Category: hiring-a-designer

Hiring for Design Part 5: Scaling your Design Team

This post is by Kate McGinn from Seedcamp

By Andy BuddDesigner and Expert in Residence at Seedcamp

As startups raise funding and grow their customer base, the demands placed on the engineering teams tend to scale quite rapidly. This is one of the reasons you need a solid CTO from the onset. Not only to get your product off the ground, but also to manage the complexity that comes from hiring and managing a large number of engineers. 

On the design side of things, the received wisdom is that you need one designer to service five or six engineers. As such, design tends to scale slightly later than engineering and at a slower rate. That being said, there are plenty of startups out there with a 20-person engineering team, just barely getting by on two or three designers. So once companies have scaled their engineering teams, their attention generally turns to their design and product functions.

One of the challenges of hiring designers is that there are a lot fewer of them out there, so good designers are much harder to find. And it’s especially the case if you’re not that well connected in the design space. This is one reason why your first design hire is key

Your Founding Design is your Best Hiring Asset

A good founding designer will have strong connections within the design community, so when it comes time to scale, they’ll already have a line of potential talent. These may be people they already know and have worked with, or (Read more...)

Hiring for Design Part 3: Interviewing Your First Designer

This post is by Kate McGinn from Seedcamp

By Andy BuddDesigner and Expert in Residence at Seedcamp

So far in this series we’ve discussed why a good designer should be one of your first hires, and how to go about sourcing potential candidates. In this article we’re going to be looking at how to judge which applicants might be a good fit.  The most logical place to start is with the application itself.

What Does Their CV Say About Them?

A typical application includes a cover letter explaining why the applicant thinks they’re suitable for the role, a link to a portfolio outlining their work, and some sort of CV. When hiring designers, the portfolio tends to be the main point of focus, followed by the cover letter. CVs tend to be used as a tool to whittle down a large number of candidates into a more manageable pool. As such most hiring managers tend to give them a cursory glance at best, in order to spot trends and identify red flags. However there are some things I look out for.

When it comes to designers CVs I’m perfectly happy with something minimal and text based. However, if the applicant has decided to “design” their CV, I’m looking for a clean layout with good information hierarchy and a readable font. There have been a few occasions where a CV was so well designed that it immediately went on the top of the “Interested” pile, but that’s kind of rare. It’s more common to come across badly (Read more...)

Hiring for Design Part 1: Hiring Your First Designer

This post is by Kate McGinn from Seedcamp

By Andy BuddDesigner and Expert in Residence at Seedcamp

Hiring your first designer can be tricky, especially if you don’t come from a design background. You’ll struggle to know what to look for, where to look, and how to attract the right talent. As a result, a lot of early stage start-ups end up hiring underpowered designers that are little more than stylists; folks who are good at mimicking the latest trends, but lack the strategic depth to drive the product forward.

As a start-up advisor, one of my most common requests is to help founders hire their first designer. I see this a little like a first time car buyer asking an experienced motorist to accompany them to the car dealership in order to avoid making any obvious mistakes and buying a lemon. Fortunately most start-ups make the same mistakes when it comes to hiring designers, so this article is intended to help steer you in the right direction.

What Does Your Job Ad Say About You?

Founders often approach me when they’re already a few months into their search and find they aren’t getting the quality or volume of applicants they’d expected. They found it easy hiring their first few developers, but designers are proving a lot more tricky. 

I’ll usually start by taking a quick look at their job ad. Now it’s my belief that talent is rare, but mediocre companies are plentiful. As such, your job ad is essentially a sales pitch, explaining why (Read more...)

Hiring for Design Part 1: Why A Good Designer Should be One of Your First Hires

This post is by Kate McGinn from Seedcamp

By Andy Budd, Designer and Expert in Residence at Seedcamp

For early stage start-ups, your first design hire is a super critical role. Not least because the product decisions you make at this stage will have long lasting effects which can be difficult to unpick later. So hiring somebody who has experience designing successful products is a sensible early investment. 

How Designers Drive Acquisition

On a very basic level, designers are responsible for shaping the part of your product that customers see and interact with. As such they’ll be responsible for communicating what the product is, what it does and why your customers should care. If your visitors understand the value proposition there’s a good chance they’ll take your new product for a spin. If they don’t, getting folks to sign up becomes an uphill struggle.  

Customer acquisition is probably the biggest challenge for early start-ups and can be the difference between raising that next round of funding or hitting a dead end. To get over this hump, founders will often spend a tonne of money driving traffic to a poorly performing site. While this brute force approach can work, it has a really negative effect on your cost of acquisition. It’s worth noting that cost of acquisition is something potential funders will be looking at closely, so making sure your marketing site is as effective as possible should be a no brainer. 

As your approach to customer acquisition matures you’ll start doing some sort of funnel analysis. Examining (Read more...)