“Keep my response!”. Why designers are not responding to vacancies

Hello! I Vanya Solovyov, design director at SberHealth. Today I will talk about the process of hiring product designers by the employer. I am sure that there are many such articles, so I will focus on other things that few people talk about.

The purpose of my article is to answer the questions:

  • How is the hiring process in a product company structured?

  • What input does the HR have in the initial search?

  • What do the HR and design manager look at when selecting?

  • How do they decide that the candidate can continue to communicate?

  • Why don’t they answer and give feedback?

  • What do you need to do to get your resume noticed?

“We need a designer!”

So the company came to the conclusion that it needed new resources and the designer got into the hiring plan. At a meeting with an HR manager, the design manager tells what the designer will do and what qualities he should have.

After the meeting, an approximate portrait of the candidate is formed. It is different for each company, so I will show an average portrait in my team. Consciously omitted basic skills and possession of tools. For example, Figma is the industry standard, you can’t do without it.

Designer portrait:

  • preferably from a food company;

  • education is not important;

  • 2+ years of product design experience;

  • openness to knowledge and interest in new things;

  • sane portfolio, better not on Behance;

  • good communication skills.

Start looking for the designer of your dreams

I like to look for designers myself. I post a vacancy on design resources, describe the requirements in a human way and analyze the responses from the guys. At the same time, HRs post vacancies on specialized resources and are actively looking for guys themselves.

Each of us has a portrait of the ideal candidate in our head, which I described above. It’s true that there are usually a lot of candidates, so we’re taking a quick look at the key points.

It is physically impossible to thoroughly study each response. It’s not a whim, it’s an inevitability.

To pass the first stage of selection, you just need to know these three key points that many HR and design managers look at.

Three key points

Transmittal letter

This is a double-edged sword. Its purpose is to evoke favor with you from the first lines.

If you honestly write about your attitude towards the company, about your skills that can help it, this is almost a 100% transition down the funnel.

If you just insert a template message and / or pump it with bureaucratic words, then this is definitely an instant blow out of the funnel.

“Good day! I like your company, and my skills will certainly be useful to you … “

Bad template messages are immediately recognized and do not inspire favor with your candidacy.

Either write cover letters deliberately and well, or don’t write them at all.

Experience Description

It doesn’t matter where you describe your experience: in a letter, resume or on your personal portfolio website. It should be a story, not a list of facts. A story about what problems and tasks were before you, how you solved them and what it led to. It can be fit in a couple of sentences or paragraphs – the essence will not change.

Understand, every product designer “creates web and mobile interfaces”, “designs UX/UI”, “follows guidelines” etc. Without these basics, you won’t be able to work as a product designer. And writing about such things does not make any sense.

Do you find it difficult to write about yourself? Take the “skeleton” as a basis and build up the “meat” from your experience.

What tasks and problems were before you? → How did you solve them? → What did it lead to?

It doesn’t matter where you describe your experience: in a letter, resume or on your personal portfolio website. It should be a story, not a list of facts.


It’s no secret that when selecting product designers, it’s important to understand how they think. Therefore, in the portfolio I want to see a story with examples of interfaces, and not just beautiful pictures.

If your portfolio leads to Behance, then most often you can find beautiful mockups with interfaces there. Yes, an HR can be impressed with how you designed your cases, and he will happily lead you further down the funnel. However, the design manager estimates differently.

Imagine: in one browser tab you have your beautiful mockups on Behance open, in the other – a portfolio in Nocene from another designer. You show pictures, and he tells and shows how he came up with and implemented a feature, gives research results, and so on. I think that it is clear which candidate the design manager will be interested in. Spoiler: not by you.

When a lot of product designers apply for a vacancy, I first look at candidates with a portfolio not on Behance: you can see beautiful pictures later.

A beautiful case on bihance will be able to “sell” you to an HR, but the design manager will glance at it casually and go with interest to read a text story about a feature in Noce from another designer.

Found good candidates, but forgot about the rest

Mail and Telegram of a design manager or HR are inundated with candidate responses. Having selected the best of them, they leave to communicate with them and forget about the rest. Unfortunately, this happens often.

Is this the norm? No, this is not the norm. This is a lack of empathy for a person: he made an effort and responded to the vacancy. Even though he didn’t come up right away, it’s bad to leave him in obscurity. He won’t get feedback one, two, ten or twenty times. For him, this will become familiar: if you apply for a vacancy, get ready that you will not be answered.

Imagine: a designer still finds a job, climbs the career ladder, becomes a design manager, starts hiring people himself and writes only to those who suit him. That’s how he got used to it, that’s how his past experience shaped him. This completes the circle.

Is it his fault? No, this is the fault of the HRs and design managers, who over and over again instilled in him the idea that silence is normal.

We create our own future and indirectly influence the future of others. Appreciate people and their actions. Replying to everyone is great and right.

Is it difficult for you to write something unique every time? Make good templates.

“Ha! Yes, he himself wrote above that templates are stupid, ”you will be indignant and you will be right. But I wrote about bad templates: without a soul and without meaning.

Yes, I have prepared templates for responding to responses so that no one is left without attention. If they coincide with the emotions that I want to convey to the candidate, then why not use them?

Here is an example of a letter that I send only to those who did not fit, but sunk into the soul.

Recipient name, hello.

Thank you for your response, it was nice to get to know you better. You have an interesting style, but we are looking for a slightly different profile.

There is no place for sadness in this letter, I’m sure with your skills and experience, a great job will find you. After all, there are so few good candidates in the designer market.

I was pleased to meet another good designer, and therefore I sincerely wish you success!

If after that the candidate wants to know more details, I write to him why he did not suit me.

We create our own future and indirectly influence the future of others. Appreciate people and their actions. Replying to everyone is great and right.

What do you need to do to get your feedback noticed?

  1. Make sure the job description matches your portfolio and your description of yourself.

  2. In your resume, talk about your experience, and do not list banal things.

  3. Make your portfolio showcase your accomplishments, not just a collection of pretty pictures.

  4. Think about what you like about the company and what you can do for it. This will be the basis for your cover letter.

  5. Combine points 2, 3 and 4 into one letter or message and with very high probabilityyou will be interviewed by a design manager.

And then what?

And then you will have several stages of interviews. I will not write about this, and without that the article turned out to be voluminous.

I’ll give you just one piece of advice. Be yourself and don’t try to be what you are not. It’s like dating. You can pretend not to be yourself if you have a short term goal. If you want a long-term relationship, then being yourself is the best option.

We collect best practices

You have an excellent portfolio and resume – drop them in the comments. This will help other guys get inspired and make their portfolios even better.


Show this article to your designer friends. The more people see it, the more successful responses to vacancies will be.

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