The Chris Miller Show Cover

Episode 3: Derek Mei on How UX Design is a Team Sport

Listen in as Syntagma’s Chris Miller speaks with top UX experts, hiring managers and consultants. Each guest will share experiences on how they meet growing UX expectations by identifying and hiring top UX talent.

Chris’s third guest is Derek Mei , UI/UX Developer at 3Play Media. Listen in as Chris and Derek discuss how UX design means something different depending on the size of the company, or the technical sophistication of the audience, or the various roles on a development team. 

According to Derek, good UX design lives at the intersection of technological inspiration, business strategy and team collaboration.  

Because of growing user expectations, good UX has become a team sport. The design and development teams can’t design in a silo as all functional departments have valuable input to share when it comes to user feedback and expectations. 

Hosted by: Chris Miller, Creative and Digital Staffing/Recruitment Consultant

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The Chris Miller Show Cover

Episode 2: Brandon Comstock on How Good UX is Not About Deliverables

Listen in as Syntagma’s Chris Miller speaks with top UX experts, hiring managers and consultants. Each guest will share experiences on how they meet growing UX expectations by identifying and hiring top UX talent.

Chris’s second guest is Brandon Comstock, Director Of User Experience at Boston Digital. Listen in as Chris and Brandon discuss the downside of the recent commoditization of the term “UX” and how to rise above it.

According to Brandon, good UX doesn’t focus on deliverables like user requirements or wireframes. It also doesn’t focus on design in the “graphic designer” sense.

Good UX is about researching and fully understanding the underlying currents of brand, business, and technology. Only then can you build a lasting bridge between the brand and its target audience.

Hosted by: Chris Miller, Creative and Digital Staffing/Recruitment Consultant

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The Chris Miller Show Cover

Episode 1: Nick Etemadipour On How to Hire Extraordinary UX Designers

Listen in as Syntagma’s Chris Miller speaks with top UX designers, hiring managers and consultants. Each guest will share experiences on how they meet growing UX expectations by identifying and hiring top UX talent.

Chris’s first guest is Nick Etemadipour, Lead UX/UI Designer at BRD. They first discuss how best to evaluate UX designers and their portfolio. Then Chris and Nick dive into these top three indicators of good UX:

  • Authentic — Is the UX free of overt brand messaging or blatant product promotion?
  • Unique — Does the UX deliver the unexpected?
  • Entertaining — Does the UX appeal more to emotion than logic?

Hosted by: Chris Miller, Creative and Digital Staffing/Recruitment Consultant

Next Steps

  • Learn more about Chris Miller and his vision for our creative/digital services.
  • Learn more about Lead UX/UI Designer at BRD, Nick Etemadipour.
  • Subscribe to receive email alerts.

Syntagma UX Designer Podcast Series

UX PODCAST SERIES: How to Hire Extraordinary UX Designers

Many tech buzzwords grow in popularity, and then die down. For example, take the phrase “Big Data,” which is still valued but no longer such a hot topic. Alternatively, it’s not surprising the search term “data science” continues to trend up. Care to guess how the search term “UX” is trending? Over the last 10+ years, Google searches on “UX” (see red trend line below) also continue to climb.

Impact of Bad UX

As a growing discipline, UX engagement optimization is a never-ending challenge for many brands. Why’s it matter so much? In a survey of more than 5,000 cross-market consumers, 76% indicated they’d switch brands after one bad experience with a brand they like.

If you’re looking to improve your UX design team and avoid the same fate, this podcast series will help. Listen to Syntagma’s Chris Miller speak with top UX designers, hiring managers and consultants. Each guest will share experiences on how they meet growing UX expectations by identifying and hiring top UX talent.

Indicators of Good UX

Along with discussing how best to evaluate UX designers and their portfolio, the series will discuss these top indicators of good UX:

  • Creative — Is the UX well thought out in its speed, simplicity and substance?
  • Authentic — Is the UX free of overt brand messaging or blatant product promotion?
  • Meaningful — Is the UX fresh and edgy?
  • Transformative — Does the UX capture attention and encourage visitors to ponder?
  • Unique — Does the UX deliver the unexpected?
  • Storylike — Does the UX appeal to a user’s innate sense of good storytelling?
  • Engaging — Does the UX appeal more to emotion than logic?

Chris’s first guest will be Nick Etemadipour, Lead UX/UI Designer at BRD. Subscribe to receive email alerts when the podcast series debuts, and later, as additional guests are announced.

