I’ve been a hiring manager for over 6 years now and have reviewed countless applications for various roles. During this process, I’ve come to realise that there are a few key attributes that either attract me towards a candidate or deter me away. I’d like to share some of these learnings and observations, which will hopefully help when you’re applying for a new role.

Cover letter

Attaching a cover letter with your application is by no means mandatory but I always appreciate it when someone takes the time to write a well-crafted cover letter. You’d be surprised how big an impact a…


Today’s my second day of maternity leave and I’m just 4 days away from my due date! 😱 When I first found out that I’m pregnant over 8 months ago, I was overcome by joy and all the butterflies-in-the-tummy feelings that go along. As reality sunk in and I went to work after taking the weekend to digest the news, I knew I had to start planning out various aspects of how the next few months will play out. There were lots of things to consider, i.e. who do I share the new with first? How? When? What all should…


For the organiser: how to run an effective meeting

I’ll get straight to it: owning and running meetings effectively is hard work. Put plainly, meetings are expensive and if the goals of a meeting aren’t met, you’ll most likely see long-lasting negative effects on the productivity of everyone involved. Not to mention, the project will suffer immensely because no one has a clear sense of what’s going on. To be able to own and run meetings like a boss, it’s critical to first and foremost evaluate if what you’re about to “get in a room” to “have a chat” about is even worth having a chat about. We’ve all…


Doing a post-launch post-mortem is one of my favorite things to do as a designer because it’s quickest and cheapest way to learn/grow. I’ve noticed a few post-mortem sessions become accusatory or just downright awkward because of the way in which they’re conducted. They definitely don’t have to be. A few things to keep in mind when discussing a project during a post-mortem: be direct & concise when providing feedback, focus on learnings rather than regrets, talk about the project & its attributes as opposed to individuals, i.e., don’t make it personal.

Be direct & concise when providing feedback

Be sure to encourage the team to provide…


When interviewing, showcasing not just the solution but also how you arrived at the solution is what will set you apart in a sea of talented designers. As you start thinking about how you’re going to go about doing so, consider taking a deeper look at your process, your contributions to the projects that you’ve worked on, and why you landed where you did. I often start off with a brain dump before I organize my thoughts into a more presentable format. A few tips on what to do pre-interview and during the interview.

Action Items

The first step is to organize…


Design critiques can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. So, you’ve been working on a user flow or illustration for weeks and are finally ready to show it to the parties involved. You want this to go well so you can move on to the next phase, the next project, the next feature, so on. In order to do so, you’ll need to make sure that you set yourself up for success so you can get what you’re looking for from the design critique. I’ve listed a few ways of doing that below.

Action Items

Walking into the meeting confused…


Being the only designer on a team can often leave designers second guessing themselves. Receiving valuable feedback is critical to get out of that mindset. I see it as a great opportunity to take ownership and start educating your peers about what good design means. Once your teammates start understanding what some of the goals of what you do are, it’ll help them provide valuable feedback on your work. Another effective technique is to seek the help externally. You can share your work with a few trusted designer friends or reach out to people you admire on Twitter, etc.

Action Items

Start…


Over the weekend, I watched a movie about Temple Grandin, an Autistic woman who has become one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry.

It left a deep impression on me and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Ms. Grandin’s life. She was born in August of 1947 into a well-educated and wealthy family. Temple received a diagnosis of ‘brain damage’ when she was two years old and the medical advice for this diagnosis at the time was to institutionalize the individual. Temple’s mom, Eustacia was strongly opposed to the idea of institutionalizing her daughter…


I know it’s not easy.

All those doubts playing ping pong in your head.

Those fears telling you that you can’t.

Have you ever thought about asking “why not?”

Take the pressure off, forget the insecurities and just start making.

Have a point of view.

Put it out there.

What’s the worst that can happen?

They’ll laugh. They’ll roll their eyes. They’ll hate it. You’ll fail.

Who cares?

In a world of 7.4 Billion people, do you really think anyone gives a shit if you mess up? Nope. No one cares.

Well, maybe your parents but that’s about it.

Quit…


Emails. Hipchat/Slack messages. Verbal announcements. These are just a few of many ways in which we communicate these days. It’s easy to get lost in a flood of messages and ignore the ones that matter. At HelloSign, we noticed that this was increasingly becoming a communication pain point. A lot of important information that we wanted to surface internally was not being relayed effectively simply because of the sheer volume.

Communication is an integral part of any well-oiled machine. As our team grows, we’re constantly evaluating tools to make communication a bit easier, which almost always results in increased productivity.

Aaina

Designer of many things. Currently, Head of Design at Unmind. Previously, Head of Design @HelloSign. Design @zendesk. Creator of @neemsf & @hdysta.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store