Snook are on a mission to design a world that works better for people.
We design sustainable and fair services with people’s real needs at their heart. We do this by engaging with users, building digital products, training our clients, and much more.
Snook started as a service design company in Scotland in 2009. We have now become a multidisciplinary team of almost 100 people, based in Glasgow and London. We’ve worked with brilliant clients across the public, private and third sectors. Clients have included Cancer Research UK and Tesco to Hackney City Council and the Scottish Government.
Next Era Government
One of Snook’s core missions is ‘Next Era Government’. We want to make sure that human needs are at the centre of government services’ design and delivery. We are the User-Centred Design partner for multiple government agencies, including Home Office, Department for Education, and the NHS.
Key responsibilities of the role are:
- Project leading and direction – You will lead and direct projects with a focus on ensuring all services are inclusive, accessible and planet-friendly. You’ll lead multidisciplinary teams through complex or high value projects. You’ll also act as director on projects, pointing teams and clients in the right direction to deliver on scope and on budget.
- Team support and management – You’ll help to support the user research team, for example by mentoring colleagues and contributing to recruitment activities. You may line manage more junior team members, including conducting and overseeing appraisals, making recommendations in relation to progression and communicating resulting decisions to the people you manage.
- Defining and refining practice – You’ll help to define the way our disciplines work together. Working with Research Ops, Service Design, Training and the other disciplines, you’ll further articulate our methods. This includes developing and implementing accessible, inclusive and planet-friendly user research practices.
- Supporting new business – You’ll work closely with our clients and partners to spot and nurture opportunities springing from the work we do. It’s likely that you’ll play a role in all stages of Snook’s new business process.
Your skills and experience
We’re keen to hear from a range of applicants who can demonstrate some, or all, of the following skills, experience and qualities, as part of or in addition to being able to meet the requirements above:
Core technical skills
- Research – You lead development of research frameworks, and completion of Data Protection Impact Assessments, planning research to uncover the key factors affecting a service and its use (contextual, operational, cultural, technological, human, strategic, business model…) You define research approaches, questions and activities appropriate to the project context, constraints and outcomes. You can direct teams to conduct research effectively and efficiently, and you use the most suitable methods to lead in the analysis of research to identify and summarise actionable insights.
- Analysis and synthesis – You can analyse and synthesise findings from user research to produce robust, evidence-based user stories, identifying the difference between user needs and the desires of the user. You lead co-analysis and co-synthesis sessions and engage sceptical stakeholders through these, clearly explaining the processes to enable them to engage fully and contribute. You can advise other researchers on choice and application of techniques for analysis and synthesis. You can confidently and humbly critique others’ findings to ensure best practice.
- User-centred focus – You oversee others to ensure we always conduct ethical research. You ensure user needs are kept front and centre at all stages of a project. You can advise others about conducting user research in challenging situations to ensure participants are supported and able to describe their experiences, so that we fully understand their needs. You can choose and lead appropriate approaches to mapping feasible, viable and desirable user-centred services and experiences. You are able to balance multiple forms of research and stakeholder participation. You take responsibility for ensuring that outcomes are actionable in the face of business and contextual constraints, and aligned to client strategies.
- Agile practices: You are confident in applying agile methods in practice. You lead in the identification and development of appropriate research activities across the different agile phases of a project. You lead the production of evidence for GDS assessments, having experience of assessments in at least one of the Discovery, Alpha and Beta stages. You have experience of leading multi-disciplinary agile teams, understand the roles and responsibilities of the different team members, and can communicate user research insights in ways that enable others to prioritise and complete activities specific to their role. You lead teams and ensure adherence to the guidelines of the Government Service Manual for Research.
- Inclusion and accessibility: You lead methods that help the team think about how to ensure the product/ service is inclusive, accessible, and equitable. Can confidently advocate why these practices are important with the team and client. You actively incorporate best practice in your research and ensure your team understands risks and specific user needs and scenarios when designing products and services. You ensure other researchers carry out ethical and inclusive research. This includes situations they may themselves find challenging: for instance, on unsettling subject matters, in unusual settings, or with vulnerable subjects. You can clearly articulate user needs to ensure we design and deliver accessible services that work for everyone.
- Contextual Awareness: You lead and direct teams in ensuring our user research evidences where people’s experiences of services are influenced by wider systems. You guide teams in conducting user research that maps people’s experiences across a range of channels and interactions with service systems. You can lead the wider team (including Service Design and Digital) to identify the barriers and opportunities for users across the different elements of the Full Stack Service Design model. You demonstrate understanding of the social, political and technological contexts you research in. You can explain the theory of systems change to a variety of stakeholders.
