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057: Interviewing Like a Boss with Andy Vitale

Land a Job in UX
Land a Job in UX
057: Interviewing Like a Boss with Andy Vitale
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Andy Vitale teaches us all about how to interview for our next UX job like a boss. He emphasizes the importance of avoiding jargon, and at all costs the temptation to conflate confidence with arrogance. He reminds us to be prepared to get way out of our comfort zones, and even offers smart techniques on how to cope with the discomfort in those critical moments. He also points out that pay isn’t everything, and that a fantastic work culture can make all the difference.

Andy Vitale is the UX Director of Wholesale Banking at SunTrust Bank, one of the nation’s largest financial services companies, where his focus is on translating human insights into actionable experiences to improve the product and service ecosystem within the finance industry. Throughout his career, he has held multiple roles as a designer, entrepreneur, education department chair, and design leader. Aside from his primary role at SunTrust, Andy serves as Director of Design Impact for AIGA Minnesota and often speaks and writes about design. Not-so-fun fact: He was working at a company that suffered the first anthrax attack in the United States back in 2001.

  • The Importance of Soft Skills (4:55)
  • Calming Your Nerves (17:08)
  • The Importance of Body Language (22:18)
  • What Do You Love About Interviewing? (36:15)
  • What Do You Hate About Interviewing? (38:21)
  • How Much Should I Be Paid? (41:13)
  • Discussing Salary During an Interview (47:06)
  • Favorite Last Interview Questions (51:07)
  • Whiteboard Exercise Preparation (54:58)
  • How to Tell If a Company Understands UX (60:29)
  • Words of Encouragement (63:47)

LINKS
Andy Vitale’s Website
Andy Vitale’s Twitter
Andy Vitale’s LinkedIn
Andy’s Email
I’ll spare Andy the spam by not linking here, instead you’ll have to listen to the episode! 😉
037: Design in Life or Death Situations with Andy Vitale [PODCAST]
Andy’s Interviewing Playlist [SPOTIFY]
Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are [VIDEO]
Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There [BOOK]


TRANSCRIPT

Show transcript

Jason Ogle: Well greetings, User Defenders. I have with me today, the “UX-ecutioner” from episode 37, one of my favorites. I’m with Andy Vitale, and I said that right, “Andy Vitale”?

Andy Vitale: Yes. You got it.

Jason Ogle: Oh yes. And so glad to have Andy back with us. We’re going to be talking about – this is one of our episodes in the “Landing a Job in UX” series and I couldn’t have been more excited to get Andy to talk about this because he has a ton of experience. I’m not saying that he’s like bounced around a lot and he’s had to interview a lot, but he’s just got a ton of experience in the field and he’s been in director roles and you are now, right. Andy? You’re in a director role now?

Andy Vitale: Yes. So, I am the director of User Experience at SunTrust Bank, which is a super-regional bank and I focus on our wholesale banking solutions. So, if you really think about consumer banking, we’re the opposite. So, business banking, which we call wholesale here, we’ve got two primary solutions, both digital, one for, I’ll say smaller businesses, although we don’t like to consider any business small, they have more of a consumer mentality. And then we have like a corporate, like large enterprise organizations that have like financial departments that have to worry about like approving things and payroll and the different financial situations within that large organization. So, my team focuses on both of those.

Jason Ogle: Nice. Very cool man. So, this is going to be all about interviewing like a boss. And I feel like that is one of those areas where we don’t really talk about it as much in the field yet, it’s there’s so many up and coming designers, UXers really wanting to jump in and get their feet wet and just dive in head first. I mean, I started UD community recently and Andy’s on there and it’s awesome to have him in there and it’s just been incredible to get a really a bird’s eye view. I mean, even closer to my audience, there’s a lot of Defenders in there and you’re listening now that you know, you’re just hungry to land your first job in the field. And it’s just been, this is one of those series where it was just like, “Why didn’t I do this like, you know, like season one or two, you know, things like that.” But you know, better late than never. But I know this is going to be super valuable because interviewing is a critical part of landing a job in UX. I mean, it could be one of the most important parts possibly.

So, because you could have a bitchin’ portfolio if you will, and you could, you know, everything could look great on paper, but then, you know, once the moment of truth happens, so to speak, where you’re face to face with your recruiter or a potential manager thing could be much different. And it could be, you know, a lot of that comes into the soft skills department, which I hold in high degree, the soft skills, it’s just huge because; those are really hard to teach. Hard skills can be learned but soft skills take a while, so…

Andy Vitale: It’s true.

Jason Ogle: Right! Isn’t that true?

Andy Vitale: It is. You know, I feel like as I’ve grown as a designer and really learned that the work can only take you so far, I mean it’s great to be able to deliver, you know, but at some point and like everybody that walks through that door, everyone that’s past that initial like look at the portfolio, they’ve kind of proven they can do the work, they’re capable of doing the work. It’s how well can they communicate the work that they’ve done? How well do they tell the story about their work? And let me understand because I might not know their industry as well as they do.

So, in a 15-minute, 30-minute, one hour conversation, they can walk me through a project and frame the problem in a way that I can relate to and understand and then talk through some of the solutions and clearly explain like what they went through the process, the people they talk to, how they measured what they did, the different iterations that they had to take and why?

Like that actually helps me understand the problem they were trying to solve a lot better and being able to see how they communicate. I feel confident that I can put them in a room with people. Because I feel like the big piece that we kind of, we talk about at conferences about design is that collaboration. It’s spending time with people. There’s not a lot of time that you get to go sit by yourself and crank out work during, you know, a typical day. So, we rely on these conversations and these relationships that we form so that we can sit down and crank out the work when we have the free time to do so.

Jason Ogle: That’s good stuff. Yes, and Andy when you were just sharing that, it made me think about a scenario, personal scenario where, because you had mentioned storytelling and that is really critical in pitching our work and presenting our work. We don’t want to just, and this is something I learned really early in my career because I jumped right in to an ad agency environment and like ad agencies especially, it’s all about telling the story of the work. And so, I learned really quickly that I can’t just make something and then just say, “Here it is.” It does not work that way and that’s in ad agencies, but especially in UX, especially in this work. Because; there’s always a why. There’s always a why we’re doing this, why we made it this way, why we chose even colors or type and you know, we get into the visual aspects of it.

So, you just triggered a story that, that happened to me personally and not incredibly long ago when I was kind of looking for work, I thought I may be getting into transition because we ran into some, some difficult times at work. And so, I was kind of in this position where a lot of our Defenders listening are in. Where, you know, it’s like, “Oh shoot, I need to start getting ready for this.” And that’s the thing, we’re never really ready, right?

Andy Vitale: Exactly.

