Article Review

What we look for when we hire designers at Intercom

October 28, 2020

Ideas

Good hiring starts with a definition of the criteria that leads to a successful person in this company.

Exposing these criteria turns the hiring process from the game to be played into a conversation about fitness and tensions between both parties. This empowers both parties to enter into a conversation about needs, strengths, and weaknesses.

Highlighting the relationship between what was done and why it was done

For designers, specifically, it's equally important to assess what was done and why it mattered. Because the materials of design are intangible and it's construction is mediated , the designer needs to be able to contextualize the work.

If the role of the designer is to narrow down and articulate design decisions then one has to synthesise different points of view. In doing so, one can negotiate, situate and tune the different decisions that are relevant for a more-than-human design approach.

Summary

All together, our mission, vision, and principles inform and guide our daily work – they’re part of what makes us different. Take time to consider them before you apply and ask yourself if our values are compatible with yours. That’s important because our hiring process is meant to be a two-way conversation about how you and we could work together.

What: What you didOutput: What do you deliverOutcome: What did that achieve?Impact: What did that change?

In our conversations with you, we’ll look for how you apply these skills in your work and actively seek to grow stronger in them. That’s important to us because we don’t just use these expectations to evaluate people who apply for our open roles – they’re also what we use to evaluate the performance of designers on our team.

We’ll want to understand how you collaborated with others, worked with constraints, and influenced the direction of the product. We’ll be curious about what you value in your collaboration and how you help teams advance toward their goals.

It’s great to see outputs of your work like user journeys, conceptual models, wireframes, prototypes, and more. But we’ll also want to know about your outcomes and impact: what you achieved and what changed because of it. We love when people understand how they drive impact in their designs and in the products they ship.

Highlights

All together, our mission, vision, and principles inform and guide our daily work – they’re part of what makes us different. Take time to consider them before you apply and ask yourself if our values are compatible with yours. That’s important because our hiring process is meant to be a two-way conversation about how you and we could work together.

“We’ll want to see how you influence product strategy, define the problem, understand the system, collaborate with others, and more”

What: What you didOutput: What do you deliverOutcome: What did that achieve?Impact: What did that change?

In our conversations with you, we’ll look for how you apply these skills in your work and actively seek to grow stronger in them. That’s important to us because we don’t just use these expectations to evaluate people who apply for our open roles – they’re also what we use to evaluate the performance of designers on our team.

So while we appreciate all the work you share with us, we’ll want to see samples that show your experience in these particular areas.

What the project was, The problem(s) it solved, Their role and process, What they accomplished

That last point is important to us because we care about how you understand the impact of your design work. We love seeing high-quality designs, but we’re also interested in how you determine success. So we’ll ask you open-ended questions like “How did this solve the problem?” and “What changed because of your work?”

We’ll ask you to choose any two of your past projects that show your design skills and walk us through them. You can show your work any way you like. Our goal is to have an active, two-way discussion that helps us learn about your design practice, how you ship product, and how you work with teams.

We’ll want to understand how you collaborated with others, worked with constraints, and influenced the direction of the product. We’ll be curious about what you value in your collaboration and how you help teams advance toward their goals.

Look deeply at a digital product you use regularly – you choose the product. How do you think about it and the problem it solves? We’ll look for how you assess its quality, how you consider its features and potential constraints, and what you might do differently.

But we also care about the deeper details: product strategy and scoping, interaction design, information architecture, systems design, and more. So we’ll want to understand how you have an impact on quality below the surface.

It’s great to see outputs of your work like user journeys, conceptual models, wireframes, prototypes, and more. But we’ll also want to know about your outcomes and impact: what you achieved and what changed because of it. We love when people understand how they drive impact in their designs and in the products they ship.

We know it’s intimidating to apply if you’re uncertain of yourself, your design work, or us. It’s especially hard if you’ve been excluded in the past or were told that you weren’t good enough.

Even if we decide not to move forward with you – or if you decide not to move forward with us, which is a very possible outcome – our goal will be to make sure you still have a good experience.