Any job interview is quite a stressful event, especially if you’ve graduated just recently and don’t have enough experience in communicating with hiring managers. Another problem is, interviews may be conducted differently in different companies: for example, employers may ask various specific questions depending on the position you are applying for, so there is no way to get 100% prepared for anything you may be asked. However, the list of general questions that HRs usually go through before switching to more specific ones are usually pretty standard, and they are aimed at getting to know you as a person and a professional. We’ve collected a list of a few most common topics that you’re most likely to be asked to talk about at a UX designer job interview — let’s discuss them.
Basic info about yourself
The question “Tell us about yourself” is the basis of any job interview. It allows recruiters to understand who they’re talking to and why you’re applying for this job. Here you are expected to present yourself in a concise, but effective manner by telling about your education and working experience, what inspires you professionally and why you would like to pursue a career in UX.
Basic knowledge of UX design
No matter how many degrees you have or how high your experience level is, your recruiters need to evaluate your knowledge of UX design as a whole. But keep in mind that a job interview is not an exam, so here you are expected not to recite the textbook definitions learned by heart, but rather share your personal understanding of UX and your role as a designer in general. Consider talking about how you define UX, what creates value in the design, what are the necessary parts of a UX design process, what are the current trends in UX. You might also be asked to explain the difference between UI and UX to see how you understand the role of each in the development process.
What are your expectations from the company/position you’re applying for?
Here you should explain in more detail why you’re applying to this exact company and for this exact position, how you envision your role in a team and what you expect in terms of tasks/salary/career, etc. This will help interviewers realize whether your and company’s expectations from each other align and whether you have a clear understanding of the job description at all.
How would you describe your design process?
Every UX designer has their own way of working on solving a design problem, and your interviewer needs to know your way in order to evaluate your professional skills and see whether your working process fits the company’s style. Your UX case study will present your design process by itself, but you can also speak on how you usually work on a project, which tools you use, how you organize the working process, etc.
How do you handle difficult situations in teamwork?
Working on UX design is definitely teamwork, and any teamwork includes negative moments and difficult situations — and your task here is to show HRs whether you’re capable of receiving or giving critical feedback in a proper manner, avoiding conflicts, being respectful and staying productive. If you haven’t worked in a team yet, describe your thoughts on how you would potentially react to such situations and what you aspire to do in order to be a valuable team member.
How do you define a successful UX project?
Everyone measures success differently, and your potential employer has to know how you evaluate the success of the projects you’re working on. Speak on metrics that you consider important and other factors that help you evaluate whether you’ve reached a specific goal not only from your point of view, but from the point of users the product is designed for.
What projects that you’ve worked on are you least/most proud of and why?
The way you answer this question showcases your ability to critically evaluate your work and reflect on the mistakes you’ve made and success you’ve achieved. Describe what exactly makes those projects look the worst/the best in your eyes, what challenges you’ve come across when working on them, what would you change in your least favorite project if you could work on it again and how your best project contributed to your growth as a professional.
How do you react when getting negative feedback from your clients?
Unfortunately, clients are not always happy with the outcome of our work and can give very harsh negative feedback. Your recruiters need to know that you can handle situations like that professionally without turning it into conflicts. Here you are expected to demonstrate your thoughtful approach to the problem. Discuss how you can use any negative feedback as an opportunity to have a constructive dialogue with a client, determine the issues a client has with your design, inquire the reasons of these issues and either gently convince a client to keep the design solutions by explaining the reason behind them or work on making the product more corresponding to a client’s vision.
Where do you look for design inspiration?
Knowing how to find sources of inspiration is a huge component of a UX designer’s professionalism, and answering this question is your chance to show a potential employer your taste in design and your ability to inspire yourself in order to stay creative. Here you are expected to not just list products and resources that you find inspiring, but also reflect on what exactly makes you admire them and how they provoke your creative process.
Can you solve a design challenge right away?
A quick design challenge is a common final task at UX designer job interviews in many companies. What the recruiters really need here is not to see a unique and excellent solution, but rather check your ability to think quickly and cooperate under stress. One of the most common tasks is to critique the design of any app/website and share your thoughts on what you would improve/change/remove in that design. The key to nailing this challenge is to back up your every assumption with explanations, which shows your thinking process and your rational approach to the problem-solving. Don’t stress too much about the final result of the challenge - it’s the solving process that plays the main role here.
One of the stereotypes about job interviews is that they are intended for the sole purpose of questioning the candidate only. That’s wrong and obsolete: in reality, as a candidate, you shouldn’t be shy to also ask some thoughtful and job-related questions in return. Asking them will not only give you some important and valuable information regarding your potential UX designer position, but will also show the recruiting team that you are really interested both in the conversation and the offered job. Moreover, sometimes you may completely satisfy the company as a specialist, but the company may not suit you as a potential space for career growth, and that’s also something you can learn by asking the right questions. Here are 5 questions that we recommend every UX designer to ask during a job interview.
What role will I, as a UX designer, play in your team? How does the team function?
In development - and, particularly, in UX design - well-coordinated interaction of a team is essential for quality work. This question is aimed to get some information on how the team you’ll potentially work in interacts during the working process, and what role you’re expected to play there. It’s also important to find out about the structure of the team, as well as about how the team usually interacts with persons outside its “bubble”, like clients and investors.
How am I expected to organize my daily work? What are my everyday responsibilities?
It often happens that job recruiters don’t mention everything you’re expected to do in the job description - either to keep the description concise, or to not scare away the applicants with a large list of responsibilities. This question will help you learn more about what exactly you are expected to do in the company on a daily basis. If you realize that you don’t have skills for additional responsibilities you’re being told about, be sure to discuss that straight away rather than struggling with doing your job later.
What are my career growth perspectives in this position?
It’s a natural desire for any specialist to grow as a professional and move forward on the career path. But not every company provides an opportunity to grow. So it’s up to you to find out whether that particular company is interested in the growth of its workers and what exactly ways there will be for you to progress professionally in the long-term perspective.
Why are you hiring for this position?
One of the common questions for a candidate is “Why are you applying for this position”, but there is a reason to reverse that question and also ask interviewers why the position was opened. The answer can give you an insight to what’s going inside the company. It’s one thing if the company is growing and opening new positions, and it’s another thing if there is a staff turnover and workers quickly burnout and quit.
Is there an opportunity to get a mentor or become one?
Mentorship is a common practice in design teams. If you are a novice UX designer, a mentor can help you expand your knowledge, learn new skills and generally become more confident as a professional. Skilled designers can become mentors themselves, helping young/less skilled team members on their path. If it’s important for you to always contribute to the professional development of yourself and others, make sure to ask this question to see if the company is interested in that as well.
The questions listed here are obviously just a “tip of an iceberg” of what you might encounter at a job interview. But knowing what to expect and what to ask can help you feel more confident and have a fruitful discussion with HR-managers to showcase yourself as a great candidate and get the desired position.