Jason Ogle: Like, when we’re comfortable in our workplace, we’re comfortable around the people we work with, it just feels like, “Oh, I have time, I have time to get my portfolio ready, I have time to practice interviewing, I have time to do all these things you know, that are, you know, vet out companies, talk to people, build my network, like all these things.” And you know what? The truth is, is that these things often happen you know at the drop of a hat and that’s when you’re like scrambling and panicking and you can feel desperate, but it just made me think of a scenario where you know, I was looking for work and had been a long time. That’s the thing. Like, you know, you practice what you do. If you don’t practice this all the time, you’re not going to be really great at it. That’s the reality. And hopefully you don’t have to practice this all the time. That’s kind of the dichotomy here that we’re going through and hopefully, you know, this series will be sort of like a reference material for present and future when this should occur.

So, I’m getting to my story. I’ve had a lot of caffeine. Can you tell like, I’m really chatty?

[Laughter]

Andy Vitale: That’s fun. I’m having coffee right now to keep up.

Jason Ogle: Nice, oh boy. So, here’s what happened. I started looking around and I found something that seemed really pretty cool. And what ended up happening was you know, it’s like, you know, “Let’s see your work?” That kind of thing. “Let’s see your work. You know, at worst, you have a portfolio you can share with us?” That’s a normal question you’re going to get. And here’s something I learned that may help the Defenders listening, it may help you. What I did was I just threw a bunch of screen shots into a Drop box and I mean, there was a little bit of documentation around it, not much, but there was like a little bit of storytelling around what the project was for and what problem is solved, et Cetera, but not a lot, right. And it was just type on paper so to speak.

So, what happened was; I sent the Drop box link and I never heard anything back. I never heard a thing. And what I realized is, is what I – and this is a lesson that I learned is that, I didn’t allow myself the opportunity to tell the story behind my work. All I did, it’s like throwing some dribble shots over the wall and just expecting that that’s enough in this industry. It is not. So, what I had learned and what I would encourage Defenders all of us to do is set a condition around that, a set of condition around sending that work cover. If you, unless you have like a public portfolio, which not a lot of us do, not all of us do. You know, if you have work that you can just send over, I would say set a condition that says “Yes, I will absolutely send my work over to you. Can we get a meeting on the calendar first so that we can discuss the work before?”

Andy Vitale: That’s great advice.

Jason Ogle: Right? Is that good?

Andy Vitale: It is. You know, it’s true, the work can only do so much. It can only open the door. It can start the conversation, but you have to be able to continue that conversation and continue to speak to what you’ve done when that last slide, when that last image is over, people want us still hear what you have to say and understand what you’re trying to tell them in words they understand too. You’ve got to be able to speak to them as a person, not just designed speak. It’s great that we can, but there’s a time and place for that and it really is about being able to carry a conversation and add value to these people that are potentially your peers but, in the beginning, just look at you as a designer, as potentially a tool to help them solve problems. You have to really establish that you’re on the same page as them.

Jason Ogle: That’s great advice. Yes, so it’s be prepared Defenders before the interview, like take some time, like maybe even Andy and I know you can speak to this because you have done a lot of public speaking. Maybe think about it like you’re doing a public talk.

Andy Vitale: Exactly.

Jason Ogle: Like take time to rehearse this stuff. Is that good advice?

Andy Vitale: It is. You know, it really is about becoming comfortable in uncomfortable situations. I mean, just as a designer, you know, you’re going to hear “No” a lot. As a human being, you’re going to hear “No” a lot. When you’ve got to be able to take that “No” and just roll with it and turn it into a “Yes” turn it into a different conversation. Turn that conversation into you know what you want to get out of it. It’s yes, you want to get feedback. Yes, you want to get a job potentially, but at the same time, like you want to learn about that company too. So, it is about understanding your role on the project. It’s about understanding what people hear. So, you know any talk you give, any presentation you give, you’re going to – you want to start to pay attention to what people react to. So, there might be something that you think is like the greatest part of your talk or the greatest part of your portfolio and you present it two or three, four times and people don’t react to that, but they react to something else that you were like, “Huh, that wasn’t a big deal. Like I didn’t expect that reaction.” Maybe that’s the thing you need to hang on. It’s about being aware of your audience and how they receive what you’re telling them.

Jason Ogle: Oh yes. There’s a book, I think it’s called “Go for No.” and I haven’t read the book, but I’ve heard about it and it’s from a sales perspective. But hey, we’re all selling, we’re all selling all the time. Just like my conversation with Seth Godin. You know, like it seems weird on the surface, like what’s a UX design podcast doing, having a marketing guy on the podcast? And then what I’d say at the end is that we’re all marketing all the time and interviewing is especially a marketing scenario.

So, I think that, you know, like you said, Andy that was super encouraging, like go for “No.” Like I think especially early in our career in our design journey, you know, the confidence just isn’t there yet. And that’s normal, like don’t be discouraged about that Defenders, you have to build that, that takes time. But I’d say, you know, you need to have a modicum of, have confidence in yourself for sure, because that is an attractive quality when you’re interviewing. And even if you don’t have like world class work in your portfolio, that’s okay. As long as you – you know, again, like go all in on the soft skills, go all in on being able to tell stories and present that with confidence. I think that’s going to really help you a lot and just go forward despite the “NOs.”

Like Andy said, “Like we are going to get…” Life has a lot of “NOs” and that’s in our careers, that’s in a normal everyday living. But you know, if you really truly want something then you’re going to push past the “NOs” and get that “Yes.” And that’s the whole concept of go for “No.” It’s like just keep going for “NOs” until you get the “Yes.” And it kind of reframes the whole scenario for you and psychologically it helps you not take it as personally, even though I know it, it can be and it feels, it hurts sometimes. I’ve had a lot of hurts from jobs I really wanted and that didn’t work out for me. But then something even better came along, you know, and so like just stay positive and go for “No” that’s great advice, Andy.

Andy Vitale: Yes. I’m a firm believer in just putting yourself out there being vulnerable and then as designers we’re selling, you know, our ideas all the time. We’re selling our credibility all the time. So, it’s not that much harder to sell ourselves because we’re kind of – it’s all tied together at the end of the day.

Jason Ogle: Absolutely true. You know, interviewing can sometimes feel like a police interrogation. Like, I’ve actually been in an interview where there’s this really long table, it feels like, you know, out of like from Gotham, like penguins table, like super long…

[Laughter]

Jason Ogle: And I’m like the one guy on the other side and then there’s like three or four people on the other side of me. And like that just feels like an interrogation. I think that there is some wisdom here for interviewers to not do that to somebody.

