Morgane Peng - Episode 6 Cover

UX hiring realities, Part 2 with Morgane Peng

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We’re excited to bring Morgane back to talk about the remaining hiring realities for finding the best UX candidate. She covers points on how to leverage different application channels, why hard skills are overrated, why you need to be mindful of cultural differences, how you shouldn’t fake it, why details matter and much more!

If you know someone or you follow someone directly from the design team, they will probably at some point post a message saying that they’re looking for people. And that’s how you know it first, whether it’s from LinkedIn, or from Twitter, or even colleagues or design peers that will probably say “Hey, we’re looking for someone to join the team!”. That’s how you can note first, and that sounds really much more like networking.

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Morgane Peng

Head of Experience Design at Societe Generale Banking

Timeline

00:00Introduction 03:01#3 – Different channels for finding jobs 06:58#4 – Why are hard skills overrated? 11:07#5 – Be mindful of cultural differences 14:03#6 – Don’t fake it 18:31#7 – Your questions are part of the interview 23:07#8 – Your follow up emails are also apart of the interview 27:50#9 – All details matter 29:52#10 – Having too much experience can work against you 32:53#11 – Every org has dysfunctional teams 40:09Outro

Behind the mic

Morgane Peng

Morgane Peng

Morgane Peng is responsible for the design vision and strategy of Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking. She delivers united and meaningful experiences with her team across Societe Generale products for start-ups, corporates and financial institutions.

Previously, Morgane adventured into various fields of consulting, financial markets and tech. In her spare time, she’s a gamer at heart and works on an indie video game successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter.

Filippo Lovotti's with an intrigued look

Filippo Lovotti

In case you missed my barely audible accent, I was born and raised in northern Italy, near the Milano area, and moved to the USA a decade ago. I started venturing in the realm of pixels and websites during high-school, but at the time, I had no idea design would become my career, my biggest passion, and such a vital part of my life. Nowadays, UX design, strategy, and mentoring take up most of my days. And I love that. When I’m not behind a screen or recording podcasts, you’ll find me drawing with pen and ink or training at a local park for my next Highland Games competition.

Show notes

Morgane is back with us to discuss the remaining UX hiring realities! In Season 2 Episode 3, she highlighted the first two points from her Medium article “11 Realities on Finding Your First Job.” Now we cover in depth the rest of her points:

#3: Some channels work better than others, with different gatekeepers. According to Morgane, it’s wise to bypass the middle man by directly speaking to someone from the team you’re interviewing with. The typical funnel runs from the hiring manager and team to HR to website to LinkedIn, so it’s best to network directly with someone. In some cases on LinkedIn, a team member could post a message looking for people, so take advantage of these direct opportunities.

#4 – Why are hard skills overrated? Because soft skills are rarely trained. To really understand how someone works, it’s important to get insight on what they value and how they think. Morgane gives us her favorite question to ask: when’s the last time you changed your mind about something? This question helps gauge whether the candidate has some introspection and whether they can show vulnerability about making mistakes and pivoting, especially for junior applicants. Remember things constantly change in design.

#5 – Be mindful of cultural differences. Morgane points out the differences in conversation pace and pausing, where in some instances applicants talked so fast she couldn’t even jump in. She compares French and English as an example. The French have shorter pauses, three tenths of a second. But in English there are longer pauses, taking five tenths of a second. So while it may be impolite to cut in a conversation in English, it’s normal in French. 

#6 – Don’t fake it. If you fake it, eventually the lies will fall through and hiring managers will absolutely notice. Morgane describes why hiring managers will sometimes push you to the limit just to see if at some point you’ll be clear and explicit on things you know and things you don’t know. In UX, this is very important. 

#7 – Your questions are part of the interview. Many candidates don’t know to ask questions, but hiring managers expect this. It determines how a candidate will ask questions on a project or during user testing. Morgane separates questions into 2 categories. The first category is where an applicant has zero questions. In cases where a candidate doesn’t have any questions left, explain that the questions were already addressed and if there is anything else that they would like for you to know. The second category covers where an applicant does have questions, but they seem like they’re reading off a list, which is counter-productive. If the questions don’t relate to what was previously said, this shows there was no real discussion and no active listening.

#8 – Your follow up emails are also part of the interview. It’s polite to send a quick email and leave a positive impression. If candidates are looking for feedback, it depends on the company legal policies. But for Morgane, she tries to explain what occurred so applicants don’t feel like they’re in the unknown. 

