Apologies, for not being able to write for long. You would probably understand what kept me from writing once you’re done reading this blog post.
Yes, I’ve a new job and it’s pretty amazing. That’s exactly what this is going to be about, the story of my job change and what I learnt along the way.
I quit my job as a Jr. Visual Designer at Startup A a few weeks back and joined Startup B as a Product Designer. My main responsibility at Startup A was to design User Interface for the web, mobile and everything that came along the way. I just stepped up *punches a fist bump in the air*, and now my main responsibility or rather say responsibilities at Startup B is to take care of the product. By taking care of the product I mean to innovate, strategize, bring in the user experience by user research, wire frame, design the user interface, prototype, see it developed, test, ship, respect the user feedback and REPEAT. Phew! That sounded like a real challenge, bring it on.
The Story that Led to Present Day
The First Message
It all started with a simple message from the Founder of Startup B on my Behance portfolio.
Startup B was looking for someone who could lead their design front which included social media and user interface. It was a reasonable choice reaching me out through my Behance portfolio for such a position, as my showcased work on Behance didn’t quite give an idea about my product expertise. You may ask why don’t I upload my other product work. Well, that’s cause the product is under development and I cannot really leak it out to the public even before it’s officially launched *play safe, play long*
This is how I replied,
Hey Founder of Startup B, Thanks for connecting. Startup B seems to be a promising platform for the budding artists. Yes, you've got my interest. I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and called at my number.
The next morning, I received a call from the Founder of Startup B (shall be termed FSB henceforth) to discuss about the job opportunity. The promptness of FSB took me for a surprise. I’ve been approached by many companies, but none had shown such promptness. I was excited, already. Our telephonic conversation was about general overview and my interest in joining Startup B after I was given the job description. It went well and I was called for a on-site interview in the same week.
The First Interview
I never go for an interview without doing my homework, this was no different. I searched through the internet to get an idea of what Startup B was all about. I also looked for their competitors out there. Lucky me, I already knew a thing or two about the kind of business Startup B was into. This is what happens when I know something about something and combine it with the research work, I start exploding with ideas, I see what’s wrong and figure out the solution to get it right, mostly.
The primary agenda of this interview was to understand my thought process or you can also call it as the product knowledge. I was asked to run FSB through my designs, both published and unpublished (I maintain my unpublished designs on Google Drive). FSB was mostly interested in knowing my thoughts and the decisions I made while designing what I had designed.
Oh yeah, FSB wasn’t quite impressed by my Graphic Design. Even I’m not that proud of it, still learning to get the Graphic Design right. So, I was able to get through my thoughts on the product, convinced FSB about my UI/UX decisions and that was it. FSB seemed pretty confident about hiring me. That’s what happens when I get to do the talking 😉 But, FSB just wanted to get a last check on my expertise, the reason why I was asked to pass an assignment. Yes, there’s always an assignment.
1. Improve the User Experience for the customers on current platform
2. Approach to go mobile-first
3. Redesign the User Experience for mobile users on current platform
I would sure need a couple of days to do the justice to the above questions, and I was legitimately given some. I worked on the assignment over the weekend since I had a full-time job at Startup A. I was able to complete the assignment within the given time. Yes, it was mostly about the User Experience, I wasn’t actually supposed to design something concrete. And the good news, I passed the assignment.
Here’s how I approached the assignment,
- I roughly went through the questions
- I went through the Startup B’s product as a whole to explore the overall experience. Also made failed attempts to create an account there. (Tech just doesn’t work all the time)
- I went through other similar products
- I noted down the goods and the bads of these products.
- I reached out to the ones who had been a customer of one such product. Got to know their complete experience and identify the key takeaways from the same.
- I then got back to the task assigned and started organizing the information I had collected.
- I used the researched data, user feedback, psychological considerations and applied the UX principles to come up with some solutions.
I submitted the assignment through a Google Doc, cause it’s that awesome. *Googler for Life*
The Unexpected Mess
The telephonic conversation went well, the interview went well, the assignment went well as well, the obvious expectation was the job offer, which didn’t went quite well. I was asked to stay on hold since Startup B wasn’t quite ready for hiring a full-stack Product Designer at the moment. (Oh btw, I was able to convey Startup B the importance of having a separate a Visual and Product Designer)
What next? I couldn’t be put on hold since I was already letting go other offers during the process. I asked for a closure and went ahead with considering other offers. This was the time when Startup C approached me for a similar position. I indicated my interest in them and agreed to go through their hiring process. This was smooth as well. Pretty much how I had expected it to be. And man, they were so keen on making me an offer. I had to complete a small assignment, which meant I was just one step away from landing an offer.
In the meantime, Startup B was back, this time around with an offer. Could you believe it, both came all guns blazing all at the same time.
Even though my mind had been occupied by Startup C (they were that good), I was still keen on working at Startup B, the reason being the kind of responsibilities and the role I was expected to play in their growth and vision for the product, such stuff excites me, literally. I nicely explained the situation to Startup C and chose to go ahead with Startup B. I was glad to see how cool Startup C were in understanding my situation.
There wasn’t much negotiation required, I was happily offered what I had asked for. And yeah, Startup C was also willing offering almost the same salary as Startup B.
I’m a designer with just an year’s professional experience, most of my knowledge comes from reading a lot of product and design related articles on the internet and closely observing the way people around me work. I’ll always be grateful to the people on the internet and the ones with whom I’ve worked at Startup A. And the way I try to repay or respect their teachings is by teaching others who are willing to learn.
Here are a few awesome sites to find some great articles on product and design,
There are a few more, I promise to write a whole dedicated blog post giving away my reading resources. I’ll also write about the lessons I’ve learnt from my time at Startup A in the upcoming blog post. Oh yes, a lot many awesome blog posts are lined up, stay sure to come back 😉
Sign Off Note
I was planning since so long and hard to write this blog post. This is sure close to my heart. I would be extremely happy to know your thoughts on the blog and this blog post in particular. I would also be answering your burning questions in the comments or on Twitter. My Twitter handle is @WeirdoWizard . I’ve been pretty active on Dribbble, lately. Be sure to check my shots on Dribbble and case studies on Behance.