Andy Vitale: Right. Because when you’re interviewing people, it’s that perception you’re giving off of your company at the same time. So, you don’t want somebody to walk out and feel like, “Wow, that was terrible. Like I don’t want to ever go through that again. That was torture.” Right, you definitely don’t want to interrogate people. I’ve had bosses that have interrogated me or made me feel like they were interrogating me. They’re like not paying attention and then all of a sudden when it’s their turn to talk, they’re like, “I’ve got 45 things that I have to ask you like now, now, now. What is it like tell me the answer?” And that just makes everybody look bad and it makes everybody uncomfortable. And it’s even the people that are sitting on their side of the table next to them are like, “What the hell are they doing. Like this is terrible?” So, I I’ve spent time on both sides of that table and I’ve really learned to empathize for the person at the other end.

Jason Ogle: Yes, yes, absolutely. So, you know, being that one person on the other, hopefully not on the other side of penguins table, so to speak. You know, its nerve wracking anyway. Even if you’re in a coffee house or something, it’s just the interviews are nerve wracking. And I don’t care how strong your old spices, like it’s not going to work that day. You know what I mean?

Andy Vitale: Exactly.

Jason Ogle: Like there aren’t pissed you’re going to sweat, you know, maybe your palms, whatever, that’s normal. But do you have any tips on like how to best like calm your nerves in a situation like that where you are just feeling the sweat pouring down, you are just – you’re trying to be yourself, you’re trying to be confident but there’s always that like that self-doubt that wants to creep in or whatever. You know, when you’re kind of being questioned. Like do you have any advice or tips or things you’ve learned over the years that may be helpful to Defenders?

Andy Vitale: For me, when I get nervous in that type of situation I try to slow myself down and just pause to take a deep breath. Maybe not show that it’s a deep breath, but kind of like, just take that like internal count to like three or four and just pause and maybe just tighten up for a second where people don’t notice and just pull out a little stretch, like a little flex because; it releases some endorphins, but at the same time like grab a glass of water. Like sometimes if I’m talking even on stage and I feel myself going too fast and I’m starting to get out of breath, I’ll like grab the water and just, even if you have to like make light of the situation and say, you know, like, “Oh man, you know, it got a little hot in here. Oh Man, my throat got dry.” Like change the topic to kind of like center yourself for a second and then go back to it.

It really is about, you know, it’s about you at the end of the day, so make sure that you’re doing whatever you have to do to be your best self at that moment. And when you’re nervous, when you’re rambling, it’s not your best self. And we all have experienced that. And hopefully somebody at the other end of the table, we’ll pick up on those cues and maybe, you know, figure out a way to calm you down with some words or say something or throw up a question that they know, like you’ll be able to answer easily. Because at the end of the day, like most of the people in that room have already seen your work, have already potentially spoken to you, so they really want you to do well. They’re not there to say, “Oh, let’s weed these people out.”

And if they are, that’s definitely not the company you want to work for. It’s more about like, “Where do we see this fit? What does this person like, you know, how do we help them along the way to show off their capabilities and their talent?” So, it really is just finding that inner peace for a minute and, and understand that everyone else has been in that situation and has been as nervous, if not more nervous. If they haven’t been they are probably lying. So, just find that, you know, even before like before you go in there, put some music on that you like that relaxes you, to set the tone for you or even if it has to like amp you up a little bit.

You know, I listened to two different types of music. One I listened to like, “Andy Vitale, you’re a star” by the killers because that always lights me up. But I also listened to like…

Jason Ogle: [Laughs] that’s almost like a personal note to you too. [Laughs]

Andy Vitale: Exactly. And then I also listen to like Nikki Heaton because it’s kind of like calm and soothing at the same time and I really just feel like, “All right, yes, I’m kind of relaxed going into this.” So, really like find what works for you. And it might take a few attempts and don’t be afraid. Like worst case, you don’t get the job, like worst case, you look bad and you learn from it. It’s not the end of the world.

Jason Ogle: Ah, that’s good, that’s awesome. And maybe one of your takeaways, Andy from this. This is me, selfishly speaking, maybe it’s for you to make a Spotify playlist for songs to listen to before your interview.

Andy Vitale: Yes. I will do it.

Jason Ogle: If you do that, we’ll share it on that in the show notes here.

Andy Vitale: Okay.

Jason Ogle: That’s great advice, I love that. Yes. And I was thinking about – well you mentioned something really important I think too in, you know, in the midst of a lot of really valuable information that you just share with us, but it’s about tapping into the vegas nerve. Like, you know, you can take a really deep breath like, without being like obvious, like, you know, while you’re maybe listening to them talk, you could like, you know, do a deep, a real deep like cleansing breath through the nose, through the nostrils. And then like a nice, like subtle exhale through the mouth. And then you know, and here’s the thing, when you, there’s actually a science around the vegas nerve and that’s just, I don’t know a lot about it yet, but it has to do with that relaxing part of our brain that if you let your exhale be longer than your inhale, like maybe even twice as long, then you can activate that vagus nerve and it actually brings a lot of relaxation.

So, maybe that’s a technique to try next time that you’re feeling like that. And then that’s great advice Andy. And I want to jump into like body language because you can actually tell a lot about somebody by how they present themselves and their body language. And by the way, I want to recommend an incredible ted talk by Amy Cuddy. The talk is called “Your body language, how your body language shapes who you are or may shape who you are.” Or something like that. But that’s a great – she’s got a lot of great advice. But you know, confidence or lack thereof can be seen in body language. Nerves can be seen in body language, you know, like maybe even like an exclusive sort of attitude can be seen. Like, maybe the folding of the arms sometimes and maybe like leaning back real far, like it shows kind of maybe a lack of formality and maybe I like, I don’t care that much. So, like what about body language? Like how important is that? I’m kind of biasing the question but how important is body language when interviewing,

Andy Vitale: It’s definitely important. It’s the first thing that people will pick up on when they’re interviewing you. Aside for some reason you’re not able to put a sentence together obviously, but they will see, you know, if you fold your arms or you look angry or you have like a very nervous twitch, like the thing to do is to pay attention to those things. Maybe have somebody do a simulated interview with you that you know, that you know will ask you tough questions. Like reach out to your network and ask them to just like walk you through an interview process and spend time. And if they’re a good friend, they’ll hit you with hard questions. They’ll ask like detailed information about what they want to know. And they’ll also, you can film it so you can see your own reaction to how you present yourself.

But ask them to pick up on like those types of cues, like visual cues, body language to see like that you’re not putting something out there that’s opposite of you. You know, it’s funny, like in all of my photos from when I was a kid, I like, I never smile. It’s become my thing. I have fun with it almost. I like it.

Jason Ogle: [Laughs] that’s kind of your signature.

Andy Vitale: Yes, exactly. But, when I’m in a room, when I’m talking to people, like I’m always smiling. They’re like “That picture. Like why do you never smile in pictures? In real life, you’re always like smiling and enthusiastic and your picture, you just looked mean and angry.” And I’m like, “Well, you know, it’s kind of my thing.*

Jason Ogle: It’s your persona.

