As a creative recruiting/staffing agency and studio, we stay on top of hiring trends. Allovus Recruiter Brian Jensen has some insights into what kinds of roles are in demand right now.
Currently, which positions are clients hoping to fill? UX or UI? Research? Unicorns?
We continue to see a huge need for UX / Product designers who are experienced and capable of translating their past professional successes into new organizations and teams. So the skillset is valued, but the bigger need seems to revolve around the idea of how a designer unpacks a problem, approaches a problem, solves a problem, and then shows that solution in such a way for stakeholders to believe and adopt the solution. Portfolios for UX designers are always challenging, as they need to show the designer’s processes and thinking before getting to the final outcome.
UX research is still a huge need in a market where there seems to be a lot of positions/requests, but not as many qualified candidates available to fill them. Qualifications range, of course. We want folks with a strong EDU background in the social sciences like psychology, anthropology, human behaviors — and then perhaps a MA in Human Computer Interaction or an equivalent design or tech-related field that helps explore the interaction between human and machine. They should know how to uncover the driving factors in humans’ expectations and needs. Subsequently, they’ll be using that knowledge to better design a service or product from the beginning with the users’ needs taken into account.
Unicorns (designers with multiple skillsets) are always appreciated, but rare. To truly be an expert in multiple fields is very challenging. Oftentimes, being able to focus on one given aspect of design and do that to an exemplary level is more important than doing everything just all right. The specialist vs the generalist: I tend to think the specialist has an easier time articulating and advocating for where they bring value (more so than the next candidate in the queue), whereas generalists (or expert generalists, ie. Unicorns) might find it more challenging to capture all the many strengths across a wide range of skillsets. *but if they can* — look out. They’ll be a hot commodity for sure.
Do you see these trends continuing into 2020?
We suspect so. Organizations and teams continue to place a high value on incorporating user-focused research and design earlier into their product development lifecycles. The biggest changes are likely happening in the voice UI / conversational UX spaces – where the increasingly integrated cloud + AI services and products leverage natural language as a primary user interface (think Siri, Hey Google, Alexa, various chatbots, etc). We’re still seeing this as a market that’s growing. And the candidate field isn’t quite equipped to cover all of these roles and needs. We are seeing more folks moving into this field, though. I think this is a space that will continue to grow in a healthy fashion over the coming years.
What can people do to make themselves more marketable for these roles?
Show that you’re interested, get involved, read, educate yourself, network, participate in meetups and groups, and admit that you’re probably not the expert… yet. Lean in to opportunities to grow, because there’s always something new to learn or pursue. Document, document, document – and not just the finished ‘thing’ that shows you can build the finished product. Document your thinking and approach to solving problems and challenges. Showing the finished work or results are fun and rewarding for you. But from an advocacy standpoint, people typically get hired because they’ve shown they can replicate a process to help a new client or team solve a different problem, based upon the repeated approach, steps, and design thinking.
What is something that clients should be aware of before they put out a call for those roles? Should they be specific, or should their requests be more general which may allow for someone to grow into the role on the job?
This is hard – specific requests and details are always helpful for candidates (or recruiters, etc) to know what the client really needs in their next hire. But oftentimes clients write job descriptions based upon a much broader range of needs and expectations than they need for that role. We tell candidates to review job descriptions keeping the 60% rule in mind. So, match 60% of the requirements or more. For clients, I think the same approach can be argued; candidates who are able to cover a significant portion of the jobs requirements (but not all) should still likely be reviewed and seriously considered. Recruiters ask questions like “What’s the 3 responsibilities this candidate must fulfill” or something similar. This is a doozy of a question, and it can totally depend on the uniqueness of the role. Think of it like a dating profile – there are some things people are willing to look past or not prioritize as high as other aspects. Knowing what the highest priority is will be helpful in putting the call out.
What are some mistakes that talented folks make before they are sent out for interviews? What can they do to remedy the mistakes before they get to the interview?
Not sure if I know what the mistakes might be. I mean, obvious issues around misrepresentation of past experiences or skills is always a big no-no. Showing up to an interview without doing some background research of the team or the client or the interviewers is something to be avoided. You want to show the client that you care enough about the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the team, product, and people. Sounds simple, but going in professional, being early, being prepared, being gracious and accepting of offers (would you like a water – say yes!) having specific questions prepared, be courteous on your way out, listen to your intuition and gut – all of this is important.