UX managers and jobs...what to look for

4 Mar 2012 - 10:08pm
2 years ago
3 replies
338 reads
AW
2011

Hi

I've worked in the UX field for several years, working in a range of skills from usability testing to user research to wireframing. I'm not nitpicky on the job title - I consider all of these "UX" related jobs. What I have found in several jobs is that the manager of the team (or sometimes just me) is not very familiar with HCI, usability, information architecture, etc..."familiar" in the sense that they have done this type of work and are now managing people who are have those types of jobs. Not having a true UX manager has had the effect of my learning about design and how to make good UX decisions through somewhat painful processes of trial and error. Each time, it's like I'm starting over again and again.

So, I'm wondering if having a manager who's been there/done that already is even important at -- and if so (or not) what types of questions can I ask to help me figure out if this is the type of place or manager where I can learn and grow, or if I'm just back to starting out again? 

 

Thanks

Comments

8 Mar 2012 - 12:53pm
bjminihan
2010

I think the best question to ask is "Why are you hiring a [UX designer/someone like me]?".

If the answer is "I heard we need one, and want you to tell me", then you're starting over.

If the answer is "I've had this capability (did it myself, had good people) in the past, and want this team/project to benefit from the experience"

Then you might have someone who understands what you do.

2 Apr 2012 - 9:36pm
Jeremy Kriegel
2009

You could also ask about opportunities to grow your skills. If the person mentions mentorship, it opens the door for you to ask about their experience.

2 Apr 2012 - 10:55pm
dmitryn
2004

"So, I'm wondering if having a manager who's been there/done that already is even important."

From personal experience, yes, it's hugely important, for a variety of reasons - a manager who has a UX background is more likely to provide relevant feedback, understand what your career development needs are, and help you take the next step in your career.

"what types of questions can I ask to help me figure out if this is the type of place or manager where I can learn and grow?"

In addition to asking the right questions, in this day and age, you really should be looking up the hiring manager on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. before the interview, to get a sense of their background and personality. If they are not on these networks and the Google search brings up no results, that speaks volumes, too.

Dmitry

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