#9 – All details matter. Morgane elaborates on the importance of active listening skills, soft skills, and even remembering who you’ve met so far in the interview process. In one case, she recalls a candidate stressing out, lying about not remembering a name and even went as far as calling their name “super weird.” Just say you don’t remember!

#10 – Having too much experience can work against you. Depending on the position applied, Morgane wants to know if the hired applicant will get bored on repetitive tasks. She prefers working with someone with less experience and a can do attitude. She points out that if there’s nothing left to offer, they’ll end up being unhappy or leaving. Good companies also think ahead of career paths and what people are going to do in the long term.

#11 – Every org has dysfunctional teams. People are different and management is difficult. Some people who preferred to be ICs (individual contributors) end up being promoted to managers. Or there may be a mismatch between different people on the team. Morgane stresses that team dynamic is vital in cultivating a strong working environment. Sometimes it’s not worth getting a big name on the resume if the environment is toxic. To gauge team dynamic during the interviews, ask each team member how long they’ve been on the team. If it’s a new team, 6 months is an appropriate answer, but if not, that’s a red flag. Another approach is mentioning people you’ve met before and observe their facial reactions. 

Overall, the interview process is a two way process. It’s about being a good fit for a company and learning if the company is a good fit for you! It’s a partnership and collaboration. Of course it may be difficult to find the perfect team or setup, but be aware of where you’re headed towards.

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Transcript

The Industry of UX LLC 0:00

Hi, Filippo here. Before we start with the episode, I wanted to let you know about a great UX mentoring and career prep opportunity. We at the Industry of UX started our own UX career prep service. We go from portfolio and resume review to whiteboarding and interview prepping, and short term to long term mentoring. If you want to get ready for your first or next UX job, we got you! Check us out at school.theindustryofux.com.

Morgane Peng 0:32

I guess networking is really being able to kind of get those signals early. So you can be first in the know and the first to apply.

The Industry of UX LLC 0:40

This is the Industry of UX Season 2, inside the UX hiring journey. We talk to the experts to bring you the strategies, the thinking process and the reasoning behind the hiring decisions in the UX job market. Let's dive into the episode.

Hello, you wonderful you UXers. Welcome back to another episode of the Industry of UX. I'm your host, Filippo Lovotti. So back on episode three, we had Morgane Peng on the show to discuss her medium article "11 Realities on Finding Your First Job." During that episode, we ended up talking about a couple of other topics too. So we were able to cover only the first two out of the 11 realities. But as promised, we brought Morgane back to talk about the remaining realities and design. We only kept our conversation tight around that. So if you're asking what are the remaining job realities, keep listening, there is a lot to learn today. In fact, you're probably going to be a better job candidate after listening to this episode. And this is because Morgane covers points such as how some channels work better than others when applying for jobs, how you should not fake it, how hard skills can actually be in the way and why all details matter. By the way, Morgane has some other great medium articles. So go check them out. And all the links are going to be on the episode page of our website, theindustryux.com. Let me know what you think about the episode by tweeting @IndustryUX. One last thing, if you have an iPhone, open the Apple podcasts app and give us a five star rating and review. It helps us produce a better show and bring the podcast to a bigger audience. Okay, onto the conversation with Morgane. So we covered a couple of points Last time we talked. Now let's see if we can cover the remaining points. And we have ways to go. So we're going to try and squeeze everything in. Starting with point number three. You mentioned that some channels work better than others with different gatekeepers?

Morgane Peng 3:09

Oh, yes, I think that was my experience. I don't know for you. But I when I was first job hunting, and until very recently, you kind of feel like the company is like one person with the same view. And the same behavior is like this kind of one thing, where in reality, there's like multiple people involved with different disabilities. This is where I mentioned that we're trying to lower bias by having to volunteer screening, because everyone's different. That's because that's the beauty of as well being different, right? And you're going to split the walk. So depending on the channel, you will be facing different people, you may be facing a recruiter, you may be facing someone directly from the team. Or you may be facing directly the head of design that said, so in order to I would say optimize the people you'll be talking to. Usually what I recommend is if the design team has a website, anywhere, like a channel online, try to reach for that first, because you will bypass all the middle men somehow, if not try to look at whether you can reach out to the company. And usually, I mean, I don't know if it's like this for every big organization. But all the job balls like the LinkedIn ads, usually they get published with a delay because you have to go through all the processes. I'm glad you said yesterday, we're not the only one. You have to get it approved to buy multiple people responsible for multiple things. And so, for example, for us, it's not uncommon that maybe there's like a two week delay in publishing the ad on the other channels. So that's why if there's like a primary channel go for this one, because you will be first and you may be talking directly to the people who select you.

