I often field questions from designers who are working through professional dilemma’s that don’t fit nicely into a textbook. Many have volunteered to open our conversations up to the public. Identifying information was removed for specific individuals or companies.
Designer I have a final onsite interview with the VP of Product, Engineering, and Design at a startup for 1 hour. He would like to know how I collaborate and communicate with the team. Would you happen to have any good questions to ask him, questions he may ask me, and any knowledge on how a Product Designer collaborates with Engineering and Product Managers? I have some experience I can talk about from my current employer now, but any extra help would be much appreciated.
Stock photo, but we've all been sketching on this board before. source: adobe.com
Chris Every job is slightly different depending on the organization — even if the titles are familiar. However, in this instance Product Designer is a term that has had a fair amount of consolidation around it in recent years.
The key for a Product Designer is to understand how your design decisions impact the business and fight for solutions that balance the needs of the user and the company. These are not easy roles, and your success will be determined by how much control you have over those decisions.
Here are a few questions that you can use to specifically probe in the area of decision making:
- How does the team currently make these decisions?
- What metrics have been used as positive indicators in the past?
- Is there a documented process established or would you be creating one (in the instance of a new position or product)?
If possible, dig in around how the team ran in the past and ask what conditions were present when the team was producing its best work and what was going on when it seems out of sync. If you are replacing someone who is still with the company, having a conversation with them about the role would be ideal. This approach allows you to establish some guardrails around performance while getting a sense of how the company views the team as a whole.
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