Clear Point Helps Big Data Firm With Their First UX Hire

Julien Bec is a product manager with ActiveViam, where he helps the company develop its suite of big data products, with a focus on their front end client-facing portal.

As ActiveViam expanded its customer base from financial firms into other industries such as supply chain management and e-commerce, they realized they needed to upgrade the front end experience of their software.

“We really had to have a sleeker, more intuitive user interface to reach those markets,” Bec said.

This was particularly important as ActiveViam migrated its software from a hosted solution to a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) product, where customers expect an easy-to-use product that doesn’t require any in-house IT support.

“Either it works or it doesn’t work,” Bec said, explaining the typical SaaS customer mentality. “If it doesn’t work, then they don’t come back.”

Bec led a complete upgrade of their user interface but realized that the company needed to bring a full-time user experience professional onto their staff for further improvements.

To help with his search, Bec contacted Clear Point, where he was impressed with the insights offered by Carol Szatkowski and her team.

“I selected Clear Point because I had a very good feeling with Carol,” Bec remembered. “She was listening to what I was saying and offering information that was relevant to my questions.”

At the same time, though, Bec knew he needed an independent third party to help him determine the best fit for his UX needs. Szatkowski recommended independent consultant Paul Kouyoumjian to help ActiveViam vet the candidates that Clear Point provided.

To help set the process on track, Kouyoumjian worked with Bec to determine the top three priorities for the new role. This was a particularly important step because Bec was hiring the first UX role for his firm.

“A lot of times people feel that their first hire is the wrong hire because they don’t really know what they are doing,” Kouyoumjian said. “So when we first spoke, I asked Julien about the things that people tend to underemphasize to help clarify his thinking.”

Moving forward, Bec, Szatkowski, and Kouyoumjian developed a process that worked for all parties: Clear Point would provide candidates to Bec, who would conduct an initial interview. He would then work with Kouyoumjian to further screen the next round of candidates.

While Bec would look for the right cultural fit for ActiveViam, Kouyoumjian could focus on vetting the candidate’s technical skills.

They interviewed three candidates using this method, followed by an hour-long conversation between Bec and Kouyoumjian after each interview, where they reviewed each candidate based on their key criteria.

“This process really reduced the risk of hiring the wrong person,” Kouyoumjian said.

Ultimately, Bec invited a single candidate for a final in-person interview, where they could meet the company founders and see the office firsthand. He knew it was a perfect match as soon as the candidate visited the office.

“He was acting like a teacher, clearly explaining everything, being very careful to listen to us,” Bec said. “In the end, that’s why we went with him.”

Bec found the experience of working with Kouyoumjian invaluable as he sorted through candidates, many of whom had stellar resumes and work experience. Though some recruiters told Bec that the hiring process was “common sense,” Bec felt that he greatly benefited from an expert approach.

“Working with Paul was very useful for me,” Bec said. “It was reassuring. I’m not a UX expert, I shouldn’t be the one to assess their UX skills. I would definitely recommend this process to anyone without UX knowledge.”

Ultimately, Bec was glad to have chosen Clear Point to help him through his first UX hire.

“Going through Carol gave me that assurance that the candidates were knowledgeable in UX,” he said. “That’s the benefit of going through Clear Point to find a UX designer rather than finding a UX designer myself.”

 

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