A few days ago, I read an article with the same title as this post. Oh, maybe it was How to Hire a User Experience Professional, or Interaction Designer or Information Architect, or whatever. I don’t recall. There isn’t so much difference anyhow. I do remember it said things like “look at their presentation skills”, “see if their personas are based on research” and something about their wireframes. I tweeted that’s why I wouldn’t hire a designer, which caused some kerfuffle with my followers. And it’s hard to clarify in 140 characters what teed me off about the original article.
Here’s why I wouldn’t hire someone based on wireframes, Powerpoint and persons: it’s not because these are necessarily bad (well, except the wireframes, which are so 2001 that they are the mullet of deliverables, and like the mullet I cannot wait until they are finally gone and I’m not asked to stare at them any longer.) I was bummed because these are merely artifacts and not necessarily the vital critical thinking skills you need to find in a decent designer.
I really don’t care if you never do personas, or if you make them up from a guy you talked to in the grocery story. I don’t care if you use keynote, Powerpoint or Illustrator. And honestly, I would hire someone if they did wireframes even though I hate the darn things.
So how do I vet designers, if not by their paperwork?