Or why attending Boston CHI Meeting can be so darn interesting

UX designers are more in-demand than ever and not just for the software industry, but for all industries. Designers in Seattle are being picked up faster than you can throw a fish at Pike Place Market. Which brings with it a very real struggle – Why is Hiring Great UX Professionals So Damn Challenging?

On Jan 17th, several of us ClearPointers attended the Boston CHI (Computer Human Interaction) meeting at VistaPrint in Waltham, MA. Featured speaker Jared Spool, Co-CEO of Center Centre and founder of UIE (User Interface Engineering) gave a presentation on: “Why is Hiring Great UX Professionals So Damn Challenging.” Given that we have a more than passing interest in the subject matter and an affinity with the sentiment, we were excited to attend and eager to hear his thoughts.

Can’t say this enough: Jared Spool, who has been active in the software industry since the 1970’s, has made a tremendous impact on the growth of User Experiencehelping the field evolve into a legitimate and full-fledged, design-based profession. This was the twelfth time in a row that internet sensation and teen heart throb, Jared has spoken at the CHI January Meeting. He is a phenomenal storyteller and presenter; somehow weaving together: the coastal town of Benecia California, water meters,and payment processing software into a tale of how great design is always a competitive advantage.

Using his own experiences with the US Digital Service in 2015, Jared spoke about some about challenges with UX recruiting. It may sometimes seem that the process itself can be self-sabotaging, designed primarily to eliminate candidates rather than hire them… Generic ads, undefined jobs, unpreparedness, cultural fit, silly requirements – they can all add to the mess. But hiring is a process and processes can be redesigned.  

The talk was well-attended and well-enjoyed by the audience. Imagine crossing Edward Tufte with Patton Oswalt to get a sense of his delivery. His insights about recruiting practices were helpful and reminiscent of HR guru Lou Adler’s performance-based methodology from the 1990’s. If you do go see this talk note that it is more focused on hiring, not job-seeking.

Another thing: If you are looking for work, or looking to hire, make it a point to attend the monthly meeting that organizations like CHI or UXPA organize! The events are typically free and held at a corporate office. You get to listen to interesting speakers, eat pizza and network with a bunch of like-minded professionals. I know, it’s hard to leave the house when it’s dark out, or take the later train, but do it. It’s worth it.

Many thanks to Jared, CHI, ACM, Vistaprint, Huawei, Bentley and Pizzeria Regina for the great evening!

And of course, if you find yourself struggling with recruiting UX, we’re here to help.

– Rob Fitzgibbon, CPC Guest Blogger