In conversation with Pratilipi's Head of Design about hiring design talent from ownpath

Pratilipi is India’s largest self-publishing platform with over 350,000 authors and more than 20 million+ unique monthly readers.

In this article, we talk to Ankit Pandole, Head of Design at Pratilipi, about the challenges they face with hiring great talent and their synergy with ownpath.

Q. What have your challenges been with design hiring?

Hiring has been a constant challenge throughout. At Pratilipi, there are multiple different verticals and, based on the maturity of each vertical, it might require two or more designers taking care of that entire vertical. As such, I was hunting out for designers who could take ownership of entire verticals. We are a very small team, so there were not a lot of senior designers who could take the lead.

Initially, my process was to look for a senior designer who can take up a huge chunk of a bigger project. But very soon, we realized that the people who are actually able to take up this role, were the kind of people who were already in stable jobs or were looking out to go outside India and work in MAANG kind of companies which resulted in very few people who were interested and going into further interview rounds.

Additionally, most of the problems were on the sourcing level itself - not getting enough senior design talent who would be a good fit, or would stick till the end of the process.

Midway, we changed tactics to create a mentor pool of designers within Pratilipi to hire designers who are at the start of their design career but have the potential to deliver. We can groom them for few months and let them evolve into the kind of roles we want them to take up.

Some key issues I faced were:

  • Way too many entry level designers at the sourcing level.
  • Time-consuming to find out great portfolios with conceptual project work that might be good to take up in the interview pipeline.

An acquaintance from Unacademy referred us to ownpath, where I did a bit of research on whether they would be able to solve my problem. The vetting process in which ownpath was actually taking people with some amount of experience was a clincher for me to join the bandwagon.

Q. How’s it been hiring from ownpath?

Oiheek is a Product Design Fellow from ownpath, whom we recruited into the design team of Pratilipi. I could see that he had some original thoughts and ideas which were a very refreshing change of pace from the templatized responses that I’m used to.

Overall, the hiring process was incredibly efficient. The entire process was efficient - there were no operational/bureaucratic hassles and a lot of the information that I’d ask a candidate to share was already made available to me.

The recruitment process was also entirely open. It was not like everything has to go through ownpath. We were just given free rein to reach out to the candidates and assess them as per our processes without any restrictions.

Q. How is Oiheek doing at Pratilipi?

Oiheek started out as a Product Design intern under the mentorship of one of our designers. We had an assessment period of about 4 months - but due to his excellent performance, we rolled out the offer in three months itself.

He has opened up a lot more since he joined, and he is now working as the sole designer taking ownership of one of the verticals. He’s starting to take a lot more responsibility and seems comfortable taking the initiative for driving key metrics and KPIs. I like that he’s also a lot more self-sufficient now and there’s no need for daily sync-ups anymore like we used to.

Our Product Design Fellowship is a 4-month intensive cohort-based program that helps designers upskill and progress faster in their careers.

If your company is looking to hire vetted designers from a curated pool of talent, please register your interest here, or book a slot to chat with us.

If you’re a designer looking to unlock your dream job in design, apply to the Product Design Fellowship 🚀

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