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Voice This! #7 Special Issue
Featuring guest writer Hillary Black!
Hey Voice This! fam 👋🏼
It’s good to be back. One newsletter issue per month so far this year. Not bad, huh? In case this subject title wasn’t clear enough, this, my friends, is a special issue of our newsletter. We’re so happy our good friend Hillary Black was kind enough to make an appearance on our newsletter, and we’re so excited to share with you all that plans for season 2 are now underway! Stay tuned for some very exciting developments with our podcast and newsletter. If you subscribe, you’ll be the first to find out what happens before the rest of the internet does.
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Which reminds me, if you haven’t already, please do give us a follow on Instagram. We’ve been churning out content like crazy lately.
Podcast Corner 🎙️
Usually we only plug 1 podcast episode at a time, but for this special issue, we wanted to highlight a couple of the episodes that really gave us a nice, warm voice hug 🫂
Creator of Content Rookie podcast, Nicole Michaelis, recently launched an episode reacting to her own personal news of being laid off as a Senior UX Writer. It’s a great reminder of what we all might underplay with layoffs: it’s not personal, and being laid off has no correlation to your talent or performance.
Speaking of shocking layoffs that have nothing to do with potential or talent, former Conversation Designer at Meta, Hilary Hayes, appeared on podcast a few years ago to talk all things #CxD careers. This episode is one I find inspiring to this day. I’ll always go back to listen to this episode whenever I’m feeling stuck in my work.
Affectionately known as earcons, auditory icons are here to stay in modern product design and they have the potential to add rich dimension to your experience or stir up negative feelings in your users. This episode is an extremely fun listen with some fun facts on how the US credit card reader sound was reimagined.
Lastly, yes, you know we had to do it. We do have to plug our own podcast because IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, we finally closed out season 1! Our season finale is all about voice app development, and in Part 2 of our interview with Guy Tonye, he gives us all the extra dirt on removing intents, sunsetting apps, and even monetizing experiences. Listen and please rate us on Spotify or Apple Podcasts!
Reading Pit Stop📚
Our favorite reads from the past few weeks, including some oldies but goodies. Happy reading!
Quick reminder for our designer friends to focus on: Enabling a journey but not being the journey by sensory designer Alastair Somerville.
5 qualities of a truly effective design brief by Lillian Xiao.
15 ways conversation designers could use ChatGPT by Kane Simms.
“ChatGPT and other LLMs won’t solve all issues, and they won’t replace conversation designers, but they should allow everyone to do better work.”
Audience Q&A 💌 with special guest Hillary Black!
This is the part of our newsletter created by YOU! This issue, one lucky listener gets their question featured and answered by Millani, Elaine, AND Hillary Black!
This week’s question is one we wouldn’t want to answer in a few short sentences. So, we brought in an expert to help! Hillary Black (if you don’t know her already) is the Head of Marketing & Conversation Design at Mav and Founder of Conversation Designer Jobs. The question is:
How to spot good conversation design opportunities vs bad?
Hillary: As with any job, you're going to want to pay close attention and read the entire job description to make sure it matches up with what YOU are looking for, not just whether or not you'll be a good fit for the role!
Companies should have realistic expectations of what conversation designers contribute to a team. They should be specific about the day-to-day expectations and the requirements that are relevant to that role. If there is a long laundry list of qualifications that aren't related to conversation design, like SEO or graphic design, it's likely not a good opportunity!
Millani: The timing for this question couldn't be more perfect.
Personally, I spot good from bad during the interview process. BUT before you start judging an opportunity, make sure you set goals for yourself and figure out what you want from your next opportunity. You can make goals related to anything: the kind of team you want to work with, the company culture, the reporting manager, the range of work, opportunities for growth, etc. Find what speaks to you and what you feel will help your career. One thing I look for throughout the interview process is whether the people I would potentially work with are genuinely happy with what they're doing and are really passionate about their work. As I mentioned our previous newsletter answer, passion is infectious and it can help you grow and learn. (I also seek the potential for fun- I need fun). So I use those as my search criteria.
Story time: I once applied for an opportunity that I was super excited about because wen I first read the job description it sounded AMAZING. It had almost everything I wanted and more! The first few chats with the recruiter and the reporting manager were great and had a really good feeling about it. I started getting calendar invites and kept "informally" chatting with multiple people who kept speaking highly of the company and work. However, I would leave each conversation more and more confused about what I was applying for and the scope of the work. It sounded like they were in the midst of big change when all of a sudden, they weren't sure if they needed a designer anymore. They offered a semi-not-design role and made me AGAIN interview with more people in the company. This went on for about 3 months until I pulled the plug. I felt terrible because I had invested so much time getting to know members of the team and company and even started doubting whether I want to be a designer or if I’d be okay settling for the 'hybrid' designer role they were offering me. I even doubted whether it was the right move. Fortunately, I ended up getting a role that I was happy with, and have absolutely no regrets. It was definitely a learning experience and I did have great chats with the team, but it was not for me.
So to answer the question, a good experience would be an experience that gives you clarity into the role. It shouldn't leave you confused. Everyone you speak to starting from the recruiter/HR representative/hiring manager should sound consistent in terms of role expectations. They should have a clear mission or project description. It’s okay if they don’t have all the answers, but if you feel like they are not putting in the effort to make things clear or if they lack transparency, then that might be a red flag. I've noticed that the interviews that don't feel like interviews and feel more like a casual chat are the best. I love leaving interviews feeling energized and excited because I've genuinely had a good time chatting with the interviewers. Just like how they're assessing me on my answers to their questions, I assess them on how they're answering mine. I want to make sure that their answers align with what I'm looking for in the next step in my career.
I wish everyone in the market all the best in getting the roles that help you reach your career goals while having fun at the same time! :)
Elaine: I feel like a lot of us entering the conversation design career are looking for roles that help us grow and gain the skills to feel comfortable as designers in a very unstable industry. Personally, I love seeing companies advertise for conversation design internships or apprenticeships because, not only is direct mentorship rare for CxDs, it shows that the team is showing a long-term investment in their people and truly believe in their product. Like any other kind of career, it’s hard to tell at a glance which opportunities are good and which are bad, but here’s how I usually judge an opportunity on paper:
Job description green flags
💚 The role is for a conversation designer on a design team, not a solo designer.
💚 Formal design education is not listed as a hard requirement, and other writing or language experience is considered
💚 It’s a full-time position, not contract and especially not “contract-to-hire”
💚 They explicitly list out which tools and platforms you will use on the job
💚 They specify which channels/medium you will focus on (i.e. voice vs. chat)
💚 BONUS: the company offers a yearly design/CxD internship program
💚 BONUS: salary range is included in the description
Job description red flags
🚩 The words “developer” or “chatbot writer” are written anywhere
🚩 It’s an entry level position with a minimum of 5+ years of experience
🚩 It’s a senior level position with a minimum of 8+ years of experience
🚩 The role reports to customer success, sales, or anything other than design
Hope this helps and wish y’all all the best in your job search!
Thanks for Reading This! 🥰
Voice This! Newsletter is a joint effort of Millani Jayasingkam and Elaine Anzaldo. Opinions expressed are solely our own and do not express the views or opinions of our employers.