Tales from the Frontline of UX Careers Speed-Networking


When the UK UPA (UK Usability Professionals' Association) listed their careers event on Chinwag's events listings, we asked UK UPA Head of Professional Development, Leslie Fountain, to share her insight.

Our annual June Careers event this year was more than just about which employer had the flashiest displays or cupcakes. Our attendees weren't concerned with how many goody bags they could get, this year we got really serious, enter Speed Dating...

The boom in recruitment within the User Experience (UX) space is not surprising considering anyone and everyone is boosting their digital offering at the moment. Whether its e-commerce, informational, service delivery, gaming, intranets, enterprise solutions, mobile devices, interactive exhibits or apps. If a human has to be able to work it, then you can bet that they’re thinking big about UX.

Thank goodness, for a minute there at the start of 2009 we thought we might have gone the way of the mini-disc: screaming at the world how important we are, but totally bypassed because no-one really thinks we’re hot anyway, but I digress.

Our careers event this year was all about perfect matches. 3-minutes of face time with a prospective employer/employee/colleague. 16 employers interviewed 32 candidates in one hour and the UK UPA committee (and our precious volunteers) have thankfully all restored normal blood pressure and near-normal hearing in both ears (we promise, no whistles next time).

Did it work? Well yes actually, spectacularly so. Those candidates who came prepared blazed through the room handing out mini business cards, shaking hands, flashing Colgate smiles and walking away with the promise of proper interviews. Those who weren’t prepared discovered that well-known opportunist serendipity and the promise of things they hadn’t expected.

And the employers? Well they, like us were exhausted at the end of the night, but felt like they’d covered more ground in one evening than in 2 days looking at one black and white CV after another. Now that is time and money well spent.

Obviously we have lots of feedback on what we can improve next time and we’ve listened. Whatever the demand for great UX practitioners this time next year, you can rest assured we'll stand by our remit to support Professional Development and professionalism within the community by putting on events that leave their mark.

Don’t forget, we host an event every month, all good bees know a job can always be found via a spot of proactive networking. Join us at Pecha Kucha night onThursday 15th July. Sign-up now.

Picture (c) UK UPA.