Why Your Business Is Struggling to Find Great UX Talent

UX staffing challenges

Having a well-optimized digital experience prepared for your customers has never been more important. But at a time when reliable access to UX expertise has become critical for digital survival, many organizations find themselves desperately scrambling to find the talent needed to create the interfaces their audiences demand.

94% of first brand impressions are UX design-related. If a web user can’t find what they’re looking for quickly and intuitively, or doesn’t like what they see, they’ll look elsewhere and either forget about you or leave with an unfavorable perception.

The key to providing experiences that meet or beat consumer expectations lies in the ability of your interactive and creative teams to manufacture engaging, memorable interactions. However, a variety of factors influence the state of the current pool of top UX talent that make finding that talent and bringing it in house incredibly difficult. Understanding some of these most important factors will help business update their digital marketing recruitment strategy to more effectively attract top talent:

So Much More than “Making Things Pretty”

email marketing staffing personalization

One common misconception about bleeding-edge UX is that it’s just the natural advancement of what was traditionally under the responsibility of creative design staffing. Though there are obvious and important similarities, UX is fundamentally different and requires a distinct skillset to be executed effectively.

A talented creative designer might be able to lay out an attractive and appealing homepage, but that layout could well be unfeasible from a technical standpoint, have slow load times or break in some mobile browsers, inhibit omnichannel tracking, or have some other fatal flaw. It can be a death sentence to your engagement (not to mention SEO) to assume a creative designer is necessarily a UX designer as well.

Even if they’re not actively responsible for web development, UX staffing talent must have a strong understanding of your digital assets’ capabilities and limitations and design accordingly. Excellent designers are rare enough on their own; but those that truly understand the technical foundation they’re building their creative ideas upon are even more uncommon.

Extreme Social Intelligence

Proven UX staffing talent is in high demand–and they know it. It’s not uncommon for even a middle-of-the-road UX professional with meaningful experience to be contacted by corporate recruiters or digital marketing staffing agencies several times a week.

That means that they usually come with a high price tag, and are in a position of strength when it comes to negotiation for compensation and other terms. Many organizations get sticker shock when they enter the market for UX consultants or full time staff, and aren’t prepared for the job flexibility expected by many UX experts.

From a broader standpoint, most UX talent is also quite adept in terms of networking and social media fluency. When they’re interested in making a career move and trying something else, they are often already in close contact with people who can point them towards interesting (and well-paying) opportunities. They rarely have a need to scour job boards for new work, and will hardly ever just “stumble across” your jobs online. If you want the best UX design and development talent under your roof (and you should), you’ll have to find creative ways to get your job openings out in front of them.

Omnichannel Talent is Hard to Find

needle UX staffing talent

UX for desktop web browsing has only recently begun to mature along with a relatively stable pool of talent–and it’s already nearly obsolete.

While the ability to design for large screen site pages remains a critical fundamental for modern UX, the forefront of the field has already shifted to mobile device usability, apps, cross-channel integration, wearables, and “real world” digital experiences at physical locations with kiosks, games, retail encounters, and more.

But the amount of people who can do more than one of those things is already tiny, and those who can do it all are “purple squirrels.” To stay on top of all the innovation happening, you’ll need a comprehensive UX recruitment strategy that pulls together a variety of complimentary creative and technical talent who can deftly integrate emerging technology and tools.

The Nature of UX Work

The reality of most business’s UX needs is that they come in waves as occasional big projects rather than in a steady stream of work.

So while you might need plenty of user experience talent on hand for a site overhaul or to build a new property, you typically won’t need to maintain a constant army of full-time UX designers to maintain it. Depending on the size of your organization and the scale of your web properties, you may only need a smaller core of talent to make minor updates and add new content.

That splits the available UX candidates deeply between full-time roles and professionals who spend a lot of time as contractors or consultants. Depending on your situation, you may need some combination of both. But the fractured talent pool means you’ll need to adapt different strategies to attract the appropriate kind of professionals for your needs.

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