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.
Over time you’ll accumulate different and potentially conflicting feedback. This is why it always helps to have a career roadmap for your next step in the journey. Some feedback will be relevant—some won’t be. A roadmap helps you prioritize.
Figure: Breaking Feedback Down
Break the feedback down into quadrants.
Another way to prioritize is looking at feedback through a dual lens of effort and control. Obviously, high-leverage actions need to be done first, but on the flip side, let go of things that you can’t control—no need to stress out about things that can’t be changed.
Reasons for Rejection
Although a company really wants to fill that vacant design role, the cost of a bad hire is high. Companies hire conservatively. So even though they need help (and they stretch existing employees to fill the gap), many choose to wait longer to find a perfect match. That’s why it’s important to leave a strong impression and convince your interviewers that you’re the right designer for the job.
To be clear, “a perfect match” doesn’t actually exist. Don’t eliminate yourself by not applying to roles where you meet 70% of the requirements. If you have the skills, you can pick up the other 30%. What’s important is to communicate to your interviewers that in addition to your know-how, you have the ability to adapt and learn fast.
You can ensure you and your interviewers are on the same page by asking them point blank:
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