This is a different approach from our usual feature on ABDZ but this might be greatly useful if you ever get this opportunity. Last week, I (François Hoang - Chief Editor on ABDZ) was on my flight home from an onsite interview I had in San Diego for a UX position.
Nestled within a carefully planted olive grove, an exceptionally transparent envelope sits below a floating carbon-fiber roof, which cantilevers over outdoor seating areas on either side. Its softly-lit timber soffit gives the interior an inviting warmth, while the full-height glazing dematerializes the building volume.
Visitors are greeted with a large scaled model of Apple Park – seemingly suspended in mid-air – milled and finished by the same machines that create the signature Apple products. Visitors also have the opportunity to get a closer look at the main building from the roof terrace of the Visitor Center, which offers an unmatched panoramic view of Apple Park. A delicate screen of thin, curved carbon-fiber fins shades the terrace, where people can relax and take photos against the lush backdrop of Apple Park.
This was my first experience and I wanted to share my thoughts about the things I've learned and what I would improve if you ever get this opportunity. Beforehand, I would like to mention that I won't share any details about the company I was interviewed because of a non-disclosure agreement I signed. Also, I would like to send my regards to the awesome folks I've met along the way (Cheers!).
To be able to actually come to an onsite interview, you have to go through a series of phone calls and video conferences. It's usually about 2-3 meetings and if you made the cut. You will get to hear those words: " We would like to invite you to an onsite meeting". OH YEAH! Party time right? Not really, just hold off before you can say anything to your relatives or friends. This is just the beginning of your journey.
The waiting game, I think this is the most brutal part of my whole experience. The wait for email replies and checking your notifications all the time, it almost feels like your current life has been put on hold. The first tip, don't get alarmed about what might be going through your head or the thought about they might have changed their minds on you coming or not. People are busy and they will get to you when it's the time is right. You would rather take this energy and be focusing on doing your homework.
First Task: Homework
This is an interview but try to change the perspective as if it was a UX project. For this first task is all about research. We are grateful enough to have Google as being the biggest searchable library ever, use it for your own benefits. Try to learn and understand the company’s history, philosophy, products/services, marketing, target audience, design process, tools and etc. This way you will be prepared when asked: What do you know about our X company". This exercise helped me a lot because I was able to understand more things beyond the company logo. Don't forget that user experience is not related to interfaces only, it's all part of everything the users interact within reach of the company logo. For my case, I had the opportunity to own the product for a little while. I decided to use it every day and see what was my feedback as a user. What I would definitely improve on the design side and if I've found any bugs too?
It's NOT a vacation trip
We are pretty excited (including me) when you get the chance to fly for free to a destination that you have never been before. Remember that you are traveling for "work" and usually what you have planned to do like shopping, tourist stops never ended up happening. You can always ask if the company is willing to book you an extra day or two but you will pay the extra for the hotel fees. It's always good to ask.
Make a Presentation
For my onsite interview I never saw the mention of having a presentation ready, gladly I made the right move and had one ready. Don't forget that you are traveling all the way across and some people you are meeting probably didn't even read your resume. Play it safe and have one ready.