I recently interviewed a designer, after a year without many of these conversations. Interviewing and hiring used to be day-to-day routine, but after my move to San Francisco it became less a part of my life, and I didn’t realize I missed it.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be trained in some interview techniques, and the ways to get behind the rehearsed answer. It’s interesting, thinking about the psychology of interviewing, and the tricks one employs to try and get the truth, but leaves the conversation feeling a bit like a battlefield. For designers though, I’ve found there is one question that will always open up the floodgates.
Try asking, “Tell me about a project that you enjoyed working on, that is also something you want to continue working on.”
It’s not a trick, it’s more of an icebreaker. It’s asking someone about their interests, applied to real life. It spills out of them, the challenges, the opportunities, problems and solutions and what kept them up at night. Rather than looking for the negative, the places they aren’t skilled, or where they may fall down, this tells you what will help them stand up. They self-identify their weaknesses, and how they deal with adversity.
More importantly, it will open the door to a bigger conversation about what people want to do, rather than what might just get someone in a seat.