Hire for ability and skills while being cognizant of the contextual limitations.

I came across this LinkedIn post by Patrick Neeman. As a designer who has worked in multiple contexts i can relate to it. I have worked at large organizations where the design team was in double digits to startups with 2 designers and solo designer. Having seen all the constraints be it business, politics, technology or design maturity, i can appreciate the limitations that designers have in exercising their skills. I have also experienced that the hiring managers do judge candidates basis what candidates did without taking cognizance of the context.

Some more contexts that the decision makers should be conscious like, access to users, nature of product (Enterprise vs Consumer), focus on interaction with no focus on research.


A designer’s success is so much about the situational context that it alone can determine what they were able to deliver in an environment. We judge on delivery versus what was even possible to deliver.

This needs to change.

There should be an open conversation about the organization they worked for and whether or not it was even possible to move the needle. Authenticity and transparency should be the rule during interviews, not the exception.

The situation may take many forms: a code poor base, a non-strategic business model, poor management, or an underfunded UX team that doesn’t have the resources to do their job well.

All of these are beyond the designer’s control. That should be the start of the conversation, not the end.

In a realistic world, they’re acknowledged upfront — an excellent way to discover them is the STAR interview format — and then discuss what was learned.

Candidates can be judged based on the skills they bring to the organization over a Potemkin Village resume that drafts off of others more so than the skills they bring.

That would level the playing field more that anything else: it would open opportunities up to candidates that have been in difficult environments and shown resilience in the face of adversity versus a big name on the resume.

Patrick Neeman

As Patrick rightly puts across, the decision makers which includes recruiters and not just hiring managers, must make this as conscious consideration in their hiring process. It will also contribute if the candidates who experience this, share the concerns with the recruiters.


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