October 17, 2023

What's on a top product designer's checklist when scouting organisations? Here are the 5 non-negotiables.

Most often that not, early-stage founders try to understand who could be the best product designer for them. 

But I help startups with hiring, and I know exactly the questions designers ask about companies. 

Here’s a cheat sheet of what product designer look for when joining your orgs (data from speaking with 100+ product designers):

  1. One more designer with similar or more experience. Designer/ developer ratio in startups is 1/12. They need company to brainstorm, level up, etc. It makes them feel safe.

  2. They see if the product actually cares about design. If the team’s nerve focuses more on tech than design, product designers see it as an indication of “non empathetic towards users”. And that’s fair as well. I see a lot of designers back out after the last round of interviews with the founders. Now, you know why? ;)

  3. They check if the startups spend on necessary and complementary tools to aid the designer. This tell them if you actually care about the design process. No one cares about “free food”. 

  4. Can’t lie - most designers want remote jobs. They say they’re okay with hybrid as well. But for most of them remote is what’s enticing. 
  1. If the product designers are opting for an early-stage startup, they’re already taking a huge risk. For that, they want to work closely with the founders to learn more about business. I’ve seen this as a usual trend. 

Bonus time: If you’re low on funds and not speaking to expensive designers, don’t make that mistake. Most designers are even willing to pay cut, if the startup is exciting to them, and they see a long-term vision. 

Be ready to shell out some ESOPs from the get go in this case. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this - will be back with more such insights.