The Industry of UX LLC 4:56

Absolutely, totally agree and My experience, the first ones that know that they're going to be hiring someone are the hiring managers and the people on a particular team. So they are going to be the ones that are going to analyze the work that's being given to them. Understand that there is not enough bandwidth as it is, and then ask for more designers and then open the job rec, and then go from there. So they are the first ones that know that there's going to be a job available in this particular team at this particular company. Then once the job is the rec is approved, and HR has gone through the appropriate channels, and you have the job description and all of that, then it's going to appear first, on the website, right?

Morgane Peng 5:42

The company website, yes.

The Industry of UX LLC 5:44

So whatever the company, all those places where the company can just push it without having to have that delay that you mentioned. And then lastly, you're going to see on LinkedIn on indeed monster.com other websites of that sort hop knowing this, how would you recommend people change their strategy when it comes to applying for jobs.

Morgane Peng 6:08

So maybe one precision regarding to LinkedIn, the LinkedIn job space is different to the rest of LinkedIn, because it will say, and that's probably my advice here, if you know someone, or you follow someone directly from the design team, they will probably at some point post a message saying that they're looking for people. And that's how you know it first, whether it's from LinkedIn, you know, like in your newsfeed, or from Twitter, there's higher chances are even like, colleagues or design peers that will probably say, Hey, we're looking for someone to join the team. That's how you can note first. And that sounds really much more like networking. I know this horrible terms. I guess networking is really being able to kind of get those signals early. So you can be first in the know and the first to apply.

The Industry of UX LLC 6:58

Yeah. Number four, hard skills are overrated. Now. Why are they overrated?

Morgane Peng 7:07

So as designers, we looked about emotion, you know, emotional design human factors, the fact that yet for some reason, when we go through the interview process, we kind of forget that there's like humans in front of us, who will maybe become a Codex. So a lot of especially the junior applicants, they focus on knowing the latest tools, like all the metallurgy frameworks, all the steps and names and stuff like that. And really, what sometimes they don't know is the interview really, okay, we try to assess them. Do they have like, the minimum design skills that we're looking for? But what's the experience of working with them? The candidates? And in the experience, there's maybe Okay, yeah, there's the heart skill. Okay. Are they able to use a design software? For example, are they able to do, I don't know, to run a script for usability testings, but a lot of the experience working with someone is the sub skills, like, how do they behave is as someone who seems to like what they're doing? Are you looking forward to, you know, say hi, in the morning, and that's the soft skills. And I find that people, they rarely train on the soft skills, because they just feel that they just take me as a man as I am. Whereas Yeah, that's true. And I remember how the candidate when he was like, Okay, I'll do the interview, and they're coming, wearing jeans. And if they allow me to wear jeans, that means I'm okay to work with them. And that that can be a fair, you know, criteria. But when he told me that I was like, you know, that's so sad, because maybe you have met someone who's a bit stricter on that, you know, that's not representative, the team and that specific person doesn't like, you know, people who show up wearing jeans, because they feel like it's less serious. Yeah, and you who have missed out on the walk just on the job just for that. So yeah, I would say soft skills, they're like hard skills, they have to be kind of prepared, then you have to know for example, what's important to you. For example, if I ask a candidate, what do you value? Like, okay, one question I love to ask. And I was wondering whether I should reveal that in this podcast is my summary, it's fine. It's, it will be a bonus point for people who listen to this episode. One of my favorite question to ask is, when's the last time you change your mind about something? And that, you know, what I'm going to have for dinner or lunch, you know, it's like an MRI or something. And the reason I'm asking this is can the person have some kind of introspection and change their mind because like design is change it when you design you have to change your mind constantly. Yes, you know, you realize maybe what you designed, people didn't understand or maybe that was not the right direction to go. And so I like I love this question, but then A lot of people are just caught off guard and the phrase. And yeah, I think that's one of the things you have to train as well.

