Hiring product designers: processes explained

How they evaluate your portfolio and resume

Hiring managers can afford to be picky because of the large amounts of applications. Learn how to stand out in the application process.
  • On average, it takes about 55 seconds for a hiring manager to evaluate both resume and portfolio and decide if they want to interview a candidate.
  • Hiring managers can afford to be picky because of large amounts of applications.
  • Evaluating dozens of applications helps recognize relevant applications faster.

Recruiters and hiring managers at FAANG companies have to look at dozens, if not hundreds, of applications daily. It is a tiresome and mundane task. They have an opportunity to pick candidates that seem to be most suitable for a role in their team; thus, they are all looking for something that matters to them at the moment (and this moment has nothing to do with your application, it is all about them).

Given the time constraints and the power to be picky, and also knowing what they are looking for, they are most likely to omit applicants without portfolio and usually evaluate portfolios in less than a minute (55 seconds on average).

This statement is based on research: we invited 16 hiring managers from different companies to evaluate 243 applications.

We asked design managers to say yes or no to a question: would they invite the candidate for an interview after reading an application and viewing a portfolio (if a candidate decided to provide it.)

On average, it took them 55 seconds to make a decision if they wanted to interview a candidate. 55 seconds included reading a cover letter and viewing a portfolio website.

More stats if you are curious:

About 3% of applications have got a unanimous 'yes' (meaning all hiring managers would have invited these candidates for an interview). About 8% of applications got 80% of approval (meaning that most of the hiring managers would have invited these candidates for an interview) More than 60% of applications were considered irrelevant, and most of hiring managers would not invite these candidates for an interview.

Having a portfolio does not guarantee you an invitation for an interview.

However, a lack of a portfolio or at least a personal website or professional profile most likely guarantees a rejection.

The portfolio is a must. Nuff said.

The research emulated a real-life situation, where applications appeared as candidates were posting them during the month period.

The number of applications is declining after a week since the job was posted. By that time, both recruiters and hiring managers have booked at least a dozen of interviews and tend to spend less time reviewing new applications.

By the way, you don't have to be a hiring manager to start recognizing irrelevant applications. Another research showed that former candidates start recognizing irrelevant (bad) applications after they rated 20-30 applications themselves. Such an exercise is useful when writing your own application: once you start recognizing basic mistakes, you will avoid them as you apply yourself.

An irrelevant (or bad) application or portfolio does not necessarily mean that a candidate is good or bad. The point is that if an application or portfolio is all the information a hiring manager has, they will make a decision based on this information only. And they will make a decision quickly.

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