As individuals, and as designers, we are all looking for those special qualities in our jobs. It can sometimes be overwhelming stepping into the job market. We question: Will the role be challenging enough? What can I expect to work on? How do my own values match to that of the business? After a while the answers just become guess work, for once wouldn’t it be find out what the employer is thinking?!
We got the chance to speak with the Geckoboard design team about their hiring process and they uncovered some beauties. Here’s the best bits of our chat, expect coverage on what they look for in interviews and what makes a good portfolio.
Pete and Jack are both Product Designers for the London based Startup. Geckoboard is a product for businesses to create live TV dashboards for their most important metrics. They split themselves across their internal teams, named Taco and Burrito, where they team with Product Managers and Engineers.
The two teams have a split focus. One working on designing the dashboard and keeping it looking amazing. The second focused on the core function of getting data onto the platform. But they catch up on the regular to collaborate and align on the big things. More recently, the nature of their platform and the complex and unique challenges that it attracts has driven the need for a new team member. A UX Designer.
What are they looking for in their UX Designer?
In terms of the role, they’d be joining us to work on the data-in side, where we work with a lot of third party businesses. We need someone who can get to know all our customers and understand how they use the third party tools and as a result, how we can make Geckoboard more useful for them.
When it comes to the individual themselves, we look for traits like a great attitude to working with other people and someone excited by the challenges of complex problems. We’re not specific when it comes to backgrounds, we think it’s important to have diverse paths amongst our staff - we’re just looking for someone who has tackled difficult problems well.
What do they hold important to the interview process?
"The interview process should be as much about the candidate getting to know us as it is about us getting know them!"
It is obviously about finding the right match for the role but it is also essential to find someone who’s interested in becoming a part of the company and wants to get involved. We think it’s so important to find someone whose values match those of the company.
What makes a good portfolio?
For us there are three solid things that make up a good portfolio:
- Quality, not quantity. I find it works best to have two to three really well thought out pieces of work, including screenshots and some details on the project. What was it like to work on this project, what happened after you shipped it and what could have gone better.
- Include examples of previous work which reflect what kind of work you would like to do in the future. For example, if you don’t want to work on logo design, perhaps don’t include loads of logo design examples in your portfolio. It just helps us as an employer to see what the person is interested in.
- Don't be afraid to include the projects that didn’t go so well. It’s happened to all of us and just because the results might not have been a success, there was a strong process behind that and a lot of learning. So, don’t be afraid to communicate that.
What recent challenging projects have you worked on and what was your design process?
Customisation was a feature we shipped earlier in the year as we began to understand that dashboards aren't just about communicating data, they're also about moving towards a culture of transparency. And when customers put dashboards up in their office walls they're also attaching their brand to that dashboard and saying, “this is who we are”.
"Dashboards aren't just about communicating data, they're also about moving towards a culture of transparency."
Customers wanted a way to make their dashboards feel more like a part of their company and the existing solution we had gave customers a lot of freedom and not much guidance. We wanted to give them a better way. So we narrowed down the scope of customisation options that we gave customers to a small but powerful set of tools that allow them to communicate their brand clearly without getting in the way of data communication.
The process included an upfront chunk of time that we were able to research the problem, talk to customers and start exploring potential ideas. Once the broader team started working on it we had validated a lot of what we wanted our customers to be able to create. We made prototypes in Marvel, tested with our users to make sure the changes made sense and most importantly validated the finished designs they could create.
Things you look for and favour in your roles and company?
- The flexibility to set goals rather than tasks. It's a big thing we do culturally which has worked really well in design. Progressing towards a goal means you have freedom in the design process. It doesn't prescribe what’s created.
- Trust. It’s a huge part of the culture here, each and every employee is given the trust, space and permission to do a good job.
- A design process with freedom. We’ve tried to create a process over the years that gives us a lot of freedom working within a fast paced product environment, which means you can adapt to best solve the problem you're working on.
It’s always interesting to hear perspectives from the other side. And for some readers, what’s been said in this article is might be exactly what they’re thinking. Interested in finding out more about Geckoboard and their UX Design role? Simply click here.