Today’s guest post by JV Recruitment’s Fiona Reid examines the challenge that brands face when it comes to ‘Talent Attraction’ across the UX landscape, and provides some practical tips on how to ensure you’re in pole position to get the best candidate.
What does UX mean to you? Whether you associate the term with wireframing or prototyping, designing or analysing, one thing is for certain; it’s about enhancing the customer journey to deliver a best in class experience, but how can you expect to do this if you don’t have best in class employees?
The challenges facing recruiting managers when it comes to attracting quality UX talent can seem like a minefield, but there are ways to ensure that you attract the right talent, which will add value to your brand.
Recruit based on passion
UX is about understanding what makes the customer tick, and how best to engage them. If an individual doesn’t have an inherent fascination for how the customer thinks and feels, with a desire to make their website the very best, they’re not going to reach the best customer outcome. You can teach wireframing; you can’t teach enthusiasm.
We’re not talking about the age-old “pay peanuts” adage here, and investing doesn’t always mean a huge financial outlay. Sometimes, it might be about giving your staff the time they need to keep up to date with the latest trends; let them mix with like-minded individuals and share ideas. Ensure that, where there’s an opportunity for personal development, it’s offered to your staff. Staff who are given the opportunity to expand their skillset, who feel continually challenged and stretched, are less likely to look for a new position, reducing your need to recruit.
Think “outside the box”
You wouldn’t copy your competitors when it comes to your website design, so why copy them when it comes to talent? Oftentimes, recruiting managers can be so set on attracting talent from within their sector, that they can discount some genuinely talented individuals. Some of the most successful brands we work with have found that taking talent from outside of their sector has breathed a fresh lease of life into their brand, highlighting areas for improvement which they’d never even considered before.
Widen your options
Yes, ideally you might want a candidate who has two years’ experience using Balsamiq, or five years’ experience with Axure, but the key part to attracting the right talent is in identifying what is realistic, and where you have some room for negotiation.
If you’re replacing an employee who was responsible for UX research, strategy and interaction design then you need to ascertain what you really want and (most importantly) need from your next hire; it may not be practical to expect to replace a candidate with such a wide-ranging skillset (unless your budget knows no limits), but could you consider taking someone who is strong when it comes to strategy and interaction design, then taking a graduate who could become your team’s UX Researcher? Not only will you find that you’re able to fill your vacancies quicker, but you won’t be hunting for the elusive “recruitment unicorn” which *newsflash*, doesn’t exist (and if it did, would likely be in a position where it’s being approached by countless employers).
Likewise, if you’re prepared to spend the time (see point 2!) in training an individual, graduates can often bring some fantastic, core skills and are eager to be given the opportunity to expand their skillset, so don’t discount them!
Think about your “Recruitment UX”
The key skills used when it comes to UX can all be translated to the recruitment process:-
- Strategy – think about your goals. Who do you want to attract, and how are you going to do this? If you’re going to brief an agency, make sure that your goals are clear, and that they understand your expectations
- Research the market, to make sure you’re competitive when it comes to salary, responsibilities etc
- Analyse continually – is your job ad fit for purpose? Is your interview technique working? What sort of candidates are you attracting?
- Design a smooth recruitment process, with clear steps outlined to the candidate, and clear feedback points. Even if a candidate is unsuccessful, they should have an enjoyable recruitment experience, providing them with constructive feedback and leaving them open to considering reapplying next time you have a vacancy, and telling their friends what a fantastic experience they had. Just as you wouldn’t insist on 8 clicks to get from product to checkout, do you need a 5 stage interview process?
- Validation – the recruitment process doesn’t end on the employee’s first day; continue to get their feedback and make sure that you have a clear and well embedded on-boarding process, with open and honest communication.
Ultimately, the key message here is to make sure that applicants want the role they’ve applied for; remember that the interview process is two-way, so it’s important that you make the role as attractive as possible, and the process as seamless as possible.
Don’t rest on your laurels
You may have a fantastic brand reputation and a loyal employee base, but it’s a lot harder to build this up than it is to diminish it. Listen to what your staff need, pay attention to what your competitors are doing and remember that UX recruitment is a candidate driven market right now, so you need to set yourselves apart from other employers, whether through your perks, staff morale or something totally unique. Shout about what makes you different, and remember that UX is a fast changing industry – you need to adapt to keep up and make sure you’re attracting the best.
Trust your recruitment partners
It’s so important to have recruitment partners in whom you have complete trust, whether they’re part of your internal team, or part of an external agency. Open and honest communication is a must, and clear objectives must be shared between you and your recruiter. It’s essential that all parties understand your aims, and act with the interest of both the employer and the candidate at heart.
Fiona Reid is a specialist marketing recruiter, operating primarily in the digital space. She works with professionals from a range of sectors, across Yorkshire and the North West.
Find out more about what she does on the JV Recruitment website.