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.
Learning About Your Interviewers
After learning the schedule, now’s the opportunity to learn more about your interviewers—if this company has already invested time in getting to know you, it’s only fair that you should get to know them too. Start with LinkedIn and look at each interviewer’s profile: their experience, common connections, and recent posts. Look for their other online social networks or sites where they were mentioned or shared their work. If you’re applying to a startup or a smaller company, be sure to research the leadership team too.
This info will be useful during the interview itself, as it will help you:
Anticipate types of questions you’ll get asked.
Address potential concerns relevant to portfolio pieces.
Ask specific questions to each person, given their role and experience.
Build rapport with the interviewers based on common organizations or connections.
story Having a schedule isn’t a guarantee the interviewer will be there. One time I was researching a product manager who had a fascinating design and search background. I agonized over which questions to ask him, only to learn the day of the interview that all PMs were having a last-minute off-site.
Even though some people may be missing due to last-minute rescheduling, in general preparing and looking folks up ahead of time will make you stand out. To the interviewers, it’s a signal that you’re interested in the job and the team.
This goes for all levels—from new designers to experienced design leaders. If, as a candidate, you don’t have any questions or don’t show curiosity when given the chance to ask questions, it’s a strong red flag you’re unsure. Luckily this isn’t hard to do, nor is it time consuming, as you can get this info in less than half an hour of online searching.
Creating Your Own On-Site Packet
My deliverable at this stage is an on-site packet composed of:
Summary page. This has the name of the company, schedule, street address, and point person for the interview and their phone number, in case I need to call when I arrive or get lost.
Pages for each interviewing event. Covers any interesting facts and questions I want to follow up with for each person.
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