💎 What questions to ask as a candidate? Get some tips that’ll help set yourself up for success while interviewing for a position with SeatGeek. Watch the video to learn more about the company and its application process.
📼 What questions to ask as a candidate? The questions you prepare show recruiters how interested you really are in the company, and just how much you want to learn about its culture and values. Alexis Tissian, a technical recruiter at SeatGeek, shares some insights about their interview and application process, and also great tips on how to best prepare.
📼 What questions to ask as a candidate? From his experience in recruiting, Alexis considers it to be super valuable when candidates ask team-specific and company-wide specific questions. For example, some team-specific questions could be: “What teams are you hiring for within the greater engineering or product organization?” “What team am I being considered for?” “What are these teams working on?” “What technical challenges are they facing?” “What is the tech stack?” Anything within that realm is not only valuable information to you, but will also show the recruiter or interviewer your interest in the position.
📼 What questions to ask as a candidate? You now have a pretty good idea about this. So let’s continue with the application process at SeatGeek! First, you will submit your resume and cover letter through their website. Then, if it’s a fit, either a recruiter or hiring manager will reach out to you to know your availability. From there, they'll set up an introductory call. In that conversation, whether it is via Google Meet or phone call, they'll get an understanding of your experience, and also what you're looking for to make sure it's a match on both sides. If all goes well there, you'll move forward to either a take-home assignment or a technical screen. The take-home assignments usually don't take more than 1-3 hours. And for the more technical roles, the live coding session will be somewhere around an hour. If everything goes well from there, the team at SeatGeek will move forward to a final round of interviews. From there on, you’ll be moved forward to the reference stage. If this last stage goes well, you’ll be presented with an offer!
What Questions To Ask As A Candidate? - Apply Now!
One last key tip for anyone who is interested in working at SeatGeek, from Alexis: simply apply! There are so many roles open that could be the perfect fit for you. The recruiting team at SeatGeek is looking for passionate, hardworking individuals to join the company. The best thing you can do is apply to get your name in the system and show them you are interested. And if it's not a fit now, they will absolutely tag your profile for something later down the line.
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining SeatGeek? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Alexis Tissian
If you are interested in a career at SeatGeek, you can connect with Alexis Tissian on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About SeatGeek
SeatGeek loves live events because they bring people of all walks together. You see the same things. You feel the same feels. You walk out changed for the better. They strive to bring the same feeling of connectedness into their workplace. Help them help the world experience more live. SeatGeek is the #1 rated ticket marketplace for live events. They are also a global primary ticketing system and our customers include major sports teams and venues such as the Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Cowboys, Manchester City Football, and Jujamcyn Theatres (Book of Mormon, Hadestown, Springsteen on Broadway).
Insight from JW Player’s Monica Parra
Monica Parra knows she wouldn’t have had a successful career in art—and now in design and UX engineering—if she wasn’t comfortable with conflict.
“It’s actually quite required of us to disagree with each other, because we're after the best possible solution,” she says of the creative process. “Healthy debate is really important, and I crave it, to be honest.”
That’s been true at every stage of her career, from when she made a late switch to art school to when she worked her way into the digital side of traditional media magazines to when she got into digital product design.
Now, Monica is the Director of Design and UX Engineering at video software and data insights platform JW Player.
As a woman working in tech, she’s learned how to make sure her perspective is considered. “Men love to interrupt; women love to give people space,” she says. “You fight for your voice at the table.”
We sat down with Monica to hear more about how she fosters a spirit of healthy debate and collaboration, as well as the career path that brought her here and what advice she has for budding designers looking to find the path that’s right for them.
Raising her hand
Monica was studying international business in college when she realized she didn’t want to ever work in a cubicle farm. “I saw a future that looked like Dundler Mufflin, and I needed to pivot,” she says, smiling. “The only other talent or hobby that I had at the time was graphic design.”
She followed that interest, which had previously manifested itself in homemade flyers for family businesses and fun Photoshop projects, all the way into transferring into art school. By the time she graduated, she set out to work in publishing, so she could be a part of editorial storytelling.