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Don’t Miss These 5 Job Hunting Slam Dunks

Yes, it’s a strong job market for applicants. But, even if you’re “the one”, you’ll forever be competing with less qualified applicants. It’s a bit like you’re the top-seeded team playing the first round of a tournament.  Your goal is to avoid the upset! Think about it; you’re the most experienced applicant but still miss that slam dunk job due to a resume oversight or an interview gaff.

To avoid these missed opportunities, check out my steps for hitting those job hunting slam dunks.

1. Write your resume as if the person reading will have no clue what you do.

  • Focus on your accomplishments and how they  benefited your employers: Include ROI, size and scope of projects, and the like.
  • Stick to your past three-five years: I love one-page resumes and so do most managers who don’t want to spend too long reviewing resumes. Whatever you can lose (pointless details, cliché words and phrases, etc.) lose.
  • Figure out who you really are and what you really want. Build the resume from there.
  • Don’t treat the resume as if it’s ever really finished: It will be a work in progress from day to day.

2. Target your search carefully

  • Don’t just apply everywhere: Make sure you only apply where you want to, and carefully keep records for where  you applied to. You don’t want to get a call and not have any clue who is calling you from where or why.
  • Remember those who might be advertising for openings might not really be hiring and those who aren’t advertising might be hiring.
  • Be able to tell people in a specific company why YOU should be hired: Don’t just say: “I need a job.”
  • Keep in mind that LinkedIn and Indeed aren’t the only places on the web to mine.

3. Network and actually meet people

  • Get proactive in terms of learning new things, meeting new people, and showing your face simply because a lot of people DON’T do these things anymore.  
  • Attempt to meet the people you want to work for.
  • Going to an event? Learn who will be there there and target them.
  • Don’t get discouraged: There is an association for anything and everything, including your industry.  

4.  Kill the interview

  • Be prepared beforehand: research the company, know what it does, check out its latest press clipping(s), and so on.
  • Don’t take an interview for a company you aren’t interested in – you are wasting your time and wasting the interviewer’s time. Bad blood can develop.
  • Never lie, but don’t always tell the WHOLE truth. Prepare some vanilla answers to potentially awkward questions. For instance: really think about how to concisely explain why you are leaving your current job, and if need be, practice your answers.
  • Pausing before you respond is never a bad idea when in an interview.
  • Pretend you are talking to the CEO every time.
  • Don’t change your story as your interviews progress and you meet with various people: It will look like you are making it up.

5. Beef up your social presence

  • The online world is fragmented. So take some time and review all applicable social media platforms and resources, such as job boards, AI recruitment tools, etc.
  • Today, LinkedIn profiles function oftentimes as the new resume.
  • Anything you post on Twitter, in Facebook, etc. basically, will last forever. You may want to police your presence.
  • Be professional without being stuffy: And if you are going to get political, remember that carries risk.    

Finally, believe in yourself and know that failing during the job hunt builds grit! However, if after applying these steps you’re still losing to the competition, reach out to me and I’ll get you back in the game.

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Top Three Ways Your Recruiting Process Can Avoid Blind Spots.

Today’s hiring managers must adapt to two constant challenges: Creative talent shortages and competitive counter-offers. The managerial response must include developing insight into the hiring process via artificial intelligence tools and platforms. This demands market-driven high speed decisions, while overcoming digital complexity. Because of this, on any given day, even the savviest hiring manager might feel a bit like Sandra Bullock in Bird Box.

If you’re determined to achieve better recruiting and consulting outcomes, here’s a brief Q&A with Chris Miller, our Creative and Digital Staffing and Recruitment Consultant. Chris shares his experiences and ideas about how to improve your creative talent vision.

What’s the number one red flag that a client’s approach to filling a position lacks the necessary thought and vision?

This is always dependent on the role, but given it is a design position – looking at the resume first and a portfolio second is a bad move. It is always about the work first. Or looking at a resume of someone who has “jumped around” and dismissing it, only to find out the person is a professional freelancer. Suddenly that person becomes a different candidate.

Today’s recruiting firm talent, tools and technology are more robust and agile than what they were a few years ago. So, if a client chooses to hire using only internal resources, what are they sacrificing by way of the vision?

All of the other people who might be available in the market. A job advertisement is just like a commercial. Not everyone is always watching and there so are so many opportunities and companies hiring, that sometimes candidates miss the best opportunity.

What impact do building and maintaining relationships and feedback loops have on a recruiter-client account?

The client-recruiter relationship and candidate-recruiter relationship are unique because of all the things you CAN’T SAY in a job description or about yourself. People are more forthcoming about their challenges and goals when going through a third party.

