Basecamp is hiring a Product Designer

Basecamp’s Core Product team is hiring a Senior Designer! We’ll be accepting applications for the next two weeks, with a flexible start date in December.

It’s been over 4 years since we hired for this role, so this is an exciting and rare opportunity to join our team. You’ll start by working on HEY, our brand new email service. In 2021 we’ll also launch a major new update for Basecamp, so there’s lots of impactful design work ahead where you can make your mark.

About the Job

At most companies, product design is split into many different roles: UX, UI, front-end development, and so on. At Basecamp, it’s all one role. We believe the best designs come from someone who can see it all through, from ideas to visuals to the finished product.

That means all of our designers are generalists—excellent visual stylists, front-end developers, project managers, writers, and more. Our projects are design-led, so you’ll have a lot of influence and impact right away.

As a Core Product designer, you’ll be working on the web interfaces for Basecamp and HEY. You might be improving an existing feature, designing something totally brand new, or rethinking how we do something.

Along with having great visual taste and sensibilities, you must be able to write your own HTML, CSS (BEM), and some JavaScript. You’ll work directly inside our Ruby on Rails apps to make your designs come to life. (But note: we don’t expect you to do all the implementation on your own. You’ll be paired with a programmer on most projects, and you’ll consult with the rest of the Core team and our iOS/Android teams.)

As a manager of one, you’ll drive shaped projects, big and small, over six-week cycles. You’ll set direction, take ownership, make calls, and see things through without a lot of oversight. You’ll be able to communicate clearly with your colleagues, work across teams, and lend a helping hand when needed.

You love to write, too. You understand that copywriting is design. The words matter as much as the pixels. Great visuals with weak words are poor designs. You should care about how things are phrased as much as you care about how they look.

Here are some things we’ve worked on recently to give you a sense of what you’ll be doing day-to-day.

  • Built an interface for our email exporting tech, so people can easily export their HEY email into a downloadable MBOX file.
  • Improved color contrast on buttons in dark mode, after hearing bug reports from customers and our QA team.
  • Created novel multi-step onboarding and training flows to help new customers learn how HEY works.
  • Researched the technical requirements for hosting a custom domain name, and then implemented a step-based workflow to help people migrate their company’s email system over to HEY.
  • Extracted reusable CSS components after noticing repeating patterns in our codebase.
  • Prototyped many different variations on HEY’s Screener UI, to make it as clear and simple as possible.

Basecamp is a fully remote company, and this is a remote job. We’re hiring from anywhere with at least 4 hours of overlap with the US-Central Time zone during a normal work day. This could be a 11:00-19:00 schedule from Europe, but we’re not hiring from locations that require a graveyard shift to make the overlap happen.

About Us

Basecamp has been proudly building opinionated, respectful software for nearly 20 years. As an intentionally small, privately-held company, we don’t answer to anyone but ourselves and our customers. We design our products to solve real-life problems, and we strongly defend our customers’ attention and privacy along the way.

We use the concepts we defined in Getting Real and Shape Up to stay focused, keep projects on track, and ship good work on time.

Benefits & Compensation

Basecamp pays in the top 10% of the industry based on San Francisco rates. Same position, same pay, no matter where you live. The salary for this position is $149,442 (Senior Designer).

Benefits at Basecamp are all about helping you lead a healthy life outside of work. We believe quality time to focus on work starts with quality time to think, exercise, prepare a meal, be with family & friends, and of course, time to yourself.

We offer fully paid parental leave. We work 4-day weeks in the summer (Northern Hemisphere), and offer a month-long sabbatical every 3 years. We subsidize your home office, wellness and fitness interests, and continuing education. We also offer an annual charitable contribution match. All on top of top-tier health insurance and a retirement plan with company match. See our full list.

Applicants from outside of the US will be offered a contractor role on comparable terms and equal pay with our domestic employees.

How to Apply

Please submit an application that speaks directly to this position. Tell us about yourself, about what you can bring to Basecamp, and about Basecamp’s role in your future. Tell us about what you’ve done and what excites you. You might be inclined to design something especially for us—that’s fine. Just make sure the content of your application is as impressive as its presentation. We’ll also happily accept a traditional, well-constructed cover letter full of personal touches and that shows us how much you want this job.

We’re accepting applications until Friday, October 16, 2020, at 5PM US-Central time. There’s no benefit to filing early, so take your time.

