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UX Designer Interview Guide

Interview Guide Nov 08

Detailed, specific guidance on the UX Designer interview process - with a breakdown of different stages and interview questions asked at each stage

The role of UX Designer

The demand for User Experience (UX) designers in the creative industry is soaring, and it's no surprise. As businesses continually update their digital interfaces, whether it's websites, mobile apps, or other platforms, they are increasingly recognizing the pivotal role that UX designers play in shaping user interactions.

A UX designer's responsibility revolves around how a digital interface feels to users. Whether it's the ease of website navigation, the convenience of online product ordering, or the overall user experience of a digital product, they leverage an understanding of both emotional and functional user needs to create experiences that keep users coming back for more.

The scope of their work extends beyond traditional desktop websites to include responsive mobile sites and native apps. Furthermore, the emergence of new technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) has opened up exciting frontiers for UX designers to explore.

The average salary for UX designers in the US is $104,215 per year, making it a financially rewarding career as well.

UX Designer Interview Guide

The interview process for a UX Designer can vary significantly from one company to another. Regardless, all interviews generally comprise the following rounds:

  • Phone Screening
  • Phone/Video Interview
  • Portfolio Review
  • Onsite Interview
Relevant Guides

UX Designer - Phone Screening

Overview

Initial phone calls are pretty standard in the early stages of the hiring process. For a UX Designer, this typically lasts anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, and you'll likely be speaking with a recruiter or someone from the HR department.

The primary objective of this call is to assess if there's a fundamental alignment between your qualifications and the company's requirements. They'll delve deeper into the specifics of the job opening and inquire about your present job situation, prior work experiences, and your expectations for the role you're pursuing.

The key here is to make a positive first impression and show your genuine interest in the company. Be prepared to talk about your background and why you're interested in the position. If you have a pertinent skill or expertise in a specific technology, tool, or platform related to the company, make sure to highlight it in your answers.

Interview Questions

Interview Questions
  • What attracts you to [Company]?
  • What specifically interests you about this position?
  • How would you describe your proficiency with X?
  • Could you share your reasons for joining and departing from your most recent three positions?

UX Designer - Phone/Video Interview

Overview

At this stage, it's usually a 45-60 minute conversation where you get to chat with other designers or sometimes the hiring manager. The key topics that often come up are your understanding of the basics of UX design, the challenges you've faced in your previous work, and how you've collaborated with engineers in the past.

  • Here, it's important to be prepared to talk about user research, prototyping, usability testing, and the overall user-centered design process. It's essential to showcase your fundamental knowledge in these areas.
  • When discussing challenges, try to highlight specific scenarios where you faced obstacles and how you overcame them. This demonstrates your problem-solving skills and adaptability, which are highly valued in UX design.
  • Remember to have some real-world examples ready to illustrate your points. You can share examples of successful projects where you worked closely with the technical team to ensure the smooth implementation of your designs, etc.
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UX Designer - Portfolio Review

Overview

While portfolio reviews traditionally take place in person during an onsite interview, they can also occur virtually. 

It's typically a 45-60 minute session where you have the opportunity to pitch yourself to your potential employer and teammates, although sometimes this review may occur virtually.

Your portfolio isn't just a collection of your work; it's a design problem in itself. For candidates who lack extensive experience, your portfolio and how you present it becomes even more critical. Here are 4 tips for this round:

  • Your portfolio projects should take up about 50% of this interview phase. Start with a broad introduction to your portfolio, and then select two projects that are most relevant to the company you're interviewing for. Dive deep into these two projects during the next half hour, showcasing your design process and problem-solving abilities.
  • Don't just showcase your designs; let your personality shine through. Show your potential employers who you are beyond your work. Invoke empathy.
  • Share your design philosophy. This helps the hiring manager gauge whether you're a good fit for their team in terms of design principles and values.
  • Lastly, don't forget to provide examples of your design process. Discuss how you've overcome challenges, especially when resources were limited. Demonstrating your ability to work within constraints while still delivering high-quality designs can be a strong selling point.

UX Designer - Onsite Interview

Overview

These days, it's quite common for onsite interviews to be conducted virtually, and they can span a full day or be spread out over multiple days, depending on the specific tasks you're assigned.

