XII.5 September + October 2005
Page: 72
Digital Citation


Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

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There are certainly a lot of ways to conduct a search process for the ideal candidate, and a lot of pointers exist for how to present yourself well, and what questions and answers are likely to come up.

Both of us have recently changed jobs. The job search process was not without its pitfalls, but when we met with the right company, the process was a snap—we each seemed to have what our then-future employers believed they wanted. How did we know what we'd be getting into? We followed the steps below.

back to top  Know-Before-You-Go

Referrals. How did you hear about the opening? Was it publicly posted? With whom are you competing? If you heard about the job from an individual, what relationship do they have to the job? Are they willing to share information, both good and bad?

Insider Information. Talk to someone who worked there in the past, preferably within the last year or so. Gauge what they say by what you know about the individual: A fit for someone else may not be the right fit for you.

Reputation. Does the company have any sort of reputation? What sort of corporate values does it publicly uphold? Do they match your values, and, moreover, your ambitions?

back to top  Preparing for the Interview

Prework. If the company requires you to complete a challenge project prior to your interview, especially one in any way related to the business the company conducts: Stop. AIGA instructs their membership not to work on spec, ever; it is unethical to produce design services without compensation to secure a promise of work. Advance design exercises are one sign a company is "fishing" for talent or, worse, for design ideas. A "thinking on your feet" exercise of 15 to 30 minutes during the interviewing period shows everyone involved how one thinks and what one can accomplish.

Portfolio. Whether the hiring company asks you for a portfolio presentation or not, the portfolio of your design work is as important to keep current as your résumé or CV. Be prepared to show work samples and consider alternate designs you could have produced. And be prepared to detail which elements were produced by you or by others. In presenting your portfolio, give credit where credit is due, and relate how other team members influenced you. A good software company is looking for talent as well as someone who can work collaboratively.

Questions and Answers. Think about what you want to add to your career with this job move: Do you want to improve your skills? Learn new ones? Work in a different environment? Be prepared to ask questions that concern you and your future.

We are delighted to see that the number of job openings in HCI has recently expanded, and the need for senior practitioners is higher than ever. The likelihood that you will engage in the interviewing process from either side of the table within the next 12 months is high. Be yourself; be authentic. Everyone deserves nothing less.—<eic>

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