Contact Chris to learn more about our new operating company focused solely on the creative services space within Boston. Especially if you start experiencing any floundering “Bird Box” moments at the office.

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Look Who Just Launched a Boston-based Creative Services Company.

After tremendous growth and success within the IT and Financial Services fields, Syntagma has opened a new operating company focused solely on the creative services space within Boston.  We look forward to great things as we continue to grow offerings to our valued customers in the commonwealth.

Our focus is to compliment our fast growing technical recruiting business with freelance, contract to hire, and fulltime placements within:

  • Visual Design
  • User Experience
  • User Interface & UI Engineering
  • Digital Marketing
  • Content Strategy

Next Steps

  • Contact us to learn more about the top freelancers or our expansion into creative services.
  • Subscribe to stay informed on recruiting metrics or other industry topics.
  • Evaluate your current recruiting process with our 60-Second Assessment Tool.


Your Boss Texts, “Send CPH by EOD”. What’s Your Reply?

Cost-per-hire (CPH) is the primary metric for analyzing your recruiting program’s budget allocation and overall effectiveness. Of all your 2018 recruiting data points, your cost-per-hire (CPH) will likely have the most influence on next year’s recruiting budgets and strategies. To calculate CPH, you simply add up your hiring cost structures for a given time period then divide by the number of hires in that time period. But what exactly are your hiring cost structures? Read more

Three Ways to Fail Your Job Interview v3

Three Ways to Fail Your Job Interview

As Managing Director of Syntagma Group, Rachel Howell advises Financial Services candidates on interview strategies. Over the years she’s seen her share of interview mishaps and has shared her top three ways to fail an initial interview. Read more

WINTER IS COMING: Are You Prepared for a Recruiting Transformation in 2019?

Pick any high-performing brand in your industry and it’s likely midway through a digital transformation initiative. If your company is also on that improvement path, you’re probably hearing buzzwords like “automate,” “streamline,” or “digitize.” These words essentially describe different ways to support one major goal: improvement — particularly, business process and bottom-line improvement.

Data suggest that such a transformation is a winning strategy. The proof? 94% of decision makers recently said they believed their departments’ digital transformation initiatives would provide significant returns on investment. Though most companies are in the early digital transformation adoption stages, such positive sentiment shows promise. However, can it be realized?  Research reveals 70% of these initiatives will not reach their stated goals which translates into $900 billion worth of spend yielding sub-par results. The gross mismanagement is due, in large part, to ineffective utilization of talent, techniques or technology.

In fact, new research on how company decision makers view their enterprise digital transformation progress, successes, and adoption challenges identified these top three barriers:

  • TALENT: ineffective in-house talent
  • TECHNIQUE: ineffective top-down communication
  • TECHNOLOGY: ineffective infrastructure

This post will focus solely on what is arguably the primary determinant of business and project success: hiring the right talent.

Digital Transformation Setbacks

It’s no surprise that unqualified in-house talent is derailing many digital transformation initiatives. In the meantime, across the board, companies are executing their digital transformation roadmaps while relying on outdated methods, with inadequate talent. Accordingly, it’s not just hiring managers who need to improve their recruiting processes — human resource departments themselves need a revamp.

If your corporate hiring process were a “Game of Thrones” episode, we’d see line of business managers warning their brands that “Winter is Coming.” Yes, as most companies scramble to overcome their digital skills gaps, 2019 is when things will get much worse for those companies relying on traditional recruiting strategies. They will start failing completely, as the non-traditional adopters position themselves for unprecedented successes.

The demand for more and more specialized creative and technical skills is causing a talent pinch for many businesses. Even if these companies realize the problem, they’re typically not trying to solve it. They keep trusting the in-house staff to attract, pre-screen, interview, negotiate with, and hire candidates. This methodology works best when there is a full labor pool to draw from. However, when there’s severe talent scarcity, it’s going to fail.

Recruiting Transformation Now

Successful digital transformations yield significant ROI. So, eliminating key barriers to these transformations must become a top business objective. It’s proven that a company’s recruiting process can be a major barrier to digital breakthroughs. So, to compete with your industry’s top brands, you must make talent acquisition a priority for your brand and department.

The first step to hiring the right talent is to assess your existing recruiting processes. This is exactly where Syntagma provides value. We ask clients the sorts of questions that force them to acknowledge and attack process snarls and kinks. Contact us for a sample of questions that help our clients better gauge their processes.

Our next post will include our 60-second recruiting process assessment tool. Along with a sampling of our typical questions, this video will prepare you for recruiting process improvement by 2019.

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