The Industry of UX LLC 10:08

I think that's a great point. And one of the, what you just mentioned, I think, surfaces a problem that I've seen, especially with less experienced applicants were, it's almost like they don't want to admit, or they don't want to cover anything that could make them be seen as vulnerable, or they made a mistake, or even answering the question I changed. When was the last time you change your mind about something, I can see how we can make some of them nervous because they are they, they have to admit that they were maybe wrong at some point, or they had a different opinion. And then they realize that based on something, and that's the other cool thing. Also, understanding how they change their mind is actually very important. I think that's amazing as well. So your question is super, super amazing, by the way.

Morgane Peng 10:57

Oh, thank you. I think I had once someone who said, I don't recall changing my mind. I was like, What? It's not possible.

The Industry of UX LLC 11:07

With that said, number five, pause. But be mindful of cultural differences. Yes. Sounds like an interesting one.

Morgane Peng 11:19

I'm trying to pose here. So Well, yeah. So you see, that's all those little terms that you try to add when you're like, Oh, my God, it's my turn to speak. Quick, quick, let me find something to say. Well, during the interview, that is super obvious. And I remember I've seen candidates, they were talking so fast, and so much that I couldn't add any question they were just like, they were on play on and they will just like, probably preparing too much. But like spending their life why they've chose UX. But like, I wanted to ask questions, but there was no way for me to jump in. Or even give my point of view, it was just like, almost like if I was listening to a podcast, honestly. But guess what their interview. And pausing is so important, because first, that means to give the other person some opportunities to ask questions or follow up. Also, maybe you've said something that someone will find super interesting. So they will want to follow up. So that in itself is important to pause. But also, when talks about you ask a question, and you pause just to think about it that also reveals that you can think about something and not just jump to the whatever comes to mind first. And on the cultural differences. It's very funny, because in the team, we have different nationalities. We have people from France, from the UK, from South Korea, from China, originally from Poland, and I realized quite early on especially I think when I first started working in the UK, that the kind of standards is a bit different. So I don't know if people have noticed, or I don't know people from I guess English speaking countries, sometimes feel that French people are not polite, because we like to get people. Well. The reason why we cut, because in French is completely okay. And there's been studies so they're so interesting that when you run a conversation in French, the length, the pause length between each person is that's like a thing. Very, very small, I mean smaller than English speaking countries. Which means if I cut you in French, it won't be I guess it won't be impolite. But if I do it in English, that will be because the standard is a bit different.

The Industry of UX LLC 13:46

Yeah. I like how you actually quantify that in your article saying that the French has shorter pauses. Normally, they are three tenths of a second. And English normally has longer pauses when five tenths of a second. So moving on, number six, and this is a huge one. Don't fake it. I think it's self explanatory, but I would love to hear what you have to say.

Morgane Peng 14:13

Yes. You know how sometimes you hear friends doing and they're like bragging how they've been asked a question. And for example, they asked me if I can use figma and I said yes, and then I got the job. That to me kind of sends the wrong narrative. Because honestly, whether you can use it to is probably not the reason why you've been hired first. But for some reason people they like to to feel that they've they've been smarter or like they dupe some you know, like the process or the game the process. And sometimes honestly especially like when you're you're hiring for a specific role. I would say it's just not worth it because if you realize that the person has been lying to you or like being dishonest honestly You'll be thinking can I reach for this person? Doesn't mean that when we will trust the person with a project, does it mean that they will conceal What's happening? And then it will be too late when you know, they will need help. So that is, again, that's the narrative. Oh, yeah, I game the interview why they asked me something. And I totally, you know, I, I tell you on the discussion, but in reality, I think it's a very dangerous thing to do, especially. And I realized that were later when I was reflecting on my on the interviews, sometimes pushing you to the limit is part of what we're trying to do, just to see if at some point you will be clear and explicit on the things you know, and the things you don't know. And in UX, it's so important as well.