Monica thought she’d be working on print magazines, but a recruiter pointed out that lots of publishers were hiring in their digital space. “I really wasn’t confident, and they were like, ‘Trust me; you have a portfolio. And you’ll make more money because there’s not so many people in the running for these roles,’” remembers Monica.
She ended up being part of the early design teams at magazines like Newsweek and Spin, and she credits those experiences with teaching her the importance of collaboration.
“We were working with editors, videographers, and photographers, and you got staffed and tried to do your work as fast as possible. That’s where I got my hustle,” she says. “It’s where I learned what a real design team was. It was supportive, with camaraderie and not competition. Truly just a bunch of design nerds, we traded our skills to help each other, we stayed late if someone was on a deadline. The team culture I have today is definitely rooted in that first design team.”
While Monica loved her experience in publishing, she felt the industry closing in around her, and once again, she raised her hand to try something new.
“I’d always thought product design was physical—like designing this ChapStick, essentially,” she says, gesturing towards an example. “But there was this whole new wave of digital product design, which was a domination of software design and UX, and I had the chance to again be at the forefront of something that was not fully saturated with too many designers,” she says.
Leaning into the differences between design and product design
When she moved into product, Monica had to learn not to run to a solutions space. “Instead of going straight into Photoshop and designing to your heart’s desire, you start with understanding user goals. What are the requirements of this? How do we know the solution we’ve chosen is the right solution?,” she asks.
She liked the change, saying, “as you get used to what the data can tell you, you start to crave more data.”
In trading in her design aesthetic for user perspectives and feedback, Monica found that a lot of the core skills were the same. “You have to be objective and take yourself out of it. You’re not designing for yourself, you’re designing for all the users and viewers of your product,” she says.
When Monica joined JW Player, it was because she was ready for a product design role where she could be more creative. She knew she’d have the chance to build a team, and was excited to do so at the intersection of design and tech for a company whose tech stack and product she really believed in.
“When I started at JW Player, I had friends ask me, ‘Why aren’t you applying for creative director jobs?’ But at the time, I wasn’t ready to let it go, to be hands-off,” she says. So her first year on the job was focused on digging into product and really creating the kind of design culture she came from and appreciated.
But then it was time to move into a directorship, and Monica knew she was ready. “It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but it’s a pretty great place to be, when you’re ready to be challenged,” she says.
3 key skills for being successful in design in tech
Monica has hired both designers and engineers to work on her product team, and here are some of the common markers of success she’s seen:
- An ability to communicate. “If you don’t know how to communicate your design philosophy or thoughts, communication from designer to engineer can break down pretty quickly,” she says.
- An interest in the other side. Monica looks for designers who are excited to “sit with an engineer and look at every pixel to make sure it’s perfect,” she says, and engineers who are excited to participate in the creative process.
- A belief in compromise. “We cannot be precious about what we built and we cannot insert ourselves as the user for what we're building,” says Monica. “This is a career that’s not for the faint of heart. You get a lot of hard feedback. I always say I’m very open to being convinced of being wrong, but you have to put in the work to convince me.”
There's a laptop sticker that Lauren Zack sees and agrees with every day: "You are not the user."
As a longtime UX professional, and the current VP of UX Design at SaaS company LogMeIn, recognizing the diverse set of people who will be using the products she works on is vital to Lauren's work.
"Understanding that you are a very specific use case and not representative of the population that will be using the thing you're designing or building is incredibly important," says Lauren. That approach builds empathy, she argues, because it forces designers to start their work from the perspective of people with different backgrounds, different viewpoints, and different priorities.
Whether she's working on the next generation of remote-friendly meeting software or managing her growing team, Lauren leads with inclusion, which allows her to design products that work for the largest percentage of people possible. We sat down with her to learn just how she does that—and what sparked her interest in this field.
Making problem solving better
Lauren owes her career to a book she read when she was 11: Cheaper by the Dozen, the biographical novel about parents who are efficiency experts and their large brood of children.
