Good vs bad recruiters | Ep. 3
In the third episode of our series on candidate experiences with recruiters, we sat down with Karl Koch. Karl is a Product Designer and Design Systems Lead at Moneybox.
Watch the video below to discover Karl’s top tips for budding Product Designers, plus his best (and worst) experiences with recruiters!
If you’re more of a reader, scroll down and read the interview below.
Q: What's your favourite thing about working as a Product Designer?
Karl: I think the best thing about being a Product Designer and especially being a Design Systems Lead on top of that is that I get to get into the weeds of the problem. So rather than just being kind of surface level, I get to really think about what our customers need - what they want, or maybe what they don't even know they want. And then try to come to the best way of solving that problem.
Q: What advice would you give to someone looking for a Product Design role?
Karl: The best piece of advice I could give you is to be really honest about what you do and don't know. As designers, especially if you go to Medium or other places to look for tips and tricks on how to present your portfolio, you'll get tonnes of advice about showing really extensive documentation, processes, being really clear about how you dug into doing post-it notes and workshopping. But the reality is in day-to-day business you can't do that for everything.
And I think the one salient point here is make sure you never lie. Never add that stuff afterwards just to look like you did those artefacts. If you didn't have time in the first part of the project to create those artefacts that's okay. And it's better to be upfront and honest and say this project was constrained - we had time constraints. We had a week to deliver this feature and so we had to skip a lot of the ideal processes and instead move straight to ideation and iteration, and then develop. And that's fine.
But it's better to be honest about that because, as someone hiring, what I'd be looking for is a candidate who is able to be honest and candid about the experience and someone who is able to showcase they understand that business processes will sometimes have to trump creative processes.
Q: Tell us about your worst experience with a recruiter
Karl: I think traditionally some of the worst experiences I've tended to have with recruiters is based on them not understanding my background, or being clear on what I do for a living and how that aligns to the job they're trying to sell me.
I guess I've been approached quite a few times around development roles - quite senior ones, which I'm definitely not qualified for. But also Account Management roles or Head of Design, Director roles - all of which probably either not what I'm looking for, not even close, or are far outside of what I'm at this point qualified for.
Q: What red flags should people look out for when dealing with a recruiter or recruitment agency?
Karl: I think the biggest red flag probably that I would look out for is a recruiter that says that I am a perfect fit, that they loved my profile, they love all of the stuff that I've done. And then the job is completely not anything to do with what I do, and clearly at all related to what I've done in the past.
I've ended up on calls where someone says you'd be perfect for the job and then when we start talking about it I realise they've literally not looked at anything that I've done because they can't tell me a single project that I've delivered or anything of interest about my profile.
Q: Would you recommend the Confido team?
Karl: It was very clear that Craig and the team had really dug into my portfolio, my website, read some of my blog posts and really got into the details - rather than surface-level LinkedIn stalking I guess. And throughout the entire process it was really clear that I knew what was expected of me and they knew what I could provide in terms of timings and project work. So we were both aligned from the start and that was super nice.
Wholeheartedly I would definitely recommend Confido to other people who are looking for roles, especially within tech and especially if you're looking for stuff that is more aligned to your values - so more positive for the environment or positive for the world. 100% couldn't even question that.