The Industry of UX LLC 15:51

Yes, absolutely. Not only that, but sometimes what happens, what I've seen happen is that people make up stuff. And or they overstretch, maybe they work as a UX designer for three years of the strategy to five or six, or whatever. Or maybe they overstretching certain concepts or certain answers, and then they trip on it later on. So they have to recall, we go over a similar question, or we go over a similar topic. And now they give you a different answer that is not compatible with the first one. So as a hiring manager, you're paying attention because you're not, you're not nervous. You're not the one that is nervous about the, you know, that is nervous in the moment. And so the candidate being the more nervous person in the room, if you can't keep track of the lies, or the misrepresentations, you're going to trip and some at some point, and the hiring managers and people in the room are going to notice that and that's going to come off as dishonest. So it's, it's better to say that you don't know or just say exactly, say the truth, or explain you know, that maybe that's not an area of expertise, but you're willing to grow. It's much better to say that than to say, Oh, yeah, I know, I know. Exactly. I know, I know this thing perfectly. I've done this so many times. And then later on 10 1530 minutes after that answer being asked a similar question and forgetting that you said that. And now, you went from five years of experience to three years of experience in the span of 20 minutes, similar question. And people have noticed, and it's just not, it can be a year, right? It comes off as designers, then it's just like starting on the wrong foot. Because where does it go from there?

Morgane Peng 17:48

And it's also for the candidates. Because, obviously, usually, when you publish a job, there's like specific tasks to do. But you can also tell it a little bit. And let's say if you say that, I don't know, you managed, like teams of people, but you've never done it. And then we do send that because you've said that you've done it. So I'll be like, okay, cool, this person has managed your experience, okay, I'll trust that person with like those tasks. And then suddenly, I realize, oh, even for them, they won't get the support. Because for me, they've done it before, so they know how to do it. So if they come back and say, Hey, can I have a training on how to manage people? Like it's weird? And yeah, as I said, it's not a good start.

The Industry of UX LLC 18:31

Number seven, your questions are part of the interview. They definitely are.

Morgane Peng 18:38

Oh, yes. But that's not something a lot of candidates now. Because you see, we ask questions to the candidates, but we kind of expect the candidate to ask questions back to us. And as you join Ux is very important. How do you ask questions? Because with that kind of gives the flavor of how you will ask questions on your projects, or during user testings on user research. And so I think there's a so for the people who aren't aware of this, there's like two categories. There's the first category, who do I ask any question? And I've actually made that mistake in the past where I was so stressed. And at the end, they were like, do you have any question was like, nope. And then very awkward blank. So and in that moment, because you're like, Oh, I don't want to waste their time. I'll just fit in whatever work they want to give to me. In reality on the other side, they'll be like, oh, that person has no interest in what we're doing, because they have no question. Yeah, so that's the first category. And the second category of sin are those who kind of have probably a list by the side and they kind of like reading off a list. And that comes as very disjointed because you've been tagged with something and suddenly like, Oh, okay. Can you? Like just as a completely? Like, non related question, right? And maybe they don't know. But we actually read the same articles online, I mean, the same training articles on medium. So if the question is what for what the same thing that I've seen in an article, it's a bit sad, because I'll be like, okay, they're clearly not interested in having a discussion. They're just kind of ticking. Okay, I need to add questions. I'm asking the questions that read somewhere else. And yeah, I'll just say it's very sad because of you say, maybe you've been having a recreate interview so far, but because you've been lazing on active listening, and there's like, maybe no link between your questions was be said before, that kind of give me a doubt of whether you get actually actively listen to someone.

The Industry of UX LLC 20:44

Yes, absolutely. One more thing that I will add, though, is that normally, the recommendation that I personally will have is to understand what At what point of the interview are at what stage of the interview process you are, to understand how to better ask questions at each point, for instance, if you are on the first call with HR, and you ask them how the team is set up, and how does the work pipeline works and what you'll be working on. That's not probably the best person to ask that question. Because HR is mostly, when you're doing the screening, they want to understand. If you're compatible with a team, if you have compatible skill set, they are basically screening you to move on to the likely the hiring manager or someone in the UX team that knows the practice of UX. And so maybe that question is better for that person, or even after when you get into the weeds a little bit. So at each stage, there are appropriate questions to ask. The other thing is, if you really don't have any questions, you get at the end of an interview, I really don't have any questions, I will normally recommend to say that, hey, the things that I wanted to get out of this that I really wanted to ask, are these three things, and you just cover these three things very exhaustively. So I don't have any follow ups with those things. Is there anything else that he would like to say he would like to mention about this job? Or are there any details that I'm not asking you about that he would like to add for me? I think that will be perfectly fine. Like you don't have any more questions you are explaining why you don't have any more questions. And maybe you ask them if there is anything else that they would like for you to know. If you truly have no more questions that I think that there will be better than just sit there and say no, I don't have any more questions. What do you think about that?

