Hiring product designers: processes explained

How hiring decisions are made

Here's what happens behind the scenes after you manage to navigate through all stages of interviews.
  • Hiring processes are designed to eliminate prejudices and subjectivity (as humanly possible).
  • They want to hire ASAP, but also the best from the fittest.
  • In mature companies, a decision will be made by a person that has never seen you based on the feedback of your interviewers.
  • The magic of subjective objectivity: lots of people take part in interviews, and if done correctly, positives outweigh negatives, and at the end of the day, they want to hire ASAP.

This is uncharted territory, and every company has different views on this process, so we must extrapolate and generalize here heavily. Take this with a grain of salt.

Interviewers are writing feedback

After you have finished with interviews, each interviewer will submit their feedback to some form of applicant tracking system (usually, it is specialized software, however, in some companies, they will just email their thoughts to a hiring manager or an HR person that is responsible for a candidate).

Since it is done by busy humans that have their own stuff to take care of, it is only natural to expect that it will take some time for them to write down the answers and thoughts about a candidate. It would be awesome if they had done it the same day, but it may not be the case: it might take more time.

After all, they have to be as objective as possible (which is hard), and they do realize that whatever they submit will affect the final decision about another person's career. And most of them have been there before as a candidate, and they know and still feel what it was like to be on the other side.

Side note. If you want to understand how it works, we highly recommend listening to a bunch of candidates talking for 30-45 minutes and writing your feedback to them. You will see how hard it is to do so in a timely manner, but the most important perk you can get from it is that you will see the mistakes candidates do when talking about their past experiences. If you will learn how to spot them, you will see your own mistakes clearly and will communicate much better in your interview.

Subjective objectivity

Depending on a company's strategy and culture, the questions the interviewers will answer will try to reflect what traits a candidate shows (and how) that are relevant to a company's culture and/or situation.

For some companies, it is important that an employee would be ruthless and dynamic. Others will emphasize cooperation, some will lean towards tech prowess, and so on. There are no companies alike. More so, they change these requirements over time to adapt to changes both internal and external.

Now imagine you have, say, seven answers from different people on the same question about a candidate. You know these were seven different interviews, and you can examine the same trait from seven different angles/points of view.

Sure, all of them try to be objective, but they are subjective. But having read them all, you start seeing the more objective story.

The (almost) final boss

It is not true for every company, but in some cases, there would be a senior manager that will read all the feedback after interviews, and that person will make a final decision whether to proceed with a candidate or reject them.

That person most likely has no stake in hiring and has never seen or interacted with the candidate in question. That helps to eliminate prejudices and biases.

This might seem unfair, but so far, it is one of the best solutions there is: that person knows they can trust their colleagues, and being unbiased, they care about a company as a whole, and being unbiased they can make a judgment in everyone's best interests (including the candidate).

The true finals

In some cases, there are so-called hiring committees, bar raisers, and team matching interviews that might delay the first day of work for a few weeks or even months. But if the interviews were successful, here's where a candidate's major efforts are finished. The time to actually accept the offer and start to work (and get paid) may be delayed by up to a month.

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