(I’m looking for you)

Tldr; Every day next week starting tomorrow I will share a series of posts about hiring and getting hired to distill some mystery around filling this UX/UI designer role at the Mozilla Foundation. If you’re interested in the position (our team is amazing!) apply at that link or simply email me with a link to your portfolio: cassie@mozillafoundation.org.

Day 1: Design Hiring Process
Day 2: Improving your cover letter
Day 3: Improving your portfolio
Day 4: Interview FAQs
Day 5: Introduction to some Mofo designers

I’ve been looking for a new designer for the Mozilla Foundation for awhile. We recently hired one talented new designer (Jordan Gushwa) to grow our team, then lost a designer (Jess Klein), so the position reopened. Hiring is the job that never ends! Sometimes we find a candidate that goes pretty far in the process but for some reason or another it doesn’t work out, so we slap our foreheads and start over again. Every day I check my inbox for new job applicants and about once or twice a week I schedule interviews. We have had many great recommendations and I’ve spoken to some impressive people but we are still looking for the right fit, and it’s a fit I can’t compromise on: Hiring is crazy important! The trickle down effects are enormous on our entire team’s day-to-day work and happiness, and the success of our products depends on it. I know I and my colleagues care deeply about working with someone who is passionate, real, and who inspires us.

I’ve read many articles about hiring for diverse teams – how to write job descriptions so they are welcoming and attractive and aren’t exclusive or intimidating, and while I’m conscious of trying to write something that isn’t too boring, pedantic, limiting or restrictive, vague, obtuse or misleading, the truth is that if Mozilla’s mission excites you and you are a designer with some experience, I really want you to apply. I’m not sure how else to say it. If from the get-go it seems like it could be a good fit (from our end, if your portfolio reflects the kind of work and thinking we will need you to do, and from your end if it seems like the kind of work you’d like to do), a conversation is usually all it takes to figure out the details and get us both excited. Most of the time it is not your résumé or your history that matter, but how you talk about what you’ve done and where you want to go.

If we end up interviewing you, that’s a pretty huge vote of confidence that we believe you could do the job. That said, we want to use open and inclusive language, and we also want to attract confident, skilled people. I will be honest: this UX/UI gig is a hard job. It’s challenging anywhere (or at least I hope you challenge yourself) but at Mozilla, we expect an extra lot from designers. We are in a time of flux where design has become more integral to everything we ship at Mozilla, and that means we need design leaders who can ask tough questions, handle complex requirements, and ship fucking awesome work. But – and don’t stop reading – as a design team infrastructure, we support, enable, trust, and encourage Mozilla designers to do the best work of their careers. More than any other place I’ve worked.

If you care about something, if you have an idea, if you are willing to work hard, Mozilla can help you make things happen. We (and when I say we, I don’t mean just the designers but also our engineers, product managers, metrics and marketing folks, teachers, community leads, managers, etc) are a team of scrappy, talented, ambitious makers who want to make the world a better place by a method that happens to be through learning and making stuff online. That doesn’t mean we know everything; we are in fact in a constant state of learning from each other and our users and trying out new ideas.

Because job descriptions are hard to get right, and because taking a new job is in many ways a gamble, I wanted to write a series of posts this week to help distill some mystery around the position we currently need to fill and to share a little more about my thinking as a team lead. So next week, I’ll be sharing a post a day around some theme related to hiring. I hope these posts are useful outside of our own hiring context too, as I see a lot of applicants who I think would benefit from a bit more transparency around the hiring process, regardless of where they end up working. I’ll share some frequently asked questions that I ask in interviews but also from applicants who ask me about the job and Mozilla. I’ll share some good interview tips, tips for improving your online portfolio, and I’ll introduce you to a couple of Mozilla designers. Through all of this, I hope you’ll have a better understanding of how this role – and design in general – impacts Mozilla’s work.

I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about sharing some of this. It has the vague uncomfortable stench of talking about something that is taboo. Give away the test questions before the test, what!?  Or, Share our hiring process? What if other companies steal it? Or, perhaps the dominant fear is that by sharing my tricks I might be enabling candidates to game the system. These fears are my own, so I choose rather to believe that the right candidates will already deeply know what I’m sharing here and that hearing what they know repeated back to them in this context might just affirm their desire to take the leap and apply.

I’m not sure exactly why the right candidate may not have applied yet, outside of not knowing that the position exists, but I hope to reach them regardless. The right candidates might be people who are full of energy and potential but are too afraid to step into a role they’re not fully prepared for. They are talented, but might feel a little disheartened by the industry right now. They are passionately involved in their own projects, but want to be passionate about their day job too. They might feel different from their other peers and want to join a more inclusive team. These candidates may see Mozilla and think ‘tech company’ and might wrongly assume there is no place for designers here. They may have worked in technology their whole careers, but aren’t sure how to continue growing their careers, and how to keep making tech more human. These candidates might currently be doing good work, and are probably even enjoying the work they are doing, but they want greater positive impact on the world.

If you fall into one of those categories, or even outside of them and you just want to design alongside me and our kickass design team, I want to hear from you. Apply here or simply send me an email with a link to your portfolio: cassie@mozillafoundation.org I’d also be very interested in feedback about our process, especially ideas to make it better.

So, make sure to check back here throughout the week for nuggets of advice and encouragement. Feel free to send me specific questions. Just hold on to your butts, designer friends, as you’re about to become very hirable.