Morgane Peng 22:35

Yeah, maybe like after, I don't know, Round three, five for like, like a couple of rounds. Maybe? Yes. You You know that the position, you know, the team? And yeah, you're right, indeed, just acknowledging that you've been talking to different people. And they've answered your questions, privacy. That's the trick,

The Industry of UX LLC 22:54

so that everyone knows exactly why you're not asking questions. They know that it's not like you're not curious is that your curiosity has already been your thirst for knowledge is ready to be heard to being quenched? Yeah. So with that said, let's move to number eight. Your follow up emails are also part of the interview. So now this is an interesting one, because, for instance, on there are companies out there, I'm not going to name the names. But they discouraged the employees from replying to emails from candidates that were not either selected, or they were selected. But they were asking for that move on moved on up, they asking for feedback, they actually discourage you from replying with the feedback, because they say that it's it could be a legal liability. Hmm. So I know that some companies out there, they think that way. But why do you specifically believe that the follow up emails are also part of the interview

Morgane Peng 24:04

for emails in the web, rather, in the article for me was more on the content side. What I mean by that is, if you had a good interview session with someone and you have their name, or their email, probably you have it in the invitation. It takes a few minutes, you say, Hey, thank you so much for your time today. I was so interested blah blah blah, or maybe mentioned something that you were interested in, then not sending anything because you and I felt that in the past when I was applying, I was like, Oh, that must be so busy and seeing so many candidates. I don't want to be, you know, like the teacher's pet. And look the spirits. But actually, at the end of the day, it's just being polite, then, you know, just thinking for the interview. That's it, and then you move on. Now on the question you ask on whether you should ask for feedback on that, well, there's no harm asking for it, then indeed, depending on the policy To say, maybe they will be allowed or not to give a feedback. Yeah, I would tend to say if it's someone who. So usually what we try to do, at least for us is if it's someone we spend some time with, it's for us. It's kind of normal that we give feedback, or at least just acknowledge why we didn't we maybe went for someone else. Or maybe just explain that, for example, recently, someone was asking for feedback, why we didn't select the person. And I told her, Well, actually, we went with someone with a different background, to complement the team. And there's nothing you know, with your skills and your background. I mean, with your background, you were super strong. But like in that moment, we went with someone, again, with a different background. And sometimes we would say that on the design challenge, for example, that compared to the other candidates, maybe they performed a little bit less. So we try at least to explain so that they don't they're not like in the unknown and try to overthink the reason why. But I do understand why sometimes it might be tricky. So especially like in the early stage candidates, because again, if for example, we don't screen them, or for example, we look at the portfolio is not maybe strong enough, we don't necessarily have the time to do a portfolio analysis. You know what I mean? So, so your portfolio isn't strong enough? Exactly. Yeah.

The Industry of UX LLC 26:24

Yeah, I personally would love to give feedback, if you have made it far enough to where we are the final stages, and then something happens, or it was just not a good fit, after all. And it wasn't necessarily a personality thing. But it was mainly just as you mentioned, it could be like, we need a different background for that position. And it's for those who are listening those subtleties matter. So it's not because maybe you were not prepared, or you were you don't have the skill or anything like that, we'd also look for those subtleties, so just FYI. But getting back to what I was saying, if they make it to the stage, I will love to give them feedback. There are policies in place in certain companies that forbids you from from doing that. So I interpreted your point that way. But I understand that you actually the point that you were making in the article was actually just send an email without an expectation of a follow up, just thank them, that they spend time with you that you had the opportunity, I think that that makes a lot of sense, that absolutely is a good best practice to to keep but understand. When it comes to what I brought up about the feedback, it's not always going to be given to you. So that's just the reality of it. But we're gonna move on, we have three more, we're going to move on to all detail. Number nine, all details matter.

Morgane Peng 27:53

Oh, yes, those little things, right?

The Industry of UX LLC 27:55

What do you mean with all details matter?

