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How to ace the Design interview at Cash App

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With Katrina Shaw, Design Recruiter

We know interviewing can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. It should spark great conversation and be an opportunity for you to interview our team, too.

You’re probably wondering what it’s like to interview for a Design role at Cash App. To take some of the mystery out of interviewing, we sat down with Katrina Shaw, a Recruiter on the team, to walk you through the process and share some tips on how to ace it.

Meet your guide

Katrina started her Block career at Square, later making the move over to Cash App. “I was drawn to Cash App’s brand identity and social presence—for a product that can be really complex, I love the way Cash App breaks it down and makes it approachable,” Katrina says. Today, she’s a Design Recruiter focused on Product Design hiring.

In her own interview processes, Katrina was struck by the people they met. “Everyone made me feel so comfortable bringing my authentic self to the table,” she says. “I was able to relax and get to know the team on a human level—instead of worrying about providing the perfect answer to their questions, I was able to talk about why I wanted to be at Cash App in an authentic way.”

About the Design team

At Cash App, Design is organized by disciplines - Product Design, Brand Creative, Writing, Customer Insights, Design Ops, Hardware, and Lifestyle. The team is made up of creatives, writers, product designers, operators, and more, all responsible for shaping the meaning behind Cash App and the experiences our customers have with our customers.  

“Flexing your creative muscles here is unlike many companies,” Katrina says.

“Flexing your creative muscles here is unlike many companies,” Katrina says. “Cash App started as a hack week project, and we still embrace scrappiness and innovation—the team really instills that level of openness and creativity,” she adds.

When it comes to hiring new members, the team is looking to elevate everyone around them. “We’re also looking for people who aren’t afraid to ask questions or show their creativity,” Katrina says. Every new team member must be able to communicate through their design, collaborate with others, and bring their unique perspective and experience.

The interview process: What to expect

When applying, remember to submit a link to your portfolio—and if necessary, don’t forget to include any passwords so the hiring team can review your work! This helps kick-start the process by putting your work front and center. After reviewing your work and experience, the next step in the hiring process is a recruiter screen. Your recruiter will learn about your career thus far, what you’re looking for in a new opportunity and what you are motivated by as a creative. We’ll aim to find alignment with the role and discuss details like compensation and your timeline.

Next is the hiring manager screen, where we’re looking to see if you’d thrive on the team and have the skills we’re looking for to level up our team. For Product Design interviews, this phase includes a case study walkthrough, during which you’ll spend 30 minutes on a project you’ve worked on, then a 15-minute Q&A with your interviewer. 

The next stage in the interview process is the remote onsite interview, which typically starts with a portfolio review followed by one-on-one interviews. 

For most portfolio reviews, we’ll ask you to take us through about 3 projects you’ve worked on that are relevant to the role you are interviewing for at Cash App. We’re trying to understand how you drive strategic and impactful creative work. 

For Product Design portfolio reviews, you’ll share 2-3 projects, followed by a Q&A with a designer. In the presentation, try to touch on collaboration and the design process from end to end, including strategy, ideation, and launch. “We’re really looking for you to tell a story, show us how you solve problems, and illustrate how you collaborate with others,” says Katrina. 

Following the portfolio review, you will likely have several one-on-one discussions with members of the team and cross-functional partners. Each interview will center around a different focus area and wrap up any questions from the portfolio review. If you’re a product designer, you’ll chat with a product manager in one interview, do an app critique of an app of your choice in another, and have a problem-solving session with a live whiteboard in another.

To prepare for your interviews, our advice is to become your best storyteller! “Hone your narrative and let your projects tell a story,” says Katrina. Don’t be afraid to share what you might have done differently, and remember to be yourself and have fun!

Advice from the recruiter: How to ace your interview

To ace your interview, tell your story and make sure your interviewers understand your thought process. “Also, show self-awareness and humility: If something didn’t go how you hoped it would, then share your reflections and be honest,” says Katrina. 

Practically speaking, Katrina recommends creating a deck to present from rather than your website. “It can be hard to follow if you present from your website, and putting together a presentation can help you lay out the steps you took and illustrate your process,” Katrina says. “Your website is your shiny end product—we want to see the nitty gritty!”

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask questions. “We don’t expect you to know everything!” says Katrina. “Asking questions also shows you’re problem-solving on the go.”

Make it your own

Your interviews are your chance to show us who you are as a designer or creative, so don’t be afraid to show your personal style. “How you make your portfolio your own speaks volumes,” Katrina says. Make your portfolio your own by adding tidbits about who you are to your presentation.