"They figured out that making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the morning, they should do bread, bread, bread, peanut butter, peanut butter, peanut butter, jelly, jelly, jelly, bread, bread, bread. You can see how that led to process improvements," explains Lauren. "And it just resonated with me. It was like wow, that is exactly how I see the world."
When she got to college, Lauren majored in physics, because it seemed like a way to understand how the world works, then added a cognitive psychology major. "I figured if I knew a lot about how the world works and how people think and work in the world, I could design things better for people," she says. After a class called Human Factors Engineering, she walked up to the professor, shook his hand, and said, "How do I do this?"
There wasn't a name for the field of user experience research and design, but that's what Lauren wanted to do. She started as a human factors engineer at IBM. She later worked in healthcare systems, figuring out how to help people deliver care in better ways, from designing bedside terminals for doctors to transforming how health records were kept.
Along the way, she was always interested in how she could solve people's problems and make their daily lives better.
Why culture matters
A few years into her career, Lauren realized that the best ideas couldn't help solve problems if no one was willing to listen to them. She was working at a well-known website whose culture didn't facilitate creativity or collaboration.
"Something that really came home to me was the connection between a company culture and the products they produce," she says. "It was very frustrating. You want to feel valued as an employee, and that each voice is heard. As somebody who was developing products, I was seeing that we weren't able to innovate in a way that made sense for our product market fit."
Lauren says that was the first time she realized how hard culture was to change—and how important it was to be in a culture that aligned with her values from the get-go. "So one of the things that I've done since then is to always select where I'm working based on the culture," she says, "because culture is so foundational to producing great products for people."
That's what interested her about LogMeIn, shares Lauren. "We really value communication, transparency, and being fearless," she says. "Those things are key tenets to a healthy culture, and as the leader in UX in the company, those are things that will make us successful in producing great designs."
How inclusion propels projects
One of LogMeIn's most well-known products is their GoToMeeting software, which has become especially beloved during COVID. Included in that software is a Smart Meeting Assistant feature. "If you were impaired in any way, you would be able to review the transcript and make sure you catch everything that happened in the meeting. But that's a fantastic tool for anybody," says Lauren. "In this day of meeting fatigue, if you zone out for a couple of minutes or turn off the camera to get another Diet Coke, having a transcript of the meeting is useful to you regardless of where you fall on an ability spectrum."
That's an example of inclusive design, explains Lauren, and how it means better projects for people with disabilities, but also for everyone.
Lauren's team starts all of their work with an inclusive focus, aiming to create products and services that are accessible to a large part of the population. That means they study not just the 80% of users who fall within the bell curve, but also the outliers. "You need to understand what their needs are and make sure that you're creating a product that can include as many of them as possible," she says. For example, notes Lauren, many people over 40 need glasses to help see things up close. An app that doesn't allow for pinch zoom—like Uber and Lyft's car confirmation pages—means not only that you've left out a segment of the population, but also that you've invited a competitor to come in and seize that market opportunity.
"By doing inclusive design and having products that are more available to people, you actually open up opportunities for a much more diverse workforce and a much more diverse environment," says Lauren.
5 DEI lessons from inclusive product design
Lauren shared her top five tips for design teams who want to create a culture of inclusivity where ideas are freely shared and products serve the greatest possible population, but we think these tips are transferable to anyone looking to create more inclusive teams:
- Consider failure—and see it as an opportunity. Lauren shares another favorite design principle, inspired by a popular science fiction novel: "When you've invented a new technology, you've automatically invented its failure. So the Wright brothers invented flight, they also invented the plane crash." In her work, that means that extended video meetings begat "Zoom bombing," or unwanted participants crashing meetings. The need to solve for that failure led to Lauren's team creating meeting lock controls, which evolved into waiting rooms for participants, which in turn became a really useful feature for meeting moderators, even beyond the benefit of keeping would-be crashers out.
- Build empathy. "It's building empathy and figuring out how to personalize that… deep empathy helps you to create [an] understanding of what people truly want."