Andy Vitale: Exactly. But you know, I’m very aware of that and I should probably start smiling more than my photos, but ultimately like when I’m in a room, might my hand gestures, I have like two or three, that’s it. Like I have like open palm reach out, like hand up, like almost like raising the roof but not like almost like an Arsenio Hall type. Here’s stacking things on top of each other, you know. I know that I don’t look awkward when I do those things, you know. If I’m over there like scowling and pointing at somebody, it’s not good for me. And I don’t do that intentionally.

It’s not like I’m like yelling at someone, but I found myself like as I’m proving a point, I’m like pointing at something and I’ve got this look because I’m intense about it. And you just learn that that’s not your best self. Even though it might feel comfortable, you know, again, it’s back to like taking yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone. Some of these hand gestures as you mature as a designer and mature and like having the build relationships with people, you want to make sure that they’re more welcoming than they are like off putting.

Jason Ogle: Oh, that’s great. Yes, you were mentioning about doing a simulated interview. I think that’s great advice for sure. And like recorded, I mean we’re doing a lot of this stuff anyway with User Testing, right? We’re like, we’re kind of interviewing other people and we’re recording them and so like, you know, turn the tables on yourself and, you know, like you said, “Tap into your network if somebody nearby.” Like, “Hey, can you take a lunch break with me and helped me do this?” You know, like the things like that. That’s great advice. And it makes me think about how actors do this, right. They’re constantly like looking in the mirror. I remember like Jim Carrey, like he was known as being rubber face. Like that’s kind of what got his career started. He was able to do all these like really crazy expressions with his face and he did most of his research looking in the mirror, right, like testing himself. See and that’s how he was able to really kind of nail down these expressions that really got them famous and got him you know, where he is today. And not like today, like when the weird phase that you went through with like the weird – remember when he got all weird for like a couple years like Tom Cruise.

Andy Vitale: Yes.

Jason Ogle: But like I think he’s come out the other side of whatever that was going on there.

Andy Vitale: It might sound super cliché but definitely like treat the, looking for job, the interview process like you would any other design problem. Like make yourself the test subject. Like do the research, see how people react to different things. Learn from those things. Like you might have to pivot, iterate on different things. Like, truly, you know, you don’t think about looking at it as a design problem and when you’ve been in it for a long time but maybe when you’re younger like take the time to really figure out the problem. Go through like some hypotheses, like understand the space, see who you like that talks well when you have conversations with them. Which one of your friends is able to tell stories and everybody laughs like what do they do differently? You know, if you’re that person that like, “Oh I really not great like my stories, they end abruptly.” Or like “I can’t get a room around me the way so and so can.” You know, “Mary is such a great storyteller. Like people love to spend time with her at lunch.” Like pick up on what she’s doing. Try to figure out – like don’t change your whole self. Like don’t take your personality out of things, but just try to pick up on these little cues that can make you better at things.

Jason Ogle: Oh, that’s so good. Yes, and another thing I want to add to that is you don’t overcompensate. That is such an unattractive quality. And I can tell you from a personal story, I was interviewing a potential designer to come onto our team. And this person, like I think that there could have been a potential there, but I could totally see through, you know, without like pedal myself on the back, like I’m pretty high in emotional intelligence. Like I can kind of really by looking at somebody in their eyes and in their body language, I can really kind of tell how they’re feeling or you know, maybe what they’re covering up, you know, things like that.

And there was a scenario where I was interviewing somebody and they had this sort of this like arrogant kind of stature in nature. And what it was is like when you try to like dig into the projects and the stories, but there wasn’t a lot of substance there. So, it was basically like overcompensation, right. Like we’re trying to conflate like – and here’s the thing, I don’t conflate confidence with nervous arrogance.

Andy Vitale: Right.

Jason Ogle: Like, that would be my best advice when you’re in that chair, you know, kind of being in that interviewing spot, you know, just be yourself. Like, you know and it’s nerve wracking. It’s totally uncomfortable just like User Testing with somebody else or you’ll have empathy for what they’re feeling too but just be yourself and don’t overcompensate because that’s kind of clearly seen and it is an unattractive. And you know, just be honest with where you’re at. And you know, I’ll be honest with you, like I think that a lot of companies, especially like good ones, ones worth working for are going to actually be more drawn to your hunger to grow and your honesty to where you’re at. Even if you’re not like, like the superstar or whatever. Like I think more companies are drawn to a hunger to grow and to be a part of the team and to really make the culture better.

Andy Vitale: It really is important to not take that nervousness, that visible nervousness that you’re trying to hide and come off as being like overconfident or arrogant or egotistical because that’s totally the opposite message that you want to send and you might not realize that you’re sending it, but that it truly is like that’s the killer right there. Like as soon as somebody picks up on that, they’re like, “Oh, I don’t want this person on my team. They’re not a team player. Like they’re just going to focus on what they have to do, do their work in a corner and not be collaborative. They’re going to try to be like the rock star.” And it really is not the message that you want to send. So, you have to be 100% aware of that. Self-awareness is like the main thing that designers really need to have.

Jason Ogle: I’m so glad you said that, Andy. That is absolute truth. Here’s something that is a little testimonial. Like my first job, this is kind of embarrassing him. I’m going to get vulnerable with you. On my resume, I put that I know CGI because I was able to make some forms.

Andy Vitale: Nice.

[Laughter]

Jason Ogle: So, that was kind of a lie. That wasn’t totally true. Like, so I just kind of, what I did was, I need to look good and of course we want to look good and that’s fine. Be real about what you put on your resume because you’re going to get asked about it more than likely. And I was, I was asked about it or “Oh, you know, CGI?” And then you know, there was an embarrassing moment and they like – and my response was like, “Oh, well I’ve made forms, I’ve made web forms.” And so…

[Laughter]

Andy Vitale: So, that’s great.

Jason Ogle: Right!

Andy Vitale: You know, I feel like times were a little different back then though.

Jason Ogle: Very, very much.

Andy Vitale: I think that we were able to have basic knowledge of something and kind of stretch that on paper and then have the time in our data to kind of like figure it out. Like we would say, “All right, you know, I committed to doing this. Like, I’ll figure out how to do it.” And now you know there are a lot of easier ways to learn through like YouTube and pick things up. But I feel like just the speed of agility in the nature of our business now, like it doesn’t give us that time to like lie about something. We really are expected to have this competence level that we advertised coming out of the gate. Like it really is important to not commit to things that you don’t know. You know, one of the things I see on a lot of resumes now is this like skill list of like, “Oh I’m 10 out of 10 in Photoshop, I’m eight out of 10 XD.” Like what does that mean? Who are you comparing that to? Like even as somebody that’s looking at that like “So, you are eight out of 10 in Illustrator, like what can you do?” Like I don’t understand exactly like what your competency level is based on this numerical chart that you’re visualizing for me to take up space on your resume?