Morgane Peng 27:58

So obviously, you will be interviewing for a specific position. But when you actually get to the interview phase, there's just so much more than you'll be judged on. Obviously, your soft skills, how you listen to the you know, do you have active listening skills, a lot of little things, I mean, one by one is not a big deal, but like issue cannot make a super combo of it, it can just kind of really lower your chances of being selected. And again, as I said, one by one, it's not a big thing, maybe having a messy background that can happen to everyone, to me to everyone. But if you combine having a messy background that being you know, on time, I don't know, like remembering that's a good one that remembering people you've been talking to previously. That's also something I like to ask is that who have you met so far? And, and that's also part of like to say when you don't know don't pretend, because if you don't remember the person you can say, Oh, I don't remember the name but is the lady who whatever it is something or like, was the guy working on that? Sometimes, some people will say, Oh, no, I don't remember the name or she or he has a super weird name. said that. I know you're being stressed. I know you want to justify why you don't remember someone's name and you think you want to be perfect and you want to but that's just not something to say and I can I feel for those candidates cuz I know like they they want to prove that they are good candidates and that they want to justify but sometimes just apologize, don't justify, don't justify it is like false than

The Industry of UX LLC 29:41

anything. Just say that you don't remember the name. Yeah, it will be some such a better, such a better answer. So we have two more. 10 having too much experience can work against you. So this is the one that I wanted to ask you exactly. More information. More details about because I feel that I've been in this position where I got a lot of experience. At one point when I was applying, and I was turned away because of that,

Morgane Peng 30:10

I think No, I can see both sides of the equation. So obviously, when you apply, you'll be like, I can do so much. And I've proven that I've done that before. So why aren't they considering me? On the other side of the table, now that I have to consider that as well, my thinking is a bit different. Because I'd be more like, would that person get bored? Because they've done it already? And when they start asking for more things, I mean, I need someone for that specific job. And if after two months, they're or they're already bought, or do they want to do something else. I mean, I'd rather work with someone who has less experience, but have this can do attitude and wants to do it. I mean, we want to get, you know, their hands dirty on something, rather than having someone who maybe will get super bored and leave us after five months. I hope that makes sense.

The Industry of UX LLC 31:07

It makes total sense. That's exactly the way I will look at it. If for instance, if I have a, say a mid level designer position open. So that's anywhere between two years of experience to I don't know, five years of experience, depending on how that worked, how that worked out in your background. But then I see someone that has 10 years of experience apply for this position that feels way overqualified for that. And you're totally right, they will be given tasks that they have pretty much mastered. And it will be a very repetitive thing for them, they will get bored, they will want more opportunities. But in this position, there's no there's nothing more that I can offer other than that, and then they will end up leaving or being very unhappy. And it will force me to either promote them early, but then that's not exactly what the type of position that I needed, right? Or then leaving and then starting the hiring process all over again. So that that is exactly why I will be I wouldn't be excited about over hiring over qualified candidate. Absolutely.

Morgane Peng 32:28

Indeed, when you're a hiring manager and a manager, you also have to, I mean, obviously, good companies, you have to think ahead of career path, and what people are going to do on the long term. So that's all the things you have to consider when you're doing the interview process is not just for day one, the tasks they have. It's also in the medium, like medium long term, hopefully.

The Industry of UX LLC 32:53

Exactly. Last one, I can't believe we were able to cover them all. But last one, number 11. Every org has dysfunctional teams. Absolutely. Absolutely they do.

Morgane Peng 33:07

I think that's the perfect one to finish the list, right? This one is fabulous. Again, it goes with the you know, sometimes when you kind of think a company as a single entity, and you think that everything is synchronized align, and a one is the same in that company? Well, no, because people are different. And management is difficult. There's a lot of complain, you know, of people who are ICS individual contributors who are promoted managers, they maybe don't have support, or maybe they actually they don't like to be managers. And they'd rather be ICS. But they could have been forced to do that. And so they don't really like doing it. And then you have completely kind of toxic teams, because, you know, like there's like a mixmatch between the different people in the team. I mean, people, they're not just a mathematic formula, right, it's hard to get a well rounded, good interacting team. So that's why when sometimes people they're all about names, they kind of let's say you want absolutely to work at Google, and you're like, Okay, it's Google, it's fine. Whereas actually in reality, maybe that team is not fine and by us so kind of blinded by the name that you forgot to check the team and at the end of the day, and that's why I say a lot to graduate students, although I say I know it's a hard thing to hear and to follow. And I know I'm gonna say it but I'm not even sure myself how I would have taken this advice back then. But um, teams matter more than names because especially when you're going to first start your job, is it really worth getting you know disgusted or You know, starting with a toxic environment just to get a name on your CV is really worth it. And even more than that, sometimes also the industry matters. And for that I have actually a personal story to tell is when I was doing my internship, I did an internship with a friend. And we kind of ended up in two different teams. And that was completely random. Honestly, I could have, if that team was accepting me, I would have gone there Same for my friends. But there were two different businesses. And so at the end of our internship, one was kind of thriving, which I was lucky was mine. And her was really kind of a bear in a bear market. So it really went bad. And I think her manager left I mean, yeah, a lot of bad things happen. And I was like, Whoa, it could have been me. Because again, I didn't check at all, like the team environment, and they don't check the context. And those are the things if you can actually maybe plan a little bit ahead or try to have some, you know, drive on where you want to be. That will really make I would say that will save you from maybe having those bad experiences.

