architecturally and visually.
- Is the résumé conducive to easy-understanding of the person’s strengths?
- Is the résumé visually-pleasing?
- Is the presentation of portfolio items conducive to easy-understanding of the person’s strengths (written descriptions and background information are essential)?
- Is the presentation of portfolio items visually-pleasing?
- Is the portfolio itself visually-pleasing?
Once an application fit the criteria, it gets a candidate status. Candidates are evaluated and deliberated along with others in the same category (e.g., associate category is separate from senior category). Skimming, true to the word itself, is a quick and reliable activity; still, a thorough process ensues in the next level — starting again with the candidate’s résumé and portfolio.
I know, the title says, Of cover letters because that idea inspired me to write this article (although it is mostly about skimming). Cover letter, it is cherry on top — when it is intended for the specific position being applied for (in contrast with a generic one). In my experience, a particular application with a specific cover letter is like hearing the person introduce themselves — in which, I would gladly listen.
A cover letter is not part of our requirements or criteria, though. An important note is that a strong application is holistic in its approach in propositions (i.e., job applications) and that includes a specific cover letter, a well-designed resume, and a cohesive portfolio.
This year is brighter at Avaloq as we’re growing within UX design team and others as well.
See if there is a good fit?
This week, the UX design team is having our regular bilas (bilateral meetings) which, undoubtedly, is one of the most important part of Avaloq’s culture. Bilas serve a wide range of benefits from an unstructured kwentuhan to an avenue for the team to express what’s working and what could be better in terms of our daily work experience. This activity strengthens the bond among designers and empowers us in paving our career paths in the organization.
It is feedback that we get the most out of during bilas. Knowing that everything is going well with a person is a welcome relief, especially during this pandemic. On the other hand, feedback on how we are with our projects and collaborations is essential to the quality of our work and its outcome.
Here’s a simple guide for a constructive 1:1 discussion of feedback inspired by Scrum’s Sprint Retrospective.
Needless to say, any kind of feedback is better than no feedback at all. The source of the feedback is as important as the quality of the feedback itself.
Starting from one’s self, a self-assessment could be done then work outwards — from your own team towards cross-functional teams. The important thing to remember is relevance — the feedback must be coming from a collaborator or a person who has worked (or currently working) with you in a project.
Happy to be working with self-starters and a proactive UX design team. We catch and remedy difficulties and hindrances early on through our constant feedback activities and of course, through the openness of everyone.
Organizations need guideposts. They need an outline; employees need to know each day when they wake up why they’re going to work. This outline should be short and sweet, and all encompassing: Why do you exist? What motivates you? I call this a mantra — a three or four-word description of why you exist.
Sometimes you forgo the data, and make a gut call due to the nature of the problem and the macro goal you’d like to reach. And believe me, though it sounds like a ludicrous situation, time-sensitive problems crop up all the time in product development!
You are part of a professional community, and the way you do your job and handle yourself professionally affects everyone in that community. Just as a rising tide affects all boats, taking a shit in the pool affects all swimmers…If a designer leaves a job because they were being asked to behave against their ethical code, and you take that job, you’re doing all of us a disservice.
In the end of the day, we are all humans. We love the work we do, but we also want to make sure we like and respect the people we work with. We are spending several hours of our day with one another — sometimes more time than we’re spending with our family and friends. Building an environment where people feel comfortable, and a workspace people look forward to every morning will not only improve your team productivity, but the quality of the time you all spend together.