- You don't have a pipeline problem. Lauren read an article a while back that resonated with her called "If you think it's a pipeline problem, you haven't been paying attention." "What that means is you can fill your pipeline as much as you want with a diverse slate, but if you don't hire that way, you won't hire those people. And if you do hire that way, but you don't create a culture where they can be successful, they're going to leave," she says. To solve that, she suggests applying a product-design framework to your hiring systems to make sure they allow for everyone to be successful.
- Listen. Lauren's team spans continents, from California to Budapest to India and beyond, and to foster connection and inclusion, she hosts regular "listening post" office hours every week. She also uses Slack and informal monthly all-hands meetings to create a sense of community and give her team multiple avenues for sharing their ideas.
- Consider the overall org design. Lauren says she's worked at companies where product design reports into marketing or other groups, and she didn't like that structure. "One of the reasons I took the job at LogMeIn has been to elevate design to be a partner with both product and engineering," she says. "I call it the three-legged stool. It creates a very healthy tension between the product team, who's saying 'here's what we should build, because it's going to be a great product market fit,' and the engineering team, that says 'here's how we will build it.' The design team says 'here's how it's going to work.'"
Interested in joining LogMeIn? Check out their open roles here.
Christina Xu has long been interested in accessible design. As the product manager for the Accessibility (A11y) team at real-time collaboration software company Quip, it's more than just a passing fascination—it's a key part of her job.
Because Quip makes collaboration tools that are designed to empower people to work effectively together, says Christina, it's vital that those tools are designed to be used by everyone. "If an employee can't use our tools, it affects their ability to do their jobs, to get updates, respond to coworkers, participate in projects, or share their ideas," says Christina.
"I'm constantly thinking about who technology empowers, who it disables, and who gets to make those decisions," she adds, sharing that accessibility became even more important to her when her partner was diagnosed with a chronic illness. "Basic computer interactions like sitting at a desktop and using a mouse, or tapping text messages out on a phone, [can be] very painful [for them]. Watching them explore different tools and assistive technologies to make those experiences a little easier is a constant reminder of the importance of this work."
Christina's team has worked on several accessibility projects over the last few months, including Dark/High Contrast mode, designed for low-vision users and also a popular feature in general. We interviewed Christina along with three product engineers she works with—Tommy Vo, Joyce Zhu, and Ben Cronin—about their experience on that project and what they've learned about accessible product design and engineering.
Impactful work that's intellectually challenging
Ben has a very close friend, Laura, who has been blind for most of her life. "Her story has really shaped my understanding of what it means for someone to be 'disabled,'" he explains. "The fact that she cannot see may profoundly change the way she experiences the world, but it does not make her incapable of participating in and contributing to it." Working on accessibility projects makes Ben feel like he's creating a more even playing field for people like Laura.
But Ben's not in this work just for that rewarding feeling (though he does enjoy it). He also finds engineering for accessibility an intellectually stimulating problem. "I like the challenge of developing different frameworks for conveying all the information and enabling all the functionality that someone needs to successfully interact with a complex app," he says.
Tommy, who has worked on A11y features at Quip for other projects like their Navigation Redesign and Message Composer, agrees: "Accessibility teaches me to tackle problems logically and helps me learn new things about the web and assistive technology every day," he says. "For example, nothing grinds my gears more than discovering different behavior of HTML elements across browsers, yet I love learning about caveats like that and could spend hours researching in my own time."
Tommy also likes how clear-cut the wins are in accessible design. "Versus other UX projects where it might be hard to define success, it is often easy for me to tell whether an accessibility feature is satisfactory or not," he says. "Can our customers use it? Does it pass the defined ARIA standard or not?"
Joyce is a big personal fan of Dark/High Contrast mode and long wished she could use it on the products she works on every day. "When we had enough engineers to staff a full-time accessibility team, I was eager to do a technical investigation into how to create robust dark and high-contrast themes," she says.
Christina maps out the steps towards making Dark/High Contrast mode a reality, highlighting the complex engineering and design problems that had to be carefully solved before bringing the much-requested feature to life:
- "Tommy had to implement semantic colors for all of Quip. This means that instead of designers specifying that a button is a certain shade of blue in the code, they would instead specify that a button is 'button-colored,' and we would then render a precise color based on whether Quip was in Light, Dark, or High Contrast mode.