The Industry of UX LLC 36:13

Yeah. How do you recommend people during the let's assume that they do their research, but during the interview process, how would you recommend that they try to understand the team dynamic better, so they can make a better decision? If they're given an offer?

Morgane Peng 36:31

There's one that seems obvious to me now. But for some reason, there wasn't before. Actually, two ways to find out, I think, the first one, you can simply ask, how long have you been in the team, if everyone you meet has been in the team for last six months, or maybe it's like a new team. So in that case, okay. But if it was supposed to be a team that was like, established and stuff like that, so if anyone has been like to stay for six months, there must be something, that means the team is not able to keep its members. And that, for me is a red flag. Also, if you want to try to feel if the team is crazy, if while you can do is you can actually mention the people you've met before and see the reaction? Because it's an especially I guess, I mean, I guess some people are good at poker face. But honestly, I've seen in conferences, when people present together, but they don't like each other. You can feel it, you can see it. Yeah, I've seen that during talks in conferences. So and that was public in like in front of so many people. So it's just like in a one to one interview. And you ask the questions, kind of, you know, follow up questions. So just trying to understand more about the context, you can get a sense of how the this team walks in purse, I think

The Industry of UX LLC 37:52

there is a line that ties together all of these 11 points that you made. I think there is this underlying theme, that this is an interview process, both for the company to understand if you're a good fit, but for you to understand if the company is a good fit. It's a two way process. And it should be approached that way it should be approached as a collaboration, as in, we are partnering right now to see if we are going to be potentially good partners moving forward. And I say partners in with air quotes, because it's not necessarily a partnership is in business partnership, but it's still somewhat a collaboration, right? So it's the start of a relationship. So you want to make sure that there is a good fit on both sides. And it's not a one sided relationship, because if that happens, it's going to be ugly, it's going to be short term, and nobody, like someone is going to end up this beings appointed. So I think that that's the kind of the theme that I can see. It's not made out in the point. It's not that it's not point 12. But I see that you mentioned it every once in a while that you know, it has to be a back and forth.

Morgane Peng 39:00

Yes, especially as a candidate. Again, I'm not saying that you should wait to find that perfect team was the perfect setup was the perfect, I don't know, tools, methods, it doesn't exist. But you need to be aware of where you're going. And you need to constant I mean, you could say that actually, you don't care being in a team that hates each other, you know, that could be a thing, or maybe like you need to get some experience, you know, you have to get a job right now and you need to get up start kind of gathering this experience. Perfect, but at least you'll note the same way. If you go somewhere and there's no career path, there's no training opportunities, then it's better to kind of know that before so you won't be disappointed later on. And that's all those little things that sometimes if you note that's better, because at least you know where you're going into. Whereas if you discover it or if maybe the team has over sold that to you as the same thing. There's kind of this Kind of is that last person are they honest thing with with me. It's kind of the same point but reverse.

The Industry of UX LLC 40:09

I hope you enjoyed the episode. If you're interested in any of the resources we mentioned, all the links are on the episode page of our website, theindustryofux.com. Thanks to Morgane for coming on the show. Thanks to Julien at Podcast Edition for the audio engineering work. If you have any feedback about the episode, or the show, let us know by tweeting @IndustryUX. If you really want to help or say thank you from the bottom of your heart, please leave a five star rating and review on Apple podcasts. It helps us climb the charts and bring the show to a bigger audience. Last, but not least, thanks for listening, and I'm looking forward to talking to you next week.