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.
To start, you should talk with people you’ll be working with daily—a fellow designer, engineer, or a product manager. If there’s only one person that you can get to interview from your direct team, I would recommend talking with the product manager. So much of your day-to-day will be spent directly working with them. Understanding how they think about customers, design, and user research will help you get a much better clue of design maturity at the company.
Interviewing Your Design Manager
If you haven’t had a chance to talk with your design manager during the interview process, definitely make the time to do so now.
You should feel confident that this manager is someone who’s going to help you grow. If something feels off, now’s a good time to clarify. A good manager is like a coach—they’re there to set you and the team up to play your best. They’ll navigate tough decisions with poise. No manager is perfect, but finding someone you can get along with well will make a big difference over time.
important If you’re joining a small company such as a startup, consider requesting a skip level meeting by asking to talk with your manager’s manager or the CEO of the company. In smaller settings the leadership team has an outsize impact and can make or break your experience. How they respond to your questions will help you better gauge the company’s design maturity.