I joined Warp, an early stage startup, as the sole designer in January. We didn’t hire Dave, our newest designer until August. The plan wasn’t to spend 8 months interviewing designers. That’s not a fun way to spend the better part of a year and I was busy enough as it was. We just couldn’t find the right person.
We spoke with a lot of talented people who had impressive backgrounds. They would nail the screening call, behavioral questions, and portfolio presentation. However, during the collaborative portion of the interview (where we solve a problem together), we often felt frustrated and lacked a clear signal that we had found our next team member. It was evident that there was a misalignment in expectations between us and the candidates. After a particularly challenging session, our CEO, Zach, pulled me aside (on Zoom) to get my take.
Having experience at large tech companies as well as early-stage startups, I have learned that there is a significant difference in what they value and how they approach problem-solving. Unfortunately, many designers struggle to identify and adapt to these differences. They may have the necessary skills for the job but fail to adequately demonstrate them because they are applying the wrong methods to the wrong company.