Jason Ogle: Fascinating. Now what’s the control you’re measuring against that?

Andy Vitale: Right.

Jason Ogle: Wow, interesting. I’ve never looked at it that way. So those aren’t advised, those aren’t the best ways to present yourself possibly.

Andy Vitale: You know, I’m not a fan. I will definitely ask the question of like, “So what does this mean that you are five out of five on, you know, web design?” Like, “What are you rating that against?” That’s definitely a topic starter with me. I want to have that conversation about it but nine times out of 10 I don’t look at that section.

Jason Ogle: Nice. Now that’s great advice. Yes, so just be real, be real in your resume and just present yourself in the best possible way and your real self and you know. I love what Laurie from shark tank, I think it was her quote, I can’t remember her last name right now, but she said “Hire for attitude, train for skills.” Like I think that’s really everything now. And I mean because we do have the cannon of the world’s knowledge at our fingertips.

Andy Vitale: Right, It’s true.

Jason Ogle: And so, we can learn what we need to learn and we can learn on the go. Attitude is everything. I think I’m a big believer.

Andy Vitale: Yes. I agree. Once you have that cultural fit, like the skills will evolve over time. Like you don’t take a job because you’re going to be amazing at it, I mean some people may, but you take a job because you’re going to be able to learn from it and grow there.

Jason Ogle: Yes.

Andy Vitale: And you know, we know coming out of the gate, coming in the door, like there are things that we have to learn and ways we have to improve and hopefully, you know, we have a good relationship with our boss, with our manager, with our supervisor, with whoever our mentor may be so that they can help us grow our skills. But don’t be afraid to admit to something you don’t know because chances are someone at some point also didn’t know that and they will help you learn how to get there and does that well.

Jason Ogle: That’s so good. And the other takeaway from that, what you just shared, Andy is, you once you get in to the team and you have an attitude of just a hunger and a passion to grow and learn and you know, you’ll learn together as a team. And I think culturally that’s far better than, you know, being, you know, pirate on and as like the know it all that, you know that is not unwilling, that’s un-teachable.

Andy Vitale: Right.

Jason Ogle: Like everything. And when you learn together as a team – like I love what Luke W. said in an apart interview with him. He said, “You’re not a team until you’ve been through some crap together.”

Andy Vitale: It’s true.

Jason Ogle: And I really liked that.

Andy Vitale: Yes. You know, even when you talk like of an agile team, there’s always that like storming period and forming period and back to storming. And then it finally hits norming after you’ve been in the trenches together. And it’s really when that team is jelling together that everybody’s kind of growing and learning and understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses and helping pick each other up. You know, for me, even one of the ways I talk about measuring my team now is not just on what you can do and not just on the buy in that you get, but does your team really care about you and seeing you grow as much as you care about seeing the teammates that you work with grow? It really is that like going above and beyond like being a good team player.

Jason Ogle: I love that. Andy, is there anything you love about interviewing? [Laughs]

Andy Vitale: You know, I’ve interviewed a lot so I’ve kind of – I’m not that bothered by it. I really do enjoy being able to tell the story of my work. I think that, you know, helping people understand some of the complex problems I’ve had an opportunity to solve. You know, at this point in my career that the two most important things to me are giving back to the community to like help grow the next level of designers, the next round of designers and being able to solve complex problems for people, making things better. So, any opportunity that I have to explain that I’ve done that and some of my successes and some of my pain points along the way and things I’ve learned, even if it’s, I don’t get the job, I’m not a great fit. I’m hoping that I can in turn teach them something that I’ve been through that they can take away and say, “You know what? The way that was handled that was pretty interesting. Like maybe we should look into something like that.”

I do love being able to tell that story of my experience. I like meeting people. I really like, you know, so much of what we do is based on relationships. So, I’m sometimes not great at small talk, like I have good and bad days when I interview or when I talk to people, when I have conversations, you know. I’m also like anyone else, our own worst critic. Like I remember the awkward pauses and things I said when I walk away that nobody else remembers. So, it really is just having that opportunity to just have conversations with people and get to know people.

Jason Ogle: Ah, yes. So, that’s really good stuff. And I think that’s what makes you a great public speaker too as you love kind of getting out there and telling stories and encouraging the communities. So, I think that’s great advice and we can kind of look at it like we’re helping ourselves, but we’re also going to be helping other designers in the community at large. You know when we just kind of put ourselves out there and be willing to tell those stories. Is there anything you really hate about interviewing?

Andy Vitale: It always feels like a dog and pony show. Like I always feel like I’m a little further under the microscope than I am. You know, even like giving a talk, preparing for it is somewhat fun, somewhat a lot of work. Giving it is kind of when you’re in it, you don’t realize that you’re having the conversation that you’re saying the thing, it’s that, what is the feedback that kind of like feeling that you’re going to be judged even though you may or may not be? That’s always in the back of my mind. Like how did this person perceive what I said, you know?

Jason Ogle: That imposter syndrome.

Andy Vitale: Exactly. There’s that imposter syndrome that we all share no matter how high up the ladder you are, you will have that. It really is like, I noticed that John was on his computer typing the whole time. Like “Did he even pay attention to what I said?” “Did he hear that thing I really wanted him to hear?” Susie got up and walked out in the middle of the interview. Like “Did she just not care that I was there?” You know, you don’t realize what people have going on that are also in the room.

Jason Ogle: Yes.

Andy Vitale: So, it really, it’s meant to be an uncomfortable situation. It shouldn’t be overly uncomfortable, but it’s meant to like make sure that you’re able to capture an audience, make sure you’re able to get that person to kind of put that computer down when they can. You know, overall, it’s, if you can have fun with it, like that’s great, but most of the time you’re happier when they’re over.

Jason Ogle: That’s great. And you know, empathy, like you were saying is kind of at the heart of a lot of that too. Everybody has a story. Everybody has a struggle, you know, and so I think that’s awesome. And so, I want to kind of switch gears here a little bit. We have some amazing questions from UT community. As you know, Andy, I put it out there as I wanted to really get a sense of what other Defenders are struggling with who were especially really trying to – that are in the midst of this and the trenches. This is not a fun process, like let’s call it what it is. This is not really you know, try it – like, especially when you know, if you’re in transition, like this is not just for newer designers. Like that’s especially my heart. But guess what, we’re one conversation away from being in transition, right? So, like we all are in kind of a similar boat where we need to just really be aware of kind of what we need to do in the future even to start thinking ahead.

