You’re reading an excerpt of Land Your Dream Design Job, a book by Dan Shilov. Filled with hard-won, personal insights, it is a comprehensive guide to landing a product design role in a startup, agency, or tech company, and covers the entire design interview process from beginning to end, for experienced and aspriring designers. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.

Baselining Your Whiteboarding Skills

Now that you have some prompts and core criteria, you can start practicing by yourself. Imagine you’re running a think-aloud usability study, but instead of moderating, the participant is you. Record your first-time through and be sure to time yourself. Play back the recording and look for patterns where you pause, don’t speak, or speak too much.

Take a photo of the whiteboard and do a self-evaluation based on the criteria we mentioned in the beginning:

  • What did you wish you could spend more time on?

  • What did you miss?

  • What’s not clear?

  • Did you go over or under your time limit?

Use the combination of your recording (audio and video) and the photo of the whiteboard to grade yourself. Note areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. It’s important to isolate areas of weakness and focus on closing those gaps. That said, don’t forget to highlight your strengths during the actual whiteboard interview.

After your baseline, and a few more practice runs (which you can easily do in a week), it’s time to practice with a fellow design friend (or two). Take turns, let them be your interviewer and have them probe you on the design details. Then evaluate them. The nature of switching roles will help you see the problem from a different perspective.

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