- Then, our designers came up with a formula to translate colors into these two modes.
- After that, it took many eyes and a long time to painstakingly identify all the edge cases where that translation didn't look quite right and adjust it, sometimes with the help of other teams at Quip."
Ben highlights how accessibility best practices are well-aligned with engineering best practices. "Small, time-consuming changes tend to be more effective than large, quick ones. In that vein, one of the most satisfying (if least technically impressive) changes I worked on was making a few minor tweaks to the ARIA markup for the main navigation structure of Quip; from what I've heard, just those small changes made it much easier for screen reader users to understand the general layout of the app," he says.
Making accessibility a priority
When we interviewed the A11y team at Quip, we asked them what they wished other PMs, designers, and engineers knew about the importance of designing with accessibility in mind. They gave lots of great tips, and we've rounded those up in the next section for you. But there was one major takeaway that each of them kept coming back to: how vital it is that accessibility is part of a product roadmap from the very beginning.
"Always plan ahead when it comes to design with accessibility in mind, even before coding," says Tommy. "It usually reveals a pattern or behavior of your product that is easily overlooked and could be costly to address if realized later on."
"Accessible design and engineering is actually best and easiest when done at the beginning of the feature implementation process, instead of being bolted on as an additional launch readiness checklist item," agrees Joyce.
Try to see a focus on accessibility as an opportunity, says Christina. "If you view accessibility as a burden or a checklist that you have to slog through at the end of the project, it will feel that way. But if you treat accessibility as a core constraint to consider at the very beginning of your project, it can be such a clarifying and powerful tool," she says.
6 ways to make your product design more accessible
1. Make no assumptions.
"If a design assumes that someone is able to process information visually on different parts of the page at the same time, or that they can precisely maneuver a mouse cursor, there's a pretty good chance that most users will have a suboptimal experience," says Ben.
2. Try it out yourself.
Joyce suggests that other engineers try navigating their products the way that users with different impairments might in order to get a small taste of what they're solving for. "Try using only your keyboard to navigate your site, turning on one of the many browser extensions which emulate color-blind vision and trying to get around using a screenreader—no looking at your monitor! You might be surprised at what affordances you wish you were able to use."
3. Go beyond just being empathetic.
Christina learned something from her background in qualitative research that she thinks about constantly with her accessibility work: "Your own imagination is full of assumptions and biases that are almost certainly wrong."
"Our team works very closely with some wonderful accessibility consultants (Prime Access Consulting) who are blind and low-vision themselves, and their real lived experiences help check any well-intentioned but wrong instincts," she adds.
4. Create a framework for prioritizing features.
Christina asks four questions of potential accessibility projects before deciding which to start with:
- How severe is the issue for people who are impacted by it? Is it annoying, confusing/disorienting, or fully disabling?
- How widely used or fundamental is the feature or surface that the issue is occurring on?
- Is there a workaround to the issue or not?
- What size and complexity of project is my team realistically able to handle at the time?
5. Plan carefully.
This one is true for most engineering projects, but worth highlighting here. Tommy shares that he spent a full week not even coding but rather focusing on writing up a detailed roadmap as to how their team would deliver the Dark/High Contrast mode to their organization, company, and public users. "Setting up expectations early really helps me and my team understand the project's scope, making sure we're on top of things and avoiding potential crunch along the way," he says.
6. Recognize that there's a lack of documentation around accessible design best practices—and contribute to it when you can.
Ben has found that while some resources exist, nuanced conventions—"That 'aria-label' should only be used with certain types of elements, or that 'aria-disabled' works slightly differently from 'disabled' depending on the element it's applied to," he provides as an example—are hard to find. Their team has gotten around that by working with their consultants and doing a lot of trial and error, and they're working to document what they've learned. "That [way], the broader Quip team can get a better understanding of a11y do's and don't's that go beyond the specs," he says.
To learn more about Quip and their open roles, go here.