Desperate Recruiting Measures
Kevin Cheng  

Getting a User Experience Job

December 5th, 2005 by Kevin Cheng :: 5 Comments

Tom briefly mentioned [last week][1] that we should be thankful for the improvement of the job market - in the tech sector overall but also in the design and usability space specifically. Out of curiosity, I took a glance at the number of job postings we have had at our [Jobs@OK/Cancel][2] board and charted a graph from our first full month of inception in February 2004. Keep in mind that, in addition to receiving a lot of job postings directly, our board sources from numerous publicly archived mailing lists as well such as [CHI-Jobs][3], [SigIA][4], [IxDA Discuss][5] and many more. We also separate emails which post multiple jobs within the same email wherever possible. Given these factors, I think our boards are a reasonable representation of demand in our industry.

While the postings have been somewhat erratic in certain months, the one thing that seems clear is that there is more consistent demand in the past three or four months, with over 80 job postings month after month.

###The GYM Circuit and Beyond
As a [Business Week article][6] mentions, a lot of talent is being snapped up by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft (GYM). During my job search a few months ago, I did the GYM circuit and more - looking at everything from internal tools development positions to consultancies and everything from interaction design and information architecture roles to usability roles to hybrids. Several months later, I find myself back on the hiring side in search of quality candidates.

Just as the demand has increased for user experience professionals, so too has the supply (though perhaps not the supply of quality candidates given how hard it’s been to find people). Many people have asked me for advice on how to improve their chances of landing a job in user experience - in particular their _first_ job in user experience. Obviously, there’s no step-by-step to guarantee a job offer. Rather, the best I can do is offer what candidates should expect in most interviews and some of the criteria that companies look at. They mostly relate to my experiences with software companies but most of it can be translated to other mediums, too.

[1]: “Thanksgiving 2005″
[2]: “Jobs@OK/Cancel”
[3]: “CHI-Jobs Archives”
[4]: “SigIA Archives”
[5]: “IxDA”
[6]: “Revenge of the Nerds - Again”

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OK/Cancel is a comic strip collaboration co-written and co-illustrated by Kevin Cheng and Tom Chi. Our subject matter focuses on interfaces, good and bad and the people behind the industry of building interfaces - usability specialists, interaction designers, human-computer interaction (HCI) experts, industrial designers, etc. (Who Links Here) ?