In conversation with the co-founder of Obvious about their experience with hiring designers from ownpath

Obvious is an award winning product and strategy consultancy that partners with businesses to create digital experiences. In this article we talk to Dhruv Saxena, co-founder at Obvious.

In conversation with the co-founder of Obvious about their experience with hiring designers from ownpath
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Hiring Stories

Obvious is an award-winning product and strategy consultancy that partners with businesses to create digital experiences. With strengths in strategy, design, mobile applications and web technologies, they have successfully created high-impact work for 120+ startups, unicorns, nonprofits and industry titans including Ola, Dunzo, Myntra, Swiggy, Gojek, Flipkart, Simple, and Wikipedia.

In this article, we talk to Dhruv Saxena, co-founder at Obvious, about the challenges they face while hiring great talent and their experience with ownpath.

Q. What kind of a company is Obvious?

Obvious is a very practice-focused business and amongst the very few consulting firms in the country that is operating at the scale of clients that we have.

We often work with big product firms almost as an extension of their internal teams. This way of operating is a slightly different model than what you might encounter with regular consulting firms, which typically do consulting work as projects.

Q. What sort of design team are you building at your company?

As we’re a consultancy that goes far beyond just “designing” products, we look for people who are deeply interested in the design itself. That means we pay attention to evidence of the “craft of design” — people who are very curious about design and look at their craft as a way to express that curiosity, often in collaboration with other functions like engineering. Curiosity is one of our core tenets and that influences the kind of teams we nurture here.

Q. What sort of challenges do you face in hiring such talent?

Filtering searches to find such people becomes hard. Everybody looks very interesting on paper, but it’s only after working with them for a few weeks or months that you find out whether the design is their true calling or not.

The key for us here is to assess a person based not on their harder outcomes or what’s exactly in their portfolio, but on a deeper level — whether this person is going to be a great fit for the organisation and whether design is truly what they want to be doing.

Q. How has it been hiring from ownpath?

Obvious has hired 3 Fellows so far: Mudita Sisodia, Shruti Chaturvedi and Junaid Singh from the Product Design Fellowship.

It has been a great experience so far. From the Product Design Fellowship, we’ve only hired people who were at the start of their design careers. The fact that they joined the ownpath Fellowship showed that they were chasing their curiosity about design as a craft, rather than just aiming for their first or second design jobs (for which there are other routes than investing in learning the craft).

The work the Fellows do at ownpath gives us a jumping-off point to question them a lot more deeply, which has been a great help while we assess candidates.

Another aspect that makes things easier is that, since they’ve gone through the 2-3 months of Fellowship experience, we can see what they produced during the program and how they apply their learnings to what they’re working on right now.

Q. How have the Fellows been doing at Obvious?

The three of them have been doing really well. Some colleagues at Obvious were also Mentors in the Fellowship and that has been extra helpful because, even before coming in, the Fellows had a sense of what it might be like to work with us. That has worked in both our favour.

From what I’ve heard from my team, their experience working with the Fellows has matched the expectations they had of them.

I also see them being a little further along than where I expected them to be, in the time frame that they have been with us. I think their pace of learning is faster. The fact that they have been primed for learning during the Fellowship could have played a significant role.

Our Product Design Fellowship is a 4-month intensive cohort-based program that helps designers upskill and grow in their careers. If you’re a designer, you can join our Product Design Fellowship. The next cohort begins soon!

If you are part of a company that’s looking for great design talent, we can help! Let’s talk here, or sign up on this form.

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