Introducing: Debug your design interview journey

Catt Small
3 min readAug 23, 2023


In the year since I started mentoring folks on Merit, I’ve gotten a lot of questions that go something like this:

I have been actively interviewing for long enough time that I feel like I should have an offer, but nothing has materialized yet. What am I missing?

When someone asks me this, it’s a sign we need to debug their interviewing journey. Debugging is an important part of building products, and it’s just as important to use that iterative lens on your own job-seeking efforts. Many of the people I talk to are not tracking their job applications, have not considered the point where they commonly fall off the rails, and are struggling to figure out how to improve.

If you’re going to get a job, especially in a tough economy, you’ve got to apply design thinking to your employment search. How might we turn the distressing process of finding a job into something we can learn from? Let’s start with one of my favorite design artifacts: a journey map!

Design interviewing is usually broken up into four types of activities:

If you start to track your process according to these stages, you’ll recognize patterns. This is similar to how teams begin to notice patterns when they track and analyze usage data for their products. You can build a job search dataset with a Kanban board in a product like Notion, Figma, Trello, or Asana. There are many templates out there already, but here’s mine if you’d like to use the exact one I did to complete my two most recent job searches.

I have a lot to say on this topic, so I’m going to split this into several blog posts. I hope that makes it all much easier to navigate. I’ll publish each post as soon as I finish editing, and they’ll get linked to this one.

Jump to a stage

Other resources

Looking for more job seeking tools? Below are some resources I and others have used in the past to improve the chances of getting a new job. I hope they help you, too.

  • Resume Worded — AI-powered tool that gives you feedback about your résumé.
  • Merit — Mentorship platform where you can connect with folks and have them review your work.
  • Pearl — Connects hiring teams with diverse and vetted jobseekers.
  • Ask a Manager job search posts — Get advice directly from a hiring manager.
  • Per My Last Email podcast — A podcast by two leadership coaches that occasionally covers job search topics.
  • Happen to Your Career podcast — A career change podcast for people who don’t want to settle.
  • Design Life podcast — A podcast about design and side projects for motivated creators that sometimes covers career transitions.

Best of luck to you on your journey! I wish you all the success in the world.

Originally published at on August 23, 2023.



Catt Small

Product Designer, Programmer, Game Developer, Artist, & karaoke ♥er. Bronx-born & raised. She.