by Karthi Subbaraman

When you don't have an established portfolio (eg: a student, a fresher, NDA restrictions etc) to showcase, a design task is a great way to showcase your competence. It gives a fair chance for the employer to judge your competence as a professional.

I am not supporting free work or exploitation here. If you look closely a design task is a two-way street. It is a choice. Without yes from both sides the task doesn't happen. So choose wisely from your end.

Today we will discuss the designer side of things. We will cover the other side shortly.

If you have accepted a design take home assignment, here are 5 tips to ace the assignment submission.

  1. State your assumptions, constraints and hypothesis upfront. Ask questions when in doubt irrespective of whether the employer answers back or not. It helps you think better. It also gives an idea how much your employer supports during your take home assignment period.
  2. Showcase your entire design process. Externalise your thoughts into words or sketches with timestamps in your Figma or Sketch file. It shows your journey vividly. Organize them as thinking pages, reserach pages, iteration pages and final pages.
  3. Package your final submission into a simple clickthrough prototype. Spice it up even further with a video walkthrough of everything you have done. This shows your articulation capabilities.
  4. In an eight hour assignment you cannot do everything. So prioritise what you are gonna focus and set expectations upfront. Be bold to state your prioritise and decisions. Bonus points for explicitly stating your non-priorities as well.
  5. Design never ends. There is always something to improve in the solution. Do a self assessment and be humble enough to say what you would do better if you have more time and share the next steps in your documentation.

Whether you get through the interview or not, this assignment experience and the artefacts are an asset to your design career. In many ways it is a win-win proposition for the interviewee.

If you work for incentives you will not like what I am saying but if you work for the love of design, all you need is a problem statement to showcase your problem solving.

What are you waiting for? Go ace that interview.

πŸ₯‚ to design!