Onsite interviews typically cover a few key aspects. 

  • Project Retrospective; where you discuss your previous work and explain your design approach. Be prepared to dive into the details of your projects, highlighting your problem-solving skills, and how you collaborated with your team, and other experiences that best portray your potential as a UX Designer. 
  • One-on-one Interviews; with designers, engineers, and product managers. These are typically technical in nature—they discuss your approach to UX designing, how you prioritise features, conduct user research, your UX design methodology, usability testing, and so on.
  • Design Challenge; where you'll be given a specific design challenge to tackle. The design challenge can vary in format, either conducted virtually or traditionally in person. There are three main types of design tasks that you may encounter:

    1. Whiteboard Challenge: One common type of design challenge is the whiteboard challenge, often conducted in person. You usually have a brief preparation period of around 45 minutes. It tests your ability to think on your feet and communicate your design process effectively.

    2. Existing Product Critique: Here, you might be asked to critique a product, such as a mobile app, and provide strategic feedback during the interview. It assesses your ability to analyze existing designs and offer constructive insights.

    3. Independent Design Challenge: For this type of challenge, the interviewer will provide you with a design topic that you will work on at home. You will be expected to research, design, and present it during the onsite interview.

It's important to note that you'll typically be assigned only one of these challenges during the interview process. They can be daunting, sure, but having a structured process can be your guiding light; don't rush into solving the design problem. Consistent practice is the key here — work on different types of challenges to enrich your portfolio and demonstrate your problem-solving skills. Make sure you can explain your design decisions clearly; ensure that you can articulate complex ideas in a way that anyone can understand.

Interview Questions

Interview Questions
  • In your experience, what role does user feedback play in the design process, and how do you gather and implement it effectively?
  • Could you share an example of a time when you had to pivot your design direction based on user feedback or testing results?
  • What strategies do you employ to create a seamless and intuitive user journey in your designs?
  • How do you incorporate universal design principles into your work?
  • Could you describe your process for feature prioritisation in product development?
  • What UX research methods and processes do you typically employ when initiating a new project?
  • How do you go about validating and conducting usability testing for your designs?
  • Can you share an example of a design project where you had to consider internationalization and adapt the user experience for a global audience?
  • How do you handle design critiques and feedback from team members, and how do you incorporate these into your work?
  • Imagine a UX client encounters a problem. Could you walk us through your approach to addressing this issue?
  • What UX tools are integral to your daily workflow?
  • Let's delve into your UX portfolio. Can you guide us through your methodologies and processes for a specific project?
  • When conducting design validation, what types of data do you rely on?
  • Post-product launch, what metrics and methods do you use to gauge the product's success?

Roles and Responsibilities of a UX Designer

The roles and responsibilities of a UX Designer include the following:

  • Collaborating with clients to gain a comprehensive understanding of their objectives.
  • Effectively conveying the results of user research to both internal and external stakeholders.
  • Crafting user personas and usage scenarios to define the target audience and their needs.
  • Conducting regular usability tests with real users to identify issues and gather valuable feedback.
  • Crafting essential design artifacts such as wireframes, storyboards, sitemaps, and screen flows to visualize the user journey.
  • Developing interactive product prototypes to simulate the user experience and validate design concepts before implementation.
  • Collaborating with content creators to ensure content aligns with the overall user experience and design objectives.
  • Ongoing monitoring of the competitive landscape and comprehensive analysis of customer preferences to remain competitive in the market.

Skills and Qualifications of a UX Designer

The skills and qualifications required of a UX Designer include the following:

  • A Bachelor's Degree is often a common educational background for UX Designers, but experience and a strong portfolio are also highly valued in this field.
  • Proficiency in creating visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces.
  • The ability to conduct comprehensive user research and analyse data to inform design decisions.
  • Skills in organising and structuring information for optimal user navigation and comprehension.
  • Creating wireframes to outline the layout and structure of digital products.
  • Proficient in developing interactive prototypes to test and refine design concepts.
  • Effective communication and teamwork to work with cross-functional teams.
  • Efficiently managing tasks and projects to meet deadlines.

Frequently Asked Questions