UX Design

Notes: The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired by Lou Adler

I recently went through the terrifying experience of the job hunt. On top of that, I was also interviewing design candidates for my company.

To prepare for the hiring process as a candidate and interviewer, I read The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired by Lou Adler.


  1. If you’re a candidate, recognize that most companies don’t do the hiring process right

  2. If you don’t get the job, it’s because you expected the process to work properly. The process doesn’t. 

  3. Play the hiring game to win. 

  4. Taking a job out of desperation — or the one offering the most money — should be at the bottom of your list.

  5. Before you ever accept another job, ask yourself: Forget the $$$, is this a job I want? If not, you’ll be disappointed by the job. Aim for career growth rather than money. 

  6. Consider the long-term opportunity more important the the short-term factors when deciding to accept an offer or not. 

  7. Ask about Year 1 and Beyond before you ask about Day 1

  8. Why is this important?

    • Determine your initial interest in a new job opportunity. 

    • Shows that you won’t seem like you’re desperate → important from a negotiating standpoint

    • You’ll seem like a logical, career-oriented person 

    • It actually might be a great job

    • If it’s not a good job, you’ll be able to build out your network

  9. Continue the conversation even if the job doesn’t sound perfect but the company is doing some interesting things. 

  10. The job can be modified to better suit a strong person’s interests and abilities, or there might be something else available. 

  11. Provide detailed, specific examples of accomplishments demonstrating strengths

  12. Provide detailed, specific examples of weaknesses

  13. Work on networking rather than applying.

  14. At the end of the interview, say how you’re interested in the position and would like to know next steps

  15. At the end of the interview, ask if the person might be a good fit

Do homework on the company

  • What is the company’s business model?

  • What are the company’s product lines?

  • What’s the company’s financial standing?

  • What’s the company’s standing in the industry?

How to map success to hiring formula

  1. Prepare a paragraph over the projects you worked on:

    • What were the dates?

    • What was the company?

    • What was the specific role? 

    • How was it assigned?

  2. Example

    • I led a small technical team in 2009 consisting of manufacturing, engineering and accounting to overcome some complex manufacturing challenges when launching a new project that saved the company over $1 million in start-up costs.

Questions to ask the recruiter

  1. Ask about Year 1 and Beyond Criteria before you ask about Day 1

    • “Where do you see this team in a year?”

    • “What is this team going to look like in a year? I am looking for a place where I can contribute and grow, make an impact beyond the first year.”

    • “What’s the scope of the team right now versus going forward - 1 year from now, 2 years for now?”

  2. Ask about the job, the challenges, why is the job open, how the job relates to the important company project or the company’s mission. 

  • “Tell me about the role.”

  • “What are the challenges of the role?”

  • “What’s the biggest problem that you need solved?”

  • “Why is the job open?”

  • “How does the job relate to the company’s mission?”

  • ‘What is the timeline for this interview process?”

  • “How will performance be measured?”

  • “What’s a typical problem a designer at X company is likely to face?”

  • “What are the key deliverables needed for this role?”

  • “What does someone in this role need to accomplish to meet the performance objectives of this position?”

  • “Could you give me a quick overview of the job?”

  • “Can you tell me about the job expectations?”

Questions to ask Hiring Manager

Ask about performance expectations for the job

  • “What does success look like for this team?”

  • “What does success look like in this role?”

  • “Would you mind telling me the challenges in the job?”

  • “What is your leadership style?”

  • “What’s the biggest problem that you need solved?”

  • “The recruiter said that X was important, but the job description said Y. It would help if you could clarify this.”

  • “Can you rephrase the question? so I can give you a more focused answer”

  • As a candidate, your first job is not to get an offer. 

  • As a candidate, your first job is to get invited back for another round of interviews

  • Achiever pattern: say that you’ve been on multi-functional teams. 

How to answer questions with the SMART Framework

  • Specific Problem: What was the specific problem?

  • Metrics: What did you do to measure the impact?

  • Actions: What did you do?

  • Result: What was the result?

  • Timeframe: When did the project happen?

  • Environment: What was the pace? What was it like in terms of the people involved?