Oct 17, 2023

5 Traits Managers Are Looking For in a Design Candidate

Uncover the top traits managers seek in product design candidates. Dive into insights from Femke's extensive design career and elevate your potential in the competitive design landscape.

Femke stands as a beacon in the product design landscape. Renowned for her enlightening content on her YouTube channel, "Femke Design", she's helped shape countless design careers through her valuable insights and practical advice.
Hailing from the Netherlands and with a rich career tapestry that weaves through global design hubs like Amsterdam and London, Femke exemplifies the vibrancy and versatility of contemporary design. Her experiences, spanning cultures and industries, offer a unique lens into what's truly sought after in the design field today.
In this exploration, we delve into the core traits identified by Femke. These are the attributes that managers and industry leaders are actively looking for in prospective design candidates.

5 Traits Managers Are Looking for In a Design Candidate

In the rapidly-evolving world of product design, standing out amidst a sea of talented designers can be a challenge. While possessing core design skills is essential, understanding the intricacies of what industry leaders and managers seek in potential candidates can set one apart. Femke offers unique insights into this very aspect. 
Drawing from her extensive experience and the wealth of knowledge she has garnered, Femke underscores the importance of both hard and soft skills. Let's delve into the invaluable lessons and insights she has shared and understand the significance of honing these traits for a thriving design career.
1. Go deep in your answers since the first call
During Femke's podcast episodes, she has often mentioned how first impressions are paramount. In the world of product design, where communication is key, diving deep into responses during initial interactions can set a strong foundation. It showcases not just your design knowledge but a reflection of your design life, the intricate balance of profession and passion. It's essential to provide context, articulate potential implications, and draw parallels from past experiences or learnings.
2. Candidates who did their research on the company
A common sentiment echoed across Femke's YouTube channel and podcast is the value of preparation. It's not just about knowing UX design basics or the latest design systems but understanding the company you're applying to. Familiarizing oneself with the design team's past projects, any relevant case studies, or even the company's presence in regions (be it their headquarters in Amsterdam or a branch in London) is critical. This deep dive demonstrates genuine interest and can set you apart in a sea of applicants.
3. Prepare for talking about specific experience and level of impact you’ve had in past jobs
In a design job, aesthetics and functionality must align. But beyond this, managers want to gauge the tangible impact of your contributions. Did your iOS app redesign lead to increased user engagement? How did your design choices impact the user experience at Uber or Wealthsimple? Delving into specifics, such as challenges faced, solutions crafted, and metrics improved, reflects both depth and breadth of your design career.
4. Prepare questions about the company and role
During one of Femke's sessions in the Netherlands, she highlighted the importance of being inquisitive. Preparing questions isn't just a formality. It showcases an applicant's eagerness to understand the company's ethos, the design team's dynamics, and potential future challenges. A potential senior product designer might ask about the design systems in place, or how feedback is incorporated from different teams. It's this proactive approach that can underscore one's suitability for the role.
5. Talk about your level of craft and the impact of your projects
In the realm of freelancing, where Femke made significant strides, the emphasis isn't just on completing projects but mastering the craft. In any design job, from junior roles to senior product designer positions, the level of craftsmanship is a clear differentiator. It's essential to articulate how meticulous design choices, be it in UX design or broader product design frameworks, led to successes in past projects, whether with startups or established firms like Gusto.

Develop Your Product Design Skills with Maven

Drawing inspiration and invaluable learnings from Femke's journey can undoubtedly catalyze one's growth in the design domain. But for those looking to delve deeper and hone their design thinking skills, Maven offers a unique opportunity.
Femke, with her unparalleled expertise spanning various facets of design – from her early days freelancing in Canada to being part of a robust design team in Amsterdam – has curated a comprehensive course on Maven. Titled "Product Strategy for Designers," this course promises to bridge the knowledge gap many face in this ever-evolving field.

Why Choose Maven? 

It's not just about learning from experts like Femke. Maven's platform provides a holistic approach to education, ensuring theoretical knowledge is seamlessly blended with practical applications. The curated courses, spanning topics from UX design nuances to the intricacies of design systems, are meticulously crafted, offering learners a chance to benefit from industry stalwarts' real-world experiences.
Also, in the digital age, where the design landscape is continually shifting, Maven's courses like "Design Thinking for Product Managers" and "Product Management in 2023: An In-Depth Guide" ensure learners remain at the forefront of innovation. By integrating insights from global hubs of design, be it the bustling streets of London or the creative alleys of the Netherlands, Maven's offerings resonate with a global audience, preparing them for design careers that transcend boundaries.
Femke's insights provide an invaluable roadmap for aspiring designers. And for those eager to elevate their skills, Maven's courses, especially "Product Strategy for Designers by Femke," offer an unmatched learning experience.
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