- Facilitation – You lead the teams in the process of designing, organising and delivering workshops, guiding on the best approaches to deliver project objectives. You ensure facilitators are equipped for their roles and the client and stakeholders are fully participating. You support the team to present to the client, stakeholders and internally to Snook to engage and inspire them on a project/topic.
- Communication – You can set clear direction for how information should be communicated within a project, ensuring that it is pitched correctly for the target audience. You lead teams to create professional, consistent communications that relay information in a concise, accessible and impactful way, tailored to the needs of project and stakeholders.
- Recommendation & implementation – You can scope the practical requirements to implement change / clients’ next steps, outlining timeframes and resource implications. You lead teams in the preparation of documents to effectively communicate recommendations, future phases of work and/or implementation requirements. You can identify opportunities for conversations with the client to guide them on the next steps, pulling in the right expertise in Snook where needed.
- Critical and Reflective Practice: You can lead teams confidently and safely through a project retro. You can give and receive honest feedback about your and your team’s performance on a project. You support those you coach, and guide their professional and skills development through regular, constructive coaching sessions. You lead and direct other researchers in taking opportunities to learn and practice new approaches.
Ways of working
You should be able to demonstrate that you are able to meet some, or all, of the following behaviours, values, and competencies.
You promote inclusive language and behaviour at Snook, and consider the impacts on employee well being, of policies and decisions.
You problem solve independently, anticipating and raising issues early within and beyond your domain. You initiate difficult conversations in a timely and tactful manner.
You take client and industry forces into account when making recommendations around Snook initiatives, projects, and recruitment.
You promote and develop open ways of working at Snook, encouraging shared decision making and team collaboration across the company. You keep the team motivated and engaged in times of change.
You recognise opportunities for innovation or improvement within Snook and/or client organisations. You consider the big picture, dependencies, impacts and long and short term implications when making decisions internally and/or with clients.
You share your expertise in research and leadership skills across disciplines at Snook and help team members understand the impacts of their actions on the bottom line.
You balance individual, client and project needs across projects and the wider organisation and can suggest actions to achieving financial goals and ensuring the viability of the company.
You inspire behavior change in audiences by creating and delivering talks or blog posts.
You contribute to the development of strategy, both for Snook and its clients. Your pitch to clients is succinct and compelling, communicating purpose and vision.
You identify the best delivery methods to use. You help teams to prioritise work, manage and communicate outcomes, and work to the agreed scope.
You manage risks and decisions, and create the conditions to enable the project director to make effective decisions.
You develop relationships proactively with clients and key people.
You lead colleagues and the wider community with thinking around research practices that are user-centred, ethical, inclusive, accessible, and sustainable for the planet. You guide people in successfully incorporating these concepts into their work.
You lead risk mapping and scenario planning to mitigate unintended harm of features and product ideas.
What we offer
- A competitive salary
- Generous holidays giving you 29.5 days holiday (including bank holidays), 4 of which are fixed to be taken at Christmas. Plus there are up to an additional 6 discretionary days for Christmas Closure
- A supportive maternity package
- We respect that people have commitments, providing flexible working hours through discussion
- A bike to work scheme
- Every Monday morning, we have a virtual team breakfast checkin where we eat together, share updates, learnings and our ambitions for the week ahead
- Membership to the Headspace, the mental health app
- We have an annual team-away day and quarterly show+tells; where we come together as a company, taking time out to learn, reflect, and eat snacks
- We provide an annual training budget, which can be used for external opportunities from talks and conferences to more bespoke hands-on training. We have weekly learning sessions for all our team members, with a vast topic range
- Access to Snook social clubs, and opportunity to run your own
- Snook group pension plan
- We support you with a Snook buddy when you join to get you started
How to apply
This is a rolling recruitment, please do not delay your application as we are sifting and interviewing daily. The vacancy will be closed when available positions are filled.
We ask you to submit a:
A cover letter that tells us about you, why you want to work at Snook, what sort of design problems you’d be interested in tackling with us and what your notice period is
Portfolio of your work highlighting key projects
If you do not have a portfolio, we have created a simple template that you can use.
If you have any questions please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
To apply, please follow this link, and open up the jobs page for the Senior User Researcher position.
Due to the current Covid-19 situation, all interviews will be conducted remotely. We will offer interviews at times that suit you, so if you have children, caring duties or other circumstances affecting your availability, we’re happy to offer convenient times outside of work hours.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
We strive for diversity in our team. If we’re going to design services for the public we need to ensure our team is inclusive. Snook encourages applications from all backgrounds, abilities or impairments, communities and industries. We’re committed to having a team that is made up of diverse skills, experiences and abilities.