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.

Learn: What Did You Find Out?

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.Maya Angelou

Another thing to note is what you learned and how you felt during the interview.

story“What’s your favorite brand?” asked the hiring manager during an on-site interview. I paused to think, as brand wasn’t my forte, but gave an explanation for why I thought Airbnb was doing meaningful work in experiences. “I hate Airbnb. What’s your next one?” she shot back. Later she proceeded to tear apart my portfolio. This interview was enough for me to learn everything I needed to learn about this company’s culture.

The interview is a two-way street. You and the interviewer get to know each other and build a shared understanding.

What looks good on paper may not be the reality. Alternatively, a seemingly subpar job description can be amazing because of the team. One of my colleagues shared a lesson in how her friends, a husband and wife, optimized their job search. The husband sought out new industries and companies that are on the cusp of making it big. The wife paid more attention to the immediate team members. Both ended up successful, but the wife was happier.

At the end of the day, it’s about the people you work with, so it’s important to ask yourself if after the interview you still want to work there:

  • Does this culture resonate with my values?

  • Can I be successful here?

  • Does the environment set me up for success?

  • Were there any red flags?

Look back on your original job criteria. Now that you’ve applied to jobs and interviewed at companies, was there anything new that you learned about your dream job or yourself?

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