My Role
Lead UX Designer & Hiring Manager
The Key Skills
Process Design, Recruiting, Leadership, Hiring, Interviewing
2018 - Presen
The Background
I've always enjoyed the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process. Even as new grad, I spent a lot of my time helping recruit for Cisco Engineering, interviewing and mentoring summer interns (I had 7 at one time one summer), and just involved with growing others. While that was a big deal when you're a year or two post graduation, that's just a small stepping stone to actually hiring new members as the team leader.
Let's talk designers. I had been in role about 6 months and successfully launched the first Leader Learning Lab. The impact of what I could bring, especially as a designer, was quickly evident and with that success the team grew. I was tasked with hiring a new junior designer from a non-design background to help with designing these labs. The goal was to see if we could re-skill talent, and success was determined with getting more headcount. The team continued to grow, and I brought on 2 more designers.
Fast forward to the 2020, when the world was turned upside down with the covid-19 pandemic and the landscape began to shift quickly. Now come 2021 and the onset of the Great Resignation, something that everyone is dealing with. As a leader and mentor, I will always standby what's best for them first and I helped them get to where they wanted to go with their careers.
As we began to look for replacements, my role shifted from mentor to hiring manager. I was now not only tasked with interviews but also reviewing resumes, making sure candidates aligned to the skills we needed, running the team's hiring process and learning the ins and outs of the entire recruiting process. In parallel, our consultant team was also growing, they play a similar role to product managers or owners. I worked closely with the lead consultant in making sure we were accounting for the relationships our teams would have and that all 4 of our new team members would be a good fit. 
Lessons Learned
I think what I learned the most about this is that there's a whole lot more that goes into this. When you are simply just interviewing, you don't see the behind the scenes things. The hiring process & plan, the budget discussions, the losing of candidates to other offers, and even the what a recruiter vs hiring manager does.
As for the relationship between the recruiter and the hiring manager, at least here at Cisco and during this incredible Great Resignation or Great Reshuffle, hiring talent gives me a new found sense of understanding and empathy. We had to step in to help screen resumes just simply cause of the high load our recruiters have. I've read through over 200 resumes and so many portfolios I've lost track. Basically, be nice to your recruiter and if you don't have a technical recruiter, you need to help them. They only know what to look for based on what you tell them.

The Process Design
Having gone through this several times, the process in which each of our designers was different. The first two designers we hired mostly based on how we approached hiring for non-designer roles and stuck to mostly behavioral interviews. One wasn't quite a fit, so we begin to adjust our process. Each test, showed us new problems to fix, and that's what we did.

UX Design Academy
For one of the other designers, we were working on a re-skilling and internal movement effort within our organization and since we fell a little flat on another hire, we adjusted our process. I designed something we called the "UX Design Academy" and you can see that incorporated a shadowing and stretch assignment process to help us hopefully find a great candidate to join us.
As you can see we had 13 shadowers, employees in our P&C (HR) organization sign up to learn more about UX design. Once they completed the shadowing portion, they were given a few stretch assignments options to choose from if they wanted to. This contained two types of assignments, one if they simply wanted a development opportunity and the other if they wanted to see if being a designer was something they wanted to do. This was designed with intention, and I created the project plans in Asana to help them be as successful as possible. From the 3 who signed up for stretch assignments, we ended up hiring one of them as a full time designer.

Designer Hiring Plan
While the UX Academy was successful, we were constrained to only finding a candidate within our organization, so the problem was very different than our ability to hire both external and internal candidates. We learned from our first external hire, that we got lucky, so I went off and researched all the amazing ways product design teams hire designers. We also had a new mandatory interviewer training to help us eliminate bias. Using both of these, I created our new hiring process and plan as you can see below.
This was the initial process that went forward with, however, we've kept things fluid and adjusted as we went along. I conducted the offline portfolio reviews and also going through all the resumes alongside the recruiter. The first stop was an interview with our director and he focused on the behavioral interview (you can see some of it below). Then we did a panel portfolio review were we had our candidates share 1-2 projects and the instructions were sent over ahead of time. 
For the 60-min portfolio review, we’d love for you to walk us through projects or examples that show artifacts from your process, workflows, dig deep into how you addressed challenges, worked with others, and incorporated user feedback. This can be done however and with whatever you are most comfortable with. The panel will ask questions throughout and will dedicate some time at the end for you to ask us questions.
Partly for my own sake and to help put the training into action, I created in Miro, worksheets for each candidate that all interviewers could fill out. You see it above, and in Miro, I included their resumes and portfolio links for easy access everyone.
The worksheet worked great, and will continue to tweak this as I go.
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