So, I guess what I wanted to do is hear from them and I got some great questions from some of them. I want to share those now Andy. This first one is from Fatima Vassar and she asks “If this is your first job in UX, how do you know what to expect to get paid? Should you look to what people are making in the field currently or should you look to what apprenticeships and junior designers are being paid? My research puts payment as being somewhere around 40 to 70k, but there’s quite a difference between the two?” Andy, do you have thoughts on that?

Andy Vitale: Yes. So, there definitely is and there isn’t really an answer that I would feel is going to be satisfying, but ultimately, it’s about doing that research, right. So, there are a lot of different job guides out there. There’re staffing companies. I think the creative group has an annual job or Salary Guide every year. The AIG normally does one, Eight Quinn does one. So, definitely start there, glass door, see what people are making in the industry. But look at companies similar to maybe the one that you’re applying to. Also, you know, where you live geographically is going to also have an effect on that salary. So, you know, salaries in New York and San Francisco tend to be a little bit higher because the cost of living is so much more. You really have to do that research and, and see what people are getting paid.

Also, if you’re new, if it’s your first job, right, you need to get your foot in the door. The last thing you want to do is have a bad like salary negotiation and shoot yourself in the foot. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you think you’re worth, but at the same time understand like what the market dictates. You know, apprenticeships pay, uh, you know, for the most part of decent amount. When I was at Three M we had a great internship program. Some of the interns or Undergrad, some of them were graduate students and that also affected the rate of pay. But it was a competitive salary for a younger designer coming out of school to walk in the door in a large corporation.

So, you know, there is no like one size fits all answer. It truly is based on years of experience. What your specific role is, right? What your specialty is? Is it a research role? Is it a UI designer? Is it an interaction designer? A UX designer? Depending on, you know what we’re calling it these days. Ultimately just understand that first, right. I mean are you a generalist? If so, like what is that kind of entail? Look more for the tasks that you think you’re doing under the job descriptions and line them up across the board.

Jason Ogle: Yes. That’s really great advice Andy. And do your research, do your homework. There’s a lot of resources out there as Andy mentioned that can help inform your awareness. And I think that this is a really subjective kind of question. This is really – it’s really individual. It depends on kind of where you’re at in your experience. It depends on what you’re going for. It depends on you know, like Andy said, “Getting your foot in the door.” Like you don’t want to be, you know, you kind of start crossing into that like overcompensating, you know, like maybe asking for too much for the role that you’re applying for. And you know, there’s that fine balance and I think it’s really up to you to find something that you’re comfortable with because you know, you don’t want to low ball too much just because you’re desperate.

Because; what’s going to happen is you may very well be the candidate that gets the job because you’re cheaper.

Andy Vitale: Right!

Jason Ogle: However, the problem is, if you low ball too much in order just to get in there, what could happen is for one, you don’t have enough to survive and as Montero says, “Survival is not a soft skill. Staying alive is not a soft skill.” So, that’s a challenge.

The other thing is you may be miserable. You may be like doing work that you’re not totally loving and you may be going like, shoot, I’m not getting paid enough to do this.

Andy Vitale: Right!

Jason Ogle: So, like I think as being sensitive to that, right?

Andy Vitale: It’s true. And you know, like my first job out of school now, 19 years ago, I was making $10 and 50 cents or $11 an hour and I was the highest paid person and this prepares room where you know, and my boss was the worst boss I ever had. He would stand over our shoulder and scream at us like an hour before a deadline and tell us, we didn’t know we were doing.

Jason Ogle: [Laughs]

Andy Vitale: But the flip side of that is, you know, I’ve also made the mistake of going with the money instead of following my heart and realizing that the grass isn’t always greener because a job pays really well also doesn’t mean it’s a great place to work.

Jason Ogle: Oh Wow. That is worth considering, Defenders. You don’t want to just go for the money. I know we need money, we need to survive absolutely but consider, I mean, and I’ve said this many times and typically unless we’re working remote, we spend more time at work than at home with our loved ones. Like that’s a big deal. You don’t want to be stuck in a dead-end day job just for the money. There’s a lot of people that are making a lot of money that absolutely hate what they do. And I think that’s worth considering as designers, as UXers. Like we get to do what we absolutely love. Like I’ve talked to other people that said “I do this if I wasn’t getting paid, I can’t help it.” You know, and that’s when you know, like you found something really special. So, I think that’s absolutely great advice. So, make sure you land in a place that not only has a great culture that values you and values design, but in a place that you are actually loving the work you’re doing and then there’s the fulfillment of that purpose that we all truly need to, to latch onto. So, that’s absolutely great advice.

I want to ask one more little question tandem to this. Should a designer discuss salary in the interview or is that a conversation that should happen later after kind of sobering up from the nerves and stuff?

Andy Vitale: You know. I think it depends on the situation. So, I’ve been in interviews where I speak to nine different people throughout the day and maybe like the first person is the HR person and they kind of start with like salary questions or they end with salary questions. I think that’s okay. I think that talking about the numbers while you’re like in the middle of interview with people that may not have that say over it, like if they come up, they come up. But I wouldn’t make it a point to bring them up. Like the number you give them when you first walk in the door might be different after the day you’ve had, you know. You might be like, “You know what? I don’t really want to work here, but I know I can learn from it. So, it’s not like my first choice. So maybe I’ll throw a little bit higher number at them or something.

But you know, and at the same thing, like if you’re really loving it, you might throw a little lower number than you thought. So, it probably is a good idea to sit on that for a little while, you know. But be aware that you know the negotiation practice, you only have one chance to negotiate on your way in the door and the rest of your raises will be, you know, percentages of that initial number that you walked in the door. So, you know, don’t think that you’ll go in at a certain number and then a year later you’ll get like, you know, 30% like raise because that’s probably not going to happen. So, that one initial like I’m going to start like that’s your time to do it. So, it probably does make sense to take the time and set up a follow up conversation after you’ve been able to gather yourself and think things through and be able to set the proper time aside to do that, to have that conversation.

Jason Ogle: Sometimes it’s worth considering, and this may be part of the questions that they ask you, “Do you have any questions for us?” But it may be important to kind of source out, especially before if you can about the company you’re applying for. Like learn everything you can before like research the company online, look at glass door, try to connect with somebody perhaps on LinkedIn that works there and maybe feel things out. But, consider the perks too. And I’m not saying that the perks should be the supplement to actually getting paid what you deserve to be paid but I’m saying you may be willing, it may help your negotiation if you can actually learn about what some of the perks are at a specific company. Like for example, when I got a job at My Space back in the day, My Space was the first global social network.

