AMA: I'm Cap Watkins, Product Design Manager at Etsy

9 years ago from Cap Watkins, VP of Design @ BuzzFeed

  • Tarun ChakravortyTarun Chakravorty, 9 years ago

    Hello Cap, thanks for doing this ama, i really enjoy reading your blog posts!

    Can you tell us a bit about how you're scaling out the design team at Etsy? as in, how much importance do you give to end to end designers as compared to people who might have a couple of really strong points (say, high interaction design and user research skills but not-that-good visual design or prototyping, or vice versa)?

    Also at Etsy's size, when you're hiring, do you tend to hire just generally smart people, or people who will fit specific roles that have opened up?

    0 points
    • Cap WatkinsCap Watkins, 9 years ago

      Hi Tarun,

      All the product design roles at Etsy are end-to-end (UX, Visual, Front-End). Fortunately, we're at a size now (27) where we can hire folks who are stronger in a couple areas, but not as experienced or confident in others and pair them with a good design counterpart.

      Even then, though, the designers here are expected to contribute and grow in all areas of the product dev process. So if a design candidate comes through and says "I can't code, and I don't want to learn," that's a totally legitimate point of view, but not one that matches up with our hiring criteria.

      As far as specific roles, it kind of depends. When we have a lot of roles open, I'm a bit less targeted in my recruiting efforts (since someone could fit into any number of roles). But as it whittles down throughout the year, I start to get a little more specific. It's all pretty fungible depending on the team, role, etc.

      2 points
      • Victor TranVictor Tran, 9 years ago

        Nice answer. Thank you!

        How do you extend this approach to hiring more junior designers who have had less time to master each or all of the skill-sets? Or do they stand no chance? haha.

        0 points
        • Cap WatkinsCap Watkins, 9 years ago

          We have rubrics for each level and we hire designers accordingly. The junior designers' rubric isn't as stringent as the levels above it. If we're hiring a junior role, junior designers definitely stand a chance.

          1 point