Hiring UX Professionals: 3 Critical Mistakes to Avoid

Jared M. Spool
10 min readSep 4, 2019

As a UX leader, there’s an easy way to mess up an otherwise solid user experience strategy. All we have to do is hire UX professionals who do not have the skills, knowledge, and experience to do the job we need.

The inverse is also true. The best way to achieve our UX strategy goals is to hire UX professionals who have the right skills, knowledge, and experience that our team needs.

Hiring UX professionals is hard work. More importantly, it isn’t a topic we discuss often enough.

As a profession, we act as if everyone knows how to hire well. At Center Centre — UIE, our research shows many folks don’t.

Many UX leaders make serious mistakes while hiring. Mistakes that may push away the most qualified candidates while flooding our hiring process with people who don’t have the expertise our positions demand.

This increases the risk we’ll hire the wrong person, and take a long time to do so. These mistakes are often easy to avoid with a well-designed hiring process.

A tale of two interviews.

During our research, we met up with a seasoned UX design leader who had recently interviewed with a fast-growing startup. Before her interviews with the startup, she was attracted by the company’s initiative to build up their UX team.

Her first interview with the CEO went very well. They discussed how her experience creating and executing a UX strategy would be perfect for the position. The CEO was very receptive to some ideas she came up with. She left feeling quite energized and excited about the position.

She had a very different experience during her next interview with the Head of Product. The Head of Product told her that her work would primarily consist of producing wireframes and visual mockups. When she brought up the strategy work she’d discussed with the CEO, the Head of Product told her that wasn’t what the job would entail. The Head of Product wasn’t interested in her strategic ideas.

After the second interview, she withdrew from consideration. It was clear to her that the organization’s two leaders didn’t agree on what the job was. She had previous jobs like that. She felt she didn’t need the…

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Jared M. Spool

Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre - UIE. Helping designers everywhere help their organizations deliver well-designed products and services.