[Laughter]

Jason Ogle: When I got a job at My Space back in the day, it was just procured by Fox. And Fox owns everything practically and a lot of stuff in the media. And 20th Century Fox for example, and when I considered some of the – like I was getting paid less than I had been paid prior, not a lot, but you know, a good 10k to 15k less, but then I started to learn more about the company. The benefits were really great, they gave a $50 monthly stipend for lunches or smoothies or whatever. There’s an in-house cafe, so they give you that. I had my badge, my little fob badge got me access onto the Fox lot. So, I could go onto the Fox lot anytime and be there and see the studios where they make – I mean it’s like there were so many like cool little little perks and not only that but just my space was the crap, you know then.

And it was like really coveted. It was a coveted place to work and it was awesome, it was a good move for my resume and for my career. So, like those are things to kind of consider as well. See what you can source out a bit before about, you know, the company and the perks. Some companies will give you a laptop, like they’ll buy you the most state-of-the-art laptop and you know, remote opportunities exist. And you know, that the kinds of veers into you know, a question that I have for you, Andy. What’s your favorite question or what are your favorite questions to ask when typically, at the end of the interview, like the interviewer says “Now, do you have any questions for us?” What are your favorite questions to ask?

Andy Vitale: You know, I normally ask about the challenges that the organization faces, you know, what the design maturity may potentially be. I want to know more details around like the struggles that they have and you know, who the people that you interact with and work with. What is that potential like you know, just how does UX work there? You know, what’s it like working for this department? Sometimes, you know, if you came from a place that had a lot of perks and you can get blinded by those perks. You know, what supplies do you have? You know, do you have opportunities for growth? Is there a budget for conferences? I also like to understand is the position new or is it a backfill for the role? What made them excited about joining their company? I definitely want to know what success looks like for that role and how it’s measured.

You know, there’s a lot of like questions. You know, if it’s the person that’s leaving, I’d like, “Hey, you know, why are you leaving here?” I want to know about their big hairy audacious goals.

Jason Ogle: [Laughs]

Andy Vitale: Not just like the day to day. I really want to know that they’ve got like the big picture in mind. I want to know how things are prioritized. How many things they work on simultaneously? Who the people are that they interact with in their roles? What research and validation methodologies they use? Like I go there with a list of questions. You know, the most important question I usually ask is can I see the workspace? I want to see where the work is actually happening. Make sure that the designers are not just these people set in the corner and like this dark cave that waiting for like to feast on the scraps when someone throws them a bone.

I want to make sure that they’re in the mix. You know, that’s one thing I really wanted to touch upon too is like it really is about the biggest lesson I learned is to ask to spend time with the team for that like second go around. Like can I come back? Can I sit in on some meetings? Because what you see in the interview is not the whole picture. So, it really is about like, let me see how the team interacts with people, with each other. You know, maybe can I spend even the for like leadership positions, can I, can I spend a week with the team? Can I spend a few days on site? I really want to see the whole thing to know that what they’re telling me is really what’s going on.

Jason Ogle: Oh yes. Oh, that’s so good Andy. So much to let marinade in that and some good, you know, encouragements to Defenders listening about what to consider asking. Because I think that’s one of the most missed opportunities during an interview is when they turn the tables on you. Like that’s when you should be prepared. You should have these questions ready to go and ask, you know, and not in like, you don’t want to be like a sniffling, you know, like you know, pedantic. “Well I need to have it. It’s not like that, but it’s like, no, I’m really genuinely curious. Like I’m going to spend a lot of time here and I’m excited to if this is the right place but I need to make sure.”

And so, I actually had a conversation with Justin Dour and whether or not that aired before or after this one, I’m not sure yet. But it’s all about finding the right culture fit. So, we’re going to dive a lot more into that area as well. But those are really important areas to consider.

I got a couple more from – do you have a few more minutes Andy?

Andy Vitale: Yes, yes, definitely.

Jason Ogle: Okay, awesome. I’ve got another question. And this is sort of – Ellen Conrad from UT community asked this question and then I notice Angela GOP also as something very similar. So, I’m going to play the audio from Ellen asking that. And so, she’s wondering,

Ellen: Hi Andy and Jason, my question is, should we be prepared to do some kind of design or whiteboard exercise and what might that look like?

Andy Vitale: That’s interesting because I’ve taken part in some of those exercises and at Three M we introduced those exercises. Some companies have a rule around like we can’t get them to do free work or we can’t make them spend a whole amount of time here. You know, to me, I like to see how people think. I would expect to do some sort of exercise. I wouldn’t look at like, it should happen in the office. I feel. Like if they’re giving you a week-long homework assignment, like that would maybe worry me a little bit. But you know, again it’s what you’re open to doing. Maybe it sounds like a problem that you want to dig into, like it’s a great opportunity to show people how you work, but at the end of the day when we talk about like the design process, I don’t think many designers do things differently. We try to gather as much information as we can in this short period of it’s about the questions that you ask at that moment like what details are you asking for? That’s what they’re really looking for. They want to see how you start to understand the problem space and then they want to see that you’ve made a few attempts at solving that problem space. Try to condense the design sprint into like an hour or two. It’s really hard but it can really showcase that work.

Like don’t be afraid to involve them. Like if they’re just going to put you in a room and give you an exercise on a whiteboard and walk away like you don’t want that. You want to be able to ask questions or at least say, “Hey, can someone come back in, in a few minutes and check on me, see what other questions I have?” It’s important to show that your collaborative, I’ve also been part of some really fun like white boarding exercises that really felt like I was learning and helping and in the meat of solving problems and it felt good even though I knew the outcome wasn’t going to be great. It was just feeling what it’s like to work with some of those people.

So, I wouldn’t be turned off by it. I would be open to it. Just it’s going to be something that’s probably vague or probably something that’s, you know, “Hey, like redesign this app but add this feature to it.” You know, something that we all know or you know, maybe create a project for this particular persona or let’s just talk through like some problems that we have and brainstorm on them. So, they do vary, but ultimately like have fun with them, right.

If you’re going to do them and you know in your mind that they might be coming or usually they’re not thrown upon you at the last second. Like you get the agenda and you know, from, you know, “Here’s an hour whiteboard challenge with so and so.” Like take, take that time to have fun with it. You know, I’ve learned actually from my whiteboard challenges to whiteboard a lot more. They’ve helped me grow in the fact that I’m always like explaining things to my team now on like a whiteboard with a marker. It just makes it a little bit easier.

Jason Ogle: That’s great advice. And practice that craft tube because I’ll tell you, that’s my imposter syndrome attacks me the most when I’m standing at a whiteboard with a marker and there’s like five other people watching me. Like I hate it, I just like, I don’t like my writing, my handwriting and you know I can draw, okay but not with like a you know, a Sharpie, not with like a fat marker. You know, like, I just, oh that’s getting some nerves here. Thinking about it, but you know, like I guess that’s the point, like practice that craft. If you know that that’s an integral to your work and honestly a lot of times it is as a UXer, you kind of need to be able to demonstrate visually on the fly what you’re trying to communicate.

