How to Hire the Right User Experience Talent


Over the years, this is the most consistent question I get asked is “How do you hire the right User Experience talent?” Here are my guidelines:

Understand Your Vision and Strategy

What is your organization’s vision and strategy and how does the experience you deliver to your customers support it?  Your vision is probably to be the industry leader for your market. And your strategy is to be better and different then your competition. So how are you better and different than your competitors? Describe what that means for your customers then you can articulate your user experience strategy in context of your organization’s overall objectives.

Your market and customers have a specific need that you provide a solution. Markets are made up of segments and segments are made up of customers and customers can be described by their motivations, needs and goals and how you help them achieve them.

For example, let’s say you are an online service provider. You provide a subscription based service that is easy to use for your customers. How do you know it is “easy to use” to your customer? Not what you think is easy to use but what your customers think is easy to use. That is your UX strategy.

User Experience KPI

Based on your organization’s overall objectives, what are your UX objectives? What you’re your measures for success? What are your Key Performance Indicators (KPI)? You need to be clear on how you measure your user experience objectives in context of the overall success of your organization. What is your metric?

For example, you may want to increase customer conversion – the number of prospective customers that visit your website to purchase your solution. Conversion is a KPI. You may set a goal for a 20% increase of new visitors to make a purchase. You may measure that by how many new visitors click the “buy” button. That sounds easy enough but it will be your user experience design that will attract them and guide them to this conclusion.

Organization’s Process and UX Fit

Your organization has processes now. They may not be well defined or understood – or even consistent – but somehow you are getting things done. You need to understand your own process well enough to determine where your user experience development fits.

For example, you may have a great solution for your market but the experience you are delivering is not getting the customers you were hoping. Where are you defining, developing and delivering your experience in your process? Not surprising, the earlier you address this issue in your process, the bigger your return on investment in downstream processes.

The Talent that Makes It Happen

Ask yourself, “What UX activities are needed for our process?” That determines the needed skills and who you need to hire. Is your solution consider hard to use by your customer? Is it hard for your customers to understand your value to them? Are your customers even finding you? Based on how you answer these questions determine what type of UX talent you need.

For example, let’s say you are getting plenty of customers visiting your website but have a high abandonment of your purchase process. I would recommend hiring UX experts who can help redesign your purchasing experience. This could be an interaction designer to prototype a better experience or a visual designer to develop a cleaner, more cohesive look and feel or a usability specialist that could do a little UX research, develop and execute a usability study and provide findings and recommendations. It may take all of these to some degree depending on your particular situation.

Having a clear understanding of how your UX strategy fits in your company’s overall vision will guide you on your UX KPIs, where it fits in your overall process and determine the talent that you need to hire to deliver an experience that will win the hearts of your customers.