All right. As I write (type) this, it's already been 6 months of me being unemployed, struggling to find a job.
Update: Joined a startup in April 2023
Largely I believe the reasons are Layoffs, hiring freeze but as I apply, get shortlisted, get screened I realize the problem is actually something else.
A little background
Being from a top institution, I had high expectations for campus placements, but they weren’t achieved. We only had five or six opportunities on campus, and we felt that our university’s placement cell was not doing a great job of assisting us in establishing links with the companies for placements.
When I graduated in May 2022, I had high hopes of converting my internship at a Japanese technology conglomerate with an office in Bangalore (working remotely) into a full-time position. However, after the company extended the conversion period and eventually rejected my request to convert, asking me to remain an intern instead, I made the decision not to do so in order to give myself more time to find a full-time position.
Till March 2023, I must have submitted over 500 applications, may have been rejected in over 50, received close to 15 interviews, and the most of them have ghosted me (here ghosted means no reply).
Am I that bad?
I wondered why over 500 firms had rejected me or not responded to my inquiries. I started to feel unhappy and sad about it and wondered if perhaps my portfolio wasn’t up to par or if perhaps the projects I had worked on lacked some details here and there.
So where is it going wrong?
To understand this, I met or connected with people. Here people are the Veterans in the design field who were formerly designers are now working in Design Management, Product Management, or Lead/VP/Head of Design positions. My first query was obviously about the portfolio. I discovered that my portfolio was adequate — better than most of the designers — so it wasn’t a portfolio issue. I then inquired as to whether my ideas needed to be altered; some people offered suggestions, but my design solutions were satisfactory. What specifically were the causes of it then?
Slow response times
I also sent emails or messages to a number of folks in addition to using sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Naukri, Workday, Taleo, and SuccessFactors for the typical applications (most being Design Managers, Talent Acquisition Managers or other people of similar management levels).
The majority of them chose not to respond. While it was impossible to tell if they had received the email via Gmail or not, it was possible on services like LinkedIn, WhatsApp etc. Many of these people were active on LinkedIn but were either not reading the messages or were reading but not replying to it. Those who did took months to respond to a 20–50-word message.
A non-responsive individual creates harm to a company’s reputation, even though one cannot judge a company’s ethics or culture by one of its employees. After having experiences like this, a candidate who had been eager to join the organization might soon grow to dislike it.
Expectations vs Reality
Many businesses believe that a designer and a UI engineer/developer are interchangeable. Indeed, it is possible to do both, however a Designer should actually be designing, whereas a Developer belongs to Engineering. Significant differences exist between the two.
Experience over Skill
You too must have seen a Job description where the requirements are what even a fresher or student can do but it asks for experience of over 5–6 years. Job requirement skills ask for UI designing skills, knowledge of UX laws etc. A person which over 5–6 years of design experience would likely grow into a manager or lead designer and would NOT always DESIGN or be dependent on tools. So having a job description about simply designing UI would be best suited for a fresher and not someone with over 5–6/7–8 years of experience.
Above I stated that how fresher or less experience person is likely the right person on simply designing a UI many companies ONLY believe that. I’ve been rejected in interviews where the Interviewer pointed how they wanted someone ONLY doing UI design and not think much about UX or Product. This was weird because a UI designer should have good understanding of UX laws, theories and reasoning and also understand the product aspect of the design. Me and some of unemployed peers often joke about whether we are overqualified or are people just not in a mood to accept that a fresher can make UX decisions or have reasoning for it for which they were hired at higher salary.
So ultimately what could be the reasons? Is it the hiring freeze to blame, the inactive personnel or the gatekeeping practices in the industry?
I wrote an article regarding UX hiring in India which might summarize the present condition of ux, design in India.
Link to article: https://prashantsingh29.medium.com/ux-hiring-in-india-a3ddf04ea300