Organizations of all sizes and varieties have come to realize the value of the customer’s experience through their user journey. This realization has led to the ascension of the User Experience (UX) role, and its role-based derivatives of UX Designer, UX Researcher, and Visual/User Interface (UI) Designer.
Why? According to Forrester Research, every dollar invested in UX brings almost $100 in return. A focus on the customer’s experience brings real financial results and real customer loyalty results. The Forrester Data Customer Experience Index measures three tangible areas of customer loyalty – retention, the likelihood of keeping existing business; enrichment, the likelihood of buying additional products and services; and advocacy, the likelihood of recommending your business to others. All of these metrics are increased when the customer’s experience is effective, easy to use, and delivers positive emotions about your business, your products, and your services.
Delivering UX Talent
These critical business impacts can be delivered by people with very specialized skills, who can lead your customer experience and product/service efforts in a very specific direction. To source this type of talent, the right choice is to employ a specialty firm that understands the UX space, can access the talent that traditional sourcing firms don’t typically provide, and can augment or build your UX staff on a contract or permanent basis.
Your UX search firm choice is critical to delivering the right people to drive positive user experience and unlock positive business impact. The right firm will live and breathe user and customer experience, and associate themselves with leading UX talent.
These firms know that when you hire UX talent, they will be looking at you through the user experience lens. Your organization has to provide a great user experience from the hiring process through to the work itself. A specialized UX search firm will utilize user experience skills themselves to make the search and hiring experience align with your business objectives and your UX talent’s expectations.
Defining the Need
UX roles are wide-ranging and employ very specific skill sets. UX’ers work together to bridge the user’s views, the organization’s objectives, and the design and development process. Each UX role plays an individual and important collective part in launching products and services, websites and customer interfaces, that users really want and will really use.
When sourcing UX talent, it is important to recognize what they do, who they support, and how these roles interact with each other and the project organization. It is also important to consider your organizational culture and the UX personality traits that are needed to be successful. According to a recent LinkedIn posting, UX Designers generally exhibit three personality traits to be successful in their roles.
- UX Designers are problem solvers. They “turn problem solving into a habit” so they are always prepared for what comes next. Successful UX’ers are empowered by their organizations to problem solve.
- UX Designers are good communicators, in teams and with clients. In a team, the UX Designer needs the ability to “work with people, convince them, and deal with internal politics”. With a client, the UX Designer needs to “communicate a coherent argument and rationale for the design approach or strategy to several different stakeholders”.
- UX Designers have empathy for users. A UX Designer must be able to “place themselves in the users’ shoes” and feel what the customer is feeling when using a product or service, visiting a website, or interacting with your company.
A specialized UX search firm will know these motivators and be prepared to provide the right talent for the right situation.
Setting Organization Expectations
Your organization’s expectations of the talent hired for a UX role should be considered up-front. While each role provides a very specific skillset and very specific interactions among project staff, it is not unusual for position descriptions to include a blending of design, research and interface. What is your organization’s view of UX, their responsibilities, and interactions? These interactions are a critical part of a UX Designer’s success, and interpersonal skills should be considered when vetting a prospective UX hire.
Define the role’s deliverables. When developing the position description for your organization, it is important to consider what you need from these roles on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Your organization’s goals and expectations will play a defining role in the UX hiring process. This will help you employ the right search agency who will match people to opportunities based on experience, personality, and skills.
UX Role Practical Considerations
There are some key considerations that start to drill down into the practicalities of the position, and the right UX search firm can help guide the process. Where the UX role will deliver their talent, whether on-site or in a distributed culture, starts to define the position. The interpersonal skills and project interaction components of these roles will help you answer the ‘where’ question. In today’s business culture, there is no right answer – UX talent can be successful in an on-site, remote, or combination work environment.
An analysis of the ‘where’ question should also invoke an introspection into your organization’s communication capabilities. Where a UX role is located is driven by who they need to interact with on a daily basis and how that will be achieved by the project team. Your organization’s interaction capabilities, including face-to-face, conference call, video capability, and travel resources should be determined up-front and put in place for your UX talent.
Determine when the UX resources will be required. Best practices show that UX Designers work best when then are involved at the onset of the project. Work back from the required timeframe for these resources to allow the search agency time to work with you and with their candidates. Where you are in the process will drive ‘when’, and determine the search agency’s parameters and direction. If the hiring timeframe is more immediate, rather than longer term, this will change the search agency’s lead time. The more time you can give the search agency, and the more detail behind the requirements, a stronger and deeper candidate pool will emerge.
How will this candidate transition to a full-time or contract employee role? It is important to determine upfront the tools, assets, and support that will be made available to ensure a successful hire. Be clear on the expectations and outcomes you are hoping to achieve with this hire, then align your organization’s resources accordingly.
There are many tools that are employed by UX Designers in the various aspects of their work. Include your toolsets in the position description to match available tools to available skillsets. While a perfect match may never be made, publishing your requirements upfront will allow a candidate to match their skillsets with your toolsets.
Determine what other assets are available to help your new UX talent transition and to be successful. How will they learn what benefits are available, what drives the organization’s culture, what factors other than money will inform a decision to come on board? Plan for the right mix of support that is neither overwhelming nor underwhelming. Support should be provided for technical requirements and environmental requirements as well, and at levels consistent with the UX talents’ experience and skillsets.
Why The Right Search Agency Matters
The UX hiring experience must support the UX talent’s expectations. To source UX talent, you can work with a generalized full-service search firm VS a firm that specializes in this space. Why choose one over the other?
The key to answering this question lies in the specialized skills required to be successful in a UX role. Not only must UX Designers have excellent interpersonal skills, they must be able to interact and lead within your specific project, within your specific organization.
Seek out a firm that has experience placing these highly skilled talents. Seek out a firm that has clients in industry and in agencies. Seek out a firm that has access to the depth and breadth of talent in this space. Seek out a firm that specializes in UX Designers. Seek out a firm that understands the positive affect that User Experience Design can have on your organization’s perception and bottom line.
UX Design roles have become a driving force in product design, product development, product success and the market’s awareness of your organization. UX Design roles interact with multiple levels inside and outside of your organization to drive product strategy, product marketing, and an organization’s overall look and feel to its customers.
There are multiple decision points leading up to a successful hire, whether on a contract or permanent basis. Ensuring that each set of decision points are addressed will make the User Experience hiring process flow to its proper conclusion. These decision points are a roadmap to success:
- Understand who fills the UX roles to create appropriate role definitions.
- Determine what defines your organization’s expectation of the talent hired for a UX role.
- Where will the UX role deliver their talent, on-site or in a distributed culture?
- Ensure success by determining how your candidate will transition to a full-time or contract employee role.
- Be clear on why you should choose to employ a specialty search agency that understands the UX space and has access to the right UX talent.
By following this roadmap, employing a specialized UX search firm, your UX hiring experience will lead to a successful UX hire.
About UX Hires
UX Hires (www.uxhires.com) helps you build your dream UX team or find the perfect UX job. We are experts in User Experience recruitment and understand brands and agencies alike. Thanks to our affiliation with Motivate Design (www.motivatedesign.com), a leading User Experience research and design agency, UX Hires has an unparalleled understanding of the UX Design, UX Research, and Visual/UI Design space and reach within the community.
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