Andy Vitale: Exactly!

Jason Ogle: So, that’s a great craft, yes.

Andy Vitale: You know, the funny thing is the last few bosses that I’ve worked with that I’ve really like learned from and really respect. When we’re having conversation and they’re kind of like white boarding things out and I take a picture of it and in that moment, I completely understand what they’re telling me. I take a picture of it, I look at it two hours later I go home. I’m like, “I don’t understand any of this.” Like I took that picture, like we talked through that, I understood it completely. What they’re doing is they’re helping themselves think visually. They’re helping explain things to you, so don’t pay so much attention to like what you write on the board. It’s there as a tool to help you. You can talk through the rest of the things there, they’re not going to take pictures of the whiteboard after you leave and you know, say “What was this person trying to solve?” Like that’s back to been able to tell a story. It’s just an aid for helping you.

Jason Ogle: That is awesome. And as it’s not like they’re going to take the picture, at least you’d hope not. And they’re not going to take the picture and going to shame you on Twitter or YouTube or something. [Laughs]

Andy Vitale: Right.

Jason Ogle: Unless you’re jack from Twitter or something, that’s right.

Andy Vitale: [laughs] or Tom from My Space.

Jason Ogle: Oh, hey.

[Laughter]

Jason Ogle: That’s great. Yes, that’s his like most iconic pictures of him like right in front of a whiteboard. That’s funny. Very good, nice callback. So, the last question from a listener, this is from Christopher Octa. If I said his name right? It’s an interesting question. I think you sort of started touching on this a little bit earlier, Andy, but I’d love to hear you kind of unpack this a little bit. But he says:

Christopher: When interviewing with a company who is looking to hire their first UX professional, how can I tell if them they genuinely understand what you can bring to the table and thus are able to provide support to increase the chances of my success with the company.

Jason Ogle: Does that question make sense?

Andy Vitale: It does.

Jason Ogle: Okay.

Andy Vitale: I feel like just unpacking it in my mind while I’m saying words that I hope makes somewhat sense. It’s always an uphill battle, right. Even at the places where design was the most mature and the team was the largest. There was always that like, “How do we grow this team? Now that we have the seat at the table, how do we keep it. How do we gain momentum?” So, I mean, it’s probably alarming that the company is very seemingly mature but immature in the design standpoint but that’s Kind of like what I’ve been diving into lately. That’s what brought me basically to SunTrust. It’s that ability to do that and to mature design. So really like the fact that someone convinced someone else that they need a UX person is a good step in the right direction. Essentially. They probably need more than one. You know, we know this but they don’t. So, it is about understanding like where are you can add immediate value and then being able to tell that story of the value that you added so that other people want you on those projects.

Everybody at first is going to be like, well not everybody. Some people will be like, “Yes I need this.” Other people are like, “Wait a minute. We’ve been releasing products for so long and making profit off of them without having a UX person on it. What do I need this person to come in and question what I’m doing or or slow down the process?” And it is an educational opportunity. It’s education and evangelization. It really is about showing as much progress as you can, taking it as far as you can and then letting them feel the pain a little bit, right. Like you can’t be on everything. They’re going to not understand what you do. It is about like showing – you’re going to spend a lot of time creating presentations that help educate people on what you do, what you should be doing. Don’t be afraid to say “No.” They’re hiring you as an expert. Be able to take that expertise that you have because they don’t know what, you know, they might – you know everybody is somewhat responsible for the experience. They all care about the experience, but they don’t focus on the user experience the way that we do. They don’t solve problems that way that we do.

So just let them see that the hire was the right hire and eventually that momentum will build in. That team will grow. Like that’s how I’ve built teams over time.

Jason Ogle: Thank you Andy, that’s excellent advice has as you’ve just continued to drop this whole interview. And I just want to ask you one more thing and it’s really just kind of last words, so to speak to the Defenders listening who are interviewing right now and maybe feeling really discouraged or just maybe like just I guess direction less. Like, maybe they’re just feeling like, “You know, I don’t know what to do.” Like, you know, just in the midst of this and the trenches. Like can you speak to them right now and just maybe offer some encouragement or just anything that comes to your mind and heart.

Andy Vitale: Yes, you know, we’re all in this together. Like the design community is such a giving community. You know, even if you go onto the User Defenders form and just have conversations with people, it really is about relationships. It’s about letting people that have similar experiences share what they’ve gone through with you. Maybe they understand like a door that may be opening, they know of, they get a little heads up on that they can share your way. You know, every question that was asked, I’m sure multiple people will ask and our thinking, those same questions. And this is, you know, the industry that we’re in is just, it feels like such a caring community. It’s given me so much over the years that I really want to give back.

Reach out to anybody that you look up to, send them a LinkedIn message, you know, reach out to them on Twitter, on Instagram, whatever. Chances are they’re going to respond. And it’s not bugging us if you send a follow-up message after a few days, you know, we might’ve missed it, but I really do feel like our community really does want to help those newer designers, those designers that are starting out or the designers that are stuck right now because they’re looking for a new opportunity. To be able to get that opportunity, I really do feel that this is the greatest community I’ve ever been a part of, right. And I’ve been in a few other industries at times. I really do feel like it’s not new, it might feel very new to you or very unique to you, but there are very similar things that we’ve all been through and we’re all happy to help you get through this.

Jason Ogle: Oh, Andy, thank you so much. That’s such awesome encouragement and I know our Defenders are like gleaning from that and feeling like kind of a spring in the step, I think after that. And you’re right, this is the most kindest, most warm and passionate community, especially of of learners. Like I love the attitude and the spirit of learning and growth that I’ve ever been a part of. And it’s a privilege and so thank you. And Andy, thank you for being a part of that as well and for doing this today. And this has been super valuable, super encouraging. And before we go, can you tell our Defenders listening the best way to connect and to keep up with you?

Andy Vitale: Yes. I’ve got a website that I really have to spend time to fix. It’s Andyvitale.com. it literally is just a list of some articles and appearances. I’m available through the same name on Twitter, LinkedIn. My email is my name@gmail.com. Like literally reach out to me. I truly do want to help with anything, even if it’s looking at a portfolio, giving feedback on something. Having a quick conversation to just talk things through. Like that’s the joy I get. Like, I really do encourage you to reach out to me and have a conversation.

Jason Ogle: Well, brother, man, you are a superhero to me and so many others. And I just appreciate you so much and just keep doing what you’re doing. Keep making a huge dent in the community and in the universe, my friend. I really mean that. And last but not least, I just want to say, as always, “Fight on my friend.”

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