Increase recruiting efficiency: How to identify top ux design talent faster

The RUXERS newsletter is our monthly share out about ux, design, and research.

Hiring is one of the most time consuming and potentially stressful activities we go through in effort to fill open seats of growing design and research teams. How can we, as experts, speed up the process in identifying true talent, filter out less qualified candidates, and find true culture fits who can deliver top of the line work with ease? Those candidates who play angels advocate, come to the table with solutions, and can be coached new skills?

In this article, you’ll learn a few tips and tricks on pinpointing key candidates, resulting in acceleration of your recruiting process. Be warned, some tips are extremely picky.

Be sure to leave a comment in the comment section with your thoughts on the tips, or leave a tip of your own.

Tips for identifying qualified candidates and filtering the rest

1. Resume vs Linkedin vs Portfolio

In the spring of 2018, I had the opportunity to interview for a product design position with Facebook. In the initial stages of the interview process the recruiter drilled me on the experience listed on my resume. This was much expected – it’s tradition. However, the recruiter caught me off guard when she asked why the experience on my resume differed from the experience listed on my LinkedIn.

What? I had to keep myself collected. I hadn’t thought about updating LinkedIn.

Fast forward, I explained that I had worked in marketing for a couple of years and it didn’t cross my mind to remove the experience after transitioning to user experience design. Facebook, and corporations that recruit through LinkedIn, cross check resume experience with experience listed in LinkedIn profiles and portfolios.

Why? There is a key professional recruiting reason for doing so — which mean you should be doing so as well.

Uncover whether a candidate is being honest with their experience, or if they are resume padding

Candidates sometimes change role titles on their resume to make themselves more attractive to recruiters for the job they are trying to score.

Takeaway: Cross check a candidates LinkedIn, portfolio, and resume for consistency. Take note if there are inconstancies in role titles and experience. Question the candidate on your findings while giving them the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes humans make mistakes. If the experience lines up across medias, the candidate has expressed honesty and integrity.

In practice: Let’s say you discovered and inconsistency on Joe’s resume and LinkedIn profile. His resume says he was a manager for a year at XYZ Company, but his LinkedIn says he was a Lead at XYZ Company. Depending on your recruiting policy you might cut Joe immediately. In this example, you give Joe the benefit of the doubt. Bring the inconsistency to his attention and ask him to explain what his responsibilities as a manager were. This will help you determine if he is being truthful or not.

2. Resume Design

Resume design example by Franklin Schamhart
Resume design example by Franklin Schamhart

When I review a design candidates resume, I am extremely critical. It’s not because I am trying to be mean, it’s because it’s one of the fastest way to categorize candidates into “interview” and “interview if we absolutely need to” piles. Candidates need to realize they are just one option in a pile of potentially hundreds. Candidates need to bring their “A Game” immediately.

With that said, a ux candidate’s resume needs to exhibit design skill — they are applying for a design role after all. There are a few key give aways for great resume design.

  • Content lines up to left and right margins, or to left edge of columns. If you lay a ruler to the content, and it lines up to the ruler, the candidate has lined up the content precisely. This is super picky, but attention to detail is important.
  • Candidate clearly describes their strengths or competencies.
  • Experience is organized by latest experience and clearly describes what they did, how the collaborated, and key data points.
  • A typography scale is represented and consistent.
  • Color, if necessary, is used appropriately and not like a coloring book.

Now you may be thinking, “Zack is extremely picky.” Thank you, I am. It’s up to you to be as “picky” you need to be.

3. Portfolio Presentation

Clear and concise portfolio design by - Natalie Schoch
Clear and concise portfolio design by – Natalie Schoch

Great portfolios follow a model. A model of story telling the individuals brand — who they are, what they do, and how they do it. This is the candidate’s forum for selling themselves and they need to do it in a way that’s accessible, usable, and easy for recruiters/hiring managers to understand.

Key factors to keep in mind while reviewing a candidates portfolio:

  • Does the candidate clearly state who they are and what they do? This should be the first content on their homepage.
  • Does the candidate have a gallery of work to showcase?
  • Can you click into the work? If so, does the candidate clearly describe wha the project is, what they did, and how they collaborated?

Additionally, if the job the candidate is applying for requires specialized experience be sure to see if that experience is reflected on their portfolio.

For example, if the candidate is applying for a native app design role test their portfolio for mobile compatibility. Sometimes designers hide gems in mobile and tablet versions of their portfolio.

If a designer says they are a great writer, do they have writing examples available?

For additional examples of great portfolios check out this handy site called Bestfolios.

4. Well spoken when speaking to their work, success, and failures

So you’ve identified a few key candidates who have presented themselves well on paper or pixels. Great! What’s next?

Next it’s the phone screening. This is your chance to see if the user experience professionals are actually professionals. True user experience pro’s are well spoken when it comes to their work, their successes and failures, and in anything overall. Communicating is a key factor to success in this field as we communicate with just about everyone: customers, users, stakeholders, business partners, and many more.

If the candidate answers all of your questions with ease and confidence you’re onto someone special. But the key giveaway is if you, the recruiter, have been converted from vetting the candidate, to selling the candidate to your organization. It’s a great feeling, move along in the interview process!


Phew, that was a handful! I warned you my tips are picky, and I hope you took away something of value. If you have some gems to share about recruiting ux talent please share in the comment section below!

The RUXERS newsletter is our monthly share out about ux, design, and research.

Zack Gehinhttps://ruxers.com
Hello, I am Zack! I founded RUXERS. I am an entrepreneur, and UX leader residing in Denver, CO. Thank you for reading RUXERS!

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