We strongly encourage candidates of all different backgrounds and identities to apply. We believe that our design work is stronger with a variety of perspectives, and we’re eager to further diversify our company. If you have a background that you feel would make an impact on Basecamp, please consider applying. We’re committed to building an inclusive, supportive place for you to do the best work of your career.

What happens next?

We expect to take a few weeks to review all applications. You’ll hear from us by November 6th, about advancement to the interview stage. Expect 2-3 interviews, all one hour, all remote, with your future colleagues, on your schedule. We’ll talk through your background, your approach to design, and dive into your professional knowledge. No gotchas or surprises.

After the interviews, the final candidates will be given an at-home design challenge. The exercise is representative of the kind of work we do, and it helps us understand how you’d approach new problems from scratch. We invite no more than 5 candidates to this stage, and those candidates should expect to spend about 3 work days completing the project. You’ll be compensated for your time.

We aim to make an offer in November with a flexible start date in December.

Please note that we’re unable to offer individual feedback during the screening process. We usually see 1,000+ applications for open positions, and our hiring team simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to offer personalized feedback before the first interview round.

This is a demanding application process and significant, long-term career move to consider. We appreciate you giving us that consideration, and we promise to give you our full attention in return. We look forward to hearing from you!


11 thoughts on “Basecamp is hiring a Product Designer

  1. I have some concerns regarding the length of the take-home test.

    Don’t you feel it’s a bit too much to ask for three workdays as far as the test is concerned?

    Besides of the fact that it will be compensated, a Senior person cannot just get three days off their normal jobs, because they will be probably at a company they care about, and there is a strong chance they are not allowed time off, for a variety of good reasons.

    Anything that is more than a full weekend doesn’t feel great I think. And even a whole weekend might be a bit too much.

    I feel that you might be not evaluating talented people simply due to bad timing and circumstances, and on the other hand, people that would love to work in Basecamp, might not get the chance they were seeking for a long time now.

    1. I completely understand that point of view, and we’re sympathetic to the burden this may place on candidates who are pressed for available time on top of their other life responsibilities.

      That’s why we’re disclosing this requirement upfront, and why we only ask our final candidates to do it. After many years of hiring designers, we’ve found that this is the best way for us to see how someone will approach a problem and communicate their process, which is invaluable as a final determining factor in hiring.

      We feel that 3 days is the realistic amount of time it takes to properly consider a design problem, explore ideas, and then present a solution for it. We give candidates an entire week to complete the project, and they can choose how to fit the work into the time they have. Some people may not need to work for three full days, but we compensate the same amount regardless.

    2. Hey Bob!

      Not to pile-on but another benefit of the take-home project is that you get a chance to see what it’s like to work with *us*, too. The project is *real* in that it’s the kind of project you’ll get assigned when you work here and you’ll be able to talk through it during your interview.

      I went through the same process when I was hired and even though I spent some evenings (and part of my weekend) on the test project, I felt it was well worth the investment. I hope you’ll consider applying.

  2. Hi Jonas,
    Would you consider an application from Mumbai, India?

    The overlap with US Central time would be 4 hours with an afternoon shift (GMT +5:30).

    I was looking for the context over consistency post to share with a colleague when I saw this and couldn’t resist!

    1. Hi Ali, unfortunately we think that’s too big of a time difference to work out. Having someone always working deep into their local nighttime hasn’t proven to be a healthy arrangement long term, and this position requires quite a bit of synchronous collaboration, so we can’t really do it fully async.

      Sorry about that! Thanks for your interest.

  3. Hey Jonas!
    I want to make a web page, not a PDF. Where can I place the link? Or how do I attach it correctly?

    1. Hey John, you could just submit a short cover letter that contains a link to your site. Sorry for the extra trouble, but our application system only has the file attachment option.

  4. Hi Jonas, I was wondering if you’d consider applicants in the Australian timezone? A four hour cross over with Central US would start around 5 or 6am here.

  5. Nooo!

    Missed the submission deadline by literally one minute.

    Had everything ready to go (short text file with a link to the CV site I custom made), hit “upload” and send, got a brief stall as the clock ticked over to 5pm, and then got the dreaded error message “this job is no longer available.”

    This may be a long shot but any chance for a grace period considering I “missed it by that much?” 🙂

  6. I just discovered this and the deadline is just past. This is me lamenting into the void. A dream job- best of luck to all who made it before the deadline!

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