If you are passionate about designing and creating products, you might aspire to be a professional designer for a prominent company. As the golden rule says ‘Show, don’t tell’, when applying for a job as a designer, having a fascinating portfolio is more important than what’s written on your resume. Other than that, here are some points to pay attention to if you want to land a job in the product design division.
Understand the Company
When examining job descriptions, pay attention to whether or not you can identify why the company is hiring for this specific position. This is essential if you aspire to advance in your career in product design, so make sure that your desired company offers growth opportunities. For example, a company is looking to upscale its business or to expand its product line, so it is looking for a product designer as the company grows.
The primary issue with most job descriptions is characterizing a job as a set of objectives and outcomes. Although you might have the skillset for the job, it does not guarantee that the company will suit your career projection for the long run. If a company includes a brief overview of why a product designer is needed, you get to know in advance about the company’s mission. By knowing this aspect in job descriptions, you will better relate to the company and determine whether you are a good fit within its overall business model.
Prepare Portfolio and Presentation
If you manage to pass the screening process, the next step is a test from users or leaders of the company’s product design division. You can learn how to get through this step from Glassdoor. When recruiting a product designer, Glassdoor asks candidates to showcase their previous projects for around 30 minutes. For this presentation, talents are advised to pick a project from their portfolio that has some significance or relation to the company. Prepare something that you believe will resonate with the team and present the processes as well as your contributions to the final result. Companies like a story that explains who you are as a designer and how you can benefit them.
After that, Glassdoor invites their designer-to-be to participate in a whiteboarding activity where candidates are asked to select one out of three study cases to solve. There is no right or wrong answer in this session. So, worry less about the result and more about how you explain your decisions and reasons for choosing the approach.
Anticipate for Interviews
Anticipate some common questions about product design if you are invited for an interview. Based on Glassdoor's product designer recruitment case, here are two questions users typically come up with.
In your opinion, what is product design?
This question is intended to uncover talent’s perspectives about their design, role, and approach. Product design is a very complex field that incorporates business, psychology, technical skills, and many more. Therefore, you need to understand the importance of the product design division and explain how you have implemented your skills and knowledge in your previous position.
Tell me about a product you have used recently that really nailed the UX
This question is meant to examine your passion for design and to indicate to users that you can convey your ideas on a product in a clear and simple manner. Users are interested in how you evaluate products outside of work, your take on that product, as well as your experience in using it.
Practice Desired Traits
If you want to excel in your career as a product designer, you need to embrace desired traits. By showcasing these traits during the interview process, the company will see your value, thus increasing your chance to be employed. Here are four traits that can help you land a job in the product design division.
Design is an equal partner in a company's and its product's direction. To make this work, employers are primarily searching for designers who, when they recognize something that needs to be improved or developed, go after it. Instead of simply waiting to receive a task, you need to show that you have initiative.
Companies value candidates who can express an opinion about design or a product, advocate their point of view, and motivate others to take action. Therefore, there needs to be a sense of leadership if you want to be a good product designer. You will be in charge of a certain aspect of a company's product, so you need to prepare yourself to take control as well as responsibilities.
Design presentation ability
You may be able to design, but you also need to know the explanation behind what you have made. It is not always about what you did, but rather about why you did it. This makes design presentation ability to be an important trait to display. It is critical to be able to explain not just what has been done, but also why it is done that way. More than your personal taste in design, it is important to have reasons that are based on research, data, or innovation. Since companies have many stakeholders, more attention and effort are often needed in convincing them and the reasons behind your product design, rather than the technical explanation of the design itself.
Product design requires more than technical skill, passion plays a crucial role in creating the best result. Let your passion for designing great products be shown, be it from the way you behave or the way you speak. Your prospective employer will see that you are enthusiastic about the role. Additionally, a good candidate always displays a commitment to learn and improve in their job.
A good product design doesn’t appear out of thin air. If you’re looking to be a product designer, you should be able to present how and why your designs can help people or resonate with the company’s mission. Only then, can your dream employer see your worth as their future employee.