Social Hiring the UX Intern - my learnings

I know..I know.  I've been remiss in keeping everyone up to date on the hiring process.  The reality is that we were swamped with great resumes and interested individuals.  It was really hard to keep up and as such, I've learned quite a bit about social hiring.  So the good news.... I'm excited as I'm pretty close to hiring someone! 

As well, I thought that I'd share some of my first thoughts and earnings.  While not really scientific or complete, have a look and feel free to comment.

  1. You have to be true to word and transparent in your actions:   This was my first learning and I have to thank some of the UXIrregulars for their guidance.... especially Audrey and Kerri.  It was important to make sure we were true to the UX community and to look for someone that they can connect with that had the passion for UX.
  2. If you make a promise... you have to keep it: This was the time consumer for me.  While I learned so much and am excited about the future for Canadian UX, especially given the students I've took a lot of time.  I interviewed personally just over 30 people, had the team interview about 10 and went over hundreds of resumes.   It was worth it, yet the unplanned time really posed an unexpected challenge.  I really hope that I didn't miss anyone as I tried to keep true to my promise.
  3. While everyone was social... they all weren't all public:   This one surprised me. I would have thought many more students would have wanted to share their story.    As I have to respect each person privacy, I didn't get the opportunity to post all the candidates on the blog.  I found that their was quite a few people that like the open and social aspect....yet didn't want to share their stories in the public. 
  4. Community, Community and more community: Hiring someone that is new to the industry in such a public fashion can not or should not be done without community support.  I can't believe the support I've received, guidance and direction from the community.  I really do want to make sure we really are changing the way Microsoft is connecting with the UX community. I definitely owe a few beers to many people and I know that they will make the intern feel at home.
  5. Hiring someone for this role right out of school is HARD!: UX is a special set of skills that attracts only a select few.  They are storytellers, artists, futurist, and massively creative.  They can see a big picture and share that with other in a way us common folk can understand, touch and feel... just what could be.  Hiring someone without some level oa a foundation of experiences was challenging.
  6. People have a hard time talking about themselves: Many individuals were good at saying what they did, how they did it and show off what they did.... but they weren't willing to put themselves in a position of why they were the best person for the role, what they bring, why they are excited....basically they did their best to avoid talking about themselves.
  7. Intern is a good start, yet someone with great industry experience would help: I've received great feedback that hiring an intern and having them learn and share openly with the community is a great approach and supported by the community.... yet I've learned from my conversations... it really is a peer environment and the community looks to each other for learning.  If I'm going to stay true to my commitment to the community, I reallly think we need to give more back.  Having a few drinks with David just before Xmas, I shared my thoughts with him.  Our conversation really made it clear to me. We really should be giving more back to the community in various ways.  If we really care about UX in Canada, I have to invest in someone with great industry expereinces that can share the stories based their learning with their peers and broad community. 

This is  really a cool journey and I have so many people to thank.  I think this last few months have been one of the most memorable times, with great conversation, met many smart people, had some strong learnings and this just the start.  I'm proud to be a Canadian in the IT profession and I can't wait to see what the future brings.   Hey as I always say, life conspires to help you.... you just have to pay attention and then DO something. 

My Action Items:

  • Convince my Boss and Corp that we need another position in Canada.
  • Identify other areas were we can support the community